Friday, 10 August 2007

Undocumented immigrant

On the MacLean's blog at least one writer appears to think that Conrad should get his passport back. Indeed he actually appears to be a Black supporter.
It would be interesting to know on what basis Judge Amy calibrates Conrad's bail: he's posted $21 million, as opposed to the $5 million Enron's Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were obliged to put up after their own convictions. The US Attorney's position is stated below: Once all the various suits are settled, "most of the assets that Mr. Black owns will be owned by somebody else." So much for the presumption of innocence in US courts.

The presumption of innocence ceases at the moment of conviction. The court has found him guilty and the only matter left to determine is the length of his sentence. It is an act of generosity to allow him freedom on bail. Many convicted felons are sent straight to jail without that option. Not jailing him did not indicate any shadow of doubt about the rightness of his conviction. He was not freed pending appeal.

Indeed there are many poor black men who are indisputably innocent except in the eyes of the law, who remain incarcerated, some on death row, while the state or federal attorneys cook up new theories of how they still could be guilty based on the evidence accepted to date by the courts. The US appeals system has no presumption of innocence - quite the reverse

Indeed soon after completing the first go at this, I came across a story on the BBC about a man who is white but is, like Black, British - and has spent 20 years on death row - and has been found by the courts to have been wrongly convicted - twice.


Anonymous said...

Reads to me like the blogger is referring to the assumption of Black's innocence relative to the civil suits, not the criminal proceedings in which he has already been found guilty. The guilty verdict in the latter doesn't mitigate the presumption of innocence in the former.

Stephen Rees said...

Civil suits do not determine guilt or innocence since they are not about a crime. They determine liability for a civil wrong or "tort". Again, in a civil suit the 'presumption of innocence' does not apply. It merely determines if there has been damage with financial consequences and the extent to which the parties are held responsible for it.

I doubt that after all the legal wranglings there will be much left in compensation for any of the real victims - the shareholders defrauded by Black and his henchmen. The lawyers will have taken it all, and the petioners will be very low in priority on the list of claimants.