Presumption of innocence just one reason to support Hunter for reelection

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Guest Commentary
by Lou Russo

Last week in an interview with the Union-Tribune, I said that I was going to vote for Duncan Hunter — and everyone I know is still going to vote for him. While there has been equivocating on the part of many Republicans in the County, I choose to not do that. My reasons were very simple.

I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, including the 6th Amendment which contains the elements of our nation’s presumption of innocence. Even the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11, states: ‘Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.’ Every single American, regardless of political party, should agree with this.

I’ve no idea if Hunter and his wife broke any laws. That’s why we have a legal system.

Nearly as important to me as a Republican/Conservative, is that Duncan’s opponent in the race for the district I live in is the antithesis of a candidate I would vote to put into office. Are we to “cut off our nose to spite our face”? By voting for Hunter, we Republicans stay true to our values, including that we believe in our Constitution. After the legal proceedings are done, we can all sit down and decide what we want to do based upon the outcome.

Now is not the time to vote Democrat/liberal nor to “sit this one out.” The last thing I want, and what many in Hunter’s district don’t want, is to be “represented” in Congress by an individual none of us agree with on the issues that are important to us, our families and our neighbors.


Russo is a member of the Alpine Planning Group, a former San Diego Rural Fire Board member and was a Donald Trump delegate from California to the Republican National Convention. He is running for a seat on the Alpine school board.


Comments 12

  1. Lou,

    Would you give that same presumption of innocence to a Democrat who had just been indicted on dozens of felony counts?

  2. Lou Russo gives a very eloquent impassioned defense of Duncan Hunter but starting at the very title of his commentary it shows he doesn’t know the basics of our judicial system nor basic phraseology. hunter is not “presumed” innocent; He IS innocent until proven guilty.

  3. Dear Hypocrisy…. Why wouldn’t I? When you get a chance, buy this book (or download it on Kindle)….

    I cannot believe how many forget how we got where we are, how centuries of abuse at the hands of governments led to our Constitution. I also can’t believe sometimes how many don’t realize that the Founders meant EXACTLY what they wrote. Levy goes step by step on the origins of our rights and shows that, among other things, WHY we are to be presumed innocent. Pardon me for saying this, but your question questions my integrity. Don’t judge me by the standards of others. (And don’t for a second equate charges with convictions, for if you do, you sanction all kinds of abuse….a far worse scenario than letting Duncan go to court and have his peers judge him.)


    Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895), was an appellate case before the United States Supreme Court in 1895 which established the presumption of innocence of persons accused of crimes.

    F. A. Coffin and Percival B. Coffin, plaintiffs in error, and A. S. Reed had been charged with aiding and abetting the former president of the Indianapolis National Bank, Theodore P. Haughey, in misdemeanor bank fraud between January 1, 1891, and July 26, 1893.

    It is a complex case with a 50-count indictment. But the most interesting aspect is commentary by the Court regarding presumption of innocence:

    “The principle that there is a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law … Concluding, then, that the presumption of innocence is evidence in favor of the accused, introduced by the law in his behalf, let us consider what is ‘reasonable doubt.’ It is, of necessity, the condition of mind produced by the proof resulting from the evidence in the cause. It is the result of the proof, not the proof itself, whereas the presumption of innocence is one of the instruments of proof, going to bring about the proof from which reasonable doubt arises; thus one is a cause, the other an effect. To say that the one is the equivalent of the other is therefore to say that legal evidence can be excluded from the jury, and that such exclusion may be cured by instructing them correctly in regard to the method by which they are required to reach their conclusion upon the proof actually before them; in other words, that the exclusion of an important element of proof can be justified by correctly instructing as to the proof admitted. The evolution of the principle of the presumption of innocence, and its resultant, the doctrine of reasonable doubt, make more apparent the correctness of these views, and indicate the necessity of enforcing the one in order that the other may continue to exist.”

    In the decision, the Court then goes on to detail the complete legal history of presumed innocence.

  5. Louis,

    I apologize for questioning your integrity since that is exactly what I was doing. In my defense, I do tire of political hypocrisy.

    Most on this site who are defending Hunter as innocent until proven guilty certainly didn’t give that same presumption to Filner. Most criticizing Robert Mueller’s investigation for looking at “non-Russian”criminal acts were cheering Ken Starr’s investigation of a sex scandal that had nothing to do with the land deal he was hired to investigate.

  6. Lou,

    “I’ve no idea if Hunter and his wife broke any laws.”

    First of all, have you read the indictment? If you have, then I don’t believe you.

    Second, the above quote is morally one step above the ‘let’s get the crook elected, so we can replace him with someone better when he’s convicted’ arguments that preceded yours. But isn’t it still to low?

    ‘I don’t know if he’s a crook—maybe—who knows? Let’s vote for him anyway.’ is still pretty weak compared to: ‘his moral fiber and ethics are beyond reproach.’

  7. Encinitas. The other day on the way home I listened to an attorney on DeMaio. He said numerous times that there are many parts to this indictment that are not a slam dunk. As a young Marine Officer I was a legal admin officer, preparing the military version of indictments for Court Martials. Each offense has elements and I had to find evidence for each element. Also, my direction was to always present each and every possible offense as many will probably be thrown out or used as bargaining chips by defense and prosecution attorneys. A long list of charges means nothing to me nor the courts, which is where this matter is now. Only fools would demand someone resign at this stage. Let the process do what it is supposed to do. If you choose to not vote for him, that’s your right.

  8. @Vance442,

    Feel free to repost your comment re the Venn diagram. That was clever. However, we don’t allow unsubstantiated rumors, especially when it comes to personal lives. Yes, we’ve rejected similar comments about Dems — in fact, far more times than we’ve needed to for Reps.

  9. Encinitas, I guess with that for your criteria, you’ll be heading up the Draft Lou for Congress Committee.

  10. Sorry Lou.

    It’s a big red flag when people brag on their own moral character, as you just did.

    In my experience, people with the highest integrity have plenty of other people, respected in their own right, surrounding them who do it for them.

  11. Should we start posting links to Hunter’s comments about the charges?

    Since 2016, he has blamed: his son, hackers, the poorly built Steam website, his wife, his campaign manager (also wife), his treasurer, the deep state, political enemies, and just plain Democrats.

    At what point do you admit that $250,000 was mishandled or that in 2016 he repaid $12,000 by check to his campaign and those “comments” plus the FEC filling triggered the FBI investigation.

    How twisted the Republican Party has become that you’d vote for someone who was indicted over a “Democrat that doesn’t have my values”

    I’d like to point out Ammar is a gun rights supporter, and that alone earns my support.

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