...Now the good part about frontier justice is it's very thirst quenching. The bad part is it's apt to be wrong as right.
Oswaldo Mobray to John Ruth, The Hateful Eight (2015), Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, at page 51
Outside of the confines of the criminal justice system, an allegation often carries with it a presumption of guilt, and in the minds of some, an absolute certainty of guilt.
We carry within us vigilante tendencies that simmer beneath the surface when we hear that an accused is alleged to have committed a heinous crime. It is the part of us that doesn’t care about the evidence; that quickly moves from an allegation to a desire for punishment; that assumes that a guilty verdict at a criminal trial is a forgone conclusion.
It is also the part of us that leads to terrible errors in judgment when the reputation and liberty of our fellow citizens hang in the balance.
The presumption of innocence serves to counteract our natural tendency to rush to judgment.
It demands a conceptual default of innocence as the starting point during the deliberation process.
It forces the decision-maker to be skeptical and to apply reason and common sense in the search for truth.
It compels a solid foundation of credible and reliable evidence before branding an individual as a ‘criminal’ deserving of public condemnation.
It also serves to limit the number of cases that we look back upon years later and ask ‘How did we get it so wrong?’