Everyone who is accused of a crime and it goes to trial has what are called Legal Rights. These are also known as Legal Rights During Trial. I will be discussing four of the eight legal rights during trial. I will also be explaining some of the consequences if these rights were to no longer be upheld.
One of these rights is The Right to Counsel at Trial. This right was established in 1932 by the Supreme Court. This means that no matter what charge is or if it’s a felony or misdemeanor the accused has the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford one on their own. In 1975 the Supreme Court decided that the defendant is permitted to defend themselves unless they are found mentally incompetent.
A second right is The Right To A Speedy Trial. The primary purposes are to improve the credibility of the trial by having the witnesses available for testimony as soon as possible. Another primary purpose is to help the criminal defendants avoid lengthy pretrial detention. A third primary purpose is to avoid an extensive pretrial publicity and questionable conduct of public officials that may influence the defendant’s right to a fair trial. The last primary purpose is avoiding any kind of delay that can affect the defendant’s ability to defend himself or herself against charges.
A third right is The Right to Confront Witnesses. According to the Sixth Amendment the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses that are against him/her. The Supreme Court recently decided that if a witness is made unavailable because of the defendant, the confrontation clause will not be violated. Confrontation Clause is the constitutional right of a criminal defendant to see and cross-examine all the witnesses against him or her.
The fourth right is that I am going to talk about is The Right to a Public Trial. A public trial is where the trial is open to the public and everyone who wants to see it is allowed inside the courtroom during the duration of the trial. Some judges however can require that you keep out all video camera and digital camera due to it can cause some issues in the trial. Critical and extensive reporting by the news media, the release of premature evidence, and vivid and uncalled-for details in indictments can prejudice a defendant’s case.
If these rights were no longer upheld then anyone charged with a crime would be at the mercy of the courts. There would be some major consequences if these rights were no longer upheld. One consequence would be that it would be violating the constitutional rights of those accused. Another consequence is that more people would be convicted and sent to jail or prison regardless if they were actually innocent. A third consequence would be that the courts would have control over every aspect of the trial and could tell an accused person that if they cannot afford an attorney on their own then they would not have one. This would not be fair to those that come from poor backgrounds and cannot afford a personal attorney.
These rights are an important part of the criminal justice system when it comes to going to trial. These rights are there for the protection of the courts and those accused of crimes. The Right to A Public Trial, The Right to a Speedy Trial, The Right to Confront Witnesses, and The Right to Counsel At Trial are just a few of the rights that are part of the legal rights during trial. These rights need to stay and be upheld by the court system so everyone who has been accused of a crime and arrested for it can have a fair trial.