The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Prosecuting a juvenile as an adult should not be permissible in courts.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 599 times Debate No: 79686
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




I will be defending the position that if someone falls into the legal category of a juvenile, then that person should be prosecuted as such for crimes committed.

I am including all crimes in this argument. If someone is considered to be below the age at which he or she is considered to be able to comprehend the ramifications of his or her actions, then he or she should be considered to have shifted to the category of people who are able to comprehend the ramifications of his or her actions simply due to the nature of the actions.

This is not my opening argument, this is just me clarifying the position I am defending.


Pro and Con must argue within the context of a system that has definitions for juveniles and minors as exists in the USA. It is not allowed to argue in terms of systems with no such demarcation or systems with a demarcation based on merit rather than age.

Round 1: Only acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguments, Pro argues that prosecuting juveniles as adults should not be allowed and Con argues that prosecution of juveniles as adults should be allowed.
Round 3: Rebuttals, no new arguments
Round 4: Counter Rebuttals, no new arguments

Time limit: 48hrs/round.


18 is an aribtrary number. what really makes sense is considering whether the defendent has the sensibilities of an adult. the system now looks at hte person as a whole to make this determination. someone shouldn't be able to get a lighter sentence just because they killed someone at 17 when a day later they are legally an adult.
Debate Round No. 1


Did you read the rules?


Pro and Con must argue within the context of a system that has definitions for juveniles and minors as exists in the USA. It is not allowed to argue in terms of systems with no such demarcation or systems with a demarcation based on merit rather than age."

I specifically said that this debate is confined to debating a system where there is a cutoff. I also defined round 1 as acceptance only. Please present an argument that fits the debate, not one that is outside the realm of this debate.


i see round one was acceptance only. aside from that i dont see that there's anything wrong.
Debate Round No. 2


In any event, here is my argument.

The current system bans people under the age of 18 from participating in many activities. These include smoking, filming pornography, voting, serving in the military, purchasing firearms, etc. This is supposedly because they are considered to lack the cognitive capacity to either understand the potential consequences of these actions or to be trusted with that power.

The only time we make exceptions for this is when someone makes a profoundly stupid decision, and this seems to be a result of the blood lust people have with respect to crime. They want someone to pay.

This seems to define adult as a person who is profoundly stupid since highly advanced students cannot apply to be called adults and thus vote. If a 12 year old can be charged with murder, it stands to reason that there are 12 year olds who should be eligible to vote, have sex, purchase firearms, etc.

This is not, however how our system works. My argument is not that if a system existed where your legal rights and responsibilities were tied to your maturity, then people under 18 should not be prosecuted as adults. That kind of system would make sense and then age would be a non factor. I am arguing that in a system with a set cutoff for adulthood, having a special rule allowing someone to skip ahead to being called an adult because the person displayed a lack of intelligence is not justified.


con says if juveniles are banned from things like voting they should not eb tried as an adult. it should go the other way though, if some kids are mature enough to be tried as an adult, they should be allowed to do things like vote. just because the system doesn't ensure this though doesn't mean we shouldn't try those kids as an adult. the system doesnt have to be consistent. it is in the name of justice and common sense that someone a few days from being an adult might be able to be tried as an adult.
Debate Round No. 3


Con argues for a common sense idea that someone a few days from an arbitrary cutoff for adulthood should count as an adult in the court system. The problem is that this type of reasoning leads to prosecuting babies as adults since it is still arbitrary.

X is a few days from being an adult, so prosecute X as an adult. Y is a few days from a few days from being an adult, so prosecute Y as an adult. Z is a few days from a few days from a few days from being an adult, so prosecute Z as an adult.

The idea that someone is close enough to an adult just means we have pushed an arbitrary cutoff back a few days to a new cutoff. Then that same reasoning says that if someone is very close to the new arbitrary cutoff, the person should be prosecuted as an adult.

This sounds like a slippery slope argument, but it has actually happened.

The acceptance of prosecuting juveniles as adults has been used in such a way to where we now have pre teens being charged as adults.

A 12 year old and a 13 year old charged as adults.
Two 12 year old girls charged as adults.
12 year old boy charged as adult.
10 year old charged as adult.

According to the equal justice initiative, there are at least 10, 000 children housed in adult jails and prisons. Some of them are serving life sentences for crimes committed when they clearly could not have understood the consequences of their actions.

I agree that if we had an adjustable system, then charging a 17 year old as an adult could make sense, but being able to arbitrarily adjust the rate as you suggest being able to do leads to the very real consequences I have demonstrated.


dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Mr_Anderson 2 years ago
Aspiring- No, why?
Posted by Mr_Anderson 2 years ago
Do it.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
Mr Anderson, if you still want to debate this, I will repost and set you as the opponent with a 48 hour limit. I think this version will probably be a bit of a trainwreck.
Posted by AspiringMultiCashMaker 2 years ago
Mr_Anderson, do you specialize in teaching and arts? Are you the leader of the art classes in Eleanor J. Toll Middle School?
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
Posted by Mr_Anderson 2 years ago
Make the debate rounds 48 or 72 hours and I'll accept. I've been waiting for a decent debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ax123man 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: First 2 rounds were a bit weird. In round 1, I thought Con started arguments, but Pro seems to think Con was trying to change the definition of juvenile (because round 1 was acceptance only, I guess). In round 2, Pro calls Con for rule-breaking, and then skips arguments altogether, while Con says round 1 was acceptance only (does this mean Con WAS trying to change the definition of juvenile? I have no idea, so I'm calling round 1 & 2 a bust. In round 3, Pro associates "tried as an adult" with other pre-adult banning: smoking, voting, etc. Pro argues adult-like responsibilities should be treated equally regarding age cut-off. Con agrees with Pro's basic premise, but not with the need for consistency. The debate was essentially dead-locked at this point. In round 4, Pro uses a reductio on Con and ..... forfeit? Really? That's to bad. Pro gets arguments since round 4 was not refuted and conduct for the forfeit.