I originally thought of doing this amendment in parts but really it is a bunch of rights that are designed to protect someone accused of a crime from bad conduct by the state. All of them have their reasons based n the history of what the Founding Fathers had faced in other judicial systems. Ultimately this give us very strict guidelines in how an accused is to be tried and convicted by the state. The accused has the right to ask for any of these right and is entitled to them as the state cannot take them away.
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.
There really is a lot here but all of them are pretty simply explained.
1) You have the right to a speedy trial. The state cannot hold you in a cell indefinitely before they try you. This was to prevent what happened a lot in Europe at the time where a person would be accused but the powers that be would keep the person in jail to get them out of the way. People would sometimes die in jail having never been tried for the crimes they were accused of.
2) All trials are to be public and thus subject to public scrutiny. This prevents the kangaroo court where someone was convicted without anyone to protest. Public trial guarantees the government cannot do anything funny and convict someone without the public knowing about it.
3) The jury needs to be impartial and formed from the district or state where the crime was committed. This means you couldn’t just stack the court in the government’s favor or with people who wanted the person convicted. This is why we have a jury selection process and what district or state this falls under needs to be determined before this process is started.
4) You have the right to know what you are accused of and who is doing the accusing. There s no person simple being held without knowing what they are being held for and who filed the charge. This allows the defense which this amendment definitely favors to begin to legitimately build their case. They know what they are accused of and who accused them. This often means many charges are not filed because the bias would clearly be seen right away.
5) During trial, the accused has the right to be confronted by the witness against them and they can compel witnesses to speak on their behalf even if they do not want to. No secret witness or people who can avoid testifying simple because they don’t like the accused.
6) You have the right to legal counsel. There is theoretically no one who should go to trial without legal advice council and someone who knows the law to help them in their defense. The government should not have the right to take advantage of your ignorance to convict you.
Bottom line, we assume a person is innocent until proven guilty and we use that assumption to give the accused every advantage to prove it. It really puts the pressure on the state to convict more than the defense to defend.
Modern issues involving this are legion of course, from Miranda Rights to Victims Rights but the bottom line is that the accused is to be protected so if they are convicted then that means they used all the advantages but it was clear that they were guilty. The design is to keep the innocent out of jail and free to pursue their own life.
If there is one problem area right now I see it is when on college campuses a student can be expelled from school or an employee from their job on simply the accusation of a crime without conviction. To me this violates the spirit of this right and such students and employees should be allowed to sue their former employer for violation of constitutional rights on this grounds. The whole point is there should be no consequences to the accused until they are convicted.