Huey Newton's Trial

710 Words 3 Pages
America was founded of the principle of freedom and equality. The colonist came to America to escape oppression, fought the British Empire to thwart tyranny, and inscribed man’s inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, are rights given to all citizens. These amendments protected citizen’s basic liberties and guaranteed proper due process for all. After the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, all persons could not be exempted from the protection of the law. This law was intended to grant citizenship to all African Americans. However, this did translate into civil life. Racism was still prominent in the states and the fourteenth amendment was ignored by majority …show more content…
His rights to a fair and speedy trial by his peers were blatantly ignored. Most of the rights granted to citizens in the court room are in the sixth amendment. Along with the right to a public and speedy trial, the sixth amendment guarantees the right to an impartial jury of one’s peers. As stated before, Huey Newton did not have a good public image. When the jury selection began, the prosecution went out its way to remove any minorities on the jury. Huey Newton, the Black Panther leader, was put on trial in front of a jury of 1960’s white males. The majority had already decided to, before the trial, that Huey Newton was guilty. They either thought that Huey Newton was a cold blooded killer, or that it would weaken the Black Panther’s power. Either way, the decisions made were not based on evidence. In a modern setting, this level of disregard for proper judicial due process would not stand. The case would have never seen a court room, much less a conviction. Huey Newton was convicted of manslaughter. However the court’s decision was repealed in 1970 by the California Court of Appeals. The case went back to court twice and, both times, ended in a mistrial. The juries, in both cases, could not come to a decision. Eventually, after the defense began discrediting the eye-witness accounts and a decline in the prosecution’s effectiveness, the prosecution dropped the charges. The Huey Newton trial can be seen as a gross insult to judicial process and the constitution, but can, also, shed light on the importance of the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals was able to overturn a faulty conviction, and provide the means for a more fair trial to take place. Tying the courts back to the importance of the constitution’s checks and balances. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are the universal constants of the U.S court system. No matter the case, the courts most default back to people’s rights and rule

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