Legal Briefs

Harrison v. United States

By Tim Lynch and Jarett B. Decker
October 1, 2000
Cato’s brief contests the “petty offense” exception to the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury, claiming that it has led to gross miscarriages of justice. The “petty offense” exception is incompatible with Article III’s guarantee of a trial by jury for “all crimes” and the Sixth Amendment’s provision of an “impartial jury” for “all criminal prosecutions.” The Framers saw this right as absolute, so an exception for “petty” crimes is a constitutional perversion.

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