• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Witch Hunts, Court of Public Opinion, and Defending the Indefensible.

Status
Not open for further replies.
I often get the question “How can you defend the indefensible,” or in other words “How can you defend an ‘obviously’ guilty person?” But that question assumes that allegations of guilt are automatically true, and a Defense Attorney is always trying to prove someone is innocent.

In our society we have a legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty in criminal cases, and it is the job of the State through a Prosecutor to prove guilt. The burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As a result, the Prosecution will attempt to build a case using available evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused in fact committed the crime.

On the other hand, the job of a Defense Attorney is not to “defend the indefensible” by trying to prove someone is innocent; that presumption already exits. Of course if there is exculpatory evidence, that helps the Defense's case. But more often than not the job is to address the prosecution’s evidence wherever possible so as to show alternative explanations/scenarios which create reasonable doubt.

One of the biggest problems facing the Defense occurs when news media report the crime in a sensational way. This is typical of those crimes considered most heinous; like alleged sex offenses, alleged murders and other violent crimes, and alleged “hate crimes” of whatever stripe. News media seek out “angles” of reporting to get the most views. Views sell advertising which pays the bills.

People being people, they love gossip. The more lurid the report the more likely to establish a belief in the guilt of the accused. The more public the story, the more likely members of the jury pool may be tainted. However there are tools officers of the Court can use to try to deal with this problem.

Not so in the Court of Public Opinion, especially when it comes to politics. People’s political bias automatically comes into play. If one is already pre-disposed against the target of media reporting, then it is easier to motivate and maintain animus against that target. There is an acceptance that the target is guilty until proven innocent. Even worse this animus can be increased and perpetuated by reports of target's alleged ongoing evils. Thus the media feeds the bias, the readers continue to come back seeking more confirmation of said bias...and viola!! The cycle of Witch-hunting occurs.

I oppose this cycle on principal. I am on record in this Forum arguing that the public should be skeptical of reports based on either anonymous or politically biased sources when they make allegations of wrong-doing.

When I argue in this Forum in defense of public figures being lambasted in the news and by politicians and pundits for alleged wrongs, it is based on the above rationale. Innocent until proven guilty. This is especially true when I see what is clearly a witch hunt targeting someone for political reasons. Where advocates of presumed guilt use all the tactics of moral panic to demonize both the target and anyone who seeks to defend said target.

It is not that the target has been shown to be factually innocent. No, what remains to be proven is actual guilt. That accusations are merely assertions and not in and of themselves proof of guilt. That everyone should be cautious and watch developments. Wait for a factual ruling of guilt, as opposed to presuming guilt and thereby shifting the burden onto the accused to prove innocence.

One need only consider it in a way I was taught to a long time ago. If YOU were the target, wouldn’t YOU hope to have that benefit of the doubt, and expect the accuser to PROVE your guilt?

I do not support witch-hunts, as historically they are fear-based, uncontrollable, and often turn on some who were originally accusers (ex. #METOO). Thus you will almost always see me arguing “aspirationally” for innocence until proven guilty, even in the Court of Public Opinion. It should therefore come as no surprise that I will provide "alternative scenarios" seeking to create "reasonable doubt," right up unless and until the accused is proven guilty of the alleged misconduct.
 

Captain Adverse

Classical Liberal Sage
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
15,961
Reaction score
20,937
Location
Mid-West USA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
I think with the Chauvin trial now over, and in light of recent public events, it is time to bring this old blog to the fore once again.

IMO the "Court of Public Opinion" convicted Mr. Chauvin, not the evidence presented in the case. Threats of violence and vengeance, spouted by common citizens and public leaders have all combined in a trial result I do not believe is based on the evidence. IMO it was based on FEAR created by that Kangaroo Court I describe in the Blog.

It is not "Justice" when a person is already convicted in the minds of the Public by narratives in Media specifically designed to create emotion instead of report news.

