What is the 6th Amendment?
The accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial in all criminal prosecutions. The problem should be held by an impartial jury of the State and the district where the crime has been committed. The community shall have previously ascertained by law.
The accused have additional rights: to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to confront the witnesses against him, to have a witness who can testify in support of the accused, and to have an assistant counsel in defense of the accused.
History of 6th Amendment
The 6th amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights has the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution and the framework to clarify individual freedom. The first session of the First Congress proposed and sent the Bill of Rights to the states. The Bill of Rights was later ratified on 15th December 1791.
James Madison introduced the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution as a series of legislative articles. Later it came into effect as Constitutional Amendments, following ratification by 3/4th of the States on 15th December 1791.
What are the rights given to an accused in the 6th Amendment?
- The Right to a Speedy Trial
This clause was instituted with the sole purpose of eliminating the chances of delivering a prison sentence to an individual without a guilty verdict. This clause is intended to prevent detentions and incarcerations without the delivery of a trial. Additionally, the clause also aims to limit the costs incurred by the court and make the court system available to all cases that apply.
- The Right to an Impartial Jury
All jury members must be objective and free from any biases. To ensure that all the jurors are impartial on the case and give a collective unbiased decision, they need to go through a screening process. The screening process helps to reveal any biases or potential hatred that may be present towards a specific group of people.
- The Right to a Public Trial
Proceeding of the court is not conducted in an unjust or corrupt way is ensured by the right to a public trial. This clause provides that the individual has the delivery of a fair and sound trial through the observance of the public.
All defendants have the right to be represented in the court of law by an attorney of the individual’s choice. If the defendant cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent, the court has to hire an attorney to defend the defendant.
- The Right to Cross Examine the Witnesses
The defendant and his attorney have the right to cross-examine the witness who is testifying against the defendant.
- The Right to Self-Representation
The defendant has the right to represent himself in court. However, the judge can deny the request if the judge has the reason to believe that the defendant is not capable and mentally sound to represent himself. The court should also make aware of the complications and consequences of self-representation to the defendant.
The 14th Amendment: Equal Protection of Law
Shortly after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was passed to ensure fair treatment to the newly freed slaves by the States. The Amendment was a response to discrimination practiced by the many Southern States against African Americans.
The 14th Amendment states that “no State can deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.”
All the persons born or naturalized in the United States and are subject to the jurisdiction thereof are the legal residents of the United States and the State wherein they reside. The amendment further states that no state shall enforce or make any law that abridges the immunities or privileges of the citizens of the United States.
However, the protection of the 14th Amendment gets held to apply only against governmental discrimination as the amendment clearly states, “No State Shall…..” In most cases, the 14th Amendment has no applicability to prevent discrimination by private citizens. It means that a private citizen won’t be charged if they abuse a US citizen on race, color, and caste.
If you or your loved one have been exploited and not served according to the 6th and 14th Amendment in the State wherein you reside or in a court proceeding. Seek the help of an expert attorney to defend your rights.