Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

Innocent Until Proven Guilty — Is This Still the Case?

I was reading a CNN article about the 4 young men falsely accused of rape at Hofstra University; unsurprisingly, they described the experience as ‘traumatic’. Well, yes, to say the least!

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not speaking out against rape victims who speak up — all too often, their voices are heard with disbelief and scorn. I merely want to make a comment on the whole concept of “innocent until proven guilty” in America.

As the lines of communication become more and more ubiquitous, it seems that this long-held credo of the American justice system has been thrown out the window. To even be linked to a crime, especially such horrendous crimes as rape and murder, is traumatizing (a weak word, in my opinion). Unfortunately, it’s made all the worse by the media and the public who listens, with ears cocked for the salacious details and their mouths ready to condemn.


Take for example the sad story of Annie Le. Almost as soon as Raymond Clark was arrested and charged with Le’s murder, news stories were popping up all over the internet and television with headlines plastering his mugshot and blathering on about how he was always ‘quiet’ and ‘loved his dog’.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see that Yale University President Richard Levin was quoted as saying, “we must resist the temptation to rush to judgment.” Thank you, sir!

Again, I’m not speaking out against the victims of these atrocities — merely asking for a bit of restraint before we sharpen our pitchforks.

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posted September 18, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Wow. I’m not sure where to start. The bad grammatical usage in this article or the apparent disconnect to reality.
“Guilty until proven innocent” was a legal protection established long before the advent of DNA analysis. Previously, you had to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” and establish a motive. People routinely used circumstantial evidence, as well.
Now, DNA is used to exonerate those falsely convicted and imprisoned; it would be impossible to convict someone using DNA who was not related to the crime. And certainly not the Le murder! This one was a done-deal from the start. Clark sealed his own fate.
Raymond Clark has left his DNA, many times over, all over the scene and Annie Le’s body. Her DNA was on his stuff (including her blood on his boots, which were taken the night the FBI entered his home with search warrants). If that isn’t enough (and it should be), he left an electronic trail of his comings and goings in the basement that morning, while swiping his electronic key card ID; he left personal items that have been connected to the body, he behaved very strangely in the presence of agents which called their attention to him from the beginning. He failed a polygraph test, had defensive wounds, … I could go on and on.
Yale’s president Levin has one bottom line: to not repeat the horrible mistake they made 10 yrs ago when they pointed fingers at an instructor for the killing of a Yale senior. They botched up that investigation horribly and will never live it down. Levin’s other motives are to uphold Yale’s reputation and make sure that Yale is not somehow deemed responsible in anyway, including by having hired Clark to begin with. That’s why he speaks in such conciliatory tones – because Yale now looks very bad.
– A Yale Med School scientist

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posted September 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm

You have to realize that the cops/fbi made sure to get concrete evidence before they brought him in for dna testing. They did not want a repeat of the last event. They have major physical evidence, card swipes, dna, etc
The only thing is, the crime scene was left open for days! People were going in and out. Did someone else use raymond’s card? Others working there had access to his dna (the brother, sister in law, fiancee). And how many people get engaged in 2008 and plan a wedding in 2011? THat seems very strange to me.
I think his attorneys have alot to work with. He just may get off..
Not that i want him to.

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posted September 18, 2009 at 7:42 pm

The case against Raymond Clark is as solid as the jailhouse walls that hold him.
Investigators say this is the evidence that will keep him behind bars – quite possibly for the rest of his life:
DNA tests proving Annie Le’s blood is on Clark’s boots, which have his name on them.
Tests identifying his DNA on her body and clothing.
More tests identifying her DNA and hair on him and his clothing.
Just one of those matches would be enough to make the case.
And then there is the green pen.
Clark did not want to be just some guy who cleans mouse cages, so he distinguished himself by always signing in for work with a pen that used green ink. Every day, including the day of the killing.
Investigators believe he dropped the pen at the scene and was unable to retrieve it after it fell into a crevice.
He apparently hoped to fish it out when he showed up at the lab the day after the killing with a backpack containing wire, fishing hooks and bubble gum.
Even more damning than the pen is his swipe card, which indicates he spent nearly an hour in the room with Le’s body after the murder. One can only imagine what was going through his mind.
The swipe card records then show him suddenly moving from room to room, as if he were searching for a place to hide a body.
The records have him returning to the room and finally heading toward the utilities conduit where the body was later found.
The medical evidence tells investigators Le was first hit and then strangled, as if a sudden loss of temper was followed by an explosion of rage.
The investigators have no doubt who did it – and how.
The only question is why.
Here they can only theorize.
They note the e-mail exchange in which Clark objected to Le being lax with protocols for tending lab mice. Le responded in a conciliatory tone, which fits what investigators have learned about her.
What would not fit would be for her to have been any less conciliatory in person when she encountered Clark at the lab the day of the killing.
Investigators speculate that he criticized her for some additional lapse in protocol. His concern was likely less the animals’ welfare than his need to be in charge, if only when it came to mice.
Everything everybody knows about Le suggests she would not seek to put him in his place or somehow demean him.
More likely, she was simply distracted. Her wedding was just five days away. Her mind was no doubt filled with thoughts about her hair, her dress, the guest list. And she was trying to get all her pressing lab work done.
Investigators believe she may have responded to Clark with something like, “Yeah, I’ll get to it, thanks. I’m busy now.”
A guy such as Clark could have mistaken distracted for dismissive.
And what he took for dismissive may have been harder for him to take from a young, smart, diminutive woman.
A surveillance camera captured Clark leaving the building following a fire alarm that he may have set off to give himself an excuse for leaving in the middle of a workday.
The footage is said to show him holding his head in his hands, clearly distraught.
After Le went missing, Clark was interviewed. He denied seeing her the day of the killing, not figuring he was depriving himself of later cooking up a story about how his DNA got on her and her DNA got on him.
He was also given a polygraph test. The machine went off the chart when he was asked, “Do you know where she is now?”
That’s when Clark asked for a lawyer.
The investigators could no longer question him and they may never learn exactly why Le was killed.
Unfortunately for Clark, this is real life, not a TV cop show. Investigators do not necessarily need to establish a motive.
The evidence leaves them with not a shadow of a doubt as to who did it.
If Clark thinks he can beat this case, he might as well beat his head against those jailhouse walls.

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posted September 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Let me add, I’m not claiming Clark is innocent…merely using two current examples to make a point, which I stand by: we should not rush to judgment.

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Sex Offender Issues

posted September 18, 2009 at 8:19 pm
When it comes to anything regarding sex, you are guilty first, and must prove you are innocent. Just hearsay alone is enough to ruin your life forever. If this lady had not recanted, they’d probably be in prison.
It happens all the time.

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posted September 19, 2009 at 4:58 am

I’m sorry, but a false accusation is nowhere near as traumatic as being raped. These men should suck it up and get on with their lives.

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posted September 21, 2009 at 9:20 am

Innocent until proven guilty in reality only applies to those who aren’t label as losers in life whether ti’s their race, socio-economic status, etc.

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accessoires telephonie

posted October 1, 2009 at 2:30 am

Great post. I kinda stumbled upon your blog and now I’ve added it to my bookmarks. Interesting stuff.
accessoires telephonie

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