Proposed Legislative Amendment on Rights

Amendment Purpose: 
1967 Constitutional Convention Amendment: Right to counsel "at every stage of the proceeding" in all criminal matters
Summary of Amendment: 
  • Preserves trial by jury in all criminal and civil cases and extends right for certain misdemeanors to New York City, commencing in 1970. 

Article I

Bill of Rights

Section 3. It continues the right of trial by jury in all criminal and civil cases as heretofore provided and extends the right by guaranteeing trial by jury in all criminal cases where the punishment may be in excess of six months imprisonment. Every defendant is guaranteed the right to counsel at all stages of a criminal proceeding. In cases of felony, the defendant is entitled to a preliminary examination or an inspection of the grand jury minutes and may not be tried except by indictment of a grand jury unless indictment is waived by the defendant. Excessive bail may not be required and the court may dispense with bail if reasonably satisfied that the defendant will appear.

Legislative Amendment Text: 

Article I

Bill of Rights

§ 5. a. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property with­out due process of law.

b. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense, nor shall any person be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to appear and defend in person, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses and to have the assistance of counsel at every stage of the proceeding.

c. No person shall be held to answer for an offense punishable by death or by a term of imprisonment of more than one year unless on indictment of a grand jury, except that a person held for the action of a grand jury upon a charge for such an offense, other than one punishable by death or life imprisonment, with the consent of the district attorney, may waive indictment by a grand jury and con­sent to be prosecuted on an information filed by the district attorney.

d. In every prosecution for a felony, there shall be a preliminary examination unless waived by the accused. In the event of indictment without the opportunity of such examination, the accused shall have the right to inspect the minutes of the grand jury.
Legislative History: 

In 1967, the New York State Constitutional Convention proposed a whole new Constitution that contained this provision and these changes to a vote of the people of the State of New York at the General Election asking "Shall the proposed new Constitution, adopted by the Constitutional Convention, and the Resolution submitting same, be approved?"  The Constitution as a whole was voted down by the people, which included these changes. 

Learn more on our page devoted to the 1967 Convention.  The Proceedings of the Convention are available from the New York State Library and you can download; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; "> a PDF copy of the Constitution proposed by the 1967 Constitutional Convention. 




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