The Sixth Amendment Explained: The Constitution for Dummies Series

hey guys welcome to hip you history BAM

baby that's what I'm talking about I'm

talking about 1787 the Constitution and

us knowing the words so we can talk

about it we're banging out the sixth

amendment for you in this edition guys

so sit back get ready to grow your brain

let's look at the words let's chop it up

and see if we can't walk away a little

bit smarter than when we pressed play

giddy up from the learner here it comes

all right guys so let's start with the

words it's right on right maestro music

please BAM in all criminal prosecutions

the accused shall enjoy the right to a

speedy and public trial by an impartial

jury of state and district where the

crimes shall have been committed which

district shall have been previously

asserted 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 ending witnesses in his favor and to

have the assistance of counsel for his


so what are the silly ways that I kind

of help kids remember the basic concept

is to kind of put their six up there

touch their invisible watch and at least

get to the concept of time and of course

in the beginning the cue shall right

have the right to a speedy and public

trial we have that speedy part in there

Barker versus Wingo is the Supreme Court

case way back in 1972

yay 472 what a great year to be born but

in 1972 the court defines Speedy Trial

it's not an absolute term but basically

putting a time frame of about a year

before we can start investigating

whether that right has been violated now

if it has been violated it could be

numerous reasons it could be those feds


it could be someone a natural emergency

or something like that but in 73 Strunk

versus United States that if the court

does find that the speedy trial has been

violated that the prosecution has been

dragging its feet maybe doesn't have

enough evidence and is trying to you

know draw out the calendar and that

rights been violated then any conviction

gets overturned and any indictment gets

squashed so that's pretty pretty

absolute right if you can prove that

it's not your fault now you also have

that public part in there and the public

part is not absolute either and Sheppard

versus Maxwell 1966 the Supreme Court

basically stated that it's preferential

to have a public trial that's what we're

talking about we should have public

trials but there could be you know

circumstances where maybe the government

has a has a legitimate interest in maybe

national security or maybe the defendant

has a interest in you know getting a

fair trial and that outweighs the idea

of having a public trial but generally

speaking we have public trials and for

the most part we have televised trials

and some states have some different

rules about what can be a televised

trial but there you go speedy and public


the next part by impartial jury and

basically the state where the crime was

committed so there's a few things about

about jury rules and first you want to

make sure you understand what selective

incorporation is we've talked about this

in previous lectures but it's the idea

that you can take the 14th amendment no

stage of the nayad citizen's equal

protection and due process right if

we're taking away your life your liberty

or your property you get due process

that's in the fifth amendment right but

that only applies to the federal

government so as the Supreme Court kind

of evolved judicial review starting with

like Gitlow versus New York in nineteen

twenty five I believe they started

selectively incorporating some of the

Bill of right amendments to the states

so the sixth amendment is some stuff

that's been selectively incorporated

we'll talk about attorney stuff in a few

minutes here but when it comes to jury

rules a lot of its not been selected to

the incorporated there's some kind of

like broad rules but states still

generally get to determine kind of how

juries are put together so for instance

on a federal level you have the number

12 but some states as well as number six

when it comes to how many people sit on

a jury also on a federal level it has to

be unanimous decision if you're charged

with a federal crime if every 12 juror

say that you're guilty to convict you if

you don't get 12 to say that you're not

guilty that it's a hung jury it's got to

be unanimous but some states they have

rules where you don't have to have

unanimous decisions you could have a 42

decision or something like that and the

Supreme Court is let that stand now in

terms of what else we ever talked about

in partialities as impartial jury right

we have a process that's been developed

through kind of judicial law that is

called voir dire which is basically this

process when the jury is going to put

together that the prosecution and the

defense will

have a chance to kind of quiz each juror

to make sure they're not prejudiced

against their client or they are

presidential against their client so for

instance if you're a prosecutor you

don't want maybe a peace activist on

some type of trial where a peace

activist is being charged with a federal

crime because obviously they're going to

be prejudiced towards the peace

activists so this is supposed to get

that impartial jury

now there's also kind of rules about

basically making sure that you have like

a cross selection of people so if you

can prove that there's some systematic

exclusion of a certain group and that

that's giving you an unfair trial that

has been selectively incorporated so

