Mudcat Café message #1502385 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #82070   Message #1502385
Posted By: Uncle_DaveO
16-Jun-05 - 02:54 PM
Thread Name: BS: Michael Jackson INNOCENT
Subject: RE: BS: Michael Jackson INNOCENT
Dianavan told us:

As far as guilty or innocent, the jury is far more able to decide than I am from this great distance.

No, Dianavan, no jury in the United States finds any defendant innocent. If that were their charge, you'd find a whole lot more hung juries and thus mistrials than we do.

When a criminal defendant enters a plea, the plea is "Guilty", "Not Guilty", or "Nolo Contendere". The defendant may think he's "innocent", but for the law's purposes it's one of those three.

"Nolo Contendere" means (allowing for my possibly defective Latin) "I will not contend it." Only in unusual cases does a court allow a defendant to enter a "Nolo Contendere" plea, which does not establish that the defendant actually pleaded guilty, but still allows the court to go ahead and find him guilty. This is occasionally allowed when there are factually related (usually civil)cases which would be prejudiced by allowing the other side to point the finger and say, "SEE? He himself said he was guilty, so I should be able to take that as an admission against interest in this case!"

The job of a US jury is to find "Guilty" or "Not Guilty". In effect, "Not Guilty" means that "The State has not been able to prove legal guilt."

Put another way, "Not Guilty" is a term of art in the legal field, whereas "innocent" is a rather vague and undefined (undefinable?) word in the field of morals, religion, or ethics. Frankly, very few of us are indeed "innocent", though we might be "Not Guilty".

Dave Oesterreich