Innocent Until Proven Guilty in Oklahoma
What happens to our legal system when we start by presuming the guilt of a person accused of a crime?
A program in the United States justice system, the Start By Believing program, is a danger to the impartiality of the legal system. The Department of Justice has been funding this program whose goal is to insert bias into the investigative process against anyone accused of a crime.
This program violates the very foundation of our justice system.
Start By Believing calls for investigators to search for information that corroborates the victim’s account. This immediately adds bias into the probe, because there is a major difference between searching for the truth and searching for evidence that supports a single side of the story.
This program dangerously swings the legal system in favor of the “victims” of any crime, and stacks the deck against potentially innocent people. The legal system absolutely has the obligation to give allegations credence and investigate them to their fullest, but it is possible to do that without making a decision about guilt from the outset.
Various legal ethics groups have been calling for the DOJ to stop funding to this program immediately. A change.org petition, found here, calls for that very thing and has garnered hundreds of signatures.
As a defense attorney, it is my job to make sure that my clients are represented and to make sure that their rights are upheld to the fullest extent of the law.