According to an Article on CNN.com today, James Bain has spent the past 35 years in prison for a crime – the kidnap and rape of a 9 year old boy – that Bain did not commit. According to the article, Bain was exonerated by DNA testing and 245 others have likewise been exonerated by DNA testing. The article appears at:
What lessons can be taken from Mr. Bain’s case? The same lessons I frequently address in these blog posts…
The criminal justice system is a system composed of human beings – police, prosecutors, judges, juries, defense attorneys, witnesses, etc. Human beings are not perfect. Mistakes are made; some of them grievous. Some of them due to bad faith and overzealousness.
Regardless, with the Internet, the 24 hour news cycle and cable television, we are bombarded by information about crimes and alleged perpetrators. This feeds a culture that is too quick to judge and unwilling to entertain the possibility of innocence or the fundamental legal precept of the presumption of innocence. Guilt, particularly regarding serious crimes, is sexier. It’s more newsworthy. “Persons of interest” grab the public’s attention and they are convicted in the court of public opinion before they see the inside of a court room.
Just some food for thought the next time you hear about a case and quickly proclaim the defendant must be guilty. Maybe, just maybe, he/she is not…
By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, PC
Blog postscript: Attorney Frank Spinner and I (attorney Richard Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens & The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. Military defense law offices are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Military defense law practices are worldwide.