non binding legal question

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Fallschirmjäger, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

    This sorta came up in another forum....

    Would it be true to say that in the American legal system, one is allowed to enter a plea of either Guilty or Not Guilty and that there is no such thing as a plea of Innocent? And would it be fair to say that a verdict is only returned to in the same form of the accused being found guilty or not guilty and that there is not a verdict, nor a proof, of innocent?
  2. EJR914

    EJR914 Cheezburger Operator

    That's correct, because of the choice of double negatives, you are never found innocent, you are actually found "not guilty."

    So Guilty or Not Guilty are the choices.

  3. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke New Member

    The American legal system does not judge a person's innocence, hence a finding of innocent does not fit. Innocent is the assumption and only a guilty verdict can change that assumption. A finding of not guilty merely represents that insufficient evidence of guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Proving innocence would be much more difficult and result in more false convictions hence the desire for a justice system that relies on proof of guilt instead of innocence.

    For instance, as a single guy I am home alone more often then I would have an alibi for most nights. I own firearms that are shot regularly. On most nights, I have the capability to shoot someone and kill them without leaving the gun behind (or I could ditch the gun) and not have an alibi for the time of the shooting. If I was charged under a presumption of guilt system then I would have very little, if any, chance of proving that I didn't commit any murder on most nights of the year. Under the innocent until proven guilty system, however, it is almost impossible for me to be fairly convicted since I was in fact at home and the DA would have an exceptionally hard time trying to prove I committed any crime.