This report reviews the features and activities of the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) Sixth Amendment Initiative: Strengthening the Constitutional Protections of the Accused, with a focus on the work of five additional sites selected for participation with the initial 10 sites.
BJA’s Sixth Amendment Initiative seeks to improve the capacity of state and local government to uphold the rights specified in the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which include the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, to know the nature of the accusation, to confront and call witnesses, and to have the assistance of a lawyer. Subject matter experts from the Center for Court Innovation (the Center) and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association ( NLADA), provide strategic planning assistance. The current report discusses lessons learned from this training and technical assistance (TTA) team’s work with the five additional sites, called “supplement sites.” The report identifies and discusses lessons learned, with practical advice provided for other jurisdictions interested in strategic planning. The report discusses how the supplement sites approached the work, either through examination of Sixth Amendment protections or project-driven reform planning, as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd affected their efforts.