The Instigator
tjordan
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

In the pursuit of justice, due process ought to be valued above the discovery of fact.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
tjordan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/13/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,455 times Debate No: 18783
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

tjordan

Pro

I will make opening arguments in R2 so please hold your arguments untill R2 as well. I look forward to whoever my challenger shall be :)
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

I suppose I will take the side that in the pursuit of justice, due process need not be valued above the discovery of fact.
Debate Round No. 1
tjordan

Pro

First I thank my opponent for accepting this debate! Good luck!

"‘The most fundamental principle of justice—one that has been widely accepted since it was first defined by Aristotle more than two thousand years ago—is the principle that "equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.' In its contemporary form, this principle is sometimes expressed as follows: ‘Individuals should be treated the same, unless they differ in ways that are relevant to the situation in which they are involved.'"[1] It is for this idea of fairness that I stand Resolved: In the pursuit of justice, due process ought to be valued above the discovery of fact.
Definitions:
Justice: "Justice means giving each person what he or she deserves"[1]
Due Process: "An established course for judicial proceedings or other governmental activities designed to safeguard the legal rights of the individual."[2]
Fairness – which is defined as "1. Free from discrimination, dishonesty, etc; just, impartial, [and] 2. In conformity with rules or standards; legitimate."[3]

As we have seen, justice is giving each person what he or she deserves as constituted by the law, or treating each person fairly according to the law. And as the resolution states, we are to decide what we should value more in pursuit of that justice, due process, or discovery of fact. This leads me to my first contention:

Contention 1.Due process best leads to consistent justice.
Under our Constitution, we have certain fundamental rights. We have the right to freedom of religion, speech, and press.[4] We have the right to bear arms[5], the right "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures"[6], the right to a speedy trial[7], the right to a trial by jury[8], and so on. These rights MUST be upheld, and upholding these rights is a very large part of due process. Due process' "commitment to legality"[9] is what makes it best lead to consistent justice. As soon as these constitutional rights are violated, justice is lost. So by following proper legal proceedings, due process assures no rights are infringed upon. Insuring that justice is served.

Contention 2.An absence of due process leads to injustice.
A great example of this is the court case Gideon vs. Wainwright. "In 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was charged in a Florida state court with breaking into and entering a poolroom with intent to commit a misdemeanor, a combination of offenses that constituted a felony under Florida law. He could not afford a lawyer, and he requested to have one appointed by the court. Nearly twenty years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had held in Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455, 62 S. Ct. 1252, 86 L. Ed. 1595 (1942), that an ordinary person could do an adequate job of defending himself or herself. A court-appointed lawyer was required only if the defendant had mental or physical deficiencies, the case was unusually complicated, or the case involved "special circumstances." None of these exceptions applied to Gideon, the Florida trial court ruled, and thus his request for counsel was denied. Gideon conducted his own defense and was found guilty of the charges……… Gideon was later retried with a court-appointed lawyer representing him and was found not guilty."[10]
Here Gideon was denied the right to a lawyer, part of the due process, and was found guilty of a crime he did not commit! But later when he was tried with proper due process, he was found to be innocent of the crime.
We see here a prime example of how an absence of due process leads to injustice, showing us just how essential due process is.

Contention 3.Valuing discovery of fact over due process leads to injustice.
As stated earlier, justice is giving everyone what he or she legally deserves. And our constitution says our citizens legally deserve the rights given to us therein. So following simple logic, if our rights are violated, justice is violated. This is exactly what happens when you value discovery of fact over due process.
A discovery of fact outlook says that if we suspect someone of a crime but do not have the evidence to convict him or her, we should do whatever necessary to get that evidence. Be it an illegal search of private property or cruel and unusual punishment, if it helps us find the "facts", we should do it. But how can this be justice? Even if the evidence needed to convict that person is found, his rights have been infringed upon, and justice therefore already lost. So while valuing discovery of fact over due process might help convict a guilty party in some cases, due process should always be held above discovery of fact in the pursuit of justice.

Thanks again to my opponent for accepting this debate!! Good luck, and I look forward to your rebuttal.

Sources:
[1]http://www.scu.edu...
[2]The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, Copyright 2010 by the Houghton Mifflin Company. http://education.yahoo.com...
[3]Collins English Dictionary, Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition, Copyright 2009 by William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd
[4]1st Amendment
[5]2nd Amendment
[6]4th Amendment
[7]6th Amendment
[8]7th Amendment
[9]http://topics.law.cornell.edu...
[10]http://www.encyclopedia.com...
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

I wish my opponent good luck as well, although they look able to defeat me without any luck.

