Month: April 2013

What is an Arraignment?

An arraignment is the first step of a criminal case after an arrest. Its purpose is to inform the accused person of the charges against him. The U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees the accused the right to know what they are accused of. The Founding Fathers added the “arraignment” clause to protect Americans from languishing in jail […]

Written by on April 24, 2013

Sixth Amendment Right to a “Speedy” Trial

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees defendants the right to a speedy trial by a jury of their peers. This right dates back to England’s King Henry II (1154 – 1159) and the Magna Carta (1215). While it seems fairly straightforward, the term “speedy” has been difficult to define.   Purpose of the “Speedy Trial” […]

Written by on April 17, 2013

What is a Statute of Limitations?

The United States is not unique for having statutes of limitations; in fact, the idea migrated across the pond — originating in ancient Rome. A statute of limitations puts a time limit on the filing of civil lawsuits and the prosecution of crimes. No state has a statute of limitation for murder, although different states vary concerning […]

Written by on April 10, 2013

What is a Subpoena and How is It Used?

From the Latin “under punishment,” a subpoena is a written document that requires a person to appear before a court or other legal proceeding at a certain time and place. Failure to do so results in punishment, such as a fine or jail time. Even if the time or place of the legal proceeding is changed, the […]

Written by on April 3, 2013