Sixth Amendment

Right to Speedy Trial by Jury, Witnesses, Counsel

Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

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.

Read Interpretations of the Sixth Amendment

More about Sixth Amendment

The Drafting Table

Coming soon for this provision! Until then, you can use Writing Rights to explore key historical documents, early drafts and major proposals behind each provision, and discover how the drafters deliberated, agreed and disagreed, on the path to compromise and the final text.

In the Classroom

Teach the Constitution in your classroom with nonpartisan resources including videos, lesson plans, podcasts, and more. Check out our classroom resources organized by each article or amendment, and by key constitutional questions.

Media Library: Sixth Amendment

Blog Post

Ramos v. Louisiana: Does the 14th Amendment Require Unanimous Jury Verdicts?

When we think about trial by jury in criminal cases, we all probably envision a 12-member jury that must reach a unanimous verdict…

Oct 9

Educational Video

The Sixth Amendment

A deep dive into the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to a speedy and public trial. In this video, Khan…

More from the National Constitution Center

Carry the Constitution in Your Pocket! Download the App

The Interactive Constitution is available as a free app on your mobile device.

Visit the National Constitution Center

Find out about upcoming programs, exhibits, and educational initiatives on the National Constitution Center’s website.

Support the Interactive Constitution

The National Constitution is a private nonprofit. Please support our educational mission of increasing awareness and understanding of the U.S. Constitution.