Where Did Innocent Until Proven Guilty Come From?

guilty

Why must there be proof?

America’s past has shown us many atrocities. Many times America has plagued itself with merciless acts of indolence. As a group, Americans tend to get together and devour the meek like prey, stalking those who cannot defend themselves against the masses. Sometimes bad things have to happen before something good can be realized.

One extremely evil deed from America’s past created America’s present form of near perfect justice. If Reverent Samuel Parris did not work as a merchant in Barbados, the prosecution would not have to deliver burden of proof in the American judicial system today.

When the Reverend returned from Barbados, he brought back two slaves. One of the slaves was named Tituba and cared for his 9 year old daughter, Elizabeth, and his 11 year old niece, Abigail. Tituba passed on stories of voodoo to the two girls. The girls were fascinated, and they started playing it. The girls started having fits, making strange noises, and contorting their bodies. These strange acts caused Doctor William Griggs to diagnose them with bewitchment.

17th century Puritans believed witches gained their power from the devil and decided to find the witches responsible and kill them. The girls were under pressure to name names, and so they named Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Tituba was beaten, so she admitted to flying on witches’ poles to attend witches’ meetings with Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. Tituba’s false confessions resulted in more false accusations. All of the false accusations and confessions resulted in ludicrous trials. Those people who did not admit to practicing witchcraft were put to death. Those people who did admit to practicing witchcraft were put in prison.

After this early American tragedy called The Salem Witch Trials was finished, people began to realize what had happened was wrong. After it was realized, victims that were given a bad name were cleared, some posthumously. After these early Americans practiced hindsight, it was realized that guilt should not be the default assumption in court. Innocence was found to be the true default assumption in court, causing the prosecution to show burden of proof.