skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 75730 Find in a Library
Title: Guardian Angel - Presumption of Innocence
Journal: Pretrial Services Annual Journal  Volume:3  Dated:(1980)  Pages:52-69
Author(s): N T Wolfe
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The development and rationale for the concept of the presumption of innocence are discussed, and future trends in this area are explored.
Abstract: The concept of innocence in the absence of contrary proof dates back to English common law of the ninth century. Questions about the validity of the innocence presumption revolve around the issues of whether criminals should be allowed to escape through efforts to avoid punishing noncriminals, and the numbers of criminals permitted to escape in relation to the numbers of the innocent. Rationales supporting the concept of innocence presumption include the desirability of placing the burden of proof on the accuser, the belief in the probability of innocence of most persons charged with crime, innocence presumption as an extension of basic humanitarian principles and basic human rights, the need to reduce the substantive and procedural harshness of criminal law, and innocence as an extension of the concept of due process established by the Magna Carta. The presumption of innocence has increasingly been incorporated into statutory law, in the States, the military, and international declarations. The principle appears to be gaining additional support despite the current concern about excess legal system protection for criminals. Footnotes and 72 references are included.
Index Term(s): Criminal proceedings; Laws and Statutes; Rights of the accused
Note: This paper presented at the 1980 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Oklahoma City, Ok.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.