The Instigator
Sherlock_HolmesXXI
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
MoonDragon613
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Hate Crime Enhancements Are Unjust in the United States.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,279 times Debate No: 3762
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (6)
Votes (7)

 

Sherlock_HolmesXXI

Pro

In affirmation of the NFL March-April 2008 Lincoln Douglas Resolution, "Hate crime enhancements are unjust within the United States", I offer the following definitions from Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary in order to clarify the debate:

Just: having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason; being what is merited

Justice: the quality of being just or fair

Hate crime enhancements:
According to US Sentencing Guidelines section 3A1.1.(a), a hate crime enhancement to a specific charge occurs "If the finder of fact at trial or, in the case of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court at sentencing determines beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally selected any victim or any property as the object of the offense of conviction because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person..." The required minimum increase is 3 levels.

The resolution specifically questions whether a certain policy is just or unjust, and therefore the most appropriate value for this round is Justice. I provide a value criterion of equality, which, according to Black's Law Dictionary, can be described as "The condition of possessing the same rights, privileges, and immunities."

Contention 1: HCEs are Unfair Punishment.

SPA: Equal Crimes Deserve Equal Punishment.

In the United States, all people ought to be seen as equal under the laws, and all people ought to receive equal protection from the laws. Anne Ryan from John Marshall University Law School stated, "The punishment for a wrongdoing against one person should be the same as the punishment for a wrongdoing against another. This is the manner in which we might truly embrace equality in our nation." HCE are in direct violation of this equality, and furthermore, a direct violation of current Constitutional rights, especially the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, which states, "No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

SPB: HCEs violate Locke's Social Contract

Philosopher John Locke states that it is the responsibility of the government to protect the rights of its citizens. Hate Crime Enhancements violate not only the rights granted by the 14th Amendment, as previously stated, but those of the 1st amendment, as well. Hate crime laws punish people for entertaining certain thoughts or beliefs, they punish people for committing a crime based upon prejudiced motivation, but the act is what matters. These enhancements ought to be rendered unjust because of the violation of the people's rights to say or believe what they want.
So we can see that HCEs violate the principles of our constitution, equality, and justice. Therefore, HCE are not justified.
So we can see that HCE violate the principles of our constitution, equality, and justice. Therefore, HCE are not justified.

Contention 2: Motive Ought to be Regarded Irrelevant in Criminal Cases.

SPA: Motive can't be proven sufficiently to support hate crime enhancements.

In a hate crime case, motive would be more heavily weighted as a determining factor because it is what creates the difference between a hate crime and a regular crime. It is an unstable factor because it cannot be proved. Black's Law Dictionary defines motive as: that which prompts a person to act. Even if the defendant showed prejudice in the past, that doesn't mean the actual crime was motivated by prejudice. Even if the criminal yelled derogatory words during the crime, even that doesn't necessarily indicate prejudice, just anger. By using subjective criteria to determine punishment, hate criminals are not treated equally under the law as other criminals. As so clearly stated by New York State Senator Robert Kolker, "How can you really know what's truly in a person's heart?" Using motive to determine the level of punishment for a crime is inter-subjective, and therefore unjust.

SPB: Motive is not the same as intent.

Alexander Tsesis, from the Institute for Legal Studies states, "The State must show that the elements of a crime were committed and that the perpetrator had the requisite mental state. Whether an actor had the requisite culpability to be convicted for the crime is a matter of intent." Black's Law Dictionary defines intent as the state of mind with which an act is done or committed. Motive plays no role during trials in determining a defendant's guilt, but motive should not be confused with intent.
In order to be just in giving people their due, you must look to the crime committed, not why it was committed or who it was committed against.

For these reasons I urge an affirmative vote.
MoonDragon613

Con

The average reader has the capacity to read up to 1k characters. In light of this, my greatest appreciation for your acronyms and set up.

I'll accept your definition of Just and Justice. So moving right along, Hate Crime Enhancements (HCE)

Contention 1: It is not Injustice to distinguish crimes by motive and intent.

In the United States, when an individual kidnaps a government official to affect American Policy, that crime is officially labeled an act of Terrorism. The charge levied against that individual is not kidnapping. The charge levied is Terrorism.
We distinguish between kidnap or murder and Terrorism. Even though the actions are the same, as a society we distinguish between them because the motives are different.

