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Book Review: Stack the Legal Odds in Your Favor

Stack the Legal Odds In Your Favor

What happens when an attorney and a guy who’s not a lawyer with a history fighting in court on his own get together to create a legal self-help book? You get a book with an attitude.  Think Mark Wahlberg in the courtroom. Authors Tom Scott and Sara Naheedy combine to bring the attitude and the […]

Sixth Amendment Right to Be Informed of Charges

Viviana_examined_by_the_Earl_of_Salisbury,_and_the_Privy_Council_in_the_Star_Chamber

It certainly seems obvious and fair that when the government charges someone with a crime that the person be told what law he has violated and what he did to violate that law.  That a government does not always conduct itself in a fair manner and that it needs to be reminded of the obvious […]

Sixth Amendment’s Right to a Jury in Criminal Cases

Henry II

The list of colonial grievances against King George included in the Declaration of Independence: “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: … He has abdicated Government here…” In Article III, the unamended Constitution provided for jury trials in criminal cases[1] as follows: “The Trial of all Crimes, except in […]

Sixth Amendment’s Public Trial: From Communal Duty to Accused’s Right

Public Trial

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights contains many procedural protections for those the government accuses of having committed a crime.  Among them is the Sixth Amendment right to a “public trial”.  The provision is stated: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a… public trial” The concept of a public trial is ancient, but it did […]

Sixth Amendment’s Speedy Trial Right: Ancient, Worthy and Elusive

Speedy Trial Clock

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights contains many protections for those the government accuses of having committed a crime.  Among them is the Sixth Amendment right to a “speedy trial”.  The provision is stated: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy … trial” The right may has old roots and […]

Federal Restrictions on Gun Ownership by Convicted Felons

Hand gun

Federal law provides significant penalties for felons in possession of weapons, unless the felon has his rights restored by the convicting state. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony is banned by federal law from ever possessing “any firearm or ammunition.” Specifically a person “convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment […]

The Sixth Amendment’s Right to the Assistance of Counsel

Henry Fonda in Gideon's Trumpet

Thanks to television police reading the Miranda Warnings people are familiar with a criminal defendant’s right to an attorney and that an indigent defendant may have appointed counsel. Such protections have not always been part of United States law. The right to an attorney is found in the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.  The Sixth Amendment was ratified as part of the Bill […]

Fourth Amendment Probable Cause for a Warrantless Arrest

A police officer cannot arrest a citizen without a warrant based upon a hunch or mere suspicion. He must have “probable cause”. The US Constitution‘s Fourth Amendment[1] requires a warrant for a person or his property to be “seized” or searched by a government agent.  The law has developed allowing government agents to conduct warrantless […]

The Sixth Amendment, One Amendment, Six Constitutional Rights

Sixth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment contains rights beyond the well-known right to an attorney in criminal matters. There are six constitutional rights in the Sixth Amendment.  They are procedural rights designed to protect an individual’s inalienable natural rights of life and liberty found in the Declaration of Independence. The Sixth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, […]

Eighth Amendment: Banning Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights.  Along with the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments it recognizes procedural rights for persons accused of crimes.  The purpose of these procedural rights is to protect an individual’s inalienable natural right to liberty.  When originally ratified in 1791, the Bill of […]