The Instigator
simbaguy2
Pro (for)
Tied
21 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Tied
21 Points

All Felonies should be treated equally

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/21/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,369 times Debate No: 9788
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (6)

 

simbaguy2

Pro

Felonies, decribed in lawinfo.com as "any crime punishable by more than one year in prison or by death for capital offenses". In this debate, it should be argued wether or not all Felonies including, but not limited to Assult, Rape, Murder, and Illegal Possesion of Narcotic Paraphernalia should be "treated" equally. Meaning that they should recieve the same attention in court, and that no matter the size of the felony, it should be looked as the same as the worst felony. For example, if a entity is found guilty of Murder, asn is sentenced to 50 years prison, someone whom has commieted aggravated assault should recieve the same penalty.

In order to participate in this debate, you must understand and comnform to a group of variables, which are established to avoid any "what if" situation, and to best avoid biased or personal argument. they are as follow:

1. Any entity which isused in the debate by either the Contender or Instigator must not be looked at or treated differentl because of Race or Sex, therefore, the debaters should not look at the accused or condemned as different type of people, but simply as a human beings.

2. The debaters MUST assume that any entity used in teh debate is guilty of whatever crime it is being accused of. No exceptions.

3. The debaters CANNOT try to justify a felony by stating that it was a matter of honor or passion, or that it was an unintentional action. therefore, the debaters MUST assume that the entities which commited the felonies did so in a intentional, concious, and malicious manner. No Exceptions.

This being said, i will officially begin the debate. Being the Pro in the topic, i shall present my argument first.

Over 54% of crimes in the U.S. are felonies. Felonies include a wide spectrum of crimes from assault to Murder. Many felonies are treated quite differently and most have differencces in priority and in the punishment presented to the felon which commited the felony. I believe that all felonies, no matter their size or graveness, should be treated in the same way, as a serious crime with malicious intent. There are several reasons to why I argue this point.

1. Equal and sistematic punishment will discourage people from commiting crimes other than murder and rape, as they will fear life imprisoment or the death penalty as a result for their actions. this is just how the death penalty affects the community. It has been proven that countries which use the death penalty have less criminals than countries whom do not use the death penalty.

2. Treating all felonies as equal will make the justice system more swift and efficient. In trials, most of the time, Judges must determine how much penalty should be given to a felon, and how. If all felons were given the same penalty for commiting a felony, the "Justice sytem would not have to waste so much time questioning what penalty to impose on the felon.

In conclusion, treating all felonies as the same will not only discourage possible felons, but will help the justice system to more efficiently deal with current felons.

I wish my opponent, whomever it may be, the best of luck.
Danielle

Con

I'd like to thank Pro for beginning this debate, and note that I accept his terms.

Onto the debate!

Pro's 2 arguments:

1) Equal punishment will discourage crime; the death penalty would be applicable to fall felonies
2) Treating all felonies the same will make the justice system swift and more efficient

Regarding Pro's second point, I disagree. It's absurd to suggest that all felonies should be treated the same just to make the justice system process faster. Yes, the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial. However, hastening the process to care more about time than results may lead to 2 awful conclusions. First, there may not have been enough time to develop a proper prosecution and/or defense, thereby increasing the odds of coming up with the wrong verdict. This can be detrimental to both the individual and society depending on the outcome. And second, it is not fair to the defendant to rush through the process; even a criminal up until a certain point has rights like everybody else. Not every case is black and white. Sometimes, there are even confusions between misdemeanors and felonies.

For instance, if one is carrying a small pocket-knife, it would be perfectly legal. However, recent laws are being drawn that would make it a felony to carry 8 out of 10 pocket knives across state lines [1]. Suppose you didn't know which of your knives wouldn't make the cut (pun intended) and then were charged for a felony. Is this fair? Would you deserve the death penalty for it? Moreover, Republicans in Red States are also seeking to not only make abortion illegal, but to make crossing state lines in search of one a felony [2]. Since abortions are legally speaking a woman's choice, then criminalizing it in your home state is fine. However, to make it a felony punishable by death when it is legal in other states seems backwards.

That brings me to my next point: your first argument. Pro says that treating all felonies as the worst possible felony (murder, i.e. punishable with the death penalty) is beneficial to society because it would reduce crime. First, Pro cannot prove that this is the case. Using middle eastern countries is a bad example, because their justice system, politics and entire way of life is different than here in the States. Second, Americans don't deem that kind of grouped classification appropriate. This resolution, if submitted to politicians, would never pass as the citizens wouldn't support it. In the U.S., we usually deem it disgusting when other countries act harshly upon their citizens for what we deem to be minor crimes.

