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    Presumed Innocent

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    Published in 1987, Presumed Innocent was revolutionary in that it created the genre of the "legal thriller", later built upon by authors such as John Grisham, Richard North Patterson and many others. Despite the time that has passed since its publication, Presumed Innocent remains one of the finest examples of the genre. The novel was made into a critically acclaimed motion picture in 1990, starring Harrison Ford. Presumed Innocent raises important questions of morality, truth and justice, which serve as an excellent backdrop to this course.

    With this in mind, please consider the following.

    The phrase "presumed innocent" refers to the bedrock principal in the U.S. criminal law system that an accused is considered innocent until actually proven guilty.
    Why is the concept of presumed innocence important? Is it necessary? Do we actually believe in this concept? Said another way, when a person is accused of a crime, does the public really believe in the innocence of the accused? What does this say about us as a society?
    Conflicts of interest play a huge role in the novel. What are the conflicts and why are they important?
    Are conflicts of interest legally important in business transactions? Give me some examples of conflicts that you have seen in your business and how they were addressed?
    How should such conflicts be resolved? Is simple disclosure enough? What rules are or should be in place to govern conflicts?

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    Solution Preview

    The concept of presumed innocence is very important to ensure that citizens are not treated as if they are convicted criminals once they are charged with a crime, until they have been proven guilty in a court of law. In addition, this helps to protect the rights of an individual to a fair trial etc. The concept of presumed innocence is also very necessary due to the fact that without this presumption of innocence, the government would have the authority to place individuals into confinement for indefinite periods of time without the benefit of a trial date.

    It is sad to say ...