The Instigator
moneymachine2004
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
imabench
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

All defendants should be guaranteed a reasonable bail

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
imabench
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/26/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,071 times Debate No: 18996
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

moneymachine2004

Pro

Many defendants are denied bail, which in my opinion is unconstitutional.

Plain in simple.

Please defend the Supreme Court's Decision that allows this injustice.
imabench

Con

The ability for civil courts, criminal courts, state courts, district courts, etc. to deny people reasonable bail is in no way authorized or protected by the US constitution. Courts have many many good reasons for denying bail to suspected criminals.

If the accused may commit further offences while on bail then not giving the person bail would be a sensible move to protect the public.

If granted bail then the suspected criminal could potentially interfere, intimidate, threaten, or even kill any witnesses, so denying such a suspected criminal bail would be justified

If the crime committed were serious or could result in capital punishment then bail could be denied to prevent anyone else from coming into harm from he accused.

Denying bail for the safety of the victim would also be a good idea and would be entirely justified

If the accused person's bail record shows a history of skipping court ordered trials then bail could be denied to prevent the criminal from skipping on bail AGAIN....

Lastly if there is just overwhelming evidence that a person committed a heinous crime then that person could be denied bail since it is very probable that the accused is guilty of a felony and is a danger to society.....
Debate Round No. 1
moneymachine2004

Pro

Back Ground

The Eighth Amendment (Amendment VIII) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights which prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishments. The Eight Amendment clearly forbids the federal government from imposing excessive bails. The plain language does not make any exceptions. There is no ambiguity in the language. It does not speak of the likelihood as to the guilt or innocence of the offender. It does not mention revoking bail for any reason. It does not speak of bail restrictions of any sort. Thus, a person posting bail should be allowed to go free until trial--without restrictions period--end of story. This must be the case since our justice system is based on the concept that a person is innocence until proved guilty.

The government has been permitted to suppress constitutional rights to some degree. For instance, the classic example is one cannot yell fire in a movie theater or instigate a riot. However, in those cases the person was found to not have such a constitutional right. The courts have never ruled that a person gives up his or her right to bail when accused of certain crimes. Thus, a person accused of a crime is guaranteed a right to a reasonable bail. In this instance, the person must be assumed to be not guilty. The accused has done nothing that warrants the circumvention of his or her right to a bail such as instigating a riot or purposely creating public hysteria. If the state or federal government believes that the accused may pose a specific risk upon bail, nothing bars them from having agents or police from keeping constant tabs on the defendant. This would certainly ensure public safety. The government should not be permitted to trample on a constitution right for public and financial expedience.

As everyone knows, the Bill of Rights have been applied to the States for many years now. I do not wish to debate this issue. It would seem rather odd that the people would not want the same protections from their individual states as they are afforded by the federal government. If you disagree, I will limit my argument to federal courts that deny bail.

How Can The State or Federal Government Deny Bail

The statue clearly says government cannot deny excessive bail. One must understand the reasoning behind this amendments. In England, many enemies of the state were put in jail and given excessive bails. They were left in jail for long periods of time without being given a trial date. The founders did not want this to be the case in the United States.

How can no bail not be excessive when no amount of money can set an offender free?

One must admit that the court could rule some amount that an offender had to come up for bail can be found to be excessive. This might be 100 dollars or 1 trillion depending on the individual. However, there has to be some tangible number wherein a court would have to admit that the amount was excessive. If such a number exist then it would be impossible for the court to deny bail since that or number always exceeds whatever that number might be. The number would be greater.

How does the word "excessive" as used in the eight amendment used to enhance the Federal Government Powers?

The word excessive is used to make it clear that the government could impose bail, but not too high. If you take the word out it would read the government cannot deny bail. However, this would be insufficient, in protecting citizens because the government could make the bail so high that the offender could never get out. The word "excessive" is used to limit the power of the government. In order to follow the Supreme Court's logic, the word excessive must have been added to enhance the power of the Federal Government. Now that makes no sense considering the Bill of Rights were designed as protections for people from the Federal Government. What would be the purpose of disallowing the government from imposing excessive bails if they can deny them all together. Does it make any sense to limit the government from imposing too high of a bail, but at the same time allow them to deny bail all together? Any fair reading of the plain language would lead one to assume that bail could not be denied all together especially if there are limitations as to how much the government could impose the bail on a offender.

