The Instigator
stark73
Pro (for)
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The Contender
joshjenkns
Con (against)
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In the united states, juveniles charged with a violent felony ought to be treated as adults

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/14/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,172 times Debate No: 15361
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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stark73

Pro

First round is intros, to clarify, this is a ld resolution so i would prefer an ld oriented debate, although I'll be fine if someone else other than a lder accepts.
joshjenkns

Con

In LD the affirmative has the first presentation, so i'll let you post your case first.
Debate Round No. 1
stark73

Pro

Cx occurs in comments section, max 10 questions per person.

Sources i shall post in the comments section

I affirm

Obs one: The word "charged" presumes the juvenile has not yet been convicted. Since it would be unwise to presume the guilt of tha individual, the timeframe of the debate can extend from trial to conviction, rendereing allarguments about punishment nonunique.

I value human worth.
Katz, 1997 explains the massive implications of dehumanization.
(Kathryn D. Katz, prof. of law - Albany Law School, 1997, Albany Law Journal )

It is undeniable that throughout human history dominant and oppressive groups have committed unspeakable wrongs against those viewed as inferior. Once a person (or a people) has been characterized as sub-human, there appears to have been no limit to the cruelty that was or will be visited upon him. For example, in almost all wars, hatred towards the enemy was inspired to justify the killing and wounding by separating the enemy from the human race, by casting them as unworthy of human status. This same rationalization has supported: genocide, chattel slavery, racial segregation, economic exploitation, caste and class systems, coerced sterilization of social misfits and undesirables, unprincipled medical experimentation, the subjugation of women, and the social Darwinists' theory justifying indifference to the poverty and misery of others. There is an increasing tendency towards dehumanization as a response to many facets of modern life. 'The criterion to prevent the violation of human worth is maintaining the ability to prevent the permanent state of exception(I can explain this concept further in comments section if you should ask me to)

State of exception basic concept: An abusive government that declares a "state of emergency" or a phase where they deem it necessary to violate people's rights in order to ensure "safety" or some other goal.

Agamben states "The paradox of sovereignty consists in the fact the sovereign is, at the same time, outside and inside the juridical order. If the sovereign is truly the one to whom the juridical order grants the power …of suspending the order's own validity, then "the sovereign stands outside the juridical order and, nevertheless, belongs to it, since it is up to him to decide if the constitution is to be suspended in total." The specification that the sovereign is "at the same time outside and inside the juridical order" is not insignificant: the sovereign, having the legal power to suspend the validity of the law, legally places himself outside the law. This means that the paradox can also be formulated this way: "I, the sovereign, who am outside the law, declare that there is nothing outside the law." This paradox allows the government to be both the decider and the arbiter of justice and gives it free reign to do as it pleases in order to maintain sovereignty. Thus the standard in the round must be maintaining the ability to prevent the permanent state of exception, and the way we do this is by treating juveniles in adult courts.Throughout human history this state of exception has been used to justify genocides, violations of inherent rights, and mass totalitarian regimes. Take for example, the Hitler Regime. Agamben writes, ""The entire Third Reich can be considered a state of exception that lasted twelve years. In this sense, modern totalitarianism can be defined as the establishment, by means of the state of exception, of a legal civil war that allows for the physical elimination not only of political adversaries but of entire categories of citizens who for some reason cannot be integrated into the political system" (Agamben, pg 2)." Another example of when the state of exception has been applied is after 9-11, when Bush declared a "State of Emergency" allowing him to violate the privacy and rights of certain "suspected terroist."

My sole contention is that juries lead to a state of exception.

Feld explains, "Although the right to a jury trial is a crucial procedural safeguard when states punish offenders, the vast majority of jurisdictions uncritically follows McKeiver's lead and denies juveniles access to juries. Because judges and Juries decide cases and apply Winship's "reasonable doubt" standard differently, it is easier to convict youths in juvenile court than in criminal court with comparable evidence. Moreover, McKeiver's simply ignored the reality that juries protect against a weak or biased judge, inject the community's values into the law, and increase the visibility and accountability of justice administration. These protective functions acquire even greater importance in juvenile courts, which typically labor behind closed doors immune from public scrutiny.

