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Re: What does the presumption of innocence mean?

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Not  a darn thing that  Trump  would understand

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Re: What does the presumption of innocence mean?

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Arthur Andersen
 

In July 2002, the one-time Big 5 accounting firm was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding documents in the Enron case. Their Enron connections essentially put the entire firm out of business, affecting 22,000 workers, most of whom had no connection to Enron.

 

But in 2005, the Supreme Court reversed the conviction, finding the jury instruction to be vague, and the government's argument to be weak. But you can't undo a company going out of business, so the damage was done. Thousands and thousands of jobs lost, without even an upheld conviction.

 

https://www.businessinsider.com/the-complete-and-utter-humiliation-of-the-enron-task-force-2009-10#t...

 

 

 

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Re: What does the presumption of innocence mean?

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Weissmann also destroyed the former accounting giant Arthur Andersen by pushing a phony criminal case. The Supreme Court eventually overturned it unanimously, but only years later, after the damage had been done.

 

Given Weissmann’s past, as demonstrated by the recently unsealed court documents, and the politically charged nature of the special counsel’s investigation, Mueller would have been wise to have selected individuals beyond reproach for his team. And that is clearly not Weissmann.

 

 

 

 

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Innocent after Proven Guilty: Supreme Court throws out Arthur-Andersen conviction

by Mariah Wojdacz, December 2009

 

In a rare unanimous decision, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Arthur-Andersen Accounting for destroying documents related to their client Enron in the early days of the scandal. The ruling, issued May 31, said that the jury instructions in the June 2002 trial failed to convey that conviction requires "consciousness of wrongdoing," according to the law.

 

But for some 28,000 Arthur-Andersen employees who lost their jobs, the effort to repair the damage rings hollow. And for corporations that may come under federal scrutiny in the future, the Supreme Court ruling provides little comfort that justice will be served.

 

Let us not forget the facts of the case. Enron Corporation moved from operating natural gas pipelines to become an energy conglomerate in the 1990s, and Arthur-Andersen preformed public as well as private audits for the company during this time of aggressive accounting practices and rapid growth. Then, in 2000, Enron's financial performance took a downturn. In August 2001, whistles started blowing and the Enron scandal loomed just over the horizon.

 

In October 2001, federal prosecutors requested certain documents and information from Enron, and Enron notified Arthur-Andersen. At that point, Arthur-Andersen employee David Duncan, head of the Enron "engagement team" and the only person to plead guilty at the Arthur-Anderson trial, ordered the destruction of all Enron related documents.

 

On November 8, 2002, Arthur-Andersen itself was served with a similar request for certain documents and information. The next day, Duncan's secretary sent an email: "Per Dave - No more shredding...We have been officially served for our documents."

 

It did not take long for federal prosecutors to come down hard on Arthur-Andersen, charging the firm for violating federal law which makes it a crime to "knowingly...corruptly persuade another person" to "withhold" or "alter" documents in an "official proceeding."

 

At trial and in appeals, Arthur-Anderson attorneys argued that notes and drafts were destroyed in accordance with the firm's document retention policy because they were preliminary and may have been misconstrued.

 

In the Supreme Court ruling, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote that persuading a person to withhold documents or testimony from the Government is not to "inherently malign." If, on the contrary, this were the case, lawyers could be prosecuted for advising clients to plead the 5th Amendment, thus protecting them from self-incrimination. Moreover, Rehnquist writes, "Under ordinary circumstances, it is not wrongful for a manager to instruct his employees to comply with a valid document retention policy, even though the policy, in part, is created to keep certain information from others, including the Government."

 

With so many split decisions recently issued, the unanimous ruling is a stinging blow to federal prosecutors, with all nine Justices agreeing that the Government grossly overstepped their bounds. Prosecutors convinced the judge in the Arthur-Andersen trial to instruct the jury in such a way that, according to the High Court, acquittal was all but impossible. "Indeed, it is striking how little culpability the instructions required," Rehnquist writes. "For example, the jury was told that, even if petitioner honestly and sincerely believed its conduct was lawful, the jury could convict. The instructions also diluted the meaning of "corruptly" so that it covered innocent conduct."

