Why Do the Sixth, Seventh, & Eighth Amendments Matter?

01 the-constitution

  • Amendment VI

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 defence.

  • Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

  • Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

I chose to place these three Amendments together because they all attain to criminal prosecution of American citizens. These three Amendments guarantee that the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense.

It grants us the ability to have a jury by our peers. Sometimes,  those peers disappoint us. The Michael Jackson Trial, the OJ Simpson Trial, the Casey Anthony Trial were all miscarriages of justice, but that is how the system works. Be thankful we have this because in some countries, the burden of proof is on the defense, and even they are found innocent, they can be retried.

I stated earlier in a previous post:

Personally, I think when a criminal case is brought before a judge, and the defendant is acquitted, he should not be tried for the same actions in a civil court. That is merely my opinion, I welcome yours, but it seems to me that, no matter if the crime changes from “murder one” to a “violation of civil rights,” you’re still being charged because of the same crime. This is double jeopardy and it is against the Fifth Amendment.

I still believe that. We are guaranteed a quick and speedy trial. Once that is over, it should be the end of the debate. That is our right!

I’m also thankful for the 8th Amendment, because that keeps us from being lashed, having our extremities cut off (like in some Middle Eastern countries), and helps to receive a fair and just sentence.

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