Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment to the Bill of Rights guarantees the right to a trial by jury.

December 15th is Bill of Rights Day. We celebrate the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights gives certain freedoms and rights to the citizens of the United States.

Take a look at the photograph. This shows a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights—a trial by jury. A jury is a group of citizens that decide whether a person is guilty or innocent of a crime. A jury trial is an important freedom. The government cannot declare that someone is guilty of a crime. Instead, people decide. It is part of the Sixth Amendment.

The Sixth Amendment grants rights to people that are accused of a crime. In addition to a trial by jury, it guarantees a speedy trial. Trials must be public. An accused person has the right to know what they are accused of. The accused may hear evidence against them and present evidence in their defense. Finally, the accused may have an attorney, or expert in representing people during trials.   

What Do You Think? Why do you think that a trial by jury is an important freedom? What other freedoms are important to you?

Photo Credit: Corbis