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In three current high-profile criminal cases, federal prosecutors have asked that the identities of Israeli government witnesses be withheld from defendants and their attorneys — a move some legal scholars see as a highly unusual end run around the 6th Amendment.
Defense attorneys in all three cases have argued, with mixed results, that allowing U.S. prosecutors to keep the witnesses' identities secret — as demanded by Israel to protect its agents — violates their clients' constitutional right to confront their accusers.
In a unanimous opinion written by the one of the court's most consistently conservative voices, Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court ruled that defendants have a right to know their accusers and challenge the reliability of their statements, no matter their credentials.
"Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with jury trial because a defendant is obviously guilty," Scalia wrote. "This is not what the 6th Amendment prescribes."
Amendment VI (the Sixth Amendment) of the United States Constitution codifies rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts. The Supreme Court has ruled that these rights are so fundamental and important that they are protected in state courts by the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.
Text of the amendment: 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.
Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing that given to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct economic and military assistance since 1976, and is the largest recipient in total since World War Two, to the tune of well over $140 billion (in 2004 dollars). Israel receives about $3 billion in direct assistance each year, roughly one-fifth of the foreign aid budget, and worth about $500 a year for every Israeli. This largesse is especially striking since Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to that of South Korea or Spain.
Other recipients get their money in quarterly installments, but Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and can thus earn interest on it. Most recipients of aid given for military purposes are required to spend all of it in the US, but Israel is allowed to use roughly 25 per cent of its allocation to subsidise its own defence industry. It is the only recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent, which makes it virtually impossible to prevent the money from being used for purposes the US opposes, such as building settlements on the West Bank. Moreover, the US has provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems, and given it access to such top-drawer weaponry as Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 jets. Finally, the US gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its Nato allies and has turned a blind eye to Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Originally posted by xpert11
I'm confused as to how the Sixth Amendment can apply to people who aren't US citizens that is unless the Israeli agents are US citizens.
Anyway if the likes of security agents are going to be witnesses the trial should be held behind closed doors and the records kept secret. This would allow for a fair trial and secrecy.