ONUS [OH-nuh s]: burden of proof, blame


One of the phrases that people love to quote when it comes to legal proceedings is that “someone is innocent until proven guilty.”  It is a principle that helps to define the American legal system, and one which distinguishes us from the legal systems of many other countries.   Whenever an American is arrested in another […]

EXONERATE: to free from guilt or blame


Governor Cuomo  is criticized for being overly-frugal in his end-of-year pardons for just three men in New York State. Some call for Edward Snowden to receive clemency in U.S. for his “whistleblower” tactics Roman Catholic leader is released from prison after having been convicted of covering up sexual abuse cases in his Diocese. Mid-Atlantic Innocence […]

NOT GUILTY: not the same as innocent

not guilty

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the subtleties of language.    One of the things that becomes clear is that sometimes what we think we are saying isn’t necessarily what we mean to say. Such is the case when we use the language of the justice system.   The verdict in the […]

VINDICATE [VIN-di-keyt] : to clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like

The result of a jury trial in which the jury finds the defendant not guilty could be said to be a vindication of the defendant.   For all intents and purposes, the charges against (him) have been found to be not warranted, and he is free to leave the court without restriction. Therefore, the defendant is […]


Forty-one (41) days ago I started this trek.   I entered a local hospital for a total knee replacement.   It went beautifully…the knee replacement that is.   But someplace along the way that dreaded experience of “hospital virus” sneaked its way into my body and today … 41 days later … I’m still a patient.  I’m home, […]