Learn how you can help ensure that the principle of due process endures this crisis
The People must have a meaningful opportunity to be heard by an unbiased tribunal in a speedy manner.
The People have the right to present evidence, call witnesses, cross-examine opposing witnesses, and to know the opposing evidence.
The People have the right to be assisted by defense counsel.
Due Process Institute works on the federal and state levels in support of meaningful 6th Amendment rights.
Due Process Institute supports your 6th Amendment rights in America's courts.
Interested in learning more about the many barriers to 6th Amendment rights?
The right to a jury trial must not only be protected, but encouraged. Having government accusations and novel legal theories challenged creates a better, fairer system for everyone, including victims. And while the practice of "plea bargaining" might be necessary for the efficiency of our current criminal legal system, the fact that over 97% of criminal cases are resolved without a jury trial suggests that our system has procedurally stacked the deck against defendants to an extreme degree.
When criminal trials are effectively eliminated, those who are accused are deprived of their rights and the legal system itself is deprived of the right to test the fairness of its laws, its evidence, or its conduct. We strive to address the many factors that work together to coerce guilty pleas rather than encourage a person to exercise their constitutional right to a jury trial and are trying to remove the procedural impediments that exist which unfairly balance the scales in the favor of the government. Further, we believe that the government should not extract a "penalty" when someone exercises their right to a trial.
We also focus on the many procedural hurdles to the right to trial that exist, including:
The constitutional right to a fair defense encompasses a wide variety of much-needed reforms. Chief among these is the improvement of "discovery" in criminal cases, which refers to the process in which an accused person is given timely access to all the information about their case that is in the hands of the government.
We also support the recording of all custodial interrogations, providing meaningful opportunity to confront witnesses (particularly snitches), and using only valid forensic science in the courtroom.
Effective defense counsel is absolutely necessary for our criminal justice system to function properly. We support efforts to ensure that all accused persons, including those who cannot afford to pay, have an independent and effective voice in their corner.
Our current work focuses mostly on the many procedural hurdles to the effective assistance of counsel that exist.