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The notion that an individual accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty is one of the cornerstones of the American criminal justice system. However, the presumption of innocence creates a number of practical and theoretical issues, particularly regarding pre-trial and post-trial processes.
In Taming the Presumption of Innocence, Richard L. Lippke argues that the presumption of innocence should be contained to the criminal trial. Beyond the realm of the trial, legal professionals, investigators, and the general public should carry out their respective roles in the criminal justice process without making any presumptions about guilt or innocence whatsoever.
Rather than eschewing the significance of the presumption of innocence, the book defends its role within its proper context, the criminal trial. According to Lippke, other aspects of the criminal justice system such as investigation, lawmaking, and treatment of ex-offenders should be conducted in such a way that reflects the fallibility and unpredictability of the system without involving the issue of presumed guilt or innocence.
Lippke dispels the idea that the presumption of innocence can be used to remedy some of the current issues in the practice of criminal justice, and instead proposes engaging in deeper, more substantive reforms of the American criminal justice system.
The first monograph dedicated exclusively to the presumption of innocence, Taming the Presumption of Innocence will be an ideal text for students and scholars of criminology, criminal justice, and legal theory.