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Guilty or innocent--please delete if not interested!
Subject:Guilty or innocent--please delete if not interested! From:Kelly Burhenne <burhennk -at- SMTPGW -dot- LIEBERT -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 1 Feb 1995 07:25:12 EST
Text item: Text_1
>hindered in any way without established proof. In our practice we are
>much less than free and open; we tend to believe anyone -- or at
>least the majority -- of folks put on trial are guilty, regardless of
The reason for this is because, in most cases, they are guilty. By
the time you go through the police narrowing you as their main
suspect; gathering enough evidence that the prosecutor agrees to take
the case to trial (they only do this if they're pretty sure they can
win); and proving to a Grand Jury that there is enough evidence to
issue an indictment, unless you were set up or are _very_ unlucky, you
probably did it!
(Don't everybody pick me for jury duty all at once!)
I realize that this topic doesn't really directly relate to tech
writing, but it is a good example of the "power of words" and how
what you write (or say) can have an impact. Vince Bugliosi, a
lawyer and author I respect very much (Charles Manson prosecutor,
etc.) made a very good case about this very point.
It is his belief that there is a travesty of American Justice going on
every single day. When the judge charges a jury, s/he says, "you must
find the defendant guilty or innocent", when what they should say is,
"guilty or not guilty"--HUGE difference in the minds of jurors. He
has fought many a judge on this point and feels (and I agree) that
standard jury charges, which thousands of judges read to juries every
day, should be changed to reflect this point.
I don't expect to hear any flames about this--the subject line is very