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Guilty or Innocent? Does it really matter?

When I was creating BURDEN OF PROOF, I spent a good amount of time researching case law, looking at news reports, and reading articles. I find crime very interesting, and having worked in the field, as a criminal paralegal, and later as a post-conviction paralegal, I wanted to present a case, whereby the hero is the paralegal, and one of the sleuth’s sidekicks is her attorney.

As such, here is a question posed for when one begins to work in the field of law: Guilty or innocent, when a crime happens and a suspect is determined, the first question posed is rather or not said individual is innocent or guilty, but in the large scope of things, does it really matter?

I’ve had to deal with this question for years. Fiction and Hollywood always tries to make it out that good always wins, the innocent will not be punished for something that he hasn’t been done. But reality is indeed something different. Although there are no perfect crimes, imperfect people deal with overworked caseloads, faulty evidence and often the man or woman believed to be guilty actually has no evidence to prove his innocence — what do you do when you have no alibi and everyone says you did a crime you truly didn’t do?

Not everyone convicted of a crime has indeed committed it, and not everyone who has walked away Scott free is innocent.

Unfortunately, this is a matter that has plagued the criminal justice system for ages. While many of the incarcerated are behind bars due to false witness statements, the misidentifying of suspects, contaminated evidence, and even those willing to plant evidence for a conviction, there are other missteps that lead to false convictions, including police quotas, underpaid staffing, lazy attorneys and even racial bias. Basic human error (and our being fallible) has led to many individuals receiving a raw deal, spending often decades of their lives paying for a crime they never committed.

Our justice system is broken and many of the laws enacted make it difficult for those innocent of a crime to indeed prove their innocence, although they technically don’t have to (as one is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty). It is an uphill battle, but one that I believe can still be won, when the right tools are not only known, but also used to the benefit of the convicted.

Life is not a mystery novel, and the clues don’t always line up. Yet, it is my hope that as more experienced hands from the field of criminal justice step forward, and as more not-guilty souls are released from their iron clad cells, that we as a society will come to understand that justice isn’t black or white; instead, it is often many shades of gray.

So, does guilt or innocence matter? Yes, yes it does.

You can check out my latest, BURDEN of PROOF, and let me know if you can solve the mystery!

Here's the blurb:

Members of his family have been brutally murdered, and Tommy Melancon, a 13 year old, stands accused of the heinous crime. His mother is the sole survivor and is adamant that he wielded the weapon that committed the atrocity. His only advocate is his grandmother, who’s hired a law firm to represent her grandson on the charges. Emili Jones is a new paralegal, who’ll have to hit the ground running. The thought of a child facing prosecution and potentially even the death penalty for a crime he didn’t commit spurs Emili on to look under every rock to find the truth. Even if it means stumbling upon imminent danger. Emili will need to solve the crime to help Tommy find redemption, or die trying.


TINA GLASNECK is a theologian by training, a former paralegal by profession, and a writer by passion. When she is not working on either her crime fiction and dancing in the dark of solving crime, she is surely conversing with the Norse Gods and creating speculative fiction. Oh, the light that balances out the darkness.

This month, on August 15, 2017, she and Fiona Quinn, as Quinn & Glasneck, will be releasing their debut called IF YOU SEE KAY RUN.

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