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California doctor acquitted of sex crimes charges in second trial

One of the cornerstones of the American legal system is treating criminal defendants as innocent until proven guilty. This requires prosecutors to provide enough evidence to prove -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- that the accused individual intended to and did, in fact, commit a criminal act. When this burden isn't met, the defendant should be found not guilty.

Sometimes, defending against criminal charges is a long, difficult road. This was the experience for a California doctor who was charged several years ago for inappropriately touching three patients during hospital and urgent care visits. The first trial concluded with a hung jury. However, the doctor was recently acquitted on two of the sex crimes charges and a verdict wasn't reached for the third charge.

The incidents involved in this criminal case took place between 2007 and 2008. Since that time, the doctor has lost his job and license to practice medicine in the state of California. Even though he has been acquitted for two of the charges, he has still paid a hefty consequence.

Reports indicate that the jury couldn't reach a decision on the third inappropriate touching charge. At this time, it's unclear as to whether or not another trial will be scheduled.

In a rush to judgment, it may be easy for a person accused of sex crimes to be convicted by the press and general public even before a trial by jury has taken place. As a result of this, the defendant's reputation can be severely damaged without being convicted. With this in mind, it may be particularly important to approach the sex crime charges intelligently and with sensitivity.

Source: The Press-Enterprise, "Former Kaiser doctor acquitted of sexual touching charges," Peter Surowski, May 2, 2014

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