Kingston explains, "The Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial, and no one is above the constitution. Kingston furthers, "Every decision the government makes is based upon the constitution, every ruling reverts back to the principles of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the check against the government. No person or governmental body is entitled to violate this for to violate this would be a direct attack against fundamental American rights. This means that if in the status quo juvenile courts which are controlled by the government violate the jury trial right, as guaranteed by the bill of rights, then they are hypocritically abusing their power and directly linking into the state of exception in the sense that no one can take away the rights in the Bill of Rights, and if the government is able to take this away from juveniles, they are clearly stepping outside of the law enabling them to function on a tyrannical level.

My sole contention is the jury trials in adult courts prevent the permanent state of exception for three reasons:

1)Jury trials serve as a buffer between the government and people.

Toqueville explains, "jury trials educate citizens about self-government.
The traditional approach in U.S. court systems is for jurors to be the "triers of fact," while the judge is considered the interpreter of law and the one who will instruct the jury on the applicable law. Jury nullification occurs when a jury substitutes its own interpretation of the law and/or disregards the law entirely in reaching a verdict. Thus juries are able to nullify unjust laws the government may have made or falsified evidence the government may have planted and free a defendant based on their own assertion. This prevents a strict technical governmental law system from being implemented universally and allows for the community's opinion and values to be represented in the courts.

2)Without a trial by jury, it would be a trial by government

Henderson explains, "A judge in the criminal justice system represents the government. In the juvenile system, the verdict is decided solely by the judge. Whereas it would take 12 unanimous jury members to convict a defendant, it only takes one judge to wield the sovereign power of life and death. Henderson furthers, " …
Giving the power to one person to convict is simply tyrannical. Henderson writes, "A judge is not only representing the government, but can be seen as a direct analogy. Studies have shown judgs tend to convict 100 times more than free, and that the more authority a judge is given, the more corrupted the judge becomes and makes irrational decisions. IN the same way, once a government is given too much power they to beomce corrupt, this is evident in almost every dominant monarchy and totalitarian regime

IMPACT: The state of exception essentially allows the government to justify the violation of people's rights under the pretense of it being a necssity to the safety of the people(example: 9-11), on a more topical note, the government i able to justify taking away a juvenile's right to jury under the excuse thy are less culpable and thus cannot handle one, as ruled in Mckiver v. Pennsylvania.
joshjenkns

Con

I will start with my case then attack my opponets

In order to clarify the debate, I offer the following counter definitions

Felony: an offense, as murder or burglary, of graver character than those called misdemeanors, esp. those commonly punished in the U.S. by imprisonment for more than a year.
Juvenile: Of, relating to, characteristic of, intended for, or appropriate for children or young people
Adult: intended for adults; not suitable for children.

My value for the round is Moral Obligation. Is moral or not to not take different circumstances into account while giving a sentence as strong as twenty years to a ten year old? There are different circumstances to every crime, and the Affirmative position is too narrow-minded to see that.

The Criterion is Protection of Human Worth. you can not protect human worth if you throw a ten year old in jail without parole for a mental problem? Take Eric Smith, for example. At the age of 13, he strangled a 4 year old, slammed two large rocks on his head, and then proceeded to shove a stick up his rectum. any sane human would never do such a terrible thing nine years to life in prison will not help his sanity more than a psychologist? Upon leaving prision as the insane person he is he would likely commit another crime.

Therefore, the Affirmative has the burden to prove that treating juveniles charged with violent felonies treated as adults in the criminal justice system Protects Human Worth.

The Affirmative also has the burden to prove that we must treat children and adults the same, while the negative only has to prove that children and adults should be treated different, not neccisarily less.

Contention 1: Juveniles brains aren't as developed as Adults.

According to Terence T. Gorski is an internationally recognized expert on substance abuse, mental health, violence, & crime and others qualified professionals, (Ed. Judy Layzell. Ortiz, Adam.)

Scientific studies have determined that the human brain undergoes continuous development up to the age of about twenty-one. "Because the brains of juveniles, particularly the frontal lobes, are not fully developed, youths lack the ability to perform critical adult functions, such as plan, anticipate consequences, and control impulses," states Adam Ortiz, a policy fellow with the American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center. Although juveniles should be punished for their crimes, they are not as responsible as adults. "This is the premise beneath society's across-the-board restrictions on voting rights, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and serving in the armed forces," observes Ortiz. "Indeed, this is why we refer to those under 18 as `minors' and `juveniles'—because, in so many respects, they are less than adult."

