Amdt6.4.3.2 Right to Trial by Jury Generally

Sixth 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.

The Supreme Court’s current doctrine on the applicability of the Sixth Amendment right to jury trial comprises two major principles: (1) the right applies to prosecutions for any offense with a maximum authorized penalty that exceeds six months’ imprisonment, because such offenses are not “petty” ;1 and (2) the right applies to the adjudication of all elements of a criminal offense, a category that includes any fact (other than the fact of a prior conviction) that increases the minimum or maximum applicable penalty.2 As a result of this second principle, a statutory sentencing scheme cannot constitutionally delegate determination of any penalty-increasing fact to the judge at sentencing.3 Aside from these two major points, the Court has also established that the right to jury trial does not apply in juvenile court proceedings,4 military cases (e.g., courts martial),5 or proceedings to determine whether a defendant is intellectually disabled and therefore protected from capital punishment under the Eighth Amendment.6

Blanton v. City of North Las Vegas, 489 U.S. 538, 542 (1989). back
Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99, 111 (2013) ( “[A]ny ‘facts that increase the prescribed range of penalties to which a criminal defendant is exposed’ are elements of the crime . . . [and] the Sixth Amendment provides defendants with the right to have a jury find those facts beyond a reasonable doubt.” ); id. at 113 n.2 ( “Juries must find any facts that increase either the statutory maximum or minimum because the Sixth Amendment applies where a finding of fact both alters the legally prescribed range and does so in a way that aggravates the penalty.” ). back
Id. at 113 n.2. back
McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 403 U.S. 528, 545 (1971) ( “[W]e conclude that trial by jury in the juvenile court’s adjudicative stage is not a constitutional requirement.” ). back
United States ex rel. Toth v. Quarles, 350 U.S. 11, 37 (1955) ( “Defendants in cases arising in the armed forces, we think, are not entitled to demand trial by jury, whether the crime was committed on foreign soil or at a place within a State or previously ascertained district.” ); see Amdt5.2.3 Military Exception to Grand Jury Clause. back
Schriro v. Smith, 546 U.S. 6, 7 (2005); see also Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 317 (2002). back