‘Perp walks’ are an abuse of justice
The truth is that the perp walk is “one of the most cynical conspiracies in all of modern-day criminal justice,” said Andrew Cohen in TheAtlantic.com.
The French have spouted a lot of sexist, conspiratorial nonsense about the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said Andrew Cohen. But they’re right about one thing: Forcing handcuffed criminal defendants to make a publicized “perp walk” is barbaric—and totally at odds with the presumption of innocence.
Cops and prosecutors last week paraded Strauss-Kahn, then the head of the International Monetary Fund, before a battery of photographers, after he was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel chambermaid. In the glare of flashbulbs, the alleged perpetrator, with his hands cuffed behind his back, looked guilty and ashamed. To the surprise of Americans, the French were outraged; isn’t that how we treat all high-profile defendants? Indeed it is—but “sometimes, it takes an outsider to see clearly the truth.”
The truth is that the perp walk is “one of the most cynical conspiracies in all of modern-day criminal justice.” The media gets its photos of the accused, and law enforcement gets to cement an indelible impression of guilt into the minds of potential jurors—fairness and justice be damned. This is no way to run a court system.