We also distinguish between different crimes of murder. There's Murder 1, Murder 2, Manslaughter 1, and Manslaughter 2. These are all the same Actions. But as a society, we distinguish between these different crimes, not because the Actions are different, but because the intent is different.

If we accept the (ridiculous) notion that it is only just to distinguish between crimes by action, then we might as well give the same punishment for an accidental murder as we do for an intentional homicide. And if we accept that a Hate Crime (HC) and a Non-Hate Crime (NC) are different crimes

Contention 2: HCE are Just, by my opponent's definition of Just.

My opponent states that Just is "having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason; being what is merited".
So does HCE conform to reason? Does it have a basis in fact?
HCEs are One method by which society protects itself from hate charged criminal behavior. Is hate motivated criminal behavior bad for society? Does it result in negative utility to our citizens? Is it Irrational or arbitrary to take measures to discourage hate charged criminal behavior?

By my Opponent's definition, since HCE is based on reason and fact, it is also by his definition Just.
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Now I've already exceeded 1k characters, but still, be that as it may, now it's time to address my opponent's contentions.

Contention 1: HCE are Unfair

I Agree wholeheartedly that Equal Crimes Deserve Equal Punishment as my opponent contends, but I also believe society has the right to distinguish crimes based on intent as it does with Terorism and HMC. Since HC and NC are DIFFERENT CRIMES, it renders my opponent's arguments moot and irrelevant.

Contention 2: Motive ought to be irrelevant

SPA: Motive can't be proven sufficiently to support HCE
My opponent claims that it can't be proven "sufficiently" because "How can you really know what's truly in a person's heart?"

Well I for one would like to point out the difference between "proven sufficiently" and "proven absolutely" ... something my opponent seems to be confused about.

Nothing practical in life can be proven absolutely. We can't even prove a criminal act absolutely, much less the intent, or the motive. There is ALWAYS the possibility of an elaborate conspiracy cover-up if you think about it. But that doesn't prevent us from proving a crime sufficiently, or "beyond all reasonable doubt". So even though we can never know truly absolutely for certain what's going on in a person's heart, a person's past behavior, behavior during the crime, etc., are all Evidence that proves sufficiently the person's motive, even if they can't prove absolutely.

SPB Motive is not the same as intent.
Okay... So? No one said they were. So what?
As mentioned before, Motive distinguishes between the criminal act of terrorism and the criminal act of kidnapping or murder. There is no relevance in pointing out murder is not the same as intent.

And for these reasons I urge you Not to affirm.
Debate Round No. 1
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Sherlock_HolmesXXI 8 years ago
Sherlock_HolmesXXI
I thought about making rounds for rebuttals, but i decided to do only one round: because districts were in three days, because it wasnt my finalized case, and because doing only one round would allow my opponent to practice his/her refutation abilities while i obtain info on any loopholes in my arguments. However, our districts tournament finished today, so if my opponent or anyone else would like to challenge as either aff or neg, then i would gladly accept. Although, i will probably only debate one case at a time.
Posted by Johnicle 8 years ago
Johnicle
RFD: To make my decision, I decided to weigh the definition of "just" and how it applies. The definition of just has two weights to it being fact and merit. Fact is flowed to the negative side in the second to last paragraph where he basically shows reasons to be able to prove it and merit was really wasn't argued on either side. Therefore:

I VOTE CON (NEGATIVE)

P.S.: Rebuttals are pretty awesome if you'd like to consider them ;)
Posted by SportsGuru 8 years ago
SportsGuru
So, it is a mythical creature vs a mythical detective. Who will win?
Posted by Sherlock_HolmesXXI 8 years ago
Sherlock_HolmesXXI
thank u moondragon613.

Your comments must be at least 25 characters in length.
Posted by Sherlock_HolmesXXI 8 years ago
Sherlock_HolmesXXI
yes, i mind. esp. since uve already attacked it before in school. sry.
Posted by SportsGuru 8 years ago
SportsGuru
Do you mind if I take this?
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Sherlock_HolmesXXI 7 years ago
Sherlock_HolmesXXI
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Vote Placed by Dihydrogen_Monoxided 8 years ago
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attrition
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Vote Placed by SportsGuru 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by krattyk10 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Johnicle 8 years ago
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