 

Had the Justices ruled against Arthur-Andersen, the consequences for business across the country would have been incredible. Corporations, who shred documents daily, would have found themselves in the position of having to keep every single document ever created on the off-chance that someday the Federal Government might ask to take a look.

 

Still, as it is, prosecutors face no real consequences for their actions. The original guilty verdict forced Arthur-Andersen to stop conducting public audits and surrender its accounting license. Mara Liasson of National Public Radio pointed out the similarities between Arthur-Andersen and Humpty-Dumpty: "You can't put the corporation back together again," she said.

 

Writing in the New York Times, Joseph A. Grundfest, professor of law and business at Stanford, points out that no major corporations have been indicted since Arthur-Andersen's demise. The reason? Corporations have seen the irreversible damage an indictment can cause, regardless of the verdict in a trial. Now, prosecutors need only to threaten indictment, and corporations feel they have no choice but to give in to the Government's demands. Grundfest sites insurer American International Group as a case in point; the company's chief executive was recently fired at the request of the federal government, by way of avoiding indictment.

 

As more corporations find themselves in similar situations, forced to enter into deferred-prosecution agreements, the Supreme Court ruling may have done nothing to curb the power of federal prosecutors, after all. "The prosecutor's decision to indict is largely immune from judicial review," writes Grundfest. If corporations have learned anything from Arthur-Andersen, it is to avoid indictment at all costs. But in doing so, due process is abandoned, and federal prosecutors become the judge and jury, free to make whatever demands they wish.

 

Of course, in the current climate there is powerful incentive for corporations to obey the law. But the real victims here are the former Arthur-Anderson employees - even the case against them said as much. The jury was asked to believe that employees were threatened, intimidated, coerced - essentially, forced to do what they did and shred documents, regardless of their own moral objections. If that were the case, the employees fell victim to criminal wrongdoing. So ironically, through indictment, the Government victimized the employees all the more, because the indictment cost 28,000 people their jobs.

 

And it may not be over yet. John C. Richter, acting assistant Attorney General, said the Justice Department is considering whether to re-try the case. The Bush administration has made a priority of prosecuting corporate criminals, and is not surprisingly disappointed with the ruling. The original guilty verdict was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court did not find Arthur-Andersen innocent, only said the jury instructions were improper. The ball is back in the administration's court. What they will do with it remains to be seen.

 

https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/innocent-after-proven-guilty-supreme-court-throws-out-arthur-ande...

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Guess who the people were that caused this documented case of Prosecutorial Injustice and abuse of power?

 

 

 

 

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What does the presumption of innocence mean?

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The presumption of innocence is an important part of our criminal law system.  Basically it means that if you are accused of a crime, you don’t have to prove you are innocent.  Instead, it is the job of the prosecutor to prove you are guilty.  In other words, unless the prosecutor can prove you committed the crime, you are entitled to be acquitted or found “not guilty”.  Not only does the prosecutor have to prove you are guilty, they have to prove you are guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”.

 

These are deliberate feature of our system designed to protect the rights of individuals when the state accuses them of a crime.  The rationale is that it is better that the guilty go free than that the innocent be convicted.  This has always been what set out system apart from totalitarian regimes or earlier systems like trial by ordeal – where witches were thrown in the river and if they drowned they were innocent.

 

But our system is not without controversy.  Many victims of crime see the system as being stacked in favour of the accused person, rather than protecting their rights.  And despite all of the protection in the system there are still miscarriages of justice where innocent people are convicted.

No system of criminal justice is perfect, the best that they can do is try and strike the right balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community.  The presumption of innocence is one of they ways our system tries to strike this balance.

 

http://affordingjustice.com.au/what-does-the-presumption-of-innocence-mean/

 

 

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