You're Guilty Until |
Proven More Guilty!
By Andrew M. Somers
(Originally published by CALM, 1998)
As American citizens, we've all been brought up with the notion that we actually have some rights, and that we are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, with the US crime situation the way it is, the politicians have whittled down our rights to a very slender minimum. At the same time, the police have been given additional rights that would likely surprise or even shock the average person.
The end result of all this is an unfortunate lop-sided justice system that actually favors experienced criminals, while punishing the innocent. This is antithetical to the original purpose of our rights. The rights we think of when we remember our high school civics class were intended to protect the innocent while punishing the guilty with a fair hand of justice.
In our current system, experienced criminals learn the inside secrets of the police and prosecutorial system as they get arrested and hassled again and again. They build up a resistance to police investigation and interrogation tactics, and are then less likely to become incarcerated. As they gain experience, they don't make the same mistakes when talking with the police, and become far more aware of their rights than the average citizen.
As a result of this ''on the job training'' of criminals, the police have constantly complained that criminals have too many rights, and that they have too few powers. The media portrays criminals getting off on ''technicalities'', enraging the average citizen. The politicians, at the behest of the average citizen, have gotten into action stripping away rights, and providing more powers to the police. As an average law abiding citizen, this seems like a good idea. Fight crime and all that. The problem is that this reduction of our rights comes at a significant price.
That price is that innocent citizens are woefully unaware of their rights, and the powers and tactics of the police. Should some unfortunate soul get caught up in the justice system they are likely to be eaten alive. A chilling 28 people have been executed that were later found completely innocent. An amazing number of innocent citizens have had their lives ruined by erroneous or malicious prosecution. In fact, some police interrogation tactics are so effective that innocent people often confess to crimes they did not commit.
And that is why we prepared this packet of information. These pages are intended to assist you, the honest, law abiding, innocent citizen, to better understand both your rights, and the surreptitious tactics used by modern law enforcement. Remember that if you don't KNOW your rights, then you HAVE no rights!
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