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The Florida Bar

How ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’ Is Not Always Applied

Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney William Moore says that being a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney always requires him to prepare well for every case and to put his best foot forward in the courtroom. All clients deserve the best representation. The stakes are even higher when there is reason to believe that a person accused of a crime has been wrongly arrested and charged. Although the United States has numerous constitutional protections – such as the right to counsel, a speedy trial, trial by jury, and the right to a public trial – the fact remains that, now and then, innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit, says Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore. Even more often, they are accused of crimes they did not commit.

Some innocent people are later exonerated. The most famous instances of these are probably those death row inmates who are found to be innocent by DNA evidence tested years after their conviction. Not all states have retained the death penalty and at this point in time, the trend is towards repealing it; a couple of states have abolished it in the last year. However, the use of capital punishment has remained fairly popular in Florida, and there is no indication that the state will abolish it in the foreseeable future.

Several years ago, the Florida Commission on Capital Cases undertook a comprehensive study of innocent people who were convicted and placed on death row in the state. The Commission reported an astounding 25 cases of wrongfully-convicted death row inmates, according to Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore. Of those, one died on death row and three were pardoned by governors. Twenty were remanded down to the trial court level, where two pleaded guilty to lower-level offenses and 10 were acquitted of all charges. Eight were not retried for various reasons, including lost evidence, unavailable witnesses, or the desire to not inflict further emotional trauma on witnesses.

Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore notes that the study is incredibly important for those who do not believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty – and for those who maintain that there are no flaws in the system. Judges and even prosecutors and police officers have an obligation to ensure that an accused person’s rights are not violated at any point in the process. After all, there is no value in catching and convicting the wrong person.

Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney William Moore applies his knowledge of criminal defense issues to each case he takes on. Hiring a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney who has experience handling the type of crime with which you have been charged can make a difference in your case.

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