I will now make the potentially controversial statement that finding an innocent person guilty is equally injust as finding a guilty person innocent. As justice is giving each person what he or she deserves as constituted by the law, and as the law constitutes (generally speaking) that breaking the law should be punished and following the law should not be punished, finding an innocent person guilty is injust but is only as injust as finding a guilty person innocent.

By means of this and other rebuttals, I will attempt to weaken my opponent's well-crafted points about why due process ought to be valued above the discovery of fact.

Rebuttal of Contention 1. Due Process best leads to consistent justice

All the rights mentioned exist, and must be upheld lest there be unfair practices. Truly Due Process has commitment to legality. However, I disagree that that commitment to legality makes it best lead to consistent justice. In cases where a guilty person is brought to trial, they must indeed be offered Due Process. This Due Process is a legal right that they are granted, and is under what the law sets forth. However, the person is also guilty, and therefore should also suffer the punishment specified by law. If they are not made to suffer punishment, then that is an obstruction of justice. Due Process and the legal punishments for violations of the law are not able to be fully reconciled; have Due Process the final control then it is inevitable that someone guilty will walk free because they cannot be proved of their guilt. For this reason, it is important to discover facts regarding the situation, in order that the true nature of the crime might be identified. Should a person actually be innocent, they will not suffer a punishment if priority is given to discovering the facts that will surely prove their innocence.

Rebuttal of Contention 2. An absence of Due Process leads to injustice

It is possible that an absence of Due Process might lead to injustice, but so can it's presence. By it's existence, it can inhibit proving a guilty one guilty, which is as injust as it would be were it not present. With it's unstable nature and ability to preserve justice for some while creating injustice for others, it should take a backseat to the more reliable methods of fact. I am certain I can find an example of this somewhere, but people are much more eager to trumpet cases in which innocent people are proved guilty rather than those where guilty people are proved innocent, as it is often more difficult to decisively prove someone guilty than innocent.

Rebuttal of Contention 3. Valuing discovery of fact over Due Process leads to injustice

It was never implied that a discovery of fact outlook supports the violation of the laws. Breaking the laws to uphold them isn't very effective, as such a discovery of fact outlook would have to put an emphasis on legally discovering facts without doing illegal searches or cruel and unusual punishment. Facts are already used in the pursuit of justice (how could they be avoided?) and have proved themselves obtainable through legitimate means. Therefore, tactics such as legal searches of private property or cruel and usual punishment might be employed to glean facts. Although my opponent claims that "Even if the evidence needed to convict that person is found his rights have been infringed upon, and justice therefore already lost.", if evidence exists that would indicate the person's guilt, failing to find him guilty is an equal failure of justice, however this failure of justice would have a guilty person freed as innocent.

I have realized a little bit late that as Con, my position is that Due Process does not need to be valued above the discovery of fact (as opposed to discovery of fact needs to be valued above Due Process). Therefore, I will conclude my argument in this round by saying that Due Process can cause at least as many injustices as it avoids, and therefore should not be valued above the discovery of fact.

Also, more good luck to my opponent :)
Debate Round No. 2
tjordan

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for his response! And I apologize for taking so long to post my argument.

I first want to say, at one point in my opponents debate he states, "Breaking the laws to uphold them isn't very effective, as such a discovery of fact outlook would have to put an emphasis on legally discovering facts without doing illegal searches or cruel and unusual punishment." I would strongly agree! But this seems to be an argument for the affirmative side. My opponent argues that in the "discovery of fact" we must follow due process in that we discover the facts legally. But if when discovering facts, we have to follow due process, are we not holding due process above the discovery of fact? If discovery of fact was held higher than due process, or to fit my opponents wording, "Due Process does not need to be valued above the discovery of fact" why are we binding discovery of fact under the rules of due process? By your own argument it seems the resolution is affirmed.

But the best I can understand, my opponent is taking the stance that they should be valued equally. He did not affirm or give any evidence (in fact he argued against) valuing discovery of fact over due process. Because he negates the resolution, and does not advocate discovery of fact over due process, the affirmative must assume he is arguing that they should be valued equally. First I will respond to your rebuttals, and then discuss this assumed affirmative position.

