Wednesday, April 26, 2006
A word on Valis: presumption of innocence does not mean he didn't do it
I know, I should avoid political discussion, but this stuff bothers me. For those who remember the days of OJ, yes, you are innocent until proven guilty, but sometimes making that argument against the facts demonstrates partisanship more than commitment to justice. In the Valis case, it is disingenuous to describe, as Cross Currents does, the kol korei as, “not a word about a “psak,” rather, “innocent until proven guilty” in a community where there exists a very blurred line between “da’as Torah” advice which is rarely questioned or countermanded and pure psak. Secondly, Cross Currents writes that in the secular press, “…the basic line was that “the Orthodox want a child killer released,” despite the statements from various Rabbis that, simply put, they did not believe he was a killer.” But that gufa is the problem. Aside from his membership in the chareidi community, WHY do they not believe he did it in light of the physical evidence of abuse and the father’s admission of guilt (which he is not trying to retract under claims of coercion)? Is there some exculpatory evidence that only these gedolim are aware of? If so, why keep it secret? Cross Currents is confusing presumption of innocence before the law with “belief” in innocence as used outside the courtroom. As OJ demonstrated, the presumption of innocence protects one from legal prosecution where the police and prosecution blunder, but does not mean we outside the courtroom we should naively maintain that belief when there exists a preponderance of evidence to the contrary. To so so rightly draws the publics ire and condemnation.