We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first five amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Sixth Amendment.
This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.
Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.
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 defense.
This is an tremendously important amendment that the lawyers have made a complete mockery of. Do you ever watch Western movies? When someone was arrested, he was tried the next day. The witnesses were all still around, and their memories of what happened were fresh. This is what the Sixth Amendment calls for.
Nowadays, however, defense lawyers start filing all sorts of motions to delay the trial, and it can be years before the accused actually faces a courtroom. The memories of the witnesses may begin to dim. If the accused is part of an organized gang, his fellow gang members have plenty of time to try to intimidate the witnesses. He may post bail and continue enjoying the fruits of his crimes for many years before he has to face the verdict of a jury.
We have become so overwrought with our efforts to protect criminals we’ve forgotten about protecting honest citizens from those criminals. It’s time we begin to honor this wonderful Constitution of ours and operate our government according to its provisions.
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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