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Not Guilty Headlines - Wisconsin
Attorney Chris Van Wagner said, "The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision was more than a legal ruling; it was a slap in the face," Van Wagner said, "This, no question about it, is a major affront to the government in many ways. Most significantly, it said you should have never brought this case." When a Wisconsin woman was wrongfully imprisoned for false accusations made against her by the district attorney.
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A Not Guilty Verdict

What is an acquittal? What does an acquittal mean? An acquittal is a not guilty verdict. It is the closest proclamation of innocence possible from a court of law in Wisconsin. An acquittal says that the jury (or judge in a judge trial or bench trial) could not find evidence to prove that the person accused of the crime had actually committed the crime that they were accused of having committed.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Why then does our legal system recognize a doctrine of "innocence" before a trial, but not recognize an acquittal as an innocent verdict?

Our legal system protects every citizen from "the King's government" - an unfair process through which people might be accused of a crime, tried by the King or other governmental body, and sentenced to prison or death without the opportunity to face his or her accusers, witness the evidence, and be proven guilty of committing the crime so charged. To take a person's freedom (or in some states, a person's life), the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. If there is even one "shadow of a doubt" that the defendant committed the crime, the jury is asked to return a verdict finding the defendant "not guilty" of the crime.

As citizens of the United States, we value freedom, the right to make our own choices, and the right to be free of a government that makes choices for us and revokes our freedoms without cause. We so value freedom that our legal system could be said to provide substantial justice - a person who cannot be absolutely proven to have committed the crime should not have his or her protected freedoms revoked. As the "land of the free", it is far more honorable that one guilty man should go free, than a hundred innocent men be stripped of their freedoms or lives.

People often state that laws are written for criminals. Perhaps that is a fair assessment by most standards, because most people do not find themselves in situations where they are accused of a crime by a government with nearly endless resources in proving that accusation, and feeling nearly helpless in defending against aggressive prosecutors. If ever in that situation, one would appreciate the fact that the laws seek to ensure that no person's rights are violated.

Even though we are all "innocent until proven guilty" in the eyes of the law, even though the law provides that the prosecutor must prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt", the reality is that your criminal defense attorney must convince the jury to look beyond initial impressions to the true evidence of the case. That burden usually requires legal strategies that can only be formed out of experience, and the courage to put that experience to work for you.

Many criminal defense lawyers never experience the thrill of an outright acquittal in their career, and yet Van Wagner & Woods criminal defense lawyers have won several for their clients. Their record clearly reflects their hard work, their intelligent and professional approach to their cases, and their skill in developing a strategy that fits every individual case, while drawing upon their knowledge, experience and skill from past cases.

Van Wagner & Wood's record of successful verdicts also gives clients another important advantage: a winning record combined with their highly professional reputation often causes prosecutors to make very favorable settlement offers (sometimes called plea bargains or plea agreements) to their clients to avoid a trial or hearing at which Van Wagner & Wood might prevail.

We will defend you

Your first consultation with an attorney at Van Wagner & Wood is free, but you must take the first step by calling () or e-mail the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood. When you confer with the lawyers at Van Wagner & Wood they will give you a brief but professional "first-impression" analysis of your case and your situation, which will allow you to take an important first step in defending the case against you.

Free Initial "First-impression" Case Analysis

You can send case information about criminal charges or drunk driving charges to the attorneys for a response via e-mail, or to inform them about your case prior to speaking with them in person (or on the phone). If your situation is more urgent, if your case is complex, or if your next court date is in the very near future, it is best to call ()



Van Wagner & Wood and ask to speak with an attorney right away.