The idea that you’re “innocent until proven guilty” is already a joke, since the deck is stacked against criminal defendants and the government can lock you up before trial.
Now, though, it’s even worse, if you’re a doctor or other healthcare professional in Illinois.
Under a new measure just passed by the state legislature, health workers who are charged with a sex crime, criminal battery against a patient, or a forcible felony will be immediately punished upon being charged. Simply because they have been charged, they won’t be allowed to see patients anymore except in the presence of another health worker, which presumably will render many or most people who are charged instantly unemployable. (And even if you’re eventually found not guilty, good luck explaining to your next would-be employer why you left your last job.)
Doctors’ patients will also receive a letter from the government notifying them of the charges — but reminding them that the doctor is innocent until proven guilty, which I guess is supposed to make all of this okay, even as it ruins good people’s careers.
Of course this all amounts to a huge grant of power to prosecutors who are already much too powerful. Now they can instantly ruin the career of anyone they choose in the medical field. Other professions will follow, I’m sure, and eventually it will be all of us.
So, apparently, if a doctor is suspected of victimizing their patients, we shouldn’t do anything about it until there is a conviction. I guess we should just leave them in a position to continue victimizing people while they await trial, right?
Never mind the fact that if there is enough evidence for someone to be charged with (as opposed to simply accused of) a crime, there probably would be some cause for concern. Also never mind that this could also explain why the deck might appear to be “stacked against” criminal defendants—cases where there is no evidence result in no charges being filed or in charges being dropped.
Employers are still free to make employment decisions and can mete out whatever consequences they feel necessary. An employer who legitimately feels his employee has done something improper can fire the employee who poses a liability. Additionally, if the public learns of an organization that allowed a doctor to see patients even though they had significant evidence that a crime indeed took place, said organization would itself feel the consequences of losing consumers to competition.
But here’s the bottom line: a criminal justice system that is just would slant in favor of liberty. I would rather a hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished.
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