LETTER: Innocent unless proven guilty

Nov. 01, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

To The Editor:

Last week, local attorney and Sanford City Council candidate Chas Post was the subject of a political attack mailer targeting Mr. Post’s service as a criminal defense attorney. As an attorney with over 30 years of service to the citizens of Sanford, I was dismayed by the insidious implications behind this mailer.

Attorneys fill a variety of functions in our legal system, and the most important is the oath-bound duty to defend those whose liberty is at stake. Although everyone charged with a crime in our judicial system is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the guarantee of legal representation does not hinge on guilt or innocence. Moreover, it does not rest on the character of the accused, no more than a patient being treated by an emergency room doctor or a teacher teaching a student.

The purveyors of the smear against Mr. Post often cloak themselves in the banner of the U.S. Constitution. Yet, their actions in this instance disavow the very basic rights protected by this same Constitution. Along with doctors who treat any patient, and our police force that protects all of our citizens regardless of who they are, we all take an oath that we are bound by to perform our duties to the best of our abilities, and this job should not be the basis of a political attack.

As stated by Joseph Kempf, father of the victim and head of the Adam Kempf Foundation, “It's not something that's appropriate for a child's tragedy to be used in a political aspect.” — especially without the legal consent or approval of the people who were victimized by the tragedy. This egregious and baseless attack has no place not only in the political arena, but in our community. Again, regardless of the charges, regardless of the circumstances, we all have the Constitutional right to counsel when accused of any crime, and we are all presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

William T. Wilson Jr.