The Sixth Amendment - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

The Sixth Amendment

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By Tim Guidera - bio | email 

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – Perhaps the hardest working amendment, the Sixth provides seven separate protections for individuals accused of crimes and is the third of five consecutive amendments having to do with our court system.

Wanting to eliminate the indiscriminate trial and punishment they saw under a monarchy in England, the forefathers outlined rights to a speedy, public trial by jury in which the accused can testify, confront witnesses and be represented by a lawyer among other protections in this versatile and quintessentially American amendment.

"We, actually in our office years ago, worked with a constituent who was convicted of dealing drugs in Ecuador,'' said U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). "Now [he] was an American citizen, and they basically put him in a holding cell for two or three years without officially charging him and without bringing him to trial, and we can't do that in America. The idea is you arrest somebody, you have to charge them, then you have to bring them to trial very quickly. Because I've seen it in other countries and it's atrocious.''

The first eight amendments established 26 rights, 15 of which have to do with the criminal court procedure, showing just how important that was to the founding fathers.

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