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Right to a Fair Trial Chapter 20.3. The 6 th Amendment states: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public.

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Presentation on theme: "Right to a Fair Trial Chapter 20.3. The 6 th Amendment states: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Right to a Fair Trial Chapter 20.3

2 The 6 th Amendment states: 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 where in 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

3 Speedy Trial The guarantee of a speedy trial is meant to ensure that the government will try a person accused of a crime without undue delay U.S. Supreme Court laid down a four-part ad hoc balancing test for determining whether the defendant's speedy trial right had been violated Established by Barker v. Wingo (1972)

4 1. Length of Delay: A delay of a year or more from the date on which the speedy trial right "attaches" (the date of arrest or indictment, whichever first occurs) was termed "presumptively prejudicial", but the Court has never explicitly ruled that any absolute time limit applies. 2. Reason for the delay: The prosecution may not excessively delay the trial for its own advantage, but a trial may be delayed to secure the presence of an absent witness or other practical considerations. 3. Time and manner in which the defendant has asserted his right: If a defendant agrees to the delay when it works to his own benefit, he cannot later claim that he has been unduly delayed. 4. Degree of prejudice to the defendant which the delay has caused.

5 Strunk v. United States In Strunk v United States (1973), the Supreme Court ruled that if the reviewing court finds that a defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated, then the indictment must be dismissed and/or the conviction overturned. A reversal or dismissal of a criminal case on speedy trial grounds means that no further prosecution for the alleged offense can take place.

6 The Speedy Trial Act of 1974 The Speedy Trial Act states that the time between a persons arrest and the beginning of his or her federal criminal trial cannot be more than 100 days. Exceptions: when the defendant must undergo extensive mental tests, or when the defendant or a key witness is ill

7 Public Trial Trial must also be public. So sayeth the 6 th and 14 th amendment. Judge can limit who is in a courtroom He can order the courtroom cleared if they are disruptive All this must happen within reason

8 The Media On one hand, a courtroom is a public place where the media have a right to be present. On the other hand, media coverage must not damage the right to a fair trial. The Supreme Court has often held that the media have only the same right as the general public to be present in the courtroom.

9 Estes v. Texas (1965) Radio and television reporting of Estes case had been allowed from within the courtroom and over the objections of Estes himself. The Court held that this reporting had been so disruptive that it had denied Estes a fair trial.

10 Chandler v. Florida (1981) The Supreme Court held televising is not prohibited as long as steps are taken to avoid too much publicity and to protect the defendants rights.

11 Trial by Jury The 6 th Amendment also says that a person accused of a federal crime must be tried by an impartial jury. This guarantee is also binding on the States through the 14 th Amendments Due Process Clause, but only in cases involving serious crimes, as stated in Duncan v. Louisiana (1968). In federal practice, the jury that hears a criminal case can convict the accused only by an unanimous vote. Most states follow the same rule. Oregon requires 10 out of 12.

12 Waive – bench trial The defendant may also waive (put aside or relinquish) the right to a jury trial If he or she is fully aware of his or her rights and understands what that action means. If a defendant waives the right, a bench trial is held. That is, a judge alone hears the case (of course, a defendant can plead guilty and so avoid a trail of any kind).

13 Georgia v. McCollum (1992) The 5 th and 14 th Amendments meant that jury service cannot be determined by the pigmentation of skin, the accident of birth, or the choice of religion. In short, no person can be kept off a jury on such grounds as race, gender, color, religion, or national origin.

14 Right to an Adequate Defense Every person accused of a crime has the right to the best possible defense that circumstances will allow. The 6 th Amendment says that a defendant has the right.. 1. to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation 2. to be confronted with the witness against him and questions them in open court. 3. to have compulsory process for obtaining witness in his favor 4. to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense


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