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State crime charges in ongoing Planned Parenthood controversy

A Texas area Planned Parenthood location became the focal point of news outlets across the United States when allegations of unsavory and illegal behavior were raised. The accusations were apparently supported by an undercover video captured and prompted a serious investigation. However, what police discovered cleared the organization of any wrongdoing and instead turned the focus toward the two people who actually made the video. Since then, both people have been accused of felony state crime charges.

The video that sparked the outrage and investigation reportedly indicated that a planned parenthood official was confirming that the organization would sell fetal tissue. Buying or selling any type of human organ is explicitly illegal and can net an individual convicted of such can spend a year behind bars. The implications of the video were certainly concerning to the community.

However, the investigation ultimately returned a surprising result. Officials somehow determined that, while the video had been taken inside a Planned Parenthood building, it was not authentic. Police claimed that the video had been edited in order to deliver a different message than was actually captured, an allegation that resulted in an arrest warrant and charges of tampering with government records for both people involved. Tampering with evidence and governmental records is a serious charge in Texas, one that can result in a 20-year jail sentence.

No matter what state crime charges a defendant is facing or whether it is part of a larger, ongoing controversy, each and every individual faced with the criminal court process has the right to exercise the protection of his or her rights in respect to the law. Not only must these rights be maintained and upheld, but the innocence of all defendants must be held as true throughout the entirety of the trial court proceedings. No matter what speculation might abound, all defendants are first and foremost presumed innocent of all charges unless a prosecutor can definitively and beyond a reasonable doubt prove that all aspects of the allegations are true.

Source: chron.com, "Planned Parenthood cleared, but 2 indicted over videos", Brian M. Rosenthal, Jan. 25, 2016

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