By this reasoning, the mere act of punishing a juvenile as an adult is immoral, and therefore does not Protect Human Worth.

Contention 2: Punishment doesn't work, it just makes things worse.

Gorski presents three principles which should guide the debate regarding adult sentencing of juveniles. First, adolescents are not fully developed mentally and are prone to poor impulse control; second, even the most violent juvenile offender can be rehabilitated with proper treatment; last, the United States has a juvenile justice system that is designed to help youthful offenders, not punish them. "It is important to remember that punishment does not work," asserts Gorski. "Punishment is a failed strategy for changing behavior, teaching new skills, or developing new and more positive attitudes and beliefs."

Contention 3: Youths are easily influenced

It's a well known fact that a most juvenile delinquents had a bad upbringing. During the adolescence period, the brain is still forming and learning right from wrong. If in a negative environment, what we in society has come to know as bad, can be known as 'good' for the child. An example would be a case where a Mother began stealing things with her children, hiding things in their pockets and purses. The children were thereby taught that stealing is OK, maybe even if they must use force. The children should not be held responsible, the bad influences should be, be it a parent or a sibling or maybe an older friend who's experienced in the life of crime. Therefore, we should always take different circumstances into account, something the Affirmative cannot do.

Sub Point A: Youths should not have access to violent weapons.

Guns are usually related to violent crimes juveniles commit. Obviously, you must be 21 to buy and legally own a gun. Who's to blame for letting an underage have possession of such dangerous weapons? Certainly not the juvenile. Maybe the parent didn't fully teach the juvenile right from wrong, and/or carelessly left the gun around. Maybe the juveniles see on T.V. the power the gun has, and can get whatever they want if they have possession of it.

Contention 4: You cannot protect Human Worth with the Affirmative position.

Professor Palo Annino (Florida State University) expands: Oh, absolutely, I think we're immoral, ultimately as a nation. This is no different from slavery and other major moral issues. Placing children in adult prisons for life is a death sentence for children. Do we want to do that as a society? Do we want to ignore our Western traditions? I mean, we do have Western traditions, and one part of our Western traditions is called redemption, and for many people in our culture redemption is an important value. Instead of throwing a ten year old in jail for a mental problem or simply a mistake, how about we try for redemption and get the children rehabilitation.

Now to my opponets case

obs. The deference in trying someone as an adult or a chlid is the punishment for their crime, therefore we must look to the punishment of their crime as a detirmining factor.

obs2. my opponet and I both look toward Human Worth in the debate, therefore whomever can prove that Human Worth is better upheld by trying, or not trying juveniles with violent felonies as an adult will set the standard to win the debate.

Value: my opponet values human worth, and i agree that this should be valued, but throwing innocent children dose not protect human worth as explained in my 4th contention. since i already touched on this in contention 4 i will carry on to preserve characters.

Criterion: my opponets criterion is state of exception. we cannot look to this criterion because it is a contradiction in itself. the fact that a government violates a persons rights dosent uphold saftey in itself. another reason that we cannot look to state of exception is that his value and criterion contradict. if we allow the government to violate a humans rights we are not protecting their worth. this value and criterion cannot work togeather, so we cannot look to them as frame work.

contention: Juries lead to a state of exception. We can not look toward a state of exception. in my opponets Agamben card he uses hitler as a state of exception, and the problem with this is that we shouldnt model our government after hitler. we all know how cruel hitler was, sending jews to concentration camps and killing millions of people, and we cannot follow his example. instead we should value human worth and allow juevaniles to be tried as just what they are. Children. juries are a good thing, but we can allow juries to try children as children.

in conclusion, both me and my opponet look towards human worth to decide the winner of the debate, my opponets criterion of state of exception contradicts both itself and the value of human worth, and my opponets card/ contention look to follow hitlers example. we cannot follow hitler. my opponet has failed to meet either burden the resolution applies or the burdent of protecting human worth, so you must vote negative. thank you and vote negative.
Debate Round No. 2
stark73

Pro

I will start with attacking my opponents case and then defending mine.

First: Extend jury trials he doesn't make a single attack against this, and I stated clearly the benefits of a jury trial to juveniles and to the welfare of democracy in general.

