The topic of discussion for the Constitution Monday comes from Article III, Section 2, and Clause 3: “The Trial of all Crimes … shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed….” This provision in the Constitution allows defendants to be tried in a location where the witnesses and relatives can attend the trial.
W. Cleon Skousen quoted Edmund Pendleton of Virginia who “commented on the safeguards which the Founders were endeavoring to provide the accused in a criminal case. He said that this provision and the one preceding it guarantee `that the trial shall be by jury [and] that it shall be in the state where the offense is committed…. We have this security – that our citizens shall not be carried out of the state, and that no other trial can be substituted for that by a jury.’
“One of the most serious complaints in the Declaration of Independence against King George III was the fact that he was condemned by the American colonies `for transporting us beyond [the] seas to be tried for pretended offenses.’
“Under the new Constitution the founders did not want similar incidents of injustice to occur where a citizen was tried in one state for a crime allegedly committed in another” (The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 620-621).
Rachel E. Barkow of The Heritage Foundation explained: “Article III (and the Sixth Amendment) also contain[s] provisions relating to venue, the place where a case is to be tried, and vicinage, the place from which the members of the jury pool trying the case are to be drawn. The Declaration of Independence condemned the English practice of transporting colonial defendants overseas to England for trial by juries of Englishmen. In response, the Constitution guarantees a criminal defendant both the right to be tried in the state where his alleged crime was committed and by a jury drawn from the population of the state and district where the alleged crime occurred” (The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 263).