The Supreme Court made this decision primarily because they knew there would be no opposition. There were many states and people concerned that they would be required to impose reasonable bails for dangerous offenders. Many people gave up their right to a reasonable bail due to fears of encountering an offender accused of murder or a violent crime. As a result, the government is now free to impose restrictions on bail and deny bails when they see fit. While they limit denial of bail in murder cases now, who is to say they won't expand the scope in the future.

Summary of points to be address

1. Innocent until found Guilty

The accused is innocent until proved guilty and therefore the government should not use the likelihood of convictions to deny or issue excessive bails. Any public safety concerns can be quelled by maintaining constant surveillance on the accused. There maybe other reasonable steps made to ensure the public safety when offenders are out on bail .

2. The 8th amendment

The plain language found in the 8th amendment is unambiguous, the federal government is not permitted to impose excessive bails. This has since been applied to the states as well.

3. The plain language and historical context prohibits any interpretation the 8th amendment that expands the scope of the government. The amendment has been interpretation such that the government can deny bail.

Since the punishment to the accused is greater when the government denies bails rather than impose an excessive bail and the latter is illegal, it seems only logical that the former would be illegal as well. One would not punish an offender who attempts to commit murder, but make it legal to actually commit a murder. One must examine the purpose of any statue or amendment. The practical interpretation of that statue or amendment must support the purpose and not contrary to it. The purpose of the 8th amendment is to limit the power of the government in matters of imposing bails--this is a fact. The government is not allowed to impose excessive bails. One cannot interpret the plain language of a statue or amendment in manner that increases the authority and scope of the government even if such ambiguity exist. The Supreme Court was well aware that the eighth amendment was a part of the Bill of Rights, which are protections granted to the people from the government. However, it has been interpreted as a right of the government to impose no bail on citizens.

4. Questions that should be addressed

What bars the Supreme Court from expanding the scope of government to include other crimes for which they could deny bail on?

Is it not possible for the government to imprison a political leader without bail because they believe that he or she poses a public safety concern?

Closing Statement

For the above reasons, the government should not be able to deny bail or make the amount unreasonable for the accused. The accused must be assumed to be innocent, regardless of the crime or the likelihood of conviction. We are innocent until found guilty in the county. The eighth amendment explicitly forbids the government from imposing excessive bails. Moreover, one should reject any interpretation of the amendment if that interpretation increases the scope of the government since the amendment was designed to curtail the powers of the government.
In order to maintain our rights, we must protect the rights of all citizens, even those ones believed to be guilty or present safety concerns.
imabench

Con

The 8th amendment only protects against people receiving EXCESSIVE bail, such as your alleged 1 trillion dollar amount. The 8th amendment in no way states that the right to bail is a constitutional right for every man and woman, the 8th amendment only protects against the courts keeping a person in prison by imposing an outrageous amount of money for bail.....

Innocent until proven guilty is not how courts operate. Lawyers in any case are out to either defend or prove the criminals guilt/innocence and they will go to any length to try to win. It is then up to the jury to decide if they feel that the accused person is innocent or guilty. Until the verdict is given though then the accused is considered "innocent until proven guilty" but that is not how the courts operate.

Having police keep tabs on suspected criminals would be better is what the Pro is saying. Look in any major city in the US anywhere, police forces are underfunded, understaffed, and most likely would bu under-equipped to follow around each and every criminal who has had charges filed against him while at the same time continue to protect the public from other criminals as well....

The England relation does make sense but again this only warrants the rights of people AGAINST EXCESSIVE Bail, not the right to receive bail....

If the lawyer of the accused has any belief that the judge has given their client a large amount of bail that he sees as unreasonable he has the right to consult other judges and state his case, but many times the bail is not considered excessive by lawyers from both parties, the judge, and the juries

It makes perfect sense that courts cannot give a high amount of bail but can deny bail because there is no justification for giving a person an ungodly high bail, but it can be justified that the courts can deny bail, see the 6 reasons in my first argument...

The governments do not deny bail to the accused the judges in the courts do!! its their decision on whether or not bail should be offered or denied not the supreme courts, not the federal or state governments either!!!

The Pro is very confused on this whole matter because they think that it is the government or the supreme court that denies people bail when it is judges in the courts who decide who gets bail. Also the Pro has misread the 8th amendment because the 8th amendment clearly states that,

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

This protects criminals from excessive bail, and protects them from receiving a cruel or unusual punishment if found guilty. The 8th amendment in no way authorizes bail as a legal right to each and every US citizen....

