Monday, April 23, 2018

The Bill of Rights- Sixth Amendment

The sixth amendment is mostly agreed upon in most circles. It reads as follows:

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 amendment protects citizens from long waits for trial, a "stacked" jury, traveling an unreasonable distance for trial, being charged and not knowing for what, being testified against without the ability to confront his or her accuser; and allows for witnesses of their own; and permits the accused to have a lawyer. Most people think this is generally a good thing. 

The times I see this right imaginarily infringed upon, it is for heinous crimes. The person denying the rights feels that it is justified. Pedophiles should just be taken out back and shot, and have no need for a trial. While I don't disagree with the sentiment, it opens a dangerous can of worms. What if we take the rights of any accused pedophile, rapist, or murderer and throw them under the jail? What about the falsely accused? What about those acts of self defense (in the case of murder)? What about the jealous ex trying to get someone in trouble? We tend to agree that anyone who knowingly falsely accuses someone of rape should then be charged with a crime with equal punishment. If we take away the sixth amendment rights, the falsely accused would be killed or incarcerated under false pretenses. 

For these reasons, the sixth amendment is necessary. I think most of us can live with that. 

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