View Poll Results: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

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  • Yes, "innocent" would be a welcome addition as an option.

    11 28.95%
  • No, but we should treat "not guilty" as "innocent".

    7 18.42%
  • No, the current system works fine. ('Splain yerself, Lucy)

    18 47.37%
  • Something else.

    2 5.26%
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Thread: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

  1. #1
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    Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    We presently have "guilty" and "not guilty" as verdict options. "Not guilty" is often treated as "we still think you're guilty, we just didn't present a good enough case to convict you". Victims and/or their families often follow up a not guilty verdict with a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages, as the level of proof is lower.

    As we have seen with so many exonerations in recent years, factually innocent people get convicted too often, so it stands to reason that there are more that are wrongly accused but beat the rap and are found not guilty... yet the "not guilty" still may face legal battles in the form of civil lawsuits, civil rights violation charges, and so on.

    Should we add a third option of "innocent" for juries and/or judges to consider and use? Because it is now undeniable that factually innocent people are sometimes accused and charged, this would allow juries and/or judges to state, "We see no credible evidence whatsoever that this person is guilty, and as such, deem them to be factually innocent. They are hereby set free, and cannot face any further prosecution whatsoever for this particular crime." This would eliminate civil suits, civil rights violation charges, etc. A person who is deemed innocent shouldn't have to face a never-ending legal gauntlet simply because a family is emotionally upset (albeit understandably, but still...), or the DoJ is grandstanding.

    Would it be perfect? Of course not. Human involvement eliminates any concept of perfection. Would it be an improvement and a step toward fairness (which justice is supposed to be about)? Yes, I believe so.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    No, it should remain as it is.

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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisher View Post
    No, it should remain as it is.
    Why? How would adding "innocent" as an option upset anything?
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Why? How would adding "innocent" as an option upset anything?
    Because they are already innocent until proven otherwise. You don't prove someone innocent, they are already innocent. You have to prove them guilty thus wiping their innocent status away.
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidtaylorjr View Post
    Because they are already innocent until proven otherwise. You don't prove someone innocent, they are already innocent. You have to prove them guilty thus wiping their innocent status away.
    In theory. Not in practical real-world application.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    In theory. Not in practical real-world application.
    How is that not in real-world application? Do explain....
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidtaylorjr View Post
    Because they are already innocent until proven otherwise. You don't prove someone innocent, they are already innocent. You have to prove them guilty thus wiping their innocent status away.

    Very well stated.

    The rare exception is by virtue of widespread, knowledgeable public opinion in some cases, such as OJ Simpson.

    There are not enough exceptions to add yet another endless uncertainly to American precedent and belief.

    It's offensive that the Liberals are doing their best to give the impression that the wrong verdict was reached in the George Zimmerman trial, the impression that Zimmerman is actually guilty and something went terribly wrong. He started out innocent and he walked out of court innocent of all charges.
    Last edited by Ray410; 07-22-13 at 04:51 PM.

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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    We presently have "guilty" and "not guilty" as verdict options. "Not guilty" is often treated as "we still think you're guilty, we just didn't present a good enough case to convict you". Victims and/or their families often follow up a not guilty verdict with a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages, as the level of proof is lower.

    As we have seen with so many exonerations in recent years, factually innocent people get convicted too often, so it stands to reason that there are more that are wrongly accused but beat the rap and are found not guilty... yet the "not guilty" still may face legal battles in the form of civil lawsuits, civil rights violation charges, and so on.

    Should we add a third option of "innocent" for juries and/or judges to consider and use? Because it is now undeniable that factually innocent people are sometimes accused and charged, this would allow juries and/or judges to state, "We see no credible evidence whatsoever that this person is guilty, and as such, deem them to be factually innocent. They are hereby set free, and cannot face any further prosecution whatsoever for this particular crime." This would eliminate civil suits, civil rights violation charges, etc. A person who is deemed innocent shouldn't have to face a never-ending legal gauntlet simply because a family is emotionally upset (albeit understandably, but still...), or the DoJ is grandstanding.

    Would it be perfect? Of course not. Human involvement eliminates any concept of perfection. Would it be an improvement and a step toward fairness (which justice is supposed to be about)? Yes, I believe so.
    Leave it as it is. A court case really determines legal culpability, not guilt or innocence.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    This issue has been plowed more times than Paris Hilton.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oborosen View Post
    Too bad we have to observe human rights.

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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket88 View Post
    Leave it as it is. A court case really determines legal culpability, not guilt or innocence.
    Legal culpability is predicated on guilt or innocence.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ray410 View Post
    There are not enough exceptions to add yet another endless uncertainly to American precedent and belief.
    Adding "innocent" as an option would actually eliminate some of the uncertainty.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

  10. #10
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    Re: Should "innocent" be an option as a verdict in criminal trials?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Why? How would adding "innocent" as an option upset anything?
    Because that's not how the system works. A person is accused of a crime. It is the job of the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is actually guilty. If they do, the person is guilty and convicted. If they do not, the person is found not guilty and released. It's not the job of the defense to prove a person factually innocent, just to poke enough holes in the prosecution case that the jury has doubts. Certainly, if they have strong evidence that the individual is innocent, the prosecution is going to drop the case entirely.
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