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As the NRA and its ghoulish leaders push for a continued extreme and radical interpretation of the second amendment, some people have looked at how such an interpretation might work out in the first amendment.

Scream fire in a crowded theater? Sure, why not?
Defame people whenever you feel like it? Yeah, it's a free country!

What if we interpreted the sixth amendment in such a radical fashion?

Just to remind us all of that amendment: "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."

Let's take this apart below the fold and see what we get.

First, the amendment states that the following text is to be applied "in ALL criminal prosecutions." So if you're charged with a crime, you must abide by the following rules.

The accused has a right to a "speedy and public trial." OK, speedy. No more continuances and postponements! Doesn't matter how complicated the case is. Doesn't matter how many witnesses need to be deposed, how much material evidence must be processed, how much expert consulting is needed to make the facts clear. If that means the state can't make its case, well, too bad, the perp goes free. If you can't make your defense case and get sent to jail, what are you bitching about? We've just protected your constitutional right to a speedy trial!

Let's move on to "public." We are entitled to public trials. Well, as a member of the public, I think that I should be allowed to view every single trial possible. It's my constitutional right! So let's put video cameras in every courtroom with live feeds to cable companies, satellite providers, and the internet. What do you mean that will cost too much money? What part of "constitutional right" don't you understand?

The jury must be "impartial" and come from the "State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed." That means no more change of venue motions can be entertained. A crime happens in a district, and it gets prosecuted in that district, no matter what kind of publicity is broadcast (and remember, we just said that these are supposed to be public affairs). And if such publicity means that an impartial jury cannot be found within that district? Well, too bad. The person who just blew away an entire grammar school goes free. Don't even think about infringing upon his constitutional rights!

The accused as the right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him." So if 100,000 people see you streak across the football field during the big game, we must depose each and every witness and hear their testimony on the stand. Doesn't matter if the defense stipulates that they all saw the same thing: this is the Constitution we're talking about!

Just one more comment: plea bargains. According to, 90% of criminal cases go to a plea bargain. Outrageous! Ninety percent of accused criminals are not exercising their constitutional rights by the sixth amendment. Hey, if the answer to guns is always more guns, then it follows that the answer to an overburdened criminal justice system is to further burden the criminal justice system. It doesn't matter how much it costs. It doesn't matter how many days of productivity are lost as we all spend weeks every year on jury duty. The Constitution of the United States must be upheld!


So how does that sound, fellow Kossacks?

And if you think this is just satire, you can find an honest-to-goodness proposal to abolish the plea bargain here, from our good friends at the Cato Institute.


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