The Sixth Amendment

What It Covers

The Sixth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment covers the right to a trial by jury, and the right to having representation in an expedited public trial. Jail time means being supported by public expense, so it makes sense to have a speedy trial as a constitutional right. Some people, however, will wind up in jail no matter what they do. The right to a fair trial is a fundamental right covered by the Bill of Rights.

The right to a fair trial is occasionally denied, however, because of the absence of witnesses. The defendant can be denied his right to a speedy trial during this case only. Criminal defendants have the right to confront or at the same time, cross-examining the witnesses. If presumptive prejudice applies, a trial may be delayed by the court but only if the defendant wants a delay to their benefit. The right to a public trial is not absolute, as decided in Sheppard vs. Maxwell.

Minors are tried in juvenile court while some crimes can make the situation mean that they are charged as an adult. The 6th amendment states that jurors have to be impartial as to how they try a person accused of a crime. Some juries may have a racial bias problem. The trial can then increase the criminal’s sentencing allowed by the statutes, depending on the crime. The city where the offense has been charged is where the trial is set. A criminal defendant has the right as well as the need to hear what offenses he has been charged with.

The admission of hearsay is not allowed as evidence when a trial occurs. The Criminal Process Clause gives a criminal defendant the right to call witnesses they favor. In Hamilton vs. Alabama, counsel had to be provided at no expense to defendants. The right to counsel means that everybody tried needs to have a lawyer provided to them by the State. Faretta Vs. California was a ruling where the Supreme Court recognized a defendant’s right to pro se representation but under Godinez vs. Moran, if a person has doubts they can stand trial in a competent manner, that person may be ruled as less than fully competent to represent himself.

The defendant always has to have access to legal materials. The Sixth Amendment is an important amendment because the defendant in each case has the right to call witnesses in his favor. The United States as a plaintiff, in this case, has the right to decide what is a criminal offense. Congress is that plaintiff that decides whether the defendant is committing a crime such as treason. The court needs to look at how the defendant is given access to legal material at their public trial. The court may need to hear specific requests from the plaintiff to close the case when the case has stood trial has to pass a test the same type as government trials.

The freedom of the press as stipulated in the First Amendment makes sure that the public has access to what is going on during a trial, however, the 17th century became a time period where the right to trial by jury cropped up. A jury was seen as having to reach a unanimous verdict for the trial to be successful. The jury size of 12 jurors was ruled an accident at the Williams vs. Florida trial in 1970. Jurors must have an opinion on the trial but not enough so that they are not fully impartial to whatever the trial is about. This is why jury duty summons scares people sometimes, and why some try to get out of it in whatever way possible.

Works Cited



Cornell Law School

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Iria Vasquez-Paez

I have a B.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State. Can people please donate? I'm very low-income. I need to start an escape the Ferengi plan. 

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