Is the original intent of the 6th amendment relevant in today's world?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not think that the original intent is particularly relevant today.  There are two reasons why I say this:

First, we have moved away from the values of the Framers in terms of the rights given to criminal defendants.  Specifically, we feel that it is imperative that indigent defendants be provided with a lawyer whether that was the original intent of the amendment or not.  I do not think most Americans would stand for the idea that you don't get a lawyer if you can't afford one.

Second, for most of the other parts of the amendment, there is no real difference between the original intent and current attitudes.  People now are just as opposed to holding someone in jail without trying them, for example.  So there is no real difference on those issues and so I don't think there is much relevance to the original intent.