Point 1:
My opponent starts by saying, "All the rights mentioned exist, and must be upheld lest there be unfair practices". Translation: Individual rights must be upheld in the pursuit of justice or justice is violated. Next he says, "Truly Due Process has commitment to legality." Translation: Due process is about upholding these rights. To this point the negative agrees with my position. But then he says, "in cases where a guilty person is brought to trial, they must indeed be offered Due Process. This Due Process is a legal right that they are granted, and is under what the law sets forth. However, the person is also guilty, and therefore should also suffer the punishment specified by law." I ask my opponent, how does he know that the party is guilty without a conviction? He assumes the party is guilty and being set free, but in America we have what is called innocent until proven guilty. We cannot say "the person is guilty therefore should suffer the punishment specified by law" when according to the law he is still innocent.

Point 2:
My opponent makes the claim that due process can lead to injustice in some cases. I agree with this statement. Sure due process isn't perfect! No justice system in the world has ever been perfect, nor do I believe it ever will be. But this does not take away from the fact that due process is our best option. Facts are not always perfect. It is important to remember "facts" are not necessarily always truth. In the above mentioned Gideon vs. Wainwright, the facts of the first case said he was guilty and deserved punishment, but these facts were wrong.

Point 3:
For the most part I have already addressed this argument, but I do wish to cover one more thing. The negative says, "Although my opponent claims that "Even if the evidence needed to convict that person is found his rights have been infringed upon, and justice therefore already lost.", if evidence exists that would indicate the person's guilt, failing to find him guilty is an equal failure of justice". Ok, so according to this statement, either way commits injustice. So what we are looking for is which side best and most consistently leads us to justice. And as I have shown that side is due process. I would like to point out that negative's argument here implies that we are finding those facts illegally. The only way due process stops evidence from being found is when that evidence can only be found by illegal means.

Now on to the negative's position that due process and discovery of fact should be valued equally.
Although this is a nice thought, it is very much impossible. When you look at justice as a whole it seems possible, but when you consider each case it clearly is not. Consider the following example:
Let's say I am suspected of being a drug dealer. It is common theory that I am, and the police strongly believe it to be true. And for the sake of this example, let's say that in truth I really am a drug dealer. Ok so now comes the "pursuit of justice". But there is a dilemma! I'm REALLY good at hiding my drugs, and the police don't have enough evidence to get a warrant to search my house to find the evidence needed to convict me. So what do we do? We have two simple options. Due process says the police cannot come into my house. That would violate my constitutional rights. But if we value the discovery of facts over due process, then we'll break into my house to find those facts.
The point here is this: you cannot choose both. You cannot hold due process and discovery of fact equally. When it comes down to actual practice of the law, you must choose one. And as I have shown, due process is the one we must choose.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

If my opponent feels that they should apologize for taking so long to post their argument, I suppose I ought to as well seeing as I'm posting this with only a few hours left on the time limit.

I would first like to comment on what my opponent said regarding what I said in the last round. I did say what I did say, but I kind of got the spirit of what I meant to communicate wrong. Obviously to a degree both due process and the discovery of fact must be valued. Have you only due process, you have no way to capture any criminal of any sort, as they are innocent until proven guilty. Have you only discovery of fact, you can arbitrarily throw anyone you want to in jail for no reason, because there is no due process stopping it. Therefore, I take the position that both must be valued equally.

I will now address the points of my opponent.

Point 1:

My opponent asks a very interesting question "How does he know that the party is guilty without a conviction?". I know, because I said in the beginning that a guilty person was brought to trial. You are innocent until proven guilty under law, but that doesn't mean from an objective view (not that of a court or jury or other organization tasked with strict legal guidelines of the law) you can't be guilty. For instance, some guy shoots your neighbor and kills him, with you getting a perfect undisputable view of his face that you instantly recognize when you find him three yards down the street with a broken ankle that he got fleeing the scene of the crime. Is he innocent until proven guilty? Yes. Is he guilty? Yes. Now he starts out innocent under law, but he is, in truth, guilty and should be punished. This is one of the reasons that I think discovery of fact must be valued equally with due process.