It is not "Justice" when public figures, members of government, and Mobs demand a certain verdict "or ELSE!"

A point made in another thread about the power of propaganda was this:

"Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state has its roots in the street;" https://debatepolitics.com/threads/...can-gun-culture.446980/page-2#post-1073836930

That was said by Joseph Goebbels, and it rings true of extremist views today, whether they be of the Right or in the current USA, the rising Left.

I think the verdict to convict on all three charges was based on the same fears of retribution/reprisal as men in white sheets used back in Jim Crow days, only the garb of today is black shirts, masks, and blood red symbols.
 
Last edited:

RabidAlpaca

Engineer
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2012
Messages
22,186
Reaction score
28,811
Location
American Refugee in Europe
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Chauvin was convicted in a court of law, not the court of public opinion, and you're not a defense lawyer, you're a guy who defends dirtbags on internet forums and you do it selectively based on your own partisanship. In this case all of America got to watch a video of his actions and we all got to judge how we feel about it for ourselves. Most Americans knew that what they saw was wrong and shouldn't have happened. Whether or not it actually broke the law was decided in the courts. You don't get to tell us to hold back our opinions on the things we see and believe to be morally indefensible.

Chauvin got a fair trial and the evidence, witnesses and expert medical testimony agreed that Floyd died from lack of oxygen due to Chauvin's knee and that he violated police procedures. Your attempt to make this political dismisses his actions and the real guilt he has in this murder.
 
Last edited:

Mr Person

A Little Bitter
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 14, 2015
Messages
46,627
Reaction score
30,262
Location
Massachusetts
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Chauvin was convicted in a court of law, not the court of public opinion, and you're not a defense lawyer, you're a guy who defends dirtbags on internet forums and you do it selectively based on your own partisanship. In this case all of America got to watch a video of his actions and we all got to judge how we feel about it for ourselves. Most Americans knew that what they saw was wrong and shouldn't have happened. Whether or not it actually broke the law was decided in the courts. You don't get to tell us to hold back our opinions on the things we see and believe to be morally indefensible.

Chauvin got a fair trial and the evidence, witnesses and expert medical testimony agreed that Floyd died from lack of oxygen due to Chauvin's knee and that he violated police procedures. Your attempt to make this political dismisses his actions and the real guilt he has in this murder.

He went as far as to claim that pictures and videos of police slashing tires were "not evidence" of police slashing tires, simply because he wanted to defend police/Trump response to people saying that black peoples' lives matter as much as his.

So....yeah
 

MamboDervish

Looking Forward
Joined
Apr 24, 2020
Messages
3,994
Reaction score
2,987
Location
The Big Apple
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
"In our society we have a legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty in criminal cases, and it is the job of the State through a Prosecutor to prove guilt. The burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As a result, the Prosecution will attempt to build a case using available evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused in fact committed the crime."

It's interesting that you can write the above . . . . ^^^
"IMO the "Court of Public Opinion" convicted Mr. Chauvin, not the evidence presented in the case."
And then follow it up with the above . . . . ^^^
Clearly, the prosecutor did, in fact, prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt", using "the evidence presented in the case" . . . . . . . . . as indicated by the verdict. You seem totally unaware of the contradiction in your own argument.
 

Captain Adverse

Classical Liberal Sage
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
15,961
Reaction score
20,937
Location
Mid-West USA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
It's interesting that you can write the above . . . . ^^^

And then follow it up with the above . . . . ^^^
Clearly, the prosecutor did, in fact, prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt", using "the evidence presented in the case" . . . . . . . . . as indicated by the verdict. You seem totally unaware of the contradiction in your own argument.

No, IMO he did not! At the very least when it came to the two Murder charges.

Thus my comments herein, and elsewhere in the Forum.

IMO your viewpoint would justify all the times White Juries in the Jim Crow South found Black citizens guilty of crimes they did not commit, and freed White citizens who actually did commit their alleged crimes.