Go to all of his arguments about human worth, they all presume that the punishment has occured, whereas I argue this is not true. In the resolution it says "Juveniles charged" not convicted, and since we can't presume the guilt of a juvenile we cannot talk about how the punishment affects them because to do so would imply they are guilty. So thus his arguments about adultpunishment being so vile become nontopical, this essentially drops his entire case.
He tries to answer this back by saying

"obs. The deference in trying someone as an adult or a chlid is the punishment for their crime, therefore we must look to the punishment of their crime as a detirmining factor."

This is absolutely false. The punishment is not the only different part, one main thing is that juveniles simply appear in front of a judg with no jury in juvenile courts in the TRIAL PHASE.

"At the age of 13, he strangled a 4 year old, slammed two large rocks on his head, and then proceeded to shove a stick up his rectum. any sane human would never do such a terrible thing nine years to life in prison will not help his sanity more than a psychologist?"

Ok, first why is this specific to juveniles? An adult could do this as while. Furthermore, just because someone does something bad doesn't mean they are automatically insane or less culpable. For example, if I stole something or killed someone, could i just say, "Oh i was less culpable or insane because noone in there right mind wouldn't do such a thing?" I say juveniles still have the moral intuition, that is why most juveniles do not commit felonies. In fct, the percentage of juvenile violent felonies is way lower than that of adults, so it could suggest juveniles possess something, hether it be fear of retaliation or some other factor that actually deters them.

"Scientific studies have determined that the human brain undergoes continuous development up to the age of about twenty-one. "Because the brains of juveniles, particularly the frontal lobes, are not fully developed, youths lack the ability to perform critical adult functions, such as plan, anticipate consequences, and control impulses," states Adam Ortiz, a policy fellow with the American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center"

OK, first of all, I will say there is no brightline for culpability because one does not automatically turn into an adult at the age of 18 or 21. Second, once again with the charged not convicted observation at the top of my case that restricts punishment, he completgely ignores this. I am debating about the TRIAL ASPECT hence jury trials thus i am being topical whereas he is simply trying to assume punishment is being discussed in the topic, I say, do whatever you want with a juvenile after conviction, but don't deny them a jury trial which you are doing in the negative world.

C3:"Punishment doesn't work, it just makes things worse."

Once again we are not discussing punishment, but even if you don't buy that, I say punishment does not define the uniqueness of the adut system, the adult system is famous for rehabilitation that juvenile facilities lack, mainly victim reconciliation programs anmd restorative justice which focuses on repairing relationships with the victim instead of the offender's own needs.

c4: Basically the same as c2, just talking about how bad juveniles get it, you can crossapply observation one and all attacks on contention 2.

"my opponets criterion is state of exception. we cannot look to this criterion because it is a contradiction in itself. the fact that a government violates a persons rights dosent uphold saftey in itself. another reason that we cannot look to state of exception is that his value and criterion contradict. if we allow the government to violate a humans rights we are not protecting their worth. this value and criterion cannot work togeather, so we cannot look to them as frame work."

First of all they do link. I am making the argument that the state of exception is essentially a pathways to justify massive dehumanization. Under the pretense of trying to ensure the public's safety, the government is able to justify large scale atrocities such as dehumanization to benefit their own political interests, we achieve human worth by preventing this.

contention: Juries lead to a state of exception. We can not look toward a state of exception. in my opponets Agamben card he uses hitler as a state of exception, and the problem with this is that we shouldnt model our government after hitler. we all know how cruel hitler was, sending jews to concentration camps and killing millions of people, and we cannot follow his example. instead we should value human worth and allow juevaniles to be tried as just what they are. Children. juries are a good thing, but we can allow juries to try children as children.

He makes a bunch of "attacks" against the state of exception, but never attacks the benefits of a jury trial, which I implicitly state, so you can extend those. Furthermore, he says hitler's government was bad. Well, obviously. I am saying if the government links into the state of exception they will be stooping to the level of Hitler because hitler used the same state of exception to justify killing jews.

In conclusion, he is not achieving human worth in so far as he is not preventing the permanent state of exception thus allowing the government to violate human worth during the charged phase.
joshjenkns

Con

joshjenkns forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
stark73

Pro

Extend all of my arguments, he cannot make new ones according to LD rules, don't let him make new arguments in his next speech, vote pro.
joshjenkns

Con

joshjenkns forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by NatashaGreeff 5 years ago
NatashaGreeff
what is an ld debate? - i will accept if i am not opposed to an LD debate ;)
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