Lastly the Pro has not offered an argument to why denying bail for protection of the public would not be justified....
Debate Round No. 2
moneymachine2004

Pro

The 8th amendment only protects against people receiving EXCESSIVE bail, such as your alleged 1 trillion dollar amount. The 8th amendment in no way states that the right to bail is a constitutional right for every man and woman, the 8th amendment only protects against the courts keeping a person in prison by imposing an outrageous amount of money for bail.....

The con ignores and fail to respond to my central argument. If you agree that the government cannot impose a trillion dollar bail then how can you assert that they can however impose a fine greater than a trillion dollars. One can draw the conclusion from the plain language. If the amendment purpose was to protect individuals from being detained with excessive bails why would they allow them to be detained with no bail. The Pro doesn't seem to be interested in entertaining this thought.

Innocent until proved guilty is not how courts operate. Lawyers in any case are out to either defend or prove the criminals guilt/innocence and they will go to any length to try to win. It is then up to the jury to decide if they feel that the accused person is innocent or guilty. Until the verdict is given though then the accused is considered "innocent until proved guilty" but that is not how the courts operate.

Is the Con suggesting that the courts operate under the assumption that the accused is guilty until proved otherwise? I certainly do not believe this to be the case. If the Pro believes this to be acceptable then one can clearly understand why he sees nothing wrong with the government denying bail. But even if the courts do take the purview, they still cannot deny a reasonable bail to a United States citizens pursuant to the 8th amendment.

Having police keep tabs on suspected criminals would be better is what the Pro is saying. Look in any major city in the US anywhere, police forces are under funded, understaffed, and most likely would bu under-equipped to follow around each and every criminal who has had charges filed against him while at the same time continue to protect the public from other criminals as well....

People have to pay for freedom. If the police are under funded than the government needs to raise taxes or make cuts in other areas. The government shouldn't be permitted to hold a person presumed to be innocent without bail for political or financial expedience. Under the 8th amendment we have right to a reasonable bail. The government cannot deny me a bail because they perceive me to be dangerous and they don't want to spend the money to curb those fears.

The England relation does make sense but again this only warrants the rights of people AGAINST EXCESSIVE Bail, not the right to receive bail....

The England relation is important because its give historical context as to how and why the 8th amendment came to be. As I have noted, people were imprisoned with excessive bails for invalid reasons.

If the lawyer of the accused has any belief that the judge has given their client a large amount of bail that he sees as unreasonable he has the right to consult other judges and state his case, but many times the bail is not considered excessive by lawyers from both parties, the judge, and the juries

Of course, one can appeal an amount that they deem excessive. However, there is no appeal once the accused has been denied bail. The Supreme Court interprets the 8th amendment to disallow the trillion dollars bail as excessive, however permit a greater penalty of no bail as acceptable. The Con does not attempt to explain the logic.

It makes perfect sense that courts cannot give a high amount of bail but can deny bail because there is no justification for giving a person an ungodly high bail, but it can be justified that the courts can deny bail, see the 6 reasons in my first argument...

This statement baffles me. The Pro should follow this logic. The purpose of setting high bail serves a dual purpose. It may prevent the accused from going free until trial and/or make it unlikely that the accused won't show up for the hearing. The purpose of denying bail is also to prevent the accused from going free before trial and to make sure the accused stands trials. I can only fathom that the Pro assumes that in cases of murder that bail can be denied and in all other cases it should not be excessive. The problem with this logic is that the 8th amendment makes no such distinction between murder and other less serious crimes. Secondly, the accused is assumed to be innocent of the murder and therefore it does not make sense to hold them without bail. As for the six reasons, I counter that the 8th amendment trumps all sixth of them.

The governments do not deny bail to the accused the judges in the courts do!! its their decision on whether or not bail should be offered or denied not the supreme courts, not the federal or state governments either!!!

Whoa! Calm down there. The Pro seems to get excited or agitated here. Government to me encompasses anyone employed by the government and works within legal framework of our government. The judge and courts are agents of the government. They are bound to adhere to all legislative statues and constitutional mandates. Thus, the judge must consider whether or not his or her actions are constitutional. If the Supreme Court upholds what a judge does and the legislative branch fails to act then the government has in effect upheld the action. Is the Con arguing that the judge and courts work outside governmental control?

