The United States justice system operates under an adversarial system, where two contending parties present their cases to a third, impartial party, who then renders a judgment or verdict. The contending parties are the accuser (plaintiff) and the accused (defendant). Everyone involved in a criminal case is entitled to a lawyer, who is tasked to interpret the law and present the case in a manner that would protect the client’s rights and benefit the client the most.
The US justice system is premised on the underlying belief that anyone who has been accused of a wrongdoing is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Often, observers make hasty judgments on those accused of a crime based on what little they see or hear about the event. However, in many criminal cases, the system looks beyond what is apparent and goes deep into the smallest circumstances surrounding the case. Hence, you hear of such legal issues as mitigating or aggravating circumstances, and reasonable doubt. A good criminal defense lawyer will probe deep into a case and look for a legal venue that could exonerate the clients or ease the sentence, perhaps through some mitigating circumstances or by establishing “reasonable doubt.”
The law requires that the accusing party proves the guilt of the accused “beyond reasonable doubt.” If the defendant, through his or her lawyer, is able to cast uncertainties on significant elements of the case, the defendant may be found innocent of the charges filed against them.