Amendment 6

The Bill of Rights

Amendment 1

Amendment 2

Amendment 3

Amendment 4

Amendment 5

Amendment 6

Amendment 7

Amendment 8

Amendment 9

Amendment 10


Teacher Notes

What if you were arrested in the middle of the night, not told why you were being arrested, thrown in jail, told that 75 people were going to testify against you, but you had no idea who they were, and you responded by saying that you had 10 witnesses that could say you didn't do it, but you had no way to contact those 10 people, and you weren't allowed to call an attorney? You probably wouldn't think that this was very fair. This is exactly why we have the 6th amendment.
  • How do you think your trial would go if you were African-American and 19, but everyone on the jury was Anglo and over 50?
  • How do you think your trial would go if your picture was in the paper everyday for a month before the trial, and all of the reporters on tv were asking you why you did it?
  • How do you think your trial would go if you didn't even know what you were accused of and had to plan a defense? It wouldn't sound very convincing for you to say, "Whatever it is, I didn't do it."

In the United States it is absolutely necessary that everyone be given a fair trial. Some past mistakes have taught us well.

  • Susan B. Anthony, the famous fighter for women's rights, once voted for the president before women were allowed to vote. She was put on trial for breaking the law. At the time, only men could serve on a jury, or serve as judges and lawyers. How do you think her trial ended with an all male jury, judge and lawyers for the crime of voting?
  • What if I said, "I saw you steal $10.00." Don't you think that you have the right to know why I am saying that and who I am? Sometimes our trials have not been very fair. Sometimes someone is accused just because of the color of his skin. Shouldn't he also have the right to know who is accusing him and why?
  • The accused also has the right to force witnesses to come to the trial to help his own defense. What if you were accused of a crime you didn't commit and there were 20 people in your school that saw you when the crime was committed somewhere else in the city. What if those 20 people didn't want to get involved? They were all just thankful that they weren't arrested. What if you couldn't make them come to the trial to say that they saw you, and you were innocent? How do you think that you could defend yourself if you couldn't have any witnesses to help prove your innocence?
  • Which part of the 6th amendment is the most important, in your opinion? Why do you think that?