The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that a defendant cannot "be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." In short, the defendant cannot be forced to speak. If the defendant chooses to remain silent, the prosecutor cannot call the defendant as a witness, nor can a judge or defense attorney force the defendant to testify. (A defendant may, however, be forced to testify as a witness in a civil case.)Right to Confront Witnesses
The "confrontation clause" of the Sixth Amendment gives defendants the right to "be confronted by the witnesses against" them. This gives defendants the right to cross-examine witnesses -- that is, the right to require the witnesses to come to court, "look the defendant in the eye," and subject themselves to questioning by the defense. The Sixth Amendment forbids prosecutors from proving a defendant's guilt with oral or written hearsay statements from non-testifying witnesses, unless a judge concludes that the hearsay is non-testimonial. In general, statements made to private persons or to government officials during an on-going emergency (such as a call reporting a crime-in-progress to a 911 operator) are not testimonial. On the other hand, statements made to police officers seeking information about a past crime are testimonial.
Special Confrontation Rules for Child Sexual Assault Cases + In recent years, legislators have been concerned about defendants who escape punishment for sexually molesting young children because the children were afraid to testify in the defendant's presence. To address this problem, many states have enacted special rules that authorize judges -- in certain situations -- to allow children to testify via closed circuit television. The defendant can see the child on a television monitor, but the child cannot see the defendant. The defense attorney can be personally present where the child is testifying, and can cross-examine the child.
Right to a Public TrialThe Sixth Amendment guarantees public trials in criminal cases. This is an important right, because the presence in courtrooms of a defendant's family and friends, ordinary citizens, and the press can help ensure that the government observes important rights associated with trials.
In a few situations -- normally involving children -- the court will close the court to the public. For example, judges can bar the public from attending cases when defendants are charged with sexual assaults against children. Also, the judge may exclude witnesses from the courtroom in order to prevent a witness from influencing the subsequent testimony of another.Right to a Jury Trial
The Sixth Amendment gives a person accused of a crime the right to be tried by a jury, except for petty offenses carrying a sentence of six months or less of jail time. This right has traditionally been interpreted to mean a 12-person jury. However, a jury can constitutionally consist of as few as six persons, but defendants tried by six-person juries can be convicted only if the jury is unanimous in favor of guilt.
In most cases, a unanimous verdict is required to convict a defendant. In most states, a lack of unanimity is called a "hung jury," and the defendant will go free unless the prosecutor decides to retry the case. In Oregon and Louisiana, however, juries may convict or acquit a defendant on a vote of ten to two. And the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a state law providing for less-than-unanimous verdicts by 12-person juries in non-death penalty cases.
Potential jurors must be selected randomly from the community, and the actual jury must be selected by a process that allows the judge and lawyers to screen out biased jurors. In addition, a lawyer may eliminate several potential jurors simply because he feels that these people would not be sympathetic to his side -- but these decisions (called "peremptory challenges") may not be based on the juror's personal characteristics such as race, sex, religion, or national origin.Right to a Speedy Trial
The Sixth Amendment gives defendants a right to a "speedy trial." However, it does not specify exact time limits. Thus, judges often have to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a defendant's trial has been so delayed that the case should be thrown out. In making this decision, judges look at the length of the delay, the reason for the delay, and whether the delay has prejudiced (harmed) the defendant's position.
Every jurisdiction has enacted statutes that set time limits for moving cases from the filing of the initial charge to trial. While these statutes are very strict in their wording, most defendants cannot get their convictions reversed on the ground that these statutes were violated.Right to Be Represented by an Attorney
The Sixth Amendment provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to have the assistance of counsel for his defense." If a defendant cannot afford an attorney (is "indigent"), a judge must appoint an attorney at government expense, but only if the defendant might be actually imprisoned for a period of more than six months for the crime. As a practical matter, judges routinely appoint attorneys for indigents in nearly all cases in which a jail sentence is a possibility. Otherwise, the judge would be locked into giving an unrepresented defendant a nonjail sentence or a shorter sentence than he or she might think appropriate after hearing the evidence. For more information, see Nolo's article Criminal Defense Lawyer FAQ.Right to Adequate Representation
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that both indigent defendants who are represented by appointed counsel and defendants who hire their own attorneys are entitled to adequate representation -- that is, to have a lawyer who does a reasonably good job at defending the defendant.
However, adequate representation is by no means perfect representation. Here are examples of claims that defendants have made to get their guilty verdicts thrown out but that appellate courts have rejected:the attorney failed to call favorable witnesses at trialthe attorney failed to object to a judge's mistaken instructions to jurors concerning the burden of proofthe attorney repeatedly advised a defendant who claimed innocence to plead guiltythe attorney used cocaine during the time the representation took place, andthe attorney represented the defendant while being suspended from the practice of law for failure to pay state bar dues.
