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Education

How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

justice system

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.



The Code of Hammurabi was extensive and included rules and penalties pertaining to economic, family, criminal and civil law. On top of the stone sits a carving of the king receiving the laws from Shamash, the Mesopotamian god of justice and equity, implying that the laws are divinely ordained.

history channel

Nothing says official like a picture of you next to a god.

en.wikipedia.org


Historians only know of one earlier recorded law collection, created just 300 years before Hammurabi, and it was much less detailed by comparison. As Dawn McCormack, associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, explains, this was most likely due to the growing group of different peoples conquered during Hammurabi’s reign. “As the population diversified, the law codes adapted to meet the new circumstances.”


Some of the laws in the Code of Hammurabi might be seen as barbaric by today's standards, with punishments being the removal of the guilty party’s tongue, hands, breasts, eye or ear. On the other hand, many laws were quite progressive. Kelly-Anne Diamond, an assistant teaching professor of history at Villanova University, told History, the code provides the first recorded alimony payment law.

Diamond also notes that Mesopotamians “put a lot of emphasis on getting to the truth of a case,” and therefore mandated the use of witnesses, oral testimony and written evidence to prove guilt. They also established having individuals swear they were telling the truth by oath. “Oaths were particularly effective because of the people's profound belief that the gods would punish them if they lied under oath,” she explained.

Presuming innocence in today’s legal system has had its fair share of negative impact on victims, primarily in sexual harassment cases, not to mention the heavy use of media coverage for court cases of public figures, which can certainly sway public opinion. Still, the fact that evidence-based, fair and impartial justice has been a goal throughout history offers an encouraging outlook for humanity as a whole. Perhaps it’s an ideal that will never fully be achieved, but the fact that people continue to pursue integrity is something worth noting.

Albertsons

No child should have to worry about getting enough food to thrive.

True

When you’re a kid, summer means enjoying the fun of the season—plentiful sunshine, free time with friends, splashing in pools and sprinklers. But not every child’s summer is as carefree as it should be.

For some, summer means going hungry. According to Feeding America, food insecurity affects 1 in 8 children in the U.S., largely because families lose the free or reduced-price meals at school that help keep them fed during the school year.

But back-to-school time doesn’t make food insecurity disappear, either. Hunger is a year-round issue, and with the increased cost of groceries, it’s gotten harder for families who were already struggling to put food on the table.

So what can be done—or more specifically, what can the average person do—to help?

The good news is that one simple choice at the grocery store can help ease the burden a bit for those experiencing food insecurity. And the even better news is that it’s also a healthy choice for ourselves, our families and our planet. When we’re out on our regular shopping trips, we can simply look for the O Organics versions of things we would already buy.

But wait—aren’t we all feeling the pinch at the checkout stand? And isn’t organic food expensive? Here’s the thing: Organic food is often much more affordable than you might think. The cost difference between organic and non-organic products keeps narrowing, and many organic and non-organic foods are now almost identical in price. Sometimes you’ll even find that an organic product is actually cheaper than its brand-name non-organic counterpart.

Since 2005, O Organics has helped give health-conscious shoppers more options by making organic food more accessible and affordable. And now, it’s helping those same shoppers take action to fight food insecurity. For every O Organics product you purchase, the company will donate a meal to someone in need through the Albertsons Companies Foundation—for up to a total of 28 million meals.

Look for the O Organics label in every aisle.O Organics

Here’s what that means in real-world terms:

Say you’re throwing an end-of-summer backyard BBQ bash. If you were to buy O Organics ground beef, hamburger buns, ketchup and sea salt potato chips, you’d be donating four meals just by buying those four ingredients. If you added O Organics butter lettuce and O Organics sandwich slice pickles, you’d be donating two more meals, and so on.

And where are those meals going? Albertsons Companies Foundation works with a network of national and local charities fighting hunger, and regional divisions choose organizations to fund locally. So every O Organics product you purchase means a meal on the table for someone in your area who might not otherwise have the nourishment they need.

No kid should have to worry about getting enough food to thrive. We all make conscious choices each time we walk down a grocery store aisle, and by choosing

O Organics, we can make a difference in a child’s life while also making healthy choices for ourselves and our families. It’s truly a win-win.
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