Guilty Until Proven Innocent?: An Example of Why That Is A Bad Idea

A recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details the issues happening in the city of St. Louis relating to people being wrongfully arrested and detained.  When people question the criminal justice system, and ask why “criminals” have rights to defend themselves, I think this article provides at least one of the answers.  Mistakes happen.  It seems far-fetched that police would arrest the wrong person and hold them in jail despite protest. However, human error, and the financial crunch that police departments and the court systems find themselves in can lead to these issues.  Many of these people were released within a few days when a mistake was recognized.  Some of these people were held much longer.  These issues happened while important constitutional safeguards against those accused of crimes are in place.  Imagine what could happen if there were no right to defend yourself?  Police and prosecutors are typically very good at their job, but mistakes can be made.  Someday, that mistake could affect you or someone you love.

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