The Instigator
debate250
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CoolPapa
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Courtrooms should not be open to the public to walk into in the United States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
CoolPapa
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,166 times Debate No: 20682
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

debate250

Pro

Imagine a family member had done a reprehensible crime. Imagine being distraught driven to tears at the consequences that are coming for the person you love. Imagine the pain when the newspapers publish the article and everybody is talking about it, and you know that it's your family that did it. Imagine all of this publicity. Yet you walk into the courtroom on that day, and it's full of other people. According to the sixth amendment apart from in specific cases where publicity could inhibit the trial all trials must be public. This law is a problem for the reasons of privacy, and it being unnecessary.
The first reason why courtrooms shouldn't be open to the public is because of privacy. As was stated in the opening paragraph families are distraught after their family members have done crimes. It is incredibly hard for all family and friends to see the people they loved do these things and receive these punishments for it. It's hard enough with just you in the courtroom, yet there are many strangers who don't know in there and have no right to be there. It's absolutely unnecessary. Of course witnesses are different, but if you're not going to contribute anything to the case that is going to be considered, there is simply no reason that you need to be there. It makes the family feel like people are coming to watch some kind of spectacle when it isn't; it's there family life. These are emotions in real life not a TV show. Overall, it infringes on privacy to have people there who aren't going to contribute anything watching.
Secondly, once again similar to the issue of privacy is just how uncomfortable it makes the family. Having people they've never seen before watching. The newspapers after, the news programs, and the open courtrooms all don't help with this very difficult stage in the family's lives. The family hasn't even done anything wrong, and it's so hard for them to experience that pain. The accused person already has punishment enough with fines and imprisonment; it will only make them feel worse to have people looking at them as they're being tried. Overall, it makes the family and the accused person feel uncomfortable when it's absolutely unnecessary.
Overall, courtrooms should not be open to people other than family, close friends of the accused person, witnesses, family, close friends of the victim, and everybody else that's necessary in making the court run (judges, lawyers, etc.). The public is completely unnecessary and it only humiliates the family and the accused person more than necessary. It's like having had people watch while writing the United States Constitution. They didn't because they wanted people to see the finished product, and it would have been harder letting the public in. Here, the public will get to see whether the person is innocent or guilty, but they don't need to see the process because it is intrusive and unnecessary.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org...
CoolPapa

Con

I would like to thank Pro for providing such an interesting debate topic.

Counter to Points 1 and 2

I have combined these points because Pro's arguments are very similar and are essentially the same. Pro says the reason why trials should not be public is the lack of privacy and the strain it puts on the family of the accused and the victim. I would like to first point out that in the source that Pro supplied, it is stated that trials are judged on a case by case basis and will be excluded from public trial if the are issues of decency (rapes cases), security (organized crime), juvenile cases (children) or cases that have to deal with classified information. Since there is an opportunity for cases to made private in the cases of decency, it would save the family much embarrassment. I would also counter that the use of public trials can act as a deterrent for crimes as potential criminals may not commit such crimes as to avoid the embarrassment that it would cause their family. But a more important point is that the family is not required to be there. The family may be estranged from the criminal, they may even hate that member of the family for the shame they brought to the family. They may also want people to see the horrors of the crimes that were committed so that people become more aware of the issues and future criminals may stray away from such crimes.

Point 1
While Pro may have concerns about family members, the is a greater reason why removing the use of public trials could hurt families. The use of public trials originated in England to deter public officials from secretly charging innocent men who would only be seen by their judge. If all trials are made public by law (except for previously listed exceptions), this would deter people in positions of power from attempting to detain people that they do not like. Some might say that this would never happen in this modern day and age but alas when people are given power and wish to cover their tracks they will go to great ends to do so. By getting rid of the 6th Amendment of the Constitution, there would be much more harm done due to the general lack of accountability then the benefits.

Point 2
The courtroom as Pro has stated has many people working for it. There were around 759,200 lawyers employed in 2008 (granted not all of them work in courtrooms) and that does not include all the judges, bailiffs and other staff that are needed to make a courtroom operate. How will potential workers for the courtroom know whether or not they want to work in the field of law unless they see how the courtroom really operates. Becoming a lawyer or a judge is a huge investment of both time and money, and if people cannot see this process at work, how will they know if they really want to work in this field. They want to see the entire process and know some of the intricacies of the system without having to actually be in court.

Vote Con!

Sources
http://bit.ly...
http://1.usa.gov...


Debate Round No. 1
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by zach12 5 years ago
zach12
I don't give a damn if the family is uncomfortable. If they commit a crime, they're going to have much worse problems than being uncomfortable
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
debate250CoolPapaTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: It's nearly impossible to win a one round rebate because Con's arguments are not countered. That was the case here. Note that another way to avoid the embarrassment of a trial is for the defendant to plead guilty; Pro seemed to assume guilt. Con cod have found some examples where publicity uncovered trial errors, cause bad laws to be changed, or brought forth new evidence. It happens.
Vote Placed by zach12 5 years ago
zach12
debate250CoolPapaTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con countered pro's arguments and overall thought it through better