6th Amendment

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-65051

Amendment VI of the United States 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 defence.


Ratified December 15, 1791

Relevant Cases or Laws

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

The Supreme Court held that the right to counsel in a criminal trial guaranteed by the 6th Amendment also applies to criminal trials in state court, incorporated through the 14th Amendment. The court must provide counsel to those who are unable to afford the assistance of counsel. Learn More

Crawford v. Washington (2004)

The Supreme Court held that the Confrontation Clause under the 6th Amendment applies to out-of-court testimony used against the accused, including testimony obtained by police during an interrogation. Learn More

Teaching Tools, Lesson Plans, & Activities

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)” includes documents, materials, activities, and case summaries, posted by LandmarkCases.org

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)” includes handouts and activities, posted by Bill of Rights Institute

Key Constitutional Concepts from the Annenberg Classroom. The second segment in this video contains information about Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) and the right to counsel.

The Confrontation Clause: Crawford v. Washington from the Annenberg Classroom. The video examines the 6th Amendment right of the accused to be confronted by witnesses against them in a criminal trial through a discussion of Crawford v. Washington (2004).

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