When a Maryland resident is charged with a violent crime, a number of problems arise immediately. In the initial hours, the person who stands accused must make an attempt to secure his or her release from jail. Then comes an urgent need to secure the proper legal counsel, which can be a challenge for someone who has no knowledge of legal services or the overall defense process. In addition, when an assault or other violent crime is alleged, the media often picks up the story, and publishes the name and sometimes the photo of the accused individual.
This can lead to a number of difficulties for anyone who stands accused of an act of violence. While it is always that case that an American is to be presumed innocent until proved otherwise, in reality that is simply not how our society works. Once the accused’s name and photo have made the rounds, as well as the details of the charges, those pieces of information often converge to form a public opinion of guilt. Many people lose their jobs, encounter family problems, and suffer a loss of respect within their community that is difficult to regain.
This may be the case for one Maryland man who was recently charged with assaulting a Maryland state delegate. The charges came after the delegate accused the 19-year-old man with assaulting him after the delegate gave the young man a ride home. However, those charges were recently dropped after a grand jury convened and examined the matter. Because the proceedings undertaken by a grand jury are not made available to the public, there is no additional information on why the charges were dropped.
There is no doubt that this young man and his family are relieved that he will not have to stand trial for these Maryland assault charges. However, a great deal of damage has already been done, as the man’s information and details on the accusations against him have been spread throughout various media outlets. This case serves as an important reminder that not every individual who is accused of a crime is tried on those charges. It also suggests that the American public should be less quick to judge such individuals before the legal process has a chance to work as intended.
Source: NBC Washington, Charges Dropped in Alleged Assault of Maryland Delegate Darren Swain, No author, Oct. 29, 2013
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