You've had a lot of liberals lamenting the collapse of the rule of law the last decade. This would appear to be a situation where the rule of law and rights of the accused are most important. It's precisely when the media and the people have already decided the guilt of the accused (and are competing to describe his evil in the most lurid hyperbole) that these principles are the most important. And yet I find silence on that presumption of innocence from most liberal commentators, or the outright abandonment of it, when it comes to this particular case.
This particular case involves disturbing admitted attitudes and behaviors and a great deal of incriminating testimony. But the presumption of innocence is the bedrock principle of our legal system, and it applies until the legal process has run its course. And it has nothing to do with belief that the accused will eventually be found not guilty, or sympathy for the accused. I can generate no such sympathy for Jerry Sandusky. But I have to point out that precisely the same liberals who beat their breast about the terrible collapse of the rule of law are now trying to outdo each other in the expression of their outrage, directly against the presumption of innocence. I don't expect any different from conservatives, who by and large believe that any accusation is true if it is voiced-- unless it's sexual harassment, rape, or police misconduct, that is. But liberals who have staked many claims on the rule of law and the principles which undergird it suddenly find that commitment unpalatable, when it has become so unpopular.
I doubt you'll find many expressing that perspective, though.
Update: mistermix made some astute points here. This is what I said in comments.
I recognize the distinction. I just think that trial by media is a poor idea, as Richard Jewel could have told you when he was alive. And while I recognize that the legal right to a fair trial is distinct from the opinions on guilt of the public, I also think that it becomes functionally impossible to get that fair trial when the public is convinced there's no chance the accused is innocent.Update II: The consensus is that I'm full of shit here. (Although you know how little I value consensus!)
It's a fair point about the institution, but recognize that the same criticism holds: they are accused of crimes and deserve the presumption of innocence.
It seems likely to me that Sandusky is guilty, and thank god we don't have a legal system predicated on the opinions of those minimally informed by the media. If he is guilty, he should spend the rest of his life in jail. Just like those in Guantanamo Bay should receive appropriate punishments, if they have been proven to have committed crimes in court.
Finally, on the outrage thing-- for me, "child rapist" is enough. I don't need to dig any further into my vocabulary to find appropriately angry terms. "Child rapist" says more than any purple prose ever could. It's just like with bin Laden. Why is "terrorist responsible for 3,000 people killed on 9/11" not sufficient? When people dig so deeply into their bag of outrage, at some point it ceases to be about the victim and instead becomes about them.