The Sixth Amendment Essay

The Sixth Amendment Essay

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The Sixth Amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791. It guarantees rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts and it was ruled that these rights are fundamental and important. The Sixth Amendment gives the accused the right to speedy and public trial by the impartial jury. The accused has the right to be informed of the nature and reason of accusation and also be confronted with the witness against him as well as obtaining witness in his favor. In this research paper I will provide a thorough analysis of these above rights and give some history of the 6th Amendment.

The Sixth Amendment was written by George Mason, who was a mentor of George Washington. It was written just a month before the Declaration of Independence. With few changes it was included into the Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted in 1776. The Six Amendment was number 8 in Mason's writings and it followed:

"That in all capital or criminal Prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for Evidence and be admitted counsel in his Favor, and to a fair and speedy Trial by an impartial Jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, (except in the Government of the land and naval Forces in Time of actual war, Invasion or Rebellion) nor can he be compelled to give Evidence against himself. "

As the above quote shows almost every element of the writing was copied into the Six Amendment. It constitutes the line between the liberty of the individual and power of judges acting in the name of the state.

The first right I will talk about, is the right for speedy trial. There are two factors to consider: the...


... middle of paper ...


...efendant. It was argued that the standby counsel should not be allowed to destroy the jury's perception of self-representation. It was ruled that the presence of the standby counsel did not violate the right for self-representation.

The Six Amendment is very often under-evaluated and little attention is paid to its importance. It extended the rights of defendants and even though not all of the rights granted by it are absolute, the freedom of choice and right for fair and speedy trial protect the fairness of the procedures. Liberty cannot long exist under the government that is not effectively forbidden to take unfair advantages of an accused. It is always harder to control the government that government controls. The Sixth Amendment was designed to seize the heavy hands of federal power and put the rights of the accused beyond the reach of government.

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