A government employee in Houston was recently prosecuted for falsifying over 1,200 breath test results in that area of Texas over the past seven (7) years.Â Most of the cases resulting from these arrests and tests are either going to be reversed and dismissed.Â And, some of these cases had resulted in LONG prison terms (one guy got 60 years).Â (See HERE for this story.)Â People going to jail based on lies.
We add this to ANOTHER story out of Texas about how that government actually EXECUTED a man for a crime that he did not commit.Â While we in the criminal defense world KNOW this has happened untold number of times, this was an instance where it can’t be denied or argued away.Â (See HERE for story).Â People KILLED based on lies.
Well, you say, that’s Texas.Â Such travesties – and absolute moral wrongs – do not happen in OUR State.Â Our police do not arrest innocent people.Â OurÂ prosecutors do not falsely accuse people.Â Â Our juries don’t put people in jail that don’t deserve it.Â Wrong.
Before you get TOO confortable in that false sense of security, please remember ourÂ OWN embarrassment,Â Joyce Gilchrist, an Oklahoma CIty Police Department lab tech, who falsified lab reports to comport with our prosecutor’s theory in cases a few years ago.Â Those resulted in people getting life sentences for crimes they did not commit.Â THANKFULLY, those guys were released from prison, but ONLY after YEARS of unjustified jail.
And that is WHY, our founding fathers – and wtih clear headed, unemotional reasoning – Â mandated that a person is PRESUMED to not have committed the act that the govenment claims.Â This is the ONLY presumption that exists in a criminal trial.Â No, there is NOT a presumption that the evidence will show that he committed this crime.Â There is NOT a presumption that the police will tell the truth on the stand.Â There is NOT a presumption that the prosecutor would not bring charges against an innocent person.Â Remember that!
Further these founding fathersÂ mandated that the government must show evidenceÂ BEYOND EACH AND EVERY POSSIBLE REASONABLE DOUBT that the accused committed the crime alleged.Â If not, the persons CANNOT be convicted.Â It does not mater if the person actually committed that crime or not.Â If the evidence provided to that jury leaves even one reasonable doubt, that person is to be acquited.Â Period.Â Â Â
And, it does not matter if the allegation is of DUI or murder.Â This applies to EVERY CRIME.Â
But, Charles, you say, that would mean that we will let guilty people off if we do that!Â Â Yep.Â It also means that we we don’t jail innocent people.Â It also means that we don’t – and there is absolutely nothing on this planet that could be worse – KILL an innocent person.Â
We must – every time we hear a story on the news, think about someone accused of committing even the most agreious act, or get the chance and duty to sit in judgment of such a person – keep these two things in the forethought:Â that person is PRESUMED innocent, and the State must show evidence beyond EACH AND EVERY reasonable doubt to change that presumption.Â Â No other presumption exists.Â Period.Â This is how – and the ONLY way – such things like those above are avoided.Â Â Â
Otherwise, we are no better that the worst examples of govenments, countries, and political parties that history provides us (Nazi Germany, Ancient Rome, etc).