“Belief in the absence of convincing evidence is a form of religion. It should not be a part of our legal system, confirmation hearings, campus codes or political campaigns. What I do believe in is the presumption of innocence, whether in courts of law or public opinion, and in high standards of proof for high sorts of crime”
“The battle against corruption is very important, but it can’t come at the expense of the battle for human rights and the right of defendants. We have to educate ourselves as a society that a person cannot be penalized before he is convicted by a court. A presumption of innocence is one of the most important principles of criminal law”
~ Prof. Menachem Mautner, a leading expert on Israel’s constitutional law and the author of a book on Liberalism in Israel
“At the core of this basic premise of human rights is that every person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent unless and until his or her guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt. The idea of innocence is not dialogue written for a series based on the law. It is law. It is the job of the accuser, or the prosecutor, to prove that the crime was committed. That the accused is guilty of committing that crime”
~ Jacquie Kubin
“In America, everyone who is accused of a crime has the right to be presumed innocent. It’s also true that accusations of criminal behavior are investigated. That should be done with every case of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape. Every single one. It starts with believing the survivor, but does not end there. To suggest that believing them means convicting the accused overlooks legal protections beginning with the presumption of innocence and going on to the right to confront your accuser and evidence offered and so on.
Me Too became a thing because mostly privileged men pretty much had immunity from prosecution for rape and other sex crimes. Then we saw some high profile convictions, such as those of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial he died in prison. The survivors in all these cases had to fight decades just to get their day in court.
And yet, as Christine Pelosi pointed out in a thread on Twitter, the process for investigating alleged sexual misconduct by members of the Senate or the House is broken.
– Adalia Woodbury
I still wish there was a confidential independent investigation for charges like these, with counseling due process and transparent results – in that absence, I look forward to seeing the National Archives response and hope we can stop weaponizing trauma and promote healing.
— Christine Pelosi (@sfpelosi)