Are felonies serious crimes? Sure, some of them. However Pro would have the burden of explaining why a felony like carrying a gun to school (NOT SHOOTING ANYBODY) deserves the same punishment as shooting somebody. Another comparison would be to explain how the felony of assault deserves the same punishment as murder. Our justice system values retribution and doling out specific penalties suitable to the crime. For instance, the death penalty is legal because many feel that it's an appropriate punishment to claim "an eye for an eye" - a death for a death. However, there would be no justification for taking someone's life because they might have assaulted someone and gave them a black eye. It just doesn't add up. Even if crime were lowered as an implementation of this harsh and unnecessary policy, it would not necessarily be overall good for society as a whole.

People commit crimes for a whole bunch of reasons. Sometimes it's poverty, sometimes it's a mistake of a young person falling in with the wrong crowd, sometimes it's drug addiction and sometimes it's mental illness. It would not be fair to punish a person with death for making a mistake. This country should be focusing on rehabilitation; not destruction. Many people would lose their lives as a result of this policy perhaps unfairly and unnecessarily.

Consider this analysis regarding the likelihood of people unknowingly committing several felonies a day. In regard to internet activity, attorney Harvey Silverglate says, "Too many lawmakers, defining the difference between these crimes and acceptable online activities is beyond their lawmaking prowess. Granted, drafting legislation which carves out these activities as crimes, without punishing people exercising their Constitutionally protected civil liberties can be difficult, but that is the job you pay your lawmaker to do. If Congress cannot come up with a law that avoids persecuting the innocent, it must go back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, rather doing enough research to draft online laws more carefully, Congress drafts overly broad legislation, making many legal activities crimes and leaving it to the courts to separate the good guys from the bad guys. This is not how our criminal justice system is supposed to work. Making ten innocent people criminals just to catch one actual bad actor is not acceptable." [3]

Here's another example he cites: Take for instance the anti-cyberbullying legislation currently being proposed before Congress. This bill is to protect young people against anonymous attacks. The actual bill, however, makes no mention of age or anonymity. If enacted, the law would make it illegal to for anyone to coerce anyone "using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior." This includes the use of phones and the internet, as well as other types of electronic communication we have not even thought of yet. Violation of this law will net you a fine and/or two years in federal prison. If this ever gets enacted, I know a lot of lawyers that may need to go looking for a different line of work.

He continues, "One of the principal tenants of our criminal justice system is that serious crimes require an intent element... According to Silverglate, as a result of vague laws, the average American unknowingly commits three felonies every day. The harsh penalties associated with these vague, confusing and over-broad laws has created a perverse climate for criminal prosecutions. Rather than having to find a crime and track down a perpetrator, federal prosecutors can now simply pick out an individual and then track down a crime. Even if you successfully prove your innocence, a federal trial can take six years or more and cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars" [3].

So, imagine if all of these crimes turned felonies were punishable by death! Without any serious intent to harm someone, a mere mistake could cost a citizen his or her life. That seems barbaric; even people in ancient times had a more appropriate legal system. The bottom line is that you cannot violate human rights or take human lives on the basis of wanting to speed up the legal process. We can take other measures to fix it, but implementing this policy isn't one of them. Further, one of my favorite Benjamin Franklin quotes applies here -- Those who are willing to give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. In other words, it's unjust and unwise to give up your liberties out of fear. In this country, our legal system has been established to ensure freedom of the people, and only if a serious threat or crime has occurred do we take action to punish. If we concern ourselves with prevention to the point of infringing upon human rights and freedom, then we have become an oppressed nation. For this reason and all of my aforementioned arguments, I stand in firm negation of the resolution.

References:
[1] http://earthhopenetwork.net...
[2] http://www.democraticunderground.com...
[3] http://blawgit.com...
Debate Round No. 1
simbaguy2

Pro

simbaguy2 forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

Extend my arguments, please.
Debate Round No. 2
simbaguy2

Pro

simbaguy2 forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by garfieldlogan 3 years ago
garfieldlogan
I think this is a question for a business attorney. It's a bit over my head, at least.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 4 years ago
Cody_Franklin
This shouldn't have been a tie, obviously.
Posted by mongeese 4 years ago
mongeese
That was lame.

(Rhyme.)
Posted by wjmelements 4 years ago
wjmelements
What a shame.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 4 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Vote bombed debate is votebombed.
Posted by Danielle 4 years ago
Danielle
"You're so fast, Lwerd"

She usually doesn't consider that a bad thing :(
Posted by Vi_Veri 4 years ago
Vi_Veri
.... I was going to take this : (
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
You're so fast, Lwerd >_<
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 4 years ago
Cody_Franklin
simbaguy2DanielleTied
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Vote Placed by comoncents 4 years ago
comoncents
simbaguy2DanielleTied
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Vote Placed by beamer1 4 years ago
beamer1
simbaguy2DanielleTied
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Vote Placed by alwaz4dam 4 years ago
alwaz4dam
simbaguy2DanielleTied
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Vote Placed by ToastOfDestiny 4 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
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Vote Placed by Danielle 4 years ago
Danielle
simbaguy2DanielleTied
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