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.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affords criminal defendants seven discrete personal liberties: (1) the right to a Speedy Trial; (2) the right to a public trial; (3) the right to an impartial jury; (4) the right to be informed of pending charges; (5) the right to confront and to cross-examine adverse witnesses; (6) the right to compel favorable witnesses to testify at trial through the subpoena power of the judiciary; and (7) the right to legal counsel. Ratified in 1791, the Sixth Amendment originally applied only to criminal actions brought by the federal government.
Over the past century, all of the protections guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment have been made applicable to the state governments through the doctrine of selective incorporation. Under this doctrine, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment require each state to recognize certain fundamental liberties that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights because such liberties are deemed essential to the concepts of freedom and equality. Together with the Supremacy Clause of Article VI, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits any state from providing less protection for a right conferred by the Sixth Amendment than is provided under the federal Constitution.