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What is the sixth amendment
the right to a fair trial
The Massachusetts Body of Liberties in 1641
it protected the right to a speedy trial, by a jury and with counsel
the sixth amendment includes:
all criminal prosecutions, but not all minor offenses like jaywalking or speeding
note: all defendents must receive speedy and public trials, although defendents may waive those rights if they choose.
If the prosecution does not bring the case to trial in a speedy manner, then it must drop the charges against the defendent. True or false
In Barker v. Wingo (1972) the supreme court established general guidelines that apply to state and federal cases.
Speedy Trial Act of 1974
Enacted by congress, federal prosecutors must start their trials no more than one hundred days after making an arrest and some states have passed laws limiting the time before a defendent is tried
Started by Charles 1 in England, this court met in secret to suppress dissent in the 1630's. In america this type of court became known as tyrannical court
Sheppard v. Maxwell (1966)
the Supreme Court ruled the excessive pre-trial publicity can prejudice the jury and deny the defendent a fair trial.
In high profile cases the judge must take steps to guarantee an impartial jury, such as moving the venue/location or sequestering (isolating the jury from the community and news media during the trial) the jury.
The Supreme Court ruled that the right to a public trial under the sixth amendment is for the benefit of the defendent, not the general public or the media
Richmond newspapers v. Virginia (1980)
the first amendment give the public a right to attend criminal trials in most cases. The book says the judge cannot bar the media or issue gag orders limiting trial coverage, but I have heard of cases that limited media access.
Trial by jury is protected by the constitution three times.
- 1.for criminal trials in Article III
- 2.Sixth amendment
- 3.and for civil trials in the 7th amendment
Trials by jury began in civil cases in england
As of 2000 only 4.3 percent of federal criminal charges culminated in jury verdicts compared to 10.4 percent in 1988. Most cases are decided by plea bargains
What is a plea bargain?
defendent pleads guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence, thus saving the government the costs of a trial
Supreme Court case; Duncan v. Louisiana (1968)?
- trial by jury in criminal cases applied to the states. the courts established different federal and state standards for this right.
- The federal government must have 12 person juries that issue unanimous verdicts in criminal trials.
- A state jury must have at least 6 jurors
- and does not have to be unanimous-except in death penalty cases.
- A state jury must have at least 6 members in a noncapital criminal trial and the jury must issue a unanimous verdict. Only serious charges that mandate a sentence of 6 months or more require, mandate a jury trial.
the supreme court case Lewis v. United States (1996)
that sentences for multiple charges cannot be added together, only the sentence for the most serious offense counts toward the six month test.
the prosecuting and defense attorney both question potential jurors to reveal their biases and knowledge of the case.
attorneys can exclude a certain number of jurors for no reason
representative cross section of the community. The jury pool has to be representative of the community not the jury in order to meet the Sixth Amendment standards.
a juror must be local from the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.
The defendent can waive the right to a local jury and request a change of venue, if the community is biased due to pretrial publicity.
a court hearing where the defendent pleads guilty or not guilty. The person also has the right to know what charges has been bought against them to prepare a proper defense.
a serious crime with a sentence of more than a year in prison
a grand jury usually must return an indictment before the defendent arraigned for a felony
a minor offense with a sentence of a brief jail term or a small fine.
nothing more than the arraignment is required for a misdemeanor
note: the goverment cannot accuse a person of a crime without stating the details of the crime. for example time and place it occurred
prevents a witness from testifying in secret against the accused. the truthfulness can be challenged in open court.
the defendent or their lawyer can ask questions to dispute the witnesses testimony.
Prohibits hearsay (a person testifies about what someone else said rather what they heard or saw themself)
a court order forcing a witness to testify or produce relevant evidence. A defendent can compel witnesses to testify in criminal cases and states have the same right.
united states v. nixon (1974)
the supreme court required the president of the united states to comply with a subpoena
notes; the right to counsel is the most important in the sixth amendment, because without counsel a defendent is unable to assert any other rights
also includes the right to a court appointed lawyer in criminal cases
strickland v. Washington (1984)
the supreme court ruled that a defendent must receive "effective assistance of counsel" but not an error free defense.
A lawyers inexperience will not justify anew trial unless his specific errors deprives the defendent of adequate representation.
Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)
the supreme court ruled that a defendent has the right to counsel during police questioning, not just at trial
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