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Baltimore man acquitted of murder charge from 2010 death

People who have not had personal experience with court cases or being charged with crimes may not realize one of the bedrock principals of the law: a person who is charged with a crime is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. Of course, most people in Baltimore, Maryland, are familiar with the concept in theory. The right to a trial of one's peers as set forth in American law has been emulated by countless other democracies around the world.

However, in practice, this concept is not always self-evident. After all, why would prosecutors charge someone with a crime -- particularly a violent crime such as murder -- if they were not sure of his guilt? And why would the state of Maryland bring such a man to trial if it did not believe that a jury would convict him?

At least two men in Baltimore know that just because someone is charged with a crime, they are not guilty of that crime. This week, a 29-year-old man was acquitted of murder charge regarding a 2010 death in the city, while a 31-year-old man who had been charged in the case had his charges dropped by prosecutors. The case involved a 73-year-old man who was assaulted while walking home from work in April of that year; the man died of his injuries in July.

Before his death, the man said his attacker was named Bobby, and when he awoke from his coma he picked out a picture of the 31-year-old, whose name is Bobby, from a photo lineup. Prosecutors subsequently charged the 29-year-old man in the death as well. However, both men are now free thanks to the criminal justice system being allowed to run its course.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Man acquitted, charges dropped in murder of 73-year-old Hampden man," Justin Fenton, Oct. 16, 2012

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