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The Sixth Amendment

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by

Catherine Butrick

on 27 November 2013

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Transcript of The Sixth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment: A Criminals Best Friend
What?
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;to be confronted with the witness against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of council for his defense."

Who?
James Madison and George Mason, both from Virginia, were the original people, or the founders, that took place in the issue proposed by the sixth amendment. They both believed in speedy trial/representation.
This amendment was founded for two main reasons

to prevent criminals from deteriorating in jail awaiting their trial
to keep fresh the chance of the offender providing a defense for themselves
The court has proven that the longer a trial is put off, the more likely witnesses and memories will disappear.
When?
The idea of the sixth amendment was proposed to Congress in the late 1700's, on September 25, 1789. This was the beginning of the Bill of Rights as well.

Although the idea was proposed on September 15, 1789, it was not ratified until December 15, 1791.
The issue addressed by the sixth amendment did not first develop in the United States, though. It first began when the Assize of Clarendon stated that the the accused should have justice provided "speedily enough." The concept of right to a public trial originated in the Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence.
The Sixth Amendment was created in order to defend the basic rights of the accused.
Why?
Where?
The Sixth Amendment was proposed, along with the other amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Ratified
The sixth amendment traveled through all the states, receiving its ratification as it ventured along. It finally became ratified in Virginia, the final state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
The Journey
1. New Jersey November 20, 1789
2. Maryland December 19, 1789
3. North Carolina December 22, 1989
4. South Carolina January 19, 1790
5. New Hampshire January 25, 1790
6. Delaware January 28, 1790
7. New York February 27, 1790
8. Pennsylvania March 10, 1790
9. Rhode Island June 11, 1790
10. Vermont November 3, 1791
11. Virginia December 15, 1791
By: Catherine Butrick
James Madison was the main sponser of the Bill of Rights, and the Sixth Amendment. He was supported by many Anti-Federalists such as George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, Elbridge Gerry, along with Federalist George Washington.
This amendment did solve the problem it was created to address. It is used in the courts today to allow the people a speedy and fair trial. They can justly defend themselves with an attorney and witnesses. They will be judged by an unbiased and unprejudiced jury. This amendment has greatly helped the American people throughout the years in the exact way it was intended to.
How?
Powell vs. Alabama
The Supreme Court case, Powell vs. Alabama, took place in 1932
A group of African Americans hopped aboard a train going through Alabama. A group of Caucasian men also jumped onto the train for transportation through the state. A fight emerged between the two groups and all the white men were thrown off the locomotive. They sent a message ahead and when arrested, two white girls testified that they had been raped/sexually assaulted by the black men. During the trial in Scottsboro, neither of the boys were allowed to contact their relatives, and on the trail day an out-of-state attorney came to represent them, yet said he could not formally represent them. When legally provided representatives were given to them, they had no time to discuss or meet with their clients. Eight of the nine black youths received a death penalty. It failed the Alabama state courts, so it then went to the Supreme Court.
Powell vs. Alabama
The major arguments of this case were as followed:
For Powell
: the boys went through a huge prejudiced system. Any attorney given to them would not really fully support them and all their trials would be unfair. The death penalty should be lifted and new orders should be placed.
For Alabama
: the right to a counsel only applies to the federal courts, meaning that the boys did not apply to the rights guaranteed in the sixth.


Justice Sutherland wrote the majority opinion (7-2) of upending the convictions placed on the boys and having a trial with a legal counsel and attorney.

This amendment is the base of our whole criminal legal system. It changed American culture because people no longer had to languish in jail for long periods of time, and carry the heavy burden of anxiety that comes with law-breaking. They had the right to a public trial with an unbiased jury, could bear witnesses, and know the charges being put on them and defend themselves with an attorney. This amendment allowed the offenders to have certain rights that were not given to them in Britain, making the legal system more fair and just.
I would have changed one thing on the Sixth Amendment if I was able. I would give the offender the choice to decide whether he/she wanted a public trial. If I committed a crime I wouldn’t want people I didn’t know to know that I had done something wrong. I hate getting called out in class in front of my friends, none the less strangers! I believe the people should be able to decide if they want the people not involved in the case (minus the jury) to have knowledge on their committed crime. Other than that I feel that the sixth amendment is wonderful as it is.
The Sixth Amendment is important today because if you rob a bank, you shouldn’t have to wait five years in jail just for a trail! Your time waited should be a just and fair amount considering you may not even be guilty. Also a speedy trial is important because the longer the case is off, the more likely it is for the memories to fade and evidence to disappear. It is extremely important to have an impartial jury today because the judge and prosecutor can be very biased against the offender and their crime committed, causing them to make an unjust indictment. If the accused weren’t allowed witnesses nowadays, they might very often lose their cases because the jury won’t believe their side of the story, for they think it is a lie to protect themselves. The same goes for having an attorney. The criminal may need a professional to support them because they don’t know how to make their side of the story presentable and convincing. The sixth amendment is very important to us today.
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