December 15, 2022

Common Sense: Presumption of Guilt

By: Brent Regan

“Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.” – Thomas Sowell

Brent Regan (photo credit: Brent Regan FB)

Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental legal principle that has its roots in sixth century Roman law which provides that the proof rests with the accuser, not the defendant.

The legal right to be presumed innocent is not specifically enumerated in our Constitution but is a result of the Fifth, Sixth, and 14th Amendments as well as case law. Specifically the 1895 Supreme Court case Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 where the court found: “The principle that there is a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law …” It would seem that such an undoubted and fundamental aspect of our law would be difficult to ignore, but there are those who cast it aside in their quest to advance their moral indignation and signal their virtue by publicly castigating anyone accused of violating their self-ascribed “standards.”
If the presumption of innocence is foundational to our justice system then those that violate this principle are not operating in a framework of justice. The greatest offenders of this principle, those that assume guilt and act on that assumption are often and ironically described as “Social Justice Warriors” who operate under a “Woke” agenda.
Social media in general and Twitter in particular has been the public square where both offenses are committed and punishment is applied.
Twitter was originally conceived as a town square where information could be quickly disseminated. It became the go to application for those in the news industry.
Civility was maintained by the platform’s enforcement of community standards. The keepers of these standards wielded immense power but sadly power corrupts and the degree of that corruption is coming to light.
Enforcement of Twitter’s amorphous “community standards” was administered by a group whose political donations went to Democrats 99% of the time (1) so it is not surprising that when Democrats complained, action was swift. Complaints by Republicans … not so much.
Censoring of speech and banning of individuals began slowly but this practice had an apparent narcotic effect. People who had convinced themselves that speech is violence were pained by any speech they did not agree with and the Twitter censors doled out the analgesic.
Like an opiate, each dose had to be greater than the last until being banned for insignificant or fictional infractions became the norm.
As lopsided and unfair as this relationship had become, there was nothing illegal about a private company regulating their platform … until the government got involved.
In their 2011 opinion, the Supreme Court ruled limiting the expansion of Medicaid in effect stating that if the government doesn’t have the power to do something directly it does not have the power to do that same thing indirectly. Applying this doctrine to Twitter, if the government is prohibiting from censoring political free speech directly, it cannot do it indirectly through a third party like Twitter.
When Elon Musk bought Twitter he vowed to protect all free speech. Rational people could see how Twitter had become warped and Musk recognized how this could destroy a free society saying, “If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead.”
After the acquisition of Twitter and the mass termination of Twitter fascists, Musk was able to open the closets and drag out the skeletons. In a remarkable act of transparency he ordered the documents detailing the government’s hand in censoring free speech made public.
These “Twitter Files” documented how the Hunter Biden laptop story was suppressed at the behest of the Biden campaign and officials inside the government.
What we are discovering is orders of magnitude worse than Watergate.
Watergate was simply an administration trying to obfuscate their involvement with a fumbled break in of DNC headquarters. This involves the wiretapping of the president’s personal lawyer, multiple government agencies conspiring to suppress information about how a political candidate was seriously compromised while working with the largest social media platform to substantially interfere with a presidential election, possibly affecting the outcome.
And if there was any doubt about how far the media has fallen away from the truth, the New York Times and many others have gone dark on this story.
The presumption of innocence applies to us citizens, and out of habit or kindness we apply it to all things.
This is a mistake. When government agencies, as administers of justice, and their co-conspirators violate our fundamental rights through censorship, deception, or mendacity they face little or no consequence.
This reality demands our skepticism.
When dealing with the actions of government we must operate under an assumption of guilt.
Their actions have destroyed our trust and in response we must assume their guilt and have them prove their innocence and fidelity.

It’s just common sense.

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