Understanding the Sixth Amendment: What Is an Impartial Jury?

Everyone who has watched a criminal justice show, like Law and Order, or something akin to that, knows the gist of the Sixth Amendment.

In those shows, they use the term ‘impartial jury’ a lot, which always seems to confuse people. How can anyone be completely impartial? Is that even a possibility?

Without going into the philosophy or psychology of it, an impartial jury is a crucial part of the Sixth Amendment and the whole structure of the US justice system. Without it, the court system in the US wouldn’t be as trusted as it is right now.

Let’s read on to see some of the significant portions of what is an impartial jury, and what do we mean when we say ‘fair trial’?

Sixth Amendment and the Right To an Impartial Jury

There are many different aspects to the Sixth Amendment, which are all related to the rights of the criminal defendants. Some of these are:

  • Right to a public trial without any delay
  • Right to an impartial jury
  • Right to a lawyer
  • Right to know who your accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence against you

As you can see an impartial jury is an integral part of the Sixth Amendment, without which the amendment would be empty words and promises.

What Is an Impartial Jury

An impartial jury has two facets to it. The first being that the jury has to be chosen from a representative cross-section of the community in which the trial is taking place.

That’s why the process of choosing the jurors can sometimes take days, even weeks, as each side chooses the juror depending on their own requirements and ideas about the ‘perfect juror.’

That’s why you need to hire a criminal defense attorney in such difficult and complicated trials because they know what questions to ask and which juror to pick.

The second aspect of an impartial jury is that the members of the jury must be unbiased, without which the defendant wouldn’t have been given a fair trial.

That’s one of the reasons you would see in courtroom cases on TV that the juries are sometimes isolated from the world.

They are usually encumbered in a hotel room or a place where they wouldn’t be able to communicate with the community or see any news from the outside world.

The presumption is that all these news channels and newspapers are themselves biased, and would result in a bias in the juror’s mind.

If by any chance the juror or the entire jury is found to be contaminated by the outside world, the entire jury is dismissed, and the process begins all over again. This is because a fair trial for the criminal defendant is so crucial.

Now You Know What’s the Gist of an Impartial Jury

There are many nuances to an impartial jury that cannot be explained but must be sensed. It’s not as simple as it sounds, because every person in the community has a different idea of what impartiality is and what is fair.

That’s why we need to ensure that we keep on investigating the idea of an impartial jury and keep on going forward as a nation.

If you found this article enlightening, please check out the other blog posts on our website.

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