Often based on KKK and other White Supremacy types hanging around outside the Courthouse armed for bear and ready to burn down homes, kidnap and torture, or simply lynch anyone who didn't bring in "the right verdict."

That is exactly what happened in this case. With the added bonus of meeting my points in the above Blog regarding the Kangaroo Court of Public Opinion which already pre-judged Mr. Chauvin on the basis of Media and Social Media "reporting."
 

lurchadams

Zoom Warrior
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
23,248
Reaction score
11,397
Location
Seattle Area
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Chauvin was convicted in a court of law, not the court of public opinion, and you're not a defense lawyer, you're a guy who defends dirtbags on internet forums and you do it selectively based on your own partisanship. In this case all of America got to watch a video of his actions and we all got to judge how we feel about it for ourselves. Most Americans knew that what they saw was wrong and shouldn't have happened. Whether or not it actually broke the law was decided in the courts. You don't get to tell us to hold back our opinions on the things we see and believe to be morally indefensible.

Chauvin got a fair trial and the evidence, witnesses and expert medical testimony agreed that Floyd died from lack of oxygen due to Chauvin's knee and that he violated police procedures. Your attempt to make this political dismisses his actions and the real guilt he has in this murder.
Someone ought to frame this response and hand it to "Captain" adverse. It's emblematic of every one of her misguided posts!
 

Captain Adverse

Classical Liberal Sage
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
15,961
Reaction score
20,937
Location
Mid-West USA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
No. It was your viewpoint, stated in your post. Thus the contradiction.

LOL

Your response reminds me of grade school. "I'm rubber, you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks onto you!" :LOL:

Let me repeat. My point was that in THIS case, I don't believe based on the evidence that the Defendant was guilty of the two major murder charges because the Prosecution failed to show all the requirements of the crimes.

That it was not "evidence" that convicted the Defendant, but rather the preconceived notion he was guilty based on the in-your-face Media presentation of the events. That combined with public figure opinions (ex. Biden saying they "make the right decisions") and threatening massive repercussions if they make the wrong decisions (Maxine Waters, Al Sharpton, etc.).

The venue should have been changed from Minneapolis to somewhere else, the jury should have been sequestered the moment all members were appointed, and the Defense team should have been more effective in trying to get the jury to see the situation from the Defendant's point of view at the time of the incident.
 

CLAX1911

Supreme knower of all
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
51,694
Reaction score
10,364
Location
Houston, in the great state of Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
It's interesting that you can write the above . . . . ^^^

And then follow it up with the above . . . . ^^^
Clearly, the prosecutor did, in fact, prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt", using "the evidence presented in the case" . . . . . . . . . as indicated by the verdict. You seem totally unaware of the contradiction in your own argument.
We knew they were preparing to riot in Minneapolis if the verdict came back as anything else but guilty, I'm sure that was the first thing on those jurors minds. The court case was irrelevant he was guilty the moment the terrorists decided to start terrorizing Minneapolis.

To think that this is a legitimate Court ruling is to deny reality
 

brianpatrick

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
1,526
Reaction score
510
LOL

Your response reminds me of grade school. "I'm rubber, you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks onto you!" :LOL:

Let me repeat. My point was that in THIS case, I don't believe based on the evidence that the Defendant was guilty of the two major murder charges because the Prosecution failed to show all the requirements of the crimes.

That it was not "evidence" that convicted the Defendant, but rather the preconceived notion he was guilty based on the in-your-face Media presentation of the events. That combined with public figure opinions (ex. Biden saying they "make the right decisions") and threatening massive repercussions if they make the wrong decisions (Maxine Waters, Al Sharpton, etc.).

The venue should have been changed from Minneapolis to somewhere else, the jury should have been sequestered the moment all members were appointed, and the Defense team should have been more effective in trying to get the jury to see the situation from the Defendant's point of view at the time of the incident.
What jurisdiction would you say would have known less about George Floyd?

and... what are you suggesting we do about the press? Or “the public opinion?”

regarding the OP: the first objective of a defense lawyer is to make sure EVERYONE gets a fair hearing in accordance with their civil right to due process. The optimal word being: process.
 

