A Question of Guilt or Innocence

policeman Holding Cell Phone

Arrested, charged, prosecuted, imprisoned, but innocent. This scenario is played out over and over again in our judicial system across the nation. While America has one of the finest judicial systems in the world, sometimes we get it wrong and an innocent person ends up spending time in prison for a crime he or she did not commit. Sometimes an overzealous law enforcement officer does something inappropriate in order to effectuate the prosecution and imprisonment of that person, knowing that that person did not commit the crime.

The reason for the arrest and imprisonment of an innocent person due to police misconduct could be attributable to a number of things including greed, vindictiveness, revenge, or just plain abuse of power. Whatever the reason, we all know that it does happen from time to time.

This is not to say that we have rampant lawlessness in any of our police departments. Our men and women in blue do the thankless job of keeping our neighborhoods safe from crime and should be commended for their bravery in the face of a multitude of dangers and risks of physical harm to themselves. Without the police protecting our communities, there would be anarchy. They are needed to protect our peace, and they deserve our respect and gratitude.

Our Constitutional Right to Life and Liberty

When our nation was founded, our forefathers understood the risks involved in this area of “crime and punishment.” In order to preserve the right to life and liberty and to prevent unwarranted searches and seizures, amendments to our Constitution were enacted. These Amendments act as potential safeguards to insure that the person doing the time is also the person that actually did the crime, but sometimes, due to human error or bad actions, a person is falsely accused, arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for a crime he or she did not commit, as in the case of the 43 year old Chicago resident, Ben Baker who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. See ChicagoSuntimes.com

In this case, a Chicago police officer planted a controlled substance on Baker and then testified against him at a trial in which Baker was found guilty. The Cook County prosecutors eventually vacated the drug charges against Baker, and he was exonerated.

In a now famous case, made famous because of a Netflix’s documentary, the “Making a Murderer,” Steven Avery, an individual who served 18 years in prison on a rape charge, for a rape he did not commit, is later charged and convicted in another case of rape and murder. Avery is now serving a life sentence in this case. The creators of the documentary claim that Avery is also innocent of this crime, as well. See Vox.com.

Amidst the swirl of controversy being generated by this documentary, the ethics of law enforcement in this instance is coming into question. Were the Wisconsin police department, including the court system (if you believe the conspiracy theorists) out to get Steven Avery, and if so, why? The questioning of the moral actions of the police department in this case, and in many others like it, speaks to the underlying and growing mistrust in this country of police authority. Whether this sentiment is well founded or not, it does exist.

David Freidberg is Here to Help You Understand Your Rights

If accused of a crime, it is important that you know what your rights are, and how to protect them. If the police are going to interrogate you, then you have the right to have your attorney present. Knowing your rights is the first step in the process, so if you are being charged with a any crime, including murder, sexual assault, or battery, and would like to discuss all of the potential defenses available to you, call an experienced criminal defense attorney at the David Freidberg law office today, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a no-obligation consultation.