Civil rights continue to dominate public discourse these days, and rightly so. Many American citizens do not thoroughly know about all the rights they have as human beings, as American citizens, protected by the US Constitution. So, with that in mind, we’re beginning a new series on the Sixth Amendment. What rights does the Sixth Amendment protect? How could they be important for your case? Today, we’ll look at the notice of accusation clause in the Sixth Amendment.
Notice of Accusation Clause: Basics
First, let’s cover the basics. Here’s the Sixth Amendment in its entirety.
“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 defence.”
The notice of accusation clause comes from the line that reads, “and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.” This means that during your arrest AND your trial, officers of the law must inform you of the crime you’re accused of committing. They cannot arrest you without doing so, and they cannot prosecute you without doing so.
Notice of Accusation Clause and You
Second, what might this have to do with you and your case? Well, if you’ve been arrested and were never informed of the crime you’ve been accused of committing, then an unlawful arrest has happened. In such instances, the case often gets thrown out because the officers did not do their duty. This is not unlike when a police officer fails to Mirandize the person they’re arresting. If you have a knowledgable and confident defense attorney by your side, they can use your Sixth Amendment rights in your favor!