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Subject: "Presumption of Innocence (was Re: James Levine Incidents)
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Mon, 4 Dec 2017 16:06:07 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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In response to John Rahbeck's question: yes, the statute of limitations applies in criminal 
cases as well as in civil ones.  As far as I know, murder is the only crime for which there is 
no statute of limitations.

And not to be pedantic, but (this is a pet peeve of mine) the "presumption of innocence" is 
only applicable in criminal proceedings.  Outside of a courtroom, there is no "presumption of 
innocence" and whether one is inclined to believe a particular accusation is more a matter of 
basic fairness and common sense depending on the circumstances.  For example, I am 
under no obligation to presume the innocence of Hillary Clinton re her email skullduggery or 
of Roy Moore for the sexual abuse allegations against him.  The former because she has a 
long history of deceit and corrupt actions and the email mess is characteristic of her well-
demonstrated paranoia and above-the-law attitude; and the latter because I find Moore's 
accusers to be credible, based on the known facts.  (The fact that I also regard Moore as a 
know-nothing demagogue admittedly may influence my feelings about the allegations 
against him.)   

On the other hand, if someone with a clear axe to grind makes an outrageous, unsupported 
accusation against someone with no evidence to back it up, basic fairness - not a 
"presumption of innocence" - would dictate withholding judgment.  Factors that go into 
withholding judgment include the records and respective credibilities of the accused and the 
accuser, possible motives for making a false accusation, any other independent accusations 
of similar behavior, and any evidence to support the charge.  In Levine's case, there is 
ample justification for someone to believe his accusers: the separate accounts of those men 
demonstrate a clear pattern of behavior, and in one case there is independent corroborating 
evidence.  Do we know anything to a moral certainty?  Obviously not.  But to say that it is 
unreasonable or unfair for people to draw conclusions, based on what we know, is 
nonsense.

MDW

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