there are those types of rules in place

but there you go it's kind of the where

the crime was committed and again you

there's flexible rules here so if

everybody in the town thinks that you

are you know a puppy killer and they all

scream puppy kill or every time you put

your head out the window you might

request a different location and the

judge might grant that so there are

cases where you can have you know trials

not where the crime has been committed

but you get the general idea all right

let's take a look at the next part bang

bang bang bang bang bang bang to be

informed about the nature and the cause

of the accusation so this is basically

to make sure that you're getting that

due process by having the charges very

specific very specific to the wall for

two reasons you know number one so you

know what you're charged with

there's no vagueness and there you're

being charged of being very bad bad very

bad it's not going to cut it so it's

going to be a statue it's going to be

some type of criminal law and then

secondly you want to make sure that you

kind of clear up that double jeopardy

scenario if you're going to be able to

claim double jeopardy that you can't

charge me with the same crime twice you

want to make sure you know what you're

charged with

so that's pretty straightforward so you

have to be informed about the nature and

the cause of the accusation you got that

good good for you let's keep going

to be confronted to the witnesses

against him so this is called the

confrontation clause and a lot of stuff

develops out of common law but over

across the pond where they have attained

such they have this kind of hearsay

clause that it's not allowable to bring

into court what I heard somebody say

about you and that is secured in

Amendment six with the confrontation

clause that I have to be able to

confront the person accusing me of this

crime or making witness testimony in

this crime there are a couple of

exceptions one of them is kind of a

dying declaration so certainly you can't

confront a dead person and if they're on

the dying bed and they make the video

and they you know Johnny did it

you shot me that can be put into

evidence there's also kind of an

evidence confrontation clause which

means that if there's going to be like

DNA presented or something like that you

get to cross-examine the DNA magic no

you can't do that so you get to kind of

cross-examine whoever the scientist is

of course who did the you know the

testing so you can make sure that you

can ask questions about validity and

such like that there's only a couple

more hang on here we go to have

compulsory process for obtaining

witnesses in your defense so this is

basically your ability to name witnesses

name people that you want to be put up

on the stand whether they're hostile to

you or friendly to you so you know if

you want mr. Jones to testify and mr.

Jones is like I'm busy I'm bowling I

don't want to go now it's gentleman

you're going so that's the compulsory

part you can make them have to come and

of course is to give you a fair trial

makes perfect sense

all right the biggest part is the end so

hold on here we go

and they have the assistance of counsel

in his defense this is your right to an

attorney of course that makes perfect

sense you should have somebody to be

able to defend you but nowhere in there

does it say technically that if you

can't afford one that you get one so

here we go this is selective

incorporation first judicial review so

the Supreme Court in 1932 in Powell

versus Alabama very famous Supreme Court

case the court said that because of the

fifth amend their is a due process

clause go watch that video if you have

it that we can't deny you your life your

Liberty your property without due

process that if somebody is up for

capital punishment your take away your

life and you can't afford a lawyer so

you have to defend yourself you're not

getting due process so therefore the

state the government we the people will

give you that lawyer at no cost to you

and in 1938 the Supreme Court extends

that to all felonies so they decide that

the Fifth Amendment gives them the right

because of the due process clause to

kind of expand the Sixth Amendment now

where does it get interesting and it

gets interesting 1963 I hope that's

right Gideon versus Wainwright where

Florida puts Gideon in jail by you know

basically convicting him and he has no

defense because he has to defend himself

and he's indigent and so it's a leave a

felony burglary charge but he can't

afford a lawyer so he goes it on his own

and it's like the little guy against the

Giant he gets squashed like a bug so

then he goes to prison and he reads law

books and he kind of goes to the Supreme

Court writing his own letter and

basically the Supreme Court hears his

case and he says this is really

important but because of the Fourteenth

Amendment because no state shall deny

its citizens due process then we're

going to take the Fifth Amendment and

apply it to you Florida and hence out

what they have elapsed arteries or

our our dollar Martin George your wife

out of oil annoying now we can set up

new get the idea so there you go guys

there's the sixth amendment for you if

you can understand the sixth amendment

and all this kind of rotating pieces and

you can understand the concept of

selective big corporation that that did

know about that 1787 and you got it

going on so make sure if you haven't

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