Point 2:

I fully agree with my opponent that no justice system has ever been perfect, and I also agree that due process is good, but I don't think that we should just blindly follow it with no other options. Discovery of facts are important in any case as well, and placing due process above them can lead to people who are guilty getting off. While facts are not always perfect, neither is due process which is why both should be valued equally. A lot of the reasons facts might not seem perfect is because not enough effort is being put into discovering them, as the procedure is hampered by due process. Were enough energy put into discovering facts, they would surely exonerate an innocent person and convict a guilty one. Also I read up on Gideon v. Wainwright, and it is not true to say that the facts of the first case said he was guilty. It is more true to say that he was found guilty, which is different from the facts proving it. If these "facts" changed from one case to the other, then obviously they weren't facts and more emphasis on discovery of facts may have lead to actual facts surfacing.

Point 3:

My opponent says that "The only way due process stops evidence from being found is when that evidence can only be found by illegal means.". Well, what if illegal means are the only way to prove that a crime was committed? Due process doesn't lead to justice then. I would like to introduce the Supreme Court case Weeks v. United States. In this case, a man was suspected of a crime. Federal agents entered his home and found papers that proved him guilty. The case was thrown out of court because the agents didn't have a search warrant, leaving the evidence illictly gained. Now, in this case the only crime was gambling, but this was a man who broke a law and got away scot-free because of due process. Say he had been a more violent criminal. Who might have died before due process could conclusively prove him guilty?

I will now respond to my opponent's claims that due process and discovery of fact should be valued equally. My opponent claims it to be impossible, but it is not as he truly claims. Even in the example that he presented, the police could always attempt to find a witness or plant someone to pretend to be a drug addict in order to find enough evidence to search for drugs. It's also incorrect to state that "You cannot hold due process and discovery of fact equally.". Perhaps due process in the United States cannot be held equally with discovery of fact, but "Due Process" was defined at the start of this debate as "An established course for judicial proceedings or other governmental activities designed to safeguard the legal rights of the individual.". Just because it's not possible in the United States doesn't mean that it's not possible at all, it just means it's incompatible with the current way of doing things, and certainly the current way of doing things isn't perfect.

Sources:

Debate Round No. 3
tjordan

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and this fun debate.

First, in my opponents opening paragraph, he makes the point that we must have a combination of both discovery of fact and due process. Of course I agree! As he showed, you very clearly have to have some of both. But my opponent draws the wrong conclusion from this. He states, "Have you only due process, you have no way to capture any criminal of any sort, as they are innocent until proven guilty. Have you only discovery of fact, you can arbitrarily throw anyone you want to in jail for no reason, because there is no due process stopping it. Therefore, I take the position that both must be valued equally." My opponent claims that because we must have both, they must be valued equally. This is simply not good logic. This is like saying, if we want a water molecule, we must have Hydrogen as well as oxygen, therefore we must have an equal amount of both. But as we know this is false, as water takes 2 Hydrogen and 1 Oxygen.

Point 1:
My opponent, under point 1, basically says a person is innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn't mean he's not guilty. He could be guilty. Of course this is correct. But then he says "This is one of the reasons that I think discovery of fact must be valued equally with due process." Again I fail to see the logic here. Maybe I am just misunderstanding my opponents argument, but I cannot see how his point that a person can be guilty while still being innocent until proven guilty supports his claim that discovery of fact must be valued equally with due process.

Point 2:
My opponent states, "While facts are not always perfect, neither is due process which is why both should be valued equally." Again I do not see how the first part of that sentence justifies that they should be valued equally. Because two things are not perfect does not mean they should be valued equally. Also my opponent says, "I read up on Gideon v. Wainwright, and it is not true to say that the facts of the first case said he was guilty. It is more true to say that he was found guilty, which is different from the facts proving it." So does my opponent think he was convicted without any facts present? I would hope not. Obviously, in a court case, facts and evidences are presented. If we have zero facts, there is no case. In the case, the jury will hear the "facts" and decided whether the accused is guilty or not guilty based on the facts presented. In Gideon v. Wainwright, the facts presented in the first trial led to a guilty verdict. To claim otherwise is simply false. Therefore my point that in this case, holding discovery of fact over due process led to injustice still stands.

