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Amendment Six: Case Study Essay

The first clause of Amendment Six is the speedy trial clause. There are several reasons that this clause is positive to the accused in a case on trial. Primarily the right to a speedy trial can prevent undue and oppression, and minimize the anxiety and concern that accompanies public accusation. A speedy trial can limit the possibility that long delay will impair the ability of an accused to defend himself. Furthermore, delaying a trial is can tamper with the evidence and witnesses because over time evidence can lose value and witnesses could forget what happened at the the crime scene or even die before the trial takes place.

The right of a speedy trial can also be in opposition to the interests of the accused because it can cause the accused to have less time to prove their innocence. On the other hand this can prove to be beneficial for societal justice because a long trial can give someone who is accused and is free in the community the chance to commit other crimes or to be tempted to “jump” bail, and use the backlog of cases to engage in plea bargaining for charges or sentences. Similarly any delay often retards the deterrent and rehabilitative effects of the criminal law.

For these reasons the Federal Speedy Trial Act of 1974 says that charges must be filed within 30 days of an arrest for a federal crime and a trial must commence within 70 days (Revolutionary War and Beyond). If a Speedy Trial violation occurs, new trials are not allowed and the conviction is thrown out without the possibility of a retrial. The second clause of the Sixth Amendment is the public trial clause. The most important reason why the right to a public trial is included in the Sixth Amendment and Constitution is because if trials were not public, any thing could happen to someone who is accused and no one would ever know.

A public trial guarantees that a trial is on record which ensures that the process was fair to the accused. Unlike public trials a secret trial would not put any pressure on anyone to tell the truth and may cause an unknown victim or witness to the crime to stay in the dark and be scared to come out about what happened. The right to a public trial is beneficial for the accused because it helps to assure the criminal defendant a fair and accurate adjudication of guilt or innocence, it discourages perjury, and decisions are based on secret bias or partiality.

But in general the main reason behind the public trial clause is it holds corrupt officials at bay and prevents them from harming people unjustly. Boyer v. Louisiana was decided on April 29, 2013. The story line starts in 2002 when two brothers Jonathan Edward Boyer and Anthony were walking down a roadway and Bradlee Marsh later gave the boys a ride, Boyer then demanded money from him and when Marsh refused to give up any money Boyer shot him in the head three times then robbed him of his silver chain and money. Boyer was then indicted in Louisiana State court on charges of armed robbery with firearms and second degree murder.

He was found guilty on both charges. Jonathon later filed a motion for a new trial that was quickly denied by the court. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the second-degree murder charge, and 104 years without parole for the armed robbery charge. While on appeal, Boyer argued that the trial failed to properly determine his mental competency, by sustaining State’s objection to Boyer’s attempt to present testimony, as his brother, Anthony, had violent tendencies and that Boyer an extremely long sentence.

The court of appeals held that the trial did not prejudice Boyer, nor did it abuse its discretion. Boyer also argued that Louisiana denied him a speedy trial by not funding his indigent defense. Louisiana said that Boyer was responsible for the delays in the trl and even if the State was responsible, Boyer’s speedy-trial claim would apply only to the murder charge and not the armed-robbery charge. In general this supreme court case correlates because under the 6th Amendment the accused has the right to a speedy trial and which Boyer claimed he did not receive.

This is vital to the case because the question of the speedy trial could have had an affect on the ruling. In addition Boyer’s mental competency or decision making could have affected by the length of his trial. Vermont V. Brillion was decided on March 9, 2009. June 2004 after three years of awaiting trial Michael Brillon was charged with aggravated domestic violence, and was ultimately sentenced to twelve-to-twenty years confinement. On appeal, he argued that the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the charges against him for lack of a speedy trial.

The United States Supreme Court also granted certiorari on October 1, 2008 to determine if delays caused by a breakdown in the assigned counsel system can ever be the basis for a violation of the right to a speedy trial. The case closed with the Supreme Court of Vermont agreeing and remanding with instructions for the trial court to set aside Mr. Brillon’s conviction and dismiss the charges against him. The court held that Mr. Brillon was not prosecuted within a time frame that satisfied his constitutional rights stated in the speedy trial clause and act of 1974.

The Court reasoned that the state was not relieved of its duty to provide Mr. Brillon with a speedy trial because the public defenders assigned to him were mostly responsible for the delay. This case connects to the Speedy Trial clause because Brillion i initially waited three years for a decision and according to his rights in the speedy trial clause this causes the case to void the amendment which would lead to Brillion winning the case. Barker V. Wingo was decided on June 22, 1972. On July 20, 1958, intruders beat an elderly couple to death in Christian County, Kentucky.

Shortly afterward, police arrested Silas Manning and Willie Barker for the crime. Both were indicted on September 15 and assigned counsel on September 17. Barker’s trial was scheduled to begin on September 21, but the state believed it had a stronger case against Manning and that Manning’s testimony would be essential to convict Barker. The state obtained a series of continuances on Barker’s trial, as Manning was tried five times and finally convicted in 1962. Barker’s trial was set for March 19, 1963, and when the state requested further continuances, Barker unsuccessfully objected.

At his trial beginning on October 9, 1963, Barker was convicted. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. Barker sought habeas corpus relief in district court, by arguing that the long trial delay violated his right to a speedy trial, which the district court denied. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court. In general this case applies to amendment six because it involves a large period of time between the dates in which he was arrested and finally convicted. To continue the case can be seen as prolonged by the state over a five year period.

Therefore Barker had the right under the speedy trial clause to claim that he was not honored with his right to a speedy trial. Moore V. Dempsey was decided on February 19, 1923. Moore resulted from a racial clash in Phillips County, Arkansas, in the fall of 1919, in which as many as two hundred blacks and five whites died. The Moore case involved six blacks sentenced to death for the murder of whites following the incident. They had petitioned the federal courts for a writ of habeas corpus, contending that their trials had been mob dominated and that witnesses were tortured to force testimony against them.

The federal district court, however, dismissed the habeas corpus petition. This case is in arguable because the accused right to a public trial because by keeping torturing witnesses in secret violates this right. The witnesses were compromised in secret which caused the case decision to be differently then it could have been had the witnesses weren’t tortured. Sheppard V. Maxwell was decided on June 6, 1966. After suffering a trial court conviction of second-degree murder for the bludgeoning death of his pregnant wife, Samuel Sheppard challenged the verdict as the product of an unfair trial.

Sheppard, who maintained his innocence of the crime, alleged that the trial judge failed to protect him from the massive, widespread, and prejudicial publicity that attended his prosecution. On appeal from an Ohio district court ruling supporting his claim, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. When Sheppard appealed again, the Supreme Court granted certiorari. This case is connects to the sixth amendment because it connects to the right of a public trial. This case is debatable because of its publicity.

In this situation the court case was overly covered by media sources which caused confusion in the case. For this reason the court granted certiorari or a hold on the case because there was insufficient information. Klopfer V. North Carolina was decided on May 31, 1966. The State of North Carolina charged Peter Klopfer with criminal trespass when he participated in a civil rights demonstration at a restaurant. At trial, the jury could not reach a verdict. The Superior Court judge continued the case twice when the state moved for a nolle prosequi with leave.

This would allow the state to suspend their prosecution indefinitely and return the case to the docket in the future. Klopfer objected, arguing that the motion violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, but the judge granted the state’s request. On appeal, the Supreme Court of North Carolina affirmed, holding that the right to a speedy trial does not include the right to compel the state to prosecute. In general this case is an example of the speedy trial clause because since the court continued the case twice and then suspend the case only to possibly have the case brought back for a decision in the future.

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