We hear stories on the news all the time about people who have allegedly committed crimes. Whether they are alleged terrorists, celebrities or other individuals, we are often inundated with news about the alleged offenses. These people are never presumed innocent by the media. In fact, they are basically convicted by the media before they ever make their first appearance in court. You will often hear newscasters report, “So and so pled not guilty today.” This is almost always said in such a way as to imply that it is absolutely shocking that this person had the audacity to plead not guilty! So let me set the record straight. That is how the court process works. During either the first appearance in state court or a second appearance in Federal court, a defendant (an individual charged with a crime of which they are presumed innocent unless proven guilty) always enters a plea of not guilty. This is done regardless of whether they intend to plead guilty at a later stage in the proceeding or whether they intend to persist in their plea of not guilty and force the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. So next time you hear a newscaster say that someone pled not guilty remember that that is the way things are done.