Guarantees in criminal and civil cases

Reference

Amendment VII to the U.S. Constitution
"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."
Amendment VI to the U.S. Constitution
"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 defense."

Articles

Fourth Circuit Moussaoui Ruling Is a Loss for the Constitution, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 30 Apr 2004
In Defense of Jury Nullification, by Vin Suprynowicz, 1 Aug 2005
Related Topic: John Jay
"The most vital precedent in establishing trial by jury as a vital safeguard against state usurpation was the Bushell case ... in London in 1670 ... the English Court of Common Pleas finally came to their rescue, ruling that a jury could refuse to enforce a law if it offended their conscience or if they weren't allowed to read it for themselves ..."
Pentagon Learns About the Sixth Amendment, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 30 Jul 2004
"Why did the Framers consider assistance of counsel sufficiently important to include it in the Bill of Rights? The Supreme Court explained in the 1938 case of Johnson v. Zerbst, '[The assistance of counsel] is one of the safeguards of the Sixth Amendment deemed necessary to insure fundamental human rights of life and liberty."
The Bill of Rights: The Rights of the Accused, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Feb 2005
"... the right to a speedy trial is to ensure that a federal prosecutorial hammer is not held over someone's head for an indefinite period of time and to prevent indefinite detentions of people accused of crimes. ... a public trial is to ensure that government prosecutorial actions are exposed to public view, so as to discourage abuses of prosecutorial power."
The Bill of Rights: Trial by Jury, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Jan 2005
"Trial by jury is one of the essential prerequisites of a free society. ... it is one of the ultimate safeguards against tyranny and oppression. ... Jury tampering to secure a particular result is much more difficult to accomplish, especially since the composition of the jury is unknown until the time of trial."
Free Cory Maye, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, May 2006
Related Topics: War on Drugs, Foreign Entanglements
"Yes, he had a jury trial. But when the American people are bombarded with drug-war propaganda all their lives and when the police in a small southern town testify about the fatal shooting by a black man of one of their own (a white cop), objectivity and cool-headedness are not to be expected. Maye had little chance of being exonerated."
UpdHow Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, Jun 1996
Related Topics: Liberty, U.S. Bill of Rights, Entrepreneurship, John Hancock, Abraham Lincoln, War
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics of liberty in the history of the United States
"What method of resolving disputes did trial by jury replace? ... Trial by battle. Apparently the custom had been to settle many disputes by fighting. King Henry II (1154-1189) introduced a number of legal reforms which, among other things, gave people the option of having a group of peers resolve a dispute. ..."
Lysander Spooner, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Nov 2005
Related Topics: Lysander Spooner, Government, Magna Carta
"The right of people to defend themselves against the usurpation of government was the central theme of Spooner's next major work, An Essay on the Trial by Jury ... Spooner believed that a jury should judge the justice of laws as well as the facts of cases and then base its verdict on either judgment."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

It's to stop the terrorists ..., by Matt Davies, 15 Sep 2006
The Scales of Justice, by Clay Bennett, The Christian Science Monitor, Oct 2006

Books

An Essay on the Trial by Jury, by Lysander Spooner, 1852
Electronic text available at LysanderSpooner.org