Seaton: In Memoriam, Presumption of Innocence

The presumption of innocence died this week in America when the unduly passionate masses collectively agreed that while some people might have been wrongfully accused of crimes they didn’t commit, That Rat Bastard is Totally Guilty.

Though the familial relationship is not explicitly known, the presumption is preceded in death by the Third, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Known surviving relatives are the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, though the health status of each is questionable.

During its heyday, the presumption of innocence served as an essential pillar of the American criminal justice system. If someone was charged with a crime, that person could take solace in knowing the burden of proving those charges was the government’s, and they had to do so with evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

As the presumption grew older, its strength weakened due to TV shows like COPS, which co-opted the presumption into a slogan like “All persons arrested on this show are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law!”

Social media and talking heads gracing CNN and Fox News took the presumption’s place during its twilight years, since upon arrest or indictment a slew of individuals who knew next to nothing about the law could reasonably be called on to give hot takes on why That Rat Bastard is Totally Guilty.

There will be no public memorial service per decree of the Court of Public Opinion. A private memorial will most likely take place on a blawg with details to be announced.

Gravesite services will be held the next time an idiot shuts Twitter down for a day.

In lieu of flowers, donations, or any honorariums typically made after the passing of a loved one, friends and family of The Presumption of Innocence would ask that next time you hear someone has been arrested or indicted, please take a deep breath, count to ten, and think about how you’d feel if you were the person everyone called a Totally Guilty Rat Bastard.

15 thoughts on “Seaton: In Memoriam, Presumption of Innocence

    1. shenebraskan

      A very long time ago, I saw John Hartford in concert. He was brilliant. Want to thank you and many of the other commenters for including such interesting links to music. There can never be enough of Richard Thompson.

      1. albeed

        Don’t worry,! There is a redress.

        I understand that the Supreme Court will come to the rescue and bayonet the wounded.

    1. CLS

      Reports from family say they’re considering moving the Fourth Amendment to a hospice facility.

      1. zoe

        The next time my 4-year old refuses to tell me who ate the cookies and gives me a blank look, that’s it…guilty verdict. No Sponge Bob for her. She’ll learn the 5th one way or another.

  1. szr

    The Third Amendment died? When did we start quartering soldiers in private homes without the owner’s consent?

    Are you sure the Third Amendment isn’t still alive, but living off the grid?

    1. CLS

      The Third Amendment died when everyone started arguing about the first, second, and fourth and couldn’t be bothered to remember the substance of the third. Cause of death was a slow fade into obscurity.

      1. Fubar

        Far more tragic than that. In its only moment of glory, Engblom v. Carey, 677 F.2d 957 (2d Cir. 1982), it was incorporated against the states, and extended beyond fee simple owners, to include anyone with a reasonable expectation of privacy within his dwelling.

        But the trial court to which the case was remanded ruled that the qualified immunity of the national guardsmen who had been quartered in Ms. Engblom’s home trumped her 3rd Amendment interest.

  2. Mario Machado

    I remember being at a CLE and Roy Black was doing a presentation. When he began talking about how the presumption of innocence was on life support, a picture of an angry Nancy Grace came up on the PowerPoint screen. Very apropos.

Comments are closed.