Study Guide

Constitution - Sixth Amendment

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Sixth Amendment

Passed by Congress: 25 September 1789
Ratified: 15 December 1791

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 Sixth Amendment, like the Fifth, focuses on preventing possible abuses of the criminal justice system. Th e Sixth guarantees accused criminals the right to a "speedy and public" trial by jury. It also gives defendants the right to know what charges are being made against them, to cross-examine hostile witnesses, and be represented by a lawyer in court.

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