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Defending the Guilty

Protecting Our Constitutional Rights

“How can you defend someone who you know is guilty?”

That’s a question every criminal defense lawyer has heard.

The best answer is that when we defend the rights of the guilty, we protect the rights of the innocent. That includes our own rights.

Most lawyers will cite our legal system’s “presumption of innocence” meaning that in the eyes of the law, the defendant starts out “innocent” and is not required to prove his innocence. He doesn’t even need to testify at trial. Instead, the government prosecutor is required to prove a defendant “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

While these legal propositions, also called “the burden of proof” may allow some truly guilty defendants go free, even get away with murder, they reduce the chances that an innocent person will be convicted of a crime and sent to jail or prison.

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