U.S. Constitution[edit | edit source]

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides in pertinent part:

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. . . .

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a speedy and public trial by impartial jury of one s peers, the right to have and to compel the testimony of witnesses, and to have the assistance of counsel in all criminal prosecutions.

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel of one's choice "commands, not that a trial be fair, but that a particular guarantee of fairness be provided — to wit, that the accused be defended by the counsel he believes to be best."[1] This right "derives from a defendant's right to determine the type of defense he wishes to present."[2] A defendant's "right to choice of counsel must not obstruct orderly judicial procedure or deprive courts of their inherent power to control the administration of justice."[3] This is because "[t]rial judges necessarily require a great deal of latitude in scheduling trials."[4] The efficient operation of our judicial system depends upon gathering together a great number of citizens — lawyers, witnesses, jurors, and court personnel, for example — at a particular time and place.[5]

One of the most controversial contributions of social science to criminal justice procedure has been recent attempts at "scientific selection" of juries. Such use may endanger the entire concept of an "impartial" jury.

There have also been experiments with the use of telecommunications in taking testimony from witnesses not physically present in the courtroom, such as abused children.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, 548 U.S. 140, 146 (2006) (full-text).
  2. United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, 399 F.3d 924, 928 (8th Cir. 2005) (full-text), aff'd, 548 U.S. 140 (2006).
  3. United States v. Vallery, 108 F.3d 155, 157 (8th Cir. 1997) (full-text).
  4. Morris v. Slappy, 461 U.S. 1, 11 (1983) (full-text).
  5. Id.

Source[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.