The presumption of innocence is one of the bedrocks of our criminal justice system. As some recent cases demonstrate, however, the presumption receives only a passing nod, if any, in the public forum. Indeed, restrained judgment as to the culpability of a criminal suspect is hard to come by in this era of instantaneous access and dissemination of information. A suspect may be tried and condemned in the court of public opinion before even being charged in the court of law. Pronouncements by prosecutors as to the charges investigated or filed and the evil their offices boldly have confronted often contribute to the slanted picture. As observed by commentators, “The defense thus gets started with the playing field tilted negatively, with the presumption of innocence buried under official pronouncements of guilt….”1
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