As a lawyer, I often hold all opinions about one’s guilt until all the evidence is presented, and that is because our judicial system is founded on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” Though fallible, I think no citizen, if given the opportunity, would change that presumption to “guilty until proven innocent.”
When Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of domestic violence, many found it hard to believe, and some suggested that she was “victim-shamed” as a result. Domestic abuse is serious, and a false accusation is also serious. Despite leaking disturbing details about “fearing for her life,” Heard has made it clear that she has no plans to press charges, and there is no police report to corroborate any of her claims. Though character witnesses have come forward on both sides, there is not, to my knowledge, anyone who has come forward as a personal witness of Depp laying hands on Heard. The individual that called the police during a fight between Depp and Heard released an article for Refinery29, which I carefully read, and it does not indicate any first-hand witness of abuse. It is packed with hearsay. Yes, she personally saw Heard’s bruises, but she did not personally witness Depp lay a hand on Heard, which makes that article more about character than evidence. Depp’s friend also spoke out, vouching for Depp’s character, and stupidly claimed to “know” Heard is lying. He found out the hard way that when you use the word “know” instead of “think” you subject yourself to defamation, because he is now being sued by Heard.
If Amber Heard has no plans to press charges against Johnny Depp for domestic abuse, then what’s her agenda? Is it to help other victims of domestic abuse? If that’s the case, then why spend so much time leaking evidence to prove these disturbing events actually happened. Why not personally visit other victims instead? If these claims are true, I feel for Heard. I know that victims often remain quiet, and I can only imagine that the celebrity landscape makes it ever-the-more daunting to declare the truth. I also know that she filed a restraining order against Depp, and certain details will inevitably be revealed as a result. But every time I open my web browser I see more leaks. I do not believe in trying someone in the court of public opinion, and assuming one’s innocence is not “victim-shaming,” it’s the way it works. There is absolutely no choice but to call a victim’s character into question when an accusation of this magnitude is afloat. It sucks, but again – ask yourself if you’d rather our system presume guilt. This should be a criminal matter, not a social media one.