Sixth Amendment 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.
Speedy and Public Trial The Sixth Amendment provides the right to a speedy trial in all criminal cases, although the Constitution does not define “speedy.” Many defendants waive the right to a speedy trial, usually because they need more time to prepare.
Impartial Jury Defendants can waive their right to a jury trial. Jury Panels are selected from voter registration or tax lists. In federal courts, juries are made up of 12 people who must reach a unanimous verdict. State courts are not required to demand unanimous verdicts, although most do.
Confrontation of Witnesses The Sixth Amendment provides the defendant with the right to confront witnesses against them. The defendant can question witnesses by way of cross-examination done by their attorney. Defendants can get a subpoena (court order) requiring a witness to appear in court to testify.
Counsel The Sixth Amendment protects the defendant’s right to an attorney. Gideon v. Wainwright established that all defendants have the right to counsel, even if they cannot afford it. Defendants who cannot afford an attorney are provided one by the government free of charge. These attorneys are often public defenders.