6th Amendment

This website is dedicated to the wrongfully convicted.

The Right to a Public Trial Clause:

The Public Trial Clause guarantees that if you are ever charged with a crime, you must be tried in a public trial. Don't like the sound of that? It might be embarrassing! You wouldn't like the results, though, if trials were held in secret. The judge or other officials could file false charges against you, not allow you to defend yourself or throw you in prison with no evidence! Legal systems in European history that excluded the public lead to torture and wrongful executions. The founding fathers, determined to protect people from being tried in secret, proclaimed: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a... public trial." 

The Right to Trial by Jury Clause:

This clause protects you from persecution by corrupt judges who might sentence you unfairly if not for the watchful eye of the public. By requiring a jury to be involved in a trial, serious and sometimes fatal decisions are taken out of the hands of a few judges or officials, and are put into the hands of a group of your peers. This greatly reduces the possibility of corruption in the trial.

The Right to Counsel Clause:

This guarantees you the right to a lawyer to assist you if you are charged with a crime. The modern courts have even determined that this clause gives you the right to have a court appointed attorney, paid for at the public's expense, if you cannot afford to hire your own. There is no indication that this was the intent of the authors of the constitution.