Speed-demon trials? The Sixth Amendment’s Breakdown

Grand Courtroom

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This is the sixth essay of the “Breakdown” series. We’ll explore the individual rights in the Bill of Rights. And where they stand today. Comments appreciated, now let’s begin.

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

One at a time, as always. Let’s dig into the Sixth Amendment.

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,”
Pretty simple, fast trial, with time for both sides to prepare and public, so no shenanigans can go on behind closed doors.

“by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law,”
You will face a jury who has no connection to the plaintiff or defendant, and as little knowledge of the case as possible. That way they haven’t formed a judgment prior to the case. Also the jury pool is drawn from the area that the ‘crime’ happened; they know the “lay of the land”.

“and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
The Sixth is in place so that you know what and why, of whatever charges are being pressed against you. To face your accusers, and challenge them with your own. Also to have a lawyer there to help defend you.

It’s to prevent show trials, or no trials at all, without fear of being sent to prison or rehabilitation camps. Though the Gitmo situation and debate on tribunals or courts is ongoing. The Sixth is being eroded and Gitmo is the current example of it.

Remember that just societies have a check and balance system. Government makes laws which are enforced by cops. Laws are just words on paper; you don’t have to follow them, which is why we have cops. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the laws that keep the Federal Government in check BUT it’s just words on paper unless enforced by someone. Guess who that is? WE THE PEOPLE, and we are failing miserable due to apathy and complacency. A little monetary or physical security in exchange for freedom and liberty. Not for this wolf, I’m not one of the flock, I’m above it and have taken it upon myself to snap you from your slumber, remove your blindfolds and show you how IT IS!

Another essay to follow on the Seventh Amendment.

© Vance Gatlin 2011

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