Criminal Jury Trial: So Important it’s In Constitution Twice

Sixth-Amendment-300x218The list of colonial grievances against King George included in the Declaration of Independence:

“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: … He has abdicated Government here…”

In Article III, the unamended Constitution provided for jury trials in criminal cases as follows:

“The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.”

Right to a Criminal Jury Trial Protected Twice in the Constitution

The idea of a jury trial in criminal cases was so important that this provision was thought insufficient by opponents of the Constitution’s ratification.  When the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, the Sixth Amendment included:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a … 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…”

Read more at:  Sixth Amendment’s Right to a Jury in Criminal Cases




David Shestokas earned his B.A. in Political Science from Bradley University in 1975 and his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School, cum laude, in June of 1987. In 1986-87 he served on The John Marshall Law Review. He studied law at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Mr. Shestokas has been admitted to practice law before the Illinois Supreme Court in 1987, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1988, the Supreme Court of Florida in 2004, and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in 2006. - More at: