Here are my common sense steps to follow the proceedings in the indictment against the former president:
Look for Constitution Violations
1. Look for violations of the Constitution. Why? Because in this country, if prosecutors can do it to a high-profile government official, they can do it to you. “No one is above the law” is the standard. If someone is above the law, we no longer have “Equal Justice Under the Law.” Those are the exact words inscribed on the front of the Supreme Court building.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
2. Next, is there a presumption of innocence until proven guilty? In this country, the court must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury does not convict you if there is doubt in even one juror’s mind. On the other hand, if the accused is treated as guilty before it has been proven, you will be guilty first and have to prove your innocence beyond a reasonable doubt instead of the court having to do its job. Recently, a high-profile elected government official said that the accused would have the opportunity to prove his innocence. That is un-American.
3. Additionally, “Innocent until proven guilty” is a hallmark of a free society. America is set apart from other nations by it. If we begin to make the accused prove their innocence, not make the government prove their case, this signals our nation’s decline.
Due Process of Law
4.Furthermore, is there due process of law? The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments say that no person can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The due process idea dates back to the Magna Carta in 1215. The idea was that no one should be deprived of basic human rights. In our Bill of Rights, this means that freedom of speech and our other rights must be preserved. Also, the procedural process of a hearing, legal counsel, witnesses, cross-examination, discovery, etc., must be available to the accused. In America, you can’t make up a crime or alter procedures to frame a person.
Name the Crime
5. Finally, does the indictment name the crime the government is accusing the defendant of committing? This is essential for trial preparation. It also avoids double jeopardy so that the accused cannot be tried twice for the same offense.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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