A Seattle lawyer believes presuming people to be guilty until proven innocent may keep people safer.
Lawyer Bob Anderton is suggesting the city and the state put aside "Ei incumbit probatio gui dieit, non qui negat," Latin for innocent until proven guilty, in favor of the Napoleonic Code or "guilty until proven innocent."
Anderton says, "Most of the European Union already has this presumption established, and last year it was considered in the United Kingdom as well."
Isn't this a radical departure from the established legal system in America?
Isn't it only fair to presume people innocent until proven guilty?
Anderton says, "Not necessarily."
Anderton is initially thinking about bicycle riders---cyclists, who ride the back roads and the city streets, putting themselves and car drivers at risk.
He says it should be the car drivers fault every time there is a collision or incident, unless the car driver can overwhelmingly prove otherwise.
King 5 quotes him saying, "Seattle and Washington state are supposed to be great places for biking and they are. But we could make it even better if we had this 'presumption of liability' which would place the civil responsibility with the driver rather than the cyclist. Only overwhelming evidence could change that."
He believes with more cyclists in Seattle and bike lanes planned throughout the city, establishing a clear guideline for liability is worth investigating.
By fundamentally changing our system of law, we can make things better and make people safer.
Surely his suggestion will not make much progress, at least now, will it?
It has sparked dialog, which is exactly what was intended.
And it's important to remember the City of Seattle has no limits or restraint in pursuing the progressive dream.
Most know that as King County goes, so go most statewide elections. So let's take a moment and look at what this man is actually suggesting and KING 5 is reporting.
KING 5 was running a poll yesterday asking people how they felt about the idea. When I checked, 33% thought it was a good idea, while 67% thought it was a bad idea.
So what's the big deal about one cyclist lawyer advocating we change our legal system?
My interest was piqued as I thought about how many people could be "helped" by changing from a presumed innocent to presumed guilty legal system.
Let's briefly look at the history of these two polar opposite legal systems.
Then, lets look at the possibilities to "help people" by embracing the presumed guilty plan.
Where systems of law prevail, there are basically 2 systems in the world.
The British "common law" system, drawing from more ancient forms of law, was established in England in 1166 AD. The system was extended throughout the British Empire around the world.
"Common law" refers essentially to judge made laws. From 1166 to the 1600s this system was increasingly abused and the abuse resulted in people leaving England in search of freedom, especially religious freedom. By 1776, a long list of grievances were listed in our Declaration of Independence and sent to the King of England.
Our Founders based America's laws on biblical principle with a system of presumed innocence, with strong checks and balances.
By contrast, Napoleon I introduced a system of law in France in 1800 AD that is defined as "inquisitorial" or an investigative system, rather than our adversarial system. The Napoleonic Code presumes one is guilty until proven innocent.
There's much more, but you get the idea.
With my interest piqued, I remembered in my lifetime Washington, led by Seattle politics and morality, has led in some striking efforts to "help people."
While abortion was generally seen as morally wrong and unacceptable in civilized culture, Washington led in passing laws that advanced abortion, even before Roe v. Wade.
These efforts were to help women have control over their own bodies. And to provide deserved "choice."
As a kid growing up in the state, the notion that marriage was anything other than a union between a man and a woman was not even part of the narrative. Redefining marriage was not considered.
Seattle's Mayor Ed Murray has often been applauded by the Seattle Times and other news organizations for his courage and perseverance as a state legislator. Murray, supported by other openly homosexual legislators, incrementally passed bill after bill after bill for years claiming they were not related to redefining marriage, but to fairness, equality and helping gays.
They played upon the sincerity of many good people in normalizing what is not normal and has never been normal and with a strong Seattle vote redefined marriage.
Suppose Anderton's "suggestion" of redefining our system of law---or even incrementally changing a little piece of it for now, would find a life of its own, how many other people could be helped by extension?
Clearly it would help the bike riders, because in every accident the car driver would be guilty and the cyclist innocent.
Anderton says revising the system could hopefully reduce or eliminate accidents. Could the same not be said about bullying and other issues in our culture?
How about the child at school who says something harsh to a classmate, the classmate reports it telling his teacher he might be gay and thinks his friend was bullying him because of his gender questioning.
The child who spoke is guilty unless he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt he is innocent. This child automatically becomes a "bully." And is punished and labeled.
What if the child's family attends a Bible believing evangelical church? Oh my.
What if someone says something that is not affirming to the homosexual lifestyle, because he believes that lifestyle is sin, based on his biblical beliefs? He is immediately labeled a "hater" or "bigot." How can he prove he is not a hater? Or a bigot? He can't.
How many careers have been attacked and destroyed recently because a person believed something other than the standard code of revised morality?
And what about the pastor who is preaching biblical Truth from the book of Romans, or elsewhere, where homosexuality is condemned and called sin? He is guilty. How can he prove his innocence without denying his faith? He can't.
A quick look around may reveal that we are not so far from that place today. As homosexual activists, abortion activists, atheists and secular progressives have incrementally changed our laws under the guise of "fairness," "equality" and "helping people," much of what lawyer Anderton is suggesting is well under way.
If a person disagrees with the cultural narrative, even on the grounds of conscience and religious beliefs, he is guilty and socially flogged in public. The person is shunned, because he is guilty. Employers avoid hiring him because of his guilt.
Perhaps Anderton's suggestions are not so futuristic after all. Perhaps he knew that when he spoke with KING 5, and perhaps KING 5 knew that when they ran this story.
On the radio today, I'm talking about what people of faith should do when they see the foundations of the culture crumbling. You may join me live from anywhere in the world at 9 AM PDT or rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PDT. Here's how.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Courageous. Be Very Courageous. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.