The Houston Astros’ recent trade for former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna was met with strong reactions in sports media and social media. Many branded the Astros as “soulless” for signing a player charged with domestic assault in Canada last May.
But it’s important to separate fact from fiction in such cases and understand the reality of Osuna’s “crime,” which some TV commentators were quick to call it, as they failed to distinguish between a charge and an actual criminal act.
What happened to the centuries-old legal standard of due process, whereby a man is innocent until proven guilty and deserves his day in court?
In today’s social media-driven world of viral stories, frenzied reactions, and a climate spurred by the #MeToo movement of women fighting back against men’s abuse, it’s important to take a pause and remember that not everyone who is accused of a crime is guilty.
Unfortunately, many people are treated as guilty from the time a false accusation is made.
Just ask TV host Chris Hardwick, who was banned from work for months before his name was cleared after an ex-girlfriend made unsubstantiated claims of sexual abuse against him.
Is Osuna in a similar situation?
Only time will tell.
For now, he still faces an unresolved charge in Toronto. Osuna’s domestic assault defense lawyer was in court for his case Wednesday. But despite what he called “productive meetings with the Crown,” there was no resolution. The next hearing is set for Sept. 5.
In legal circles, many believe Osuna’s charge will eventually be dropped in favor of what’s known as a “peace bond”—a Canadian term for setting a one-year period during which two parties (Osuna and his former girlfriend) are forbidden from seeing each other. At the end of that time, a new evaluation can be made.
In the end, Osuna’s “crime” may turn out to be a charge which is dropped. Or he may be convicted.
The point is that long before any of this is sorted out, pundits have lashed out viciously at Osuna. One journalist, Diana Moskovitz, of the popular sports website Deadspin, wrote that the case “has turned baseball reporters into psychics and sermonists.”
Despite their meager knowledge of the case, Moskovitz wrote, baseball writers are weighing in “as if they know exactly what happened and are competing to show who can be the most angered, the most moralistic, and the most disgusted.”
In truth, these reporters know no more than Major League Baseball, which lacks legal investigatory powers in Canada. But despite this fact, the MLB chose to punish Osuna with a 75-game suspension (ending Sunday, Aug. 5) based strictly on the charge he faced. So Osuna has lost a large chunk of his 2018 salary already, without his day in court or any legal resolution to his case.
No reasonable person would debate the fact that it’s vitally important women be protected from domestic assault and sexual abuse, but all of us must do our part to avoid following today’s societal tendency to rush to judgment, to condemn without knowledge, and to trample the legal standard of due process.
If you unfairly face a domestic assault charge yet are being branded as a criminal, the Neal Davis Law Firm stands ready to fight for you and your day in court. For a skilled legal defense team in Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County, notify our Houston-based attorneys immediately. Your future may be at stake.
Contact us today for a free and confidential legal review of your case.