One of the founding principles of the American criminal justice system is that one is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, that may not always hold true in terms of perception. When one is arrested for a crime in New York (especially one that is as high-profile and financially significant as embezzlement), it may be common to assume that they are guilty. This can be particularly troublesome in that if and when a case goes to trial, such assumptions might make it seem as though the decision regarding a defendant’s fate has already been made.
Statements that may be used to prejudice a potential jury pool can also be damaging. One might argue that what was released by law enforcement authorities regarding the arrest of a former Idaho theme park CFO and one of his subordinates is an example of this. The pair stands accused of embezzling almost $1 million of the theme parks money (details on how the embezzled funds were used, or whether or not the subordinate acted at the CFO’s direction were not released). However, officials did say that the CFO was an educated man who knew what he was doing was wrong.
While it may be argued that such details surfaced during the investigation, to make such a statement without evidence directly confirming that may be viewed as being prejudicial. If it is indeed believed that those who might end up deciding one’s fate in a criminal matter have been influenced by such rhetoric, then the person who stands accused may have a legitimate claim that their chances at a fair trial are compromised. Proving such a claim may be much easier when one has an attorney to help argue it.