The Pro is very confused on this whole matter because they think that it is the government or the supreme court that denies people bail when it is judges in the courts who decide who gets bail. Also the Pro has misread the 8th amendment because the 8th amendment clearly states that,

I assure the Con that I am not confused. I am well versed in the field of law. The judge is an agent of the government, the court is an agent of the government, Appellant Court is an agent of the government and so is the Supreme Court. Is the Con suggesting that these entities work outside the confines of the government? Many people refer to the government when dealing with governmental agents. Not sure why that matter though.

The Con is correct, that is the exact wording of the 8th amendment. Nonetheless the seem arguments remain. None of which have been addressed by the Con.

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

This protects criminals from excessive bail, and protects them from receiving a cruel or unusual punishment if found guilty. The 8th amendment in no way authorizes bail as a legal right to each and every US citizen....

The Con makes this claim without addressing my central argument which is that its makes no sense to protect persons accused of crimes, not necessarily criminals, from excessive bails, yet permit the same people to be denied bail altogether even though they are assumed to be innocent.

Lastly the Pro has not offered an argument to why denying bail for protection of the public would not be justified....

Wow, let me try this again. If a person has a constitutional right to be granted a reasonable bail, the government or its agents cannot abridging that right. If public safety is at issue, the people must pay for the additional protection to monitor those dangerous offenders. It might be in the public best interested to simply kill all criminals. Should that alone make that policy acceptable if its unconstitutional.

The Con has not used logic, historical context or any plain language analysis that concludes him to believe the the 8th amendment was intended to allow the government to deny bail to persons presumed to be innocent. The Con simply post the text for the 8th amendment and argues public safety trumps constitutional protections I guess.
imabench

Con

The 8th amendment is designed to prevent only two injustices of the government against the people.....

1) Someone proven guilty to receive a cruel, unusual, inhumane punishment for a crime
2) The government posing an abnormally large bail for the sole purpose of ensuring that they cannot make the bail.

The amendment protects against excessive bail because if the government gives a large bail, it would be for the sole purpose of keeping someone detained in jail and denying them freedom.......... That is an injustice and infringement on human rights. The 8th Amendment allows for people to be denied bail because the judge may feel it could be justified in order to prevent the criminal from fleeing and avoiding the trial, from intimidating witnesses, harming others, etc. In that case the idea of denying bail to a person could be justified and NOT and infringement of Human rights because bail would be denied to protect the public and prevent the criminal from fleeing the state or country to avoid the trial.

Giving a ridiculous high bail to keep someone imprisoned = illegal because it can not be justified under any circumstance
Denying bail to keep someone imprisoned = not illegal because people are not entitled to bail, they are only protected from excessive bail by the 8th amendment

In my original 6 arguments for why a person might not be denied bail, the 8th amendment does not override them. All 6 of my original examples are perfectly legal reasons of why a Judge may deny somebody bail and none of them apply to the 8th amendment because the 8th amendment only protects against the government abusing the rights of citizens by preventing excessive bail for the purpose of keeping them detained.

No where in the constitution is bail a right given to the people. The 8th amendment only protects against excessive bail being imposed on the people, but people still are not authorized to bail because bail is not a right, it is a privilege that can be given or denied to the accused.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
you can edit your vote it wont count twice
Posted by darris321 5 years ago
darris321
I forgot to say US v. Salerno in the vote, sorry.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
When a debate is open to acceptance (it's been accepted already so we can't see it), you have the option "accept this debate?." If you click on that, it will take you to another screen that shows the finer details (how long each round it, character limit, time limits, etc) and asks you to confirm the acceptance. So you can pop in there, check all that fun stuff, then back out.
Posted by Kethen 5 years ago
Kethen
were do you see all that?
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
If you want, you can also enter my name directly into the opponent's field so that the challenge goes straight to me (in case I'm not online after you make changes, if you do).
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
Also, increase the voting time from 3 days to something more reasonable, like 1 month.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
Make it 72 hour rounds and I accept.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
moneymachine2004imabenchTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I was going to vote for CON, however in his final round he stated, "The amendment protects against excessive bail because if the government gives a large bail, it would be for the sole purpose of keeping someone detained in jail and denying them freedom.......... That is an injustice and infringement on human rights." The entire purpose of no bail is also to "keep someone detained in jail" so admitting that is admitting that your side is unconstitutional.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
moneymachine2004imabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con points out that the constitution doesn't say everybody has a right to bail. It only says that, if it's appropriate to set bail, you can't set it excessively high.
Vote Placed by darris321 5 years ago
darris321
moneymachine2004imabenchTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I almost gave con the spelling and grammar because "plain in simple" should be "plain and simple", however, the con also had some misplaced commas.