Here’s the article headline: “Kansas City man, acquitted of murder, remains in jail weeks later“.
And in reading the article, I found the headline to be very strange. Since he was acquitted, why was he not released… immediately?
Here’s the missing detail: he had been on parole before being arrested on the murder charge. And he now awaits a new parole hearing.
And here’s the even more relevant detail: he was on parole after spending time in prison for a murder conviction in 1971, being sentenced to life with parole eligibility. He was initially paroled in the 1990s, but was sent back to prison after being arrested for a robbery, but was later paroled again. He had his parole revoked when he was arrested and charged with another murder that occurred in 2021.
Now that he’s been acquitted, he’s just waiting for a new parole hearing.
Being on parole means you have to stay clean. If you get arrested, you risk being sent back to prison. And it doesn’t matter what you’re arrested for.
And an acquittal doesn’t automatically reinstate your parole, only your parole eligibility.
Far too many people make the wrong association that acquittal means innocent. It does not. Which is why an acquittal doesn’t automatically reinstate parole. Nor should it.
Which, to reiterate, his parole stemmed from his life sentence for his 1971 murder conviction.
As such the evidence in the murder trial may be used against him at his next parole hearing to argue against his release. The evidentiary standard at a parole hearing is “preponderance of the evidence”, which is far lower than the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard needed for a criminal conviction. To reiterate, “not guilty” does not mean innocent.
As such, here’s the right headline for the article: “Kansas City man awaits a new parole hearing after being acquitted of murder”.