Sixth Amendment

“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 witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

The “Trial by Jury” Amendment.  This Amendment is also why it’s crime to not serve your time as a juror, should you be called and should you not having a good reason.

  1. “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial” – This ensures that if you’re accused of a crime that you’re able to bring it to a courtroom to have it deliberated.
  2. ” by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed” – This assures that your jurors are impartial to you and the crime you committed, but also makes certain that the trial occurs in the jurisdiction where it occurred.
  3. “which district shall have been previously ascertained by law” – If you commit the crime in Chicago, Illinois law will determine where you are ‘seen’.
  4. “and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” – As in any process of complaint, you have the right to know what you’re being accused of and why you’re being accused of it.
  5. “to be confronted with the witnesses against him” – So you can look your accuser in the eye; anything else would be cowardice.
  6. ” to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor” – The right to have people testify in your favor.
  7. ” and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” – That whole “You have the right to an attorney; if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you” clause when you’re being detained.

Other notes:

  • I brought up Jury Duty because that’s where your impartial jury comes from.  It’s a felony if you don’t show up or you try to get out of it without a good reason; besides, your employer has to pay you for going.  Besides, wouldn’t you want a jury of your peers to be the one deciding your fate, rather than not have anyone at all?
  • Since you can have multiple charges brought against you, the “be informed of the nature of…” part confirms what you’re being charged with, so that due process can begin for the right reasons.  It also provides for a trial for each charge brought against you.
  • It is possible, depending on your education and background, for you to represent yourself in court.  Understand that since 6A in the COTUS is more relevant to federal cases (though still applicable to state cases), you’ll want to have a very good understanding of criminal law and possibly have some expertise in the COTUS.
  • Among the valid reasons to get out of jury duty are:
    • Age of the citizen.
    • Permanent disability that would make it impossible for you to get to the courthouse.
    • Recent service on a jury.
    • Outstanding court cases.
    • On an active deployment.
    • Having a mental state of mind that would leave you unfit to render a decision.
    • Previous knowledge of the case or people involved.
    • Having an active or on-call profession (EMT, Firefighter, doctor, etc…)
    • If serving would cause a serious hardship to you or the line of work you’re in.
  • If you’re unsure whether or not you could qualify for being excused, contact the courthouse closest to you.
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