I served jury duty today. A temperamental judge reminded me that the defendants do not have to testify, either admitting innocence or guilt. The prosecution has to present the evidence of their guilt. The defense team could just stand by the sidelines through the whole trial. But is this the most fair for society and justice.
Suppose the prosecuting lawyers are incompetent, not obtaining vital evidence to give the jury evidence to decide. Suppose the defense lawyers hides vital information that the defendant has confided to them. Why can we not place the defendants on the stand to give more information to the jury? Won’t more information give the jury a better chance to make the right decision?
Yes, our system of law says that we are innocent until proven guilty. But does this really happen. Do the police release an allege killer out on the streets until a court finds him or her guilty? Why do we have to place bail before our release from jail? Does the justice system think that we are guilty already? Our court system presumes guilt until proven innocent.
If a defendant refuses to testify on his or her innocence, what are we to think? It is said that the truth will set one free. But for these people, they may believe that silence or ignorance may set them free. Many criminals know that they are guilty, but elect trial by jury because there is always a slight chance that they may go free because of the constraints placed on the jury system. These constraints are laws that prevent the truth from being revealed. We must hear from the defendants, and we must have the right to question them. Remember, the truth will set them free, or will it?