GRISD-All For Democracy and Setting an Example for the Kiddos-Let's Teach 'Em We Don't Need Trials with ConvictionsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 
Guilty Until Proven Innocent

GRISD-All For Democracy and Setting an Example for the Kiddos-Let's Teach 'Em We Don't Need Trials with Convictions
 


19 November 2009 at 11:40:08 PM
salon

In face, why the heck should GRISD teach anybody about fair trials or speedy trials? Forget the constitution. Our criminal justice system obviously Isn't Good Enough for a group of people who believe that allegations and an indictment that did NOT lead to conviction are good enough to say that somebody is guilty. Because Something Must Have Happened. No, not anything anybody can bring up. No, nothing written down, although it's some good gossip and innuendo. Forget whether someone had a wrongful conviction- NO conviction but somebody's feelings about it can be enough to stop GRISD from hiring a person.

So let's go back to what to teach children. One would think that teaching them that our system presumes innocence unless you are PROVEN GUILTY should be the lesson for those who want to revere our justice system. But not in this school district. THIS district wants to presume guilt even where someone has been CLEARED. Why? Because of allegations made at one point that turned out to be called false. False enough that the State of Texas agrees that they are false. But GRISD knows better than the state of Texas and better than our justice system.

Unlike GRISD, most Americans in this country believe in the presumption of assumed innocence until proven guilty in a court of law and believe that our democracy requires this common law tenet as a baseline in a free society.

Updating this to add some information about our criminal justice system. Even when you look in the Glen Rose Reporter at the Jail logs there is a disclaimer that nobody on that list can be considered guilty, even if that one has been arrested, even if that one was at the scene of a crime, UNTIL the case has been adjudicated in a court of law. And, really, if you read newspapers at all, you know that when someone is indicted, the paper always puts in a disclaimer that the person, even though indicted, cannot be considered guilty UNTIL the case has been adjudicated in the court system. That's the way it works.

The following is from a Hancock Indiana court site about how the criminal justice system works. Very instructive.

OVERVIEW OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND WHAT WE MUST PROVE


Before you can understand the operation of the criminal justice system, you must understand the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof in the prosecution of an alleged offender. These are fundamental principles of our legal system, established in our constitution. No one contends they should be abolished, but they do make prosecution difficult.

Get that? FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF OUR LEGAL SYSTEM- PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. And that the person who is accused doesn't have to prove he or she is innocent but up to the legal system (for example, the DA) to prove that one is guilty.


The law presumes every person accused of a crime to be innocent and requires every part of the legal system, including, but not limited to the judge and prosecuting attorney to treat the accused as it would an innocent person until guilt is established in the courts (or by a plea of guilty). The accused need prove nothing. The defendant is not required to testify, offer any evidence, or even present a defense of any kind. The accused is not required to prove that (s)he did not commit the crime.

Let's reiterate that. UNTIL GUILT IS ESTABLISHED IN THE COURTS or a PLEA OF GUILTY. Otherwise the law presumes, even when someone is accused of a crime, even when an indictment has been rendered, that the person accused is INNOCENT.  It's really kind of astonishing to me that Joelle Ogletree keeps having to prove that she did NOT do the crime that she hasn't been convicted for over and over again to the GRISD school board. Why in the world? Marilyn Phillips says that the school board has an obligation to set an example and uphold democracy. But clearly GRISD is not then setting the example for how our system works. They are teaching that if you are ever accused of something, EVEN IF YOU ARE CLEARED, you will still always be guilty if somebody thinks you should be.


The law requires the Prosecuting Attorney prove the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means if your case goes to trial and the judge or jury has a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, they must resolve the doubt in favor of the defendant and find the accused not guilty. This is a very high burden of proof, much higher than required in a civil case where the burden of proof is by a “preponderance of the evidence”, which means more likely than not.

And what about a mistrial? In Ogletree's case, the DA could very easily have refiled the case after the mistrial was declared. In fact, one would EXPECT him to do so. He didn't. Undoubtedly due, in part, to the fact that one of the kids said he had not been telling the truth, the DA didn't think he would win the case. And the case was dropped, with jeopardy.


Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt must be established by legally admissible evidence. The rules of evidence are too complex to describe here, but it must be recognized that the law has very strict rules about how evidence may be obtained and how it may be used by the Prosecuting Attorney in an attempt to establish guilt.

And it was NOT. But that isn't stopping GRISD from deciding things outside the legal system.

Let's talk about safety for a moment. It's just impossible to completely safeguard any place from accident or intentional bad things from happening. But the school, reasonably, wants to try to do everything they can to protect the students, as they should. However, it's not right that in doing so they, who are the ones that should be upholding our system of government, have decided to listen to gossip and innuendo instead of the systems, including the State of Texas, that have cleared Ogletree. If the school is really concerned about bad things happening, then they should be monitoring and checking EVERY employee to a greater extent, perhaps putting cameras in the classrooms, and definitely keeping all their emails instead of requiring them to be deleted every day. Right now there could be people working at the school that passed a criminal investigative background check (I read last night that the DPS system is riddled with holes), but because there aren't additional steps to check, say, for CPS offenses, or ask for personal and business references, someone might slip in that isn't such a great employee. GRISD officials said at the last school board meeting that they can only act AFTER something bad happens in those instances because they do not do reference checks. Even then, you can't 100 percent protect people.

But a school.. ESPECIALLY A SCHOOL... that is TEACHING young minds how things work, ought to be CHAMPIONS of the criminal justice system, instead of showing that Hearsay is King.


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Comments!  
1 - j.ogletree   20 Nov 2009 @ 4:58:38 PM 

Amen, Salon.  Thank you.  Especially:

But the school, reasonably, wants to try to do everything they can to protect the students, as they should. However, it's not right that in doing so they, who are the ones that should be upholding our system of government, have decided to listen to gossip and innuendo instead of the systems, including the State of Texas, that have cleared Ogletree.

But a school.. ESPECIALLY A SCHOOL... that is TEACHING young minds how things work, ought to be CHAMPIONS of the criminal justice system, instead of showing that Hearsay is King.

So let's go back to what to teach children. One would think that teaching them that our system presumes innocence unless you are PROVEN GUILTY should be the lesson for those who want to revere our justice system. But not in this school district. THIS district wants to presume guilt even where someone has been CLEARED.


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2 - salon   20 Nov 2009 @ 11:12:00 PM 

Adding one more update. 

Update #2- I was curious about the Title 5 claim from Tommy Gibson and went to look up Texas Statutes online. Before you even get into the individual offenses (like Title 5, which covers offenses against the person) , Title 1 goes into General Provisions, one of which is "Burden of Proof".  Guess what the State of Texas says about "Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"

All persons are presumed to be innocent and no person may be convicted of an offense unless each element of the offense is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact that he has been arrested, confined, or indicted for, or otherwise charged with, the offense gives rise to no inference of guilt at his trial.

Right. Notice a couple of things about this. All the offenses that anyone can be charged with in Texas do not STICK until either after a trial or someone pleads guilty or something, in other words, beyond the accusation, arrest, confined (in jail) or indictment stages. Someone is not supposed to be seen as guilty. In other words, there is a presumption of innocence UNTIL someone is adjudicated to be guilty. And Ogletree HAD HER TRIAL. It''s OVER. She was NOT judged guilty. So educators and board members in the Glen Rose ISD school district apparently do not believe in upholding the law in Texas.


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