Innocent Until Proven Guilty and the Burden of Proof
Troy Anthony Davis was killed by the state of Georgia last week. His trial, conviction and the refusal to reverse said conviction is a textbook example of the problem that the burden of proof has started to shift to the party charged with the crime and away from those who prosecute. In a hearing last year, a judge ruled against overturning Davis’s conviction because though he had raised certain doubts about his guilt, he had failed to prove his innocence…
Troy Davis was robbed of the most basic legal right of a person accused of a crime. When the presumption of innocence erodes we are all subject to certain injustices. When reasonable doubt is not enough, we are always forced to wonder. The system is designed to prevent that feeling. Justice is supposed to be blind.
Unfortunately, cases are presented, tried and presided over by humans who are anything but blind and subject to errors, personal biases and prejudice. When that happens, and judges are given the power to tell the accused party that they are guilty until their innocence is proved, not beyond reasonable doubt but beyond the shadow of a doubt, then how is justice served?