Did these scriptures change or confirm your views about how criminal procedure should operate
Deuteronomy 19:15 and 17:6 changed my views concerning how the criminal procedure should operate. The current view I hold is that one witness is enough to lead into a conviction. This depends on whether the testimony that the witness gives is beyond a reasonable doubt. For instance, one can face conviction of sexual assault basing on the testimony of the victim or one witness. The testimony of one witness is enough to put one on a death row if the judge finds the testimony beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the court may still take into consideration other forms of evidence, such as DNA evidence.
Proverbs 18:17 changes my views concerning how the criminal procedure operates. In Proverbs 18:17, the person presenting the case is right until his/her claims face scrutiny or the accused prods him/her with questions. In the current justice system, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. As such, when one makes allegations about another person, the court does not hold the allegations to be true. In this case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime accused of and thus the need for trial and conviction. Deuteronomy 19:16-19 confirms my views about how the criminal justice system should operate. False witnesses should be punished since they are driven by malice and ill will against innocent persons. In the criminal justice system, false witnesses face imprisonment or fines.
Deuteronomy 22:13-18 confirms my views about how the criminal justice system should operate. The scriptures assert that it is important for the plaintiff to present physical evidence in court of law in order to earn a conviction. Exodus 22:12-13 confirms my views about how the criminal justice system should operate. The scriptures state that if an animal is torn into pieces by a wild animal, then the keeper does not have to compensate the owner but should provide evidence of the torn animal. However if it is stolen, the keeper should compensate the owner. Exodus 22: 7-8 is similar to above. It states that “If a man shall deliver unto his neighbor money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.”
How does our current system deal with each topic?
Regarding the topic of witnesses, the current system can convict a defendant basing on the testimony of a single eyewitness. The testimony of a single witness is admissible in a court of law if the witness is credible and positively identifies the defendant. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime (Thompson, hopgood, & Valderrama, 2011). This can lead to a conviction where one witness is involved. The jury must evaluate carefully the evidence presented in order to determine whether it is admissible in the court of law. A common technique in evaluating the admissibility of an eyewitness testimony is the use of a lineup, whereby the witness identifies the defendant from a list of other individuals. Positive identification of the defendant is adequate for the admissibility of the eyewitness testimony. With regard to the death sentence, various states have applied checks to ensure that the jury examines carefully the strength of the evidence presented (Garvey, 2003).
In cross-examination, the current legal system does not take the first person to present the case as right. Rather than the concept of “guilty until proven innocent”, the current justice system holds the accused to be “innocent until proven guilty.” The presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty is a legal right that applies in criminal trial (Thompson, hopgood, & Valderrama, 2011). Thus, in the current system, the first to present his case is not right, but must provide a compelling testimony that is admissible in the court. The current system establishes punishments for false witnesses in order to curtain the vice. Common punishments given to false witnesses include fines, communal work, and imprisonment. The current justice system considers physical evidence as of critical value in determining the direction of a case. The prosecution must collect physical evidence using scientific means in order for it to be admissible in court. A common source of physical evidence is videos obtained from surveillance cameras.
How the current system may change
Concerning witnesses, the current system should adapt Biblical teachings about the admissibility of witness testimonies. The Bible asserts that one witness cannot provide admissible evidence in court. The current system should require the prosecution to field more than one witnesses in order for the testimony to be admissible in court. In crimes punishable by death, the courts should never rely on a testimony from one person. This can help reduce wrongful convictions. In cross-examination, the current system should consider all charged persons as guilty until proven innocent rather than the reverse. It should be upon those who are charged to exonerate themselves of the accusations. The current system should continue giving punishments to false witnesses. This would discourage more people from giving false witness. It is wrong to make false accusations or to conceal important information that may influence the results of a case. Lastly, the court should continue relying more on physical evidence to make decisions about cases, for instance, use of videos, DNA evidence, and other forms of physical evidence.
Garvey, S. P. (2003). Beyond repair?: America’s death penalty. Durham, NC [u.a.: Duke Univ. Press.
Thompson, S. G., hopgood, J. L., & Valderrama, H. K. (2011). American justice in the age of innocence: understanding the causes of wrongful convictions and how to prevent them. iUniverse.
Related: The Concept of Homeland Security