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The 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights, Part II

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When reflecting on the first ten amendments to the American Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, focus is often on the great freedoms of religion, speech, press and the right to bear arms.  The Bill of Rights became 225 years old on December 15, 2016. With that in mind, it is worth a moment to […]

The Sixth Amendment’s Right to Confront Witnesses

Sir Walter Raleigh (?)

Sir Walter Raleigh of the late 1500’s is known for a number of things.  He was a great explorer[1] of the New World, both North and South America. He is either credited or cursed for promoting tobacco in England.  He is cited as an example of the consummate gentleman for putting his cloak on a […]

Sixth Amendment Right to Be Informed of Charges

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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 […]

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. The Sixth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, passed by the First Congress in […]