The Presumption of Innocence and Trial Court Judges: Our Greatest Failing

Judge Mark Bennett writes that trial court judges have failed to assist potential jurors in understanding and internalizing the meaning of the presumption of innocence. “Most potential jurors actually believe in the presumption of guilt and not the presumption of innocence,” he states. Unless judges dramatically improve their efforts to explain the presumption of innocence, he does not believe that every juror will be committed to giving the defendant the full benefit of the presumption.