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C O U R S E 
Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases
Professor Kermit Roosevelt, III, University of Pennsylvania
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Sixth Amendment
Notes taken on December 5, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
write to have a lawyer
Clarence Earl Gideon
had a rough life
father died when he was three
made it through the 8th grade
ran away, drifted away
ran into trouble with the law
1961 was working as an electrician
someone broke into a pool room and stole money
someone accused Clarence of the crime
couldn't afford a lawyer
at the time, the state of Florida would only appoint a lawyer for you in a death penalty case
Gideon represented himself
criminal defense is complicated
you have to know many rules regarding evidence and procedure
he hadn't been to law school or even high school
for possibly stealing a couple dollars, he gets convicted for five years
while he's in jail, he started reading the U.S. Constitution
the Constitution was written so that common people can understand it
he reads the Sixth Amendment
"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 defense."
he felt that when Florida tried him without giving him a lawyer, it violated this right
the Sixth Amendment doesn't apply to the states, but through the 14th Amendment it does
Gideon writes a petition in pencil to the Supreme Court of Florida
catches the court's attention
they take the case and rule 9-0 for him
Gideon gets new lawyer
jury acquits him only have an hour of deliberation
other rights in the sixth amendment
ensure a fair trial
the right to be told what the charges against you are
you have the right to confront the witnesses against you
cross examine them
have the right to bring people in to testify for you, even against their will
right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury
the right to a counsel and a right to a jury are similar in one way
both work to ensure that the defendant is not alone
the jury is not on your side, but they are not on the government's side either
they are your peers
they represent the people
the Sixth Amendment makes the trial fairer
reduce mistaken convictions
supports "proof beyond a reasonable doubt"
when there are mistakes, it should be on the side of acquitting the guilty instead of convicting the innocent
the cost of mistaken acquittals is worth bearing
the sixth amendment leads to more guilty people being acquitted
but this is not as true as you might think
90 to 95% of all cases end with a plea bargain
even more true for appointed lawyers
so what the Sixth Amendment means in most cases is that you have a lawyer to negotiate your plea bargain
with a plea bargain, the government says, "we think you did something very bad, and we're willing to go to court to prove this, but if you agree to admit that you did something slightly less bad, then we won't have the trial, and offer to you, accept the lesser charge, but don't contest it"
differences between right to jury and right to a lawyer
who can serve on a jury has always been an issue for certain people
gays and lesbians
when we think about the jury right, we shouldn't think of this just as a right for the defendant
a right to serve and play a role in the administration of justice
today people want to get out of jury service