Point 3:
Earlier I made the statement, "The only way due process stops evidence from being found is when that evidence can only be found by illegal means." In refutation of this point, my opponent says, "Well, what if illegal means are the only way to prove that a crime was committed?" This is a direct contradiction of what my opponent argues throughout the debate!! I point you back to round 2 where my opponent states the following: "It was never implied that a discovery of fact outlook supports the violation of the laws. Breaking the laws to uphold them isn't very effective, as such a discovery of fact outlook would have to put an emphasis on legally discovering facts without doing illegal searches or cruel and unusual punishment. Facts are already used in the pursuit of justice (how could they be avoided?) and have proved themselves obtainable through legitimate means." Has my opponent changed his mind? Also in point 3 he brings out the case Weeks v. United States. Basically, in this case, the police violate due process and infringed upon this man's rights against illegal searches. As quoted above, my opponent even agrees that this is wrong! "Discovery of fact outlook would have to put an emphasis on legally discovering facts without doing illegal searches". So if my opponent agrees that we cannot do illegal searches, why is he supporting evidence gained by illegal searches? The point that he is trying to make with this case is that due process hindered justice because the facts found illegally could not be used. But because my opponent agrees that illegal searches cannot be used, a more valid argument would be that a violation of due process led to injustice.

Now on to holding discovery of fact and due process equally.
I showed earlier how in the actual practice of law you must choose one or the other. I used the example of myself being a drug dealer to convey this point. In an effort to refute this argument, my opponent states, "in the example that he presented, the police could always attempt to find a witness or plant someone to pretend to be a drug addict in order to find enough evidence to search for drugs." He uses this statement to say that you do not have to choose one or the other, but I do not find this legitimate. He did in fact choose one without realizing it. What he is really saying is, instead of choosing to break into my house or not, we can just find other ways to find the facts, LEGALLY. So he is in reality choosing to not violate my rights and not break into my house, affirming that due process ought to be valued above the discovery of fact. In addition, we see that it is impossible to choose both, therefore they CANNOT be held equally. I believe this refutes my opponents entire argument. In response to his argument that they could be held equally somewhere else, I believe my opponent would agree that if a government doesn't give someone rights it is not a just government. So even if somewhere else gives people less rights, the same arguments would apply there and they still could not be held equally. Also the negative has affirmed that the rights we have in the US are all good things and should be followed. So this argument is not relevant.

Now let's look back at the big picture. I affirm the resolution. Why? Because as shown, and as my opponent agrees, individual rights must be upheld no matter what, or justice is lost. (Just in case my opponent does not think he agrees... he stated, "discovery of fact outlook would have to put an emphasis on legally discovering facts without doing illegal searches or cruel and unusual punishment.") Therefore we see that due process is absolutely essential. Obviously due process and discovery of fact both play an important role in the pursuit of justice. This debate is not a "one or the other" type of argument. It is about which should be valued higher. We see that due process is not perfect because in some cases someone will not get what he deserves, but this only happens when the facts needed to prove that persons guilt are only obtainable through illegal means. So I ask you, voters, which is more just, a government that might occasionally let a guilty person go but always under any circumstances upholds your personal rights, or a government which says it is okay to break any law to accomplish what it thinks is best? Because I say the first, I affirm the resolution.

Now let's take a look at my opponents overall argument.
I find it hard to asses where exactly my opponent stands. For most of the debate he has said that due process must be honored. He said that discovery of fact must follow the rules of due process, but that due process shouldn't be held higher. (I am really unsure as to how such a stance is possible) However, later in the debate, he seems to support illegal means to finding facts. Is this not a contradiction? He must choose one or the other, and he has failed to justify either one.

So because I have given clear, un-refuted evidence that due process should be held above discovery and fact, and because I have shown my opponents stance (that they should be valued equally) to be impossible, I strongly urge and affirmative vote. Thanks to my opponent for a good debate.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

AlwaysMoreThanYou forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by tjordan 5 years ago
tjordan
To anyone reading this debate, please critique my arguments as much as you would like. I do high school debate and this is the resolution for this year, so the point of posting this debate is to just get better at my case. Also I will most likely post this same debate again sometime soon if anyone is interested.
Posted by tjordan 5 years ago
tjordan
I will assume that the statement made by Con to start his last paragraph in round 3, "I will now respond to my opponent's claims that due process and discovery of fact should be valued equally" was a misprint as I clearly do not uphold this stance.
Posted by tjordan 5 years ago
tjordan
Thank goodness it auto saves your argument before you post it. I almost lost everything I had done.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
tjordanAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by jm_notguilty 5 years ago
jm_notguilty
tjordanAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff