Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Imagine a justice system where every time a crime is committed, you had to gather your things, put your jacket on, drive over to the local police station, and prove your innocence. Sounds like one of those apocalyptical fictional stories found only in Hollywood, or in Orwell novels. In fact, we pride ourselves as models of justice with our hackneyed dictums like �innocent until proven guilty� or �guilty beyond a reasonable doubt�, and of course our enforcement of those inalienable rights that require warrants, and sound reasonable cause before any indictments. But are there exceptions ? If the evidence for a crime was not as forthcoming, and the resulting set of possible suspects included the entire population of a town, or a state, or the entire country, are we still following these creeds? The notion of �innocent until proven guilty� just may be a little to idealistic to be practically applicable.

This question has come up in light of the DNA sweep that is being performed in a town in Cape Cod Massachusetts. In an effort to identity the suspect responsible for the murder of Christa Worthington–an investigation that has been ongoing for 3 years now, investigators have asked all 790 male denizens of the town of Truro, to provide samples of their DNA so that it may be compared with–what forensics believes– is the DNA sample of the suspect. In essence, they�re asking the entire male population of this town to �prove� their innocence�provide a DNA sample to be removed from the list.

fair? Ummm… no.

Here�s the news story if you want to read more.