Criminal Defense? Part 2
Criminal Defense? Part 2 by John F. Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.
Criminal defense or, more correctly, defending the accused, is defending the criminal justice system. Lady Justice doesn’t find the accused guilty or innocent until the trial is over, and maybe not even then.
Has anyone ever been accused of a crime he or she did not commit? Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere, with no contact with the outside world, you know the answer to that question.
Even before the advent of DNA testing, it was not unusual to hear about a person tried and convicted of a crime who was later released after new evidence was presented or the original evidence was refuted.
I’ve often wondered how many innocent people have been executed or have been left to serve out their terms in prison because they didn’t have the resources or the good luck to prove their innocence.
Why are innocent people sometimes convicted?
Because of the fallibility of juries of what are usually well-meaning citizens
Because of bigoted, bad-intentioned juries
Because of the errors, intended or unintended, of police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges
Because no system of justice is perfect
Because… Because… Because…
While our system of justice isn’t perfect, it is arguably the best in the world, if…
…if all players in the process are competent and do their best to fulfill their roles.
I firmly believe that if I do my job as the defense investigator and the police, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge and the jury do theirs to the best of their abilities and with the best intentions, then justice has the best chance to be served.
For me the presumption of innocence is the critical underlying principle setting the tone for the process.
Anybody can accuse you of a crime, but for you to be held accountable for the alleged crime your guilt must proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a public court of law. It is my duty to play my role as the defense investigator competently and to the best of my ability because justice requires it.