The cherished concept of the presumption of innocence and the need for adjudication before sentence has eroded over the years. Taking its place is a growing belief that the safety of society depends on massive deprivation of liberty and property without predetermination of guilt. The notion of innocence has now become an inconvenient technicality as opposed to a valued principle. This article will examine the origin, history, and decline of the presumption of innocence in three contexts: (1) pretrial detention, (2) property forfeiture, and (3) trial stage -courtroom settings and jury instructions.

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