In the criminal justice system, each defendant is afforded certain constitutional and legal rights to ensure that he or she receives a fair trial and due process. One of the most important rights possessed by criminal defendants is the presumption of innocence. The common term associated with this right is “innocent until proven guilty.” A defendant is presumed innocent until the prosecution is able to present evidence that proves his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In turn, criminal defense lawyers work to rebut the prosecution's evidence and show that there is a reasonable doubt about the defendant's guilt. If they are able to convince the jury that there is a reasonable doubt about the defendant's guilt, then the jury must vote to acquit the defendant of the charges against them due to the presumption of innocence. In many criminal defense cases, defense attorneys are able to establish a reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt.
One prominent example of this is the Casey Anthony trial that took place in Florida. Anthony was accused of murdering her young daughter, Caylee, and obstructing justice by lying to law enforcement officials. Although the prosecution presented a great deal of evidence, the jury found Anthony not guilty of murder. Anthony's criminal defense lawyers were able to show inconsistencies in the evidence, which resulted in the jury finding her not guilty because of the presumption of innocence that all criminal defendants have.
Another case in Montana exemplifies the presumption of innocence as well. Former University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson was found not guilty on charges of sexual intercourse without consent after Johnson's criminal defense lawyers presented a defense strategy focused on showing the accuser was unsure about what happened. This resulted in the jurors deciding they could not convict the accused because they were not “100 percent, or reasonably sure,” he was guilty.
If you are accused, it's important to remember you are innocent until proven guilty. Turn to a legal representative for guidance if you are ever faced with legal troubles and get the representation you deserve.