July 22, 2023 at 9:24 pm #116Jonathan BuhacoffKeymaster
A government accusing a person of a crime must inform the person of the charges, must conduct a speedy and public trial, must organize an impartial jury, must allow the accused to confront witnesses at the trial, must compel witnesses named by the accused to appear in court, must provide the accused with assistance of competent counsel for their defense, must not compel the accused to testify against themselves, must not deprive the accused of life, liberty, or property without a lawful process, must not demand bail, and must not conduct more than one trial for the same offense. For a felony (capital) offense, the government must first indict the accused by a grand jury. No person shall be imprisoned, punished, or exiled without a fair trial.
An appeal is not considered a separate trial, but a continuation of the original trial.
In the United States, this right corresponds to the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution.
In the United States Constitution, the Fifth Amendment states “No person all be… compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. This is important because if the government is allowed to compel a person to testify against themselves, it creates the possibility of forced confessions and the state can become lazy and coerce people to testify against themselves even for a crime they didn’t commit instead of obtaining evidence and convincing a jury.
Article 7 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” The first sentence of that relates to the right to fair trial.
Article 9 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” This relates to the right to fair trial because an arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile implies a punishment that is done without a fair legal process to ascertain its necessity.
Article 10 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.” This relates to the right to fair trial.
Article 11 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.” This relates to the right to fair trial, because if a person is presumed guilty during a trial this may unfairly influence the outcome.
Military members have the same rights in military trials, although the way those trials are conducted might be different, and the jury might be different size than a civil trial.
The part that says “must not demand bail” means there is no bail system. A judge either believes the accused to be a danger to the public or a flight risk and orders an accused person to stay under arrest pending trial, or the judge doesn’t believe this and releases a person pending their trial, but must not demand bail for a person to be free. This eliminates a two-tier justice system where people under the similar conditions have different freedoms based on whether they have money to post bail or not. A judge may allow a person to be released but confiscate their passport or driver’s license to limit their travel, or order them to have a wrist or ankle cuff that reports their location to the government or identifies them to any public transportation officer or law enforcement officer as pending trial so they will not be allowed to leave the state, or if found in another state immediately arrested.
The right to fair trial prohibits discrimination against a defendant based on characteristics they cannot control such as their sex, the color of their skin, or their place of birth.
In a civil lawsuit, in some cases the accused should have a right to a trial as described above. Open question — in what cases? In the United States Constitution, the Seventh Amendment states that in suits for value over $20 the accused has a right to trial by jury. Such specific numbers should not be present in the Constitution or in law because the value of money changes over time. Instead, we might use a percentage. For example, in a civil lawsuit where the plaintiff seeks damages in excess of 1% of the defendant’s annual earnings from all sources, the defendant has a right to a trial by jury. Another possibility is that defendants always have a right to trial by jury regardless of the amount of damages being sought. Yet another possibility is that there are no civil lawsuits — a person either caused harm to another person and will undergo a criminal trial, or the dispute will be resolved by arbitration.
- This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Jonathan Buhacoff.
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