Captain Adverse

Classical Liberal Sage
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
15,961
Reaction score
20,937
Location
Mid-West USA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
What jurisdiction would you say would have known less about George Floyd?

Anywhere is it less likely to have massive crowds led by activists who would threaten to burn down their town if they did not get the verdict they wanted perhaps?

and... what are you suggesting we do about the press? Or “the public opinion?”

Try to hold them to their own avowed standards of "honest reporting," instead of engaging in yellow journalism perhaps? Expanding the definition as to what constitutes libel and slander, making news agencies more liable to civil action for what they print perhaps?

regarding the OP: the first objective of a defense lawyer is to make sure EVERYONE gets a fair hearing in accordance with their civil right to due process. The optimal word being: process.

LOL.

No, the first objective of a defense attorney is to provide the best defense they are capable of for their client.

It is to advocate for that client, NOT to be social justice advocates for some over-arching idealism. They can do that, like anyone else, on their own time.

Stop watching movies. :coffee:
 
Last edited:

ecofarm

global liberation
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
121,324
Reaction score
35,930
Location
Miami
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
"White people can't get justice!"

lol
 

mrjurrs

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
10,200
Reaction score
3,915
Location
The Bay
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
I often get the question “How can you defend the indefensible,” or in other words “How can you defend an ‘obviously’ guilty person?” But that question assumes that allegations of guilt are automatically true, and a Defense Attorney is always trying to prove someone is innocent.

In our society we have a legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty in criminal cases, and it is the job of the State through a Prosecutor to prove guilt. The burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As a result, the Prosecution will attempt to build a case using available evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused in fact committed the crime.

On the other hand, the job of a Defense Attorney is not to “defend the indefensible” by trying to prove someone is innocent; that presumption already exits. Of course if there is exculpatory evidence, that helps the Defense's case. But more often than not the job is to address the prosecution’s evidence wherever possible so as to show alternative explanations/scenarios which create reasonable doubt.

One of the biggest problems facing the Defense occurs when news media report the crime in a sensational way. This is typical of those crimes considered most heinous; like alleged sex offenses, alleged murders and other violent crimes, and alleged “hate crimes” of whatever stripe. News media seek out “angles” of reporting to get the most views. Views sell advertising which pays the bills.

People being people, they love gossip. The more lurid the report the more likely to establish a belief in the guilt of the accused. The more public the story, the more likely members of the jury pool may be tainted. However there are tools officers of the Court can use to try to deal with this problem.

Not so in the Court of Public Opinion, especially when it comes to politics. People’s political bias automatically comes into play. If one is already pre-disposed against the target of media reporting, then it is easier to motivate and maintain animus against that target. There is an acceptance that the target is guilty until proven innocent. Even worse this animus can be increased and perpetuated by reports of target's alleged ongoing evils. Thus the media feeds the bias, the readers continue to come back seeking more confirmation of said bias...and viola!! The cycle of Witch-hunting occurs.

I oppose this cycle on principal. I am on record in this Forum arguing that the public should be skeptical of reports based on either anonymous or politically biased sources when they make allegations of wrong-doing.

When I argue in this Forum in defense of public figures being lambasted in the news and by politicians and pundits for alleged wrongs, it is based on the above rationale. Innocent until proven guilty. This is especially true when I see what is clearly a witch hunt targeting someone for political reasons. Where advocates of presumed guilt use all the tactics of moral panic to demonize both the target and anyone who seeks to defend said target.

It is not that the target has been shown to be factually innocent. No, what remains to be proven is actual guilt. That accusations are merely assertions and not in and of themselves proof of guilt. That everyone should be cautious and watch developments. Wait for a factual ruling of guilt, as opposed to presuming guilt and thereby shifting the burden onto the accused to prove innocence.

