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Sometimes We Forget the Presumption of Innocence

The recent case of “rape” at Hofstra University highlights the foundational principle of our criminal justice system – the presumption of innocence. The police, press and public were quick to vilify a number of individuals who were accused of a brutal and premeditated gang rape of a Hofstra coed. There were arrested, arraigned and held on high bail. Now news that the coed made the story up and had consensual sex with the individuals accused has surfaced. The original story was so outlandish that the facts as reported should have been investigated fully and completely before an arrest was made or at least before the circumstances were so publicly discussed. Reputations were at the very least damaged if not, in fact, ruined in these days of the internet. Let’s not forget the Presumption of Innocence.

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