On the other hand, circumstances can be sufficiently shocking to justify throwing out a guilty verdict based on an attorney's incompetence. Judges have ruled that the following claims justify a reversal of a guilty verdict:the attorney put a law student intern in charge of the defense and left the courtroom while the case was going onduring closing arguments, the attorney acknowledged that the defendant was guilty of a lesser crime without first securing the defendant's approval of this tactic, andduring voir dire (questioning of the jury), the attorney failed to challenge two potential jurors who said they would be bothered by the defendant's failure to testify.Right Not to Be Placed in Double Jeopardy
Among the clauses of the Fifth Amendment is this well-known provision: "nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." This provision, known as the double jeopardy clause, protects defendants from harassment by preventing them from being put on trial more than once for the same offense. Double jeopardy problems are unusual, because prosecutors usually want to wrap up all their charges at one time in the same case.
One important exception to the rule against double jeopardy is that defendants can properly be charged for the same conduct by different sovereigns. For example, a defendant may face charges in both federal and state court for the same conduct if some aspects of that conduct violated federal laws while other elements ran afoul of the laws of the state.
Furthermore, the double jeopardy clause forbids more than one criminal prosecution growing out of the same conduct. A defendant can be brought once to criminal court (by the government) and once to civil court (by members of the public) for the same offense.
For a comprehensive guide that answers your questions about every part of a criminal case, get The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System, by Paul Bergman and Sara J. Berman (Nolo). If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney, check out Nolo's trusted Lawyer Directory, to find a lawyer near you.
Citizens Court Watch + & Thank You For Taking The Time To Read This Websites
I Hope That This Websites Can Help You & Others With Your Court Cases / Laws.
You Can E-Mail US AT email@example.comYou Can Also Write To Us at Rommel P. Westlaw @ P.O. Box 18010 Spokane, Washington. 99228-0010 U.S.A. P.O. Box 960 Newman Lake, Wa. 99025 or P.O. Box 1144 Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
Phone Messages Call Us at (Washington D.C. Offices) At # 202-670-LAWS (5297) Florida # 561-90-PRO-SE (7-7673) Spokane, Wa. # 509-701-5683 or 509-465-4528 Wisconsin # 920-39-JUDGE (5-8343) Texas # 512-887-8779 All Calls Are Welcome
You May Help Others By Making $$$ A Small Donation Or Help With Your Time. PLEASE REMEMBER DO NOT TAKE THE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS 911*
Disclaimer and Fair Use Pages For Westlaw Books + See Full Disclaimer Page + Its Five 5 Button Down From The Top Of This Website + You Can Click # Button + To Read The Whole Disclaimer For This Website and My Other Website's Info. !
Disclaimer of Warranties and Liabilities: This site does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, safety or merchantability of fitness for a particular purpose of the information contained in This site nor in any way endorse the individuals or institutions listed in This site.
In No Event Shall Westlawbooks.com, or Any Other Web Address Etc. or Domain from Westlaw Books or its staff, its sponsors, its contributors or its ISP be liable for any damages whatsoever, including, without limitation, direct, special, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages, or damages for lost profits, loss of money or revenue, or loss of use, arising out of or related to the westlawbooks.com or Any Other Web Address or Domain from Westlaw Books or my other internet Web Site or the information contained in it, whether such damages arise in contract, negligence, tort, under statute, in equity, at law or otherwise.
If you have a Complaint About Westlaw Books Dot Com or My Other Domain's ? Content of this Website, how about telling the webmaster first? You can Contact the Webmaster In Writing At P. O. Box 18010 Spokane, WA. 99228-0010 U.S.A.
Disclaimer: + This is A Disclaimer from the Owner of this Website + Please Read ! + Nothing Here Is To Be Construed As "Legal Advice". We Are Not Lawyers, And We Are Not Pretending To Be Lawyers. This manual and website and information is intended purely as a communication of information in accordance with the right of free speech. It does not constitute either general or specific legal advice. Anyone who is seeking any legal advice should consult a competent professional.
The following is provided for informational purposes only and is intended to be used as a guide prior to consultation with an attorney familiar with your specific legal situation. Westlaw Books is not engaged in rendering legal or other Info. & professional advice, and this form is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.
Permission to quote statements we make and use our graphics is hereby granted without obtaining permission. We do Not copyright our quotes or graphics we create, which we Want to be widely dissembled to further the cause of Liberty and Justice for your Families and For All Families. If you use our materials, we certainly would appreciate being informed. Thank you ! Disclaimer and Fair Use Pages For Westlaw Books + See Full Disclaimer Page + Its Five 5 Button Down From The Top Of This Website + You Can Click # Button + To Read The Whole Disclaimer For This Website and My Other Website's Info. !