One need only consider it in a way I was taught to a long time ago. If YOU were the target, wouldn’t YOU hope to have that benefit of the doubt, and expect the accuser to PROVE your guilt?

I do not support witch-hunts, as historically they are fear-based, uncontrollable, and often turn on some who were originally accusers (ex. #METOO). Thus you will almost always see me arguing “aspirationally” for innocence until proven guilty, even in the Court of Public Opinion. It should therefore come as no surprise that I will provide "alternative scenarios" seeking to create "reasonable doubt," right up unless and until the accused is proven guilty of the alleged misconduct.
If you don't support witch hunts, does that apply to 45's position on Russian interference? Because if it does, it allows you to pick and choose whose claims you believe. Can you give any examples of unsupported witch hunts you haven't supported?
 

brianpatrick

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
1,526
Reaction score
510
Anywhere is it less likely to have massive crowds led by activists who would threaten to burn down their town if they did not get the verdict they wanted perhaps?



Try to hold them to their own avowed standards of "honest reporting," instead of engaging in yellow journalism perhaps? Expanding the definition as to what constitutes libel and slander, making news agencies more liable to civil action for what they print perhaps?



LOL.

No, the first objective of a defense attorney is to provide the best defense they are capable of for their client.

It is to advocate for that client, NOT to be social justice advocates for some over-arching idealism. They can do that, like anyone else, on their own time.

Stop watching movies. :coffee:
It’s obvious you’re not a lawyer. I understand your narrow focus, though. A lot of people have this and operate daily from the same position.
 

Captain Adverse

Classical Liberal Sage
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
15,961
Reaction score
20,937
Location
Mid-West USA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
It’s obvious you’re not a lawyer. I understand your narrow focus, though. A lot of people have this and operate daily from the same position.

Since I am a lawyer, and have served as a Public Defender (the most thankless job in Law), it's obvious that your personal confirmation bias is not open to the fact someone knowledgeable might not agree with you.
 

Rogue Valley

Facta Non Verba
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2013
Messages
63,245
Reaction score
47,621
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Since I am a lawyer, and have served as a Public Defender (the most thankless job in Law), it's obvious that your personal confirmation bias is not open to the fact someone knowledgeable might not agree with you.


1) There are numerous lawyers here at DP.

2) The jury of 12 convicted Derek Chauvin on all three felony counts.

3) No juror back-peddled when polled by Judge Cahill. No juror has since said they were coerced by fear - either real or imagined - to convict.

4) I'd speculate that venue and a paucity of objections by Defense Counsel Eric Nelson will be put forth by the appellant as fatal trial errors.
 

Mr Person

A Little Bitter
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 14, 2015
Messages
46,627
Reaction score
30,262
Location
Massachusetts
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
It’s obvious you’re not a lawyer. I understand your narrow focus, though. A lot of people have this and operate daily from the same position.

Since I am a lawyer, and have served as a Public Defender (the most thankless job in Law), it's obvious that your personal confirmation bias is not open to the fact someone knowledgeable might not agree with you.

Funny thing is....

I am an appellate attorney who takes appointed criminal appeals and only those. And as such, I know that if you were a lawyer, either:


1. You would not have previously claimed that photos and videos of police slashing tires are "not evidence" of police slashing tires, not for any reason. (Your reason was that you wanted to defend Trump-inspired heavy-handed anti-protester behavior, last summer). This is because a lawyer would have known that either the photographer or anyone who had really been there looking at the parking lot in which the tires were slashed could authenticate the photos and then they'd be in. Hell, even a layman knows that a picture of a thing happening is evidence that the thing happened; or

2. You knew you were lying when you claimed that photos and videos of police slashing tires are "not evidence" of police slashing tires. And in that case, your opinion now cannot be trusted. Who can believe "trust me now when I say I was lying then but am telling the truth now"?



....oops...
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom