To me, there is a difference between presumed guilty and knowledge of guilt. I believe that where it should go is to find the truth. Sure, assume the person is innocent, but if he isn't it shouldn't be decided on a technicality either.
Now granted, I'm not saying that the prosecuting attorney was any less at guilt for what happened either.
I just see far too many flaws in a system that is designed to contest to win, rather than find the truth about the situation. Perhaps some of these technicalities should have 'reasonable avenues of answering' to provide better access to the truth.
Like I said before, I don't really have the answers to fix the system, but a case like that definately shows the flaws all to clearly to me.
Knowledge of guilt and presumption of guilt are effectively the same thing, once one steps in the courtroom.
Maybe it would help if you knew a couple of facts that I originally omitted because of space considerations.
First of all, the lawyer was a public defender assigned to the case. he did not have the power to decline representation.
Second, he originally advised this client to plead guilty to the assault charge, and the client refused, insisting on fighting this in court.
To that end, both the law and the lawyer must be blind to consequences, presume the charged to be innocent, and defend his client appropriately. if he had not, he would have broken his oath to society, a much larger and more important consideration than one client.
It may very well be a flaw in the system, but given the obverse, it is a flaw well worth having. the question is, which is worse: that occasionally guilty criminals go free due to incompetence of prosecutors, or that innocent people are incarcerated because lawyers are allowed to presume that people are guilty prior to trial?
I will take the former gladly any day of the week.
All lawyers seek the truth, or at least they are bound by creed to do so. Individual discrepancies aside, the law is designed to ferret out the guilty and preserve the innocent. If all parties do their job, 99% of the time justice is served. The defense attorney has vigorously defended his client, and despite that the weight of the evidence, presented properly by the prosecutor, finds the guilty guilty and justice is done.
Mistake of lawyer is NOT the same as mistake in the law or the legal process. That is the entire point. At the same time, in order to be sure that justice is properly served, all lawyers are bound to play their part. Believe me, even when a lawyer loses a case, if they defended their client properly, they have both done their job and earned a pay check.