The Instigator
Mr.alwaysright
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adult

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,442 times Debate No: 14351
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

Mr.alwaysright

Pro


Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
I would like to thank my opponent for participating in this debate. First I will define words from the debate topic. The definitions of juveniles, violent felonies, and criminal justice I found on worldwebnet.princeton.edu. Juveniles is defined as "a person who is under age (usually below 18), who is found to have committed a crime in states which have declared by law that a minor lacks responsibility and thus may not be sentenced as an adult. However, the legislatures of several states have reduced the age of criminal responsibility for serious crimes or for repeat offenders to as low as 14." Charged means accused of a crime. Violent Felonies "means any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another." Ought is the equivalent to supposed or should, as in "You ought to do this.” Criminal justice "is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts." Adults is defined as anyone 18 years of age or older. The Criminal Justice system is defined as the law.
My value for this topic is Justice and my criterion is retribution. Juveniles ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system for the following reasons: Adult crimes deserve adult punishments, crimes unpunished take away safety in the community, and crime is a matter of choice.
I believe adult crimes deserve adult punishments. Why is it fair if a 15 year old kid kills someone else’s child and then they get a soft punishment? If an adult does this they can be put in prison with a harsh punishment even death. It’s not safe for the community to have a minor softly punished and then have the minor get back out and at risk of committing a similar crime. When a juvenile is convicted of a crime they can’t be put on life on parole. Also it is against the law for a juvenile to go to a jury. If juvenile commits an adult felony then they should have a adult punishment. It’s just as bad as if an adult does it.
Crimes not punished take away the safety in community. If a juvenile commits an adult felony and its not correctly punished or punished at all then won’t it drive them not to care? If someone gets away with something over and over they are just going to have repetitive behavior. If you are letting juveniles’ off the hook for violent crimes then that means they are still out there somewhere in the community committing the same crime. Not only is your community at risk but you are as well. People don’t learn until they are corrected. If you don’t correct someone then when will they stop?
Some believe that exposure to adults may create a bad mental image and mentally corrupt a juveniles mind. Well Video games and TV can also tie into this. If juvenile’s are shooting up people and watching murder’s on TV then some may believe they can do it in real life. When a juvenile commits a murder are they going to say but they did it on a video game? Even if they do it’s not the video game picking up the gun and blowing the other persons head off in reality. It’s the kid doing it. You can’t blame anyone else for your actions but yourself. It’s the juvenile’s choice to commit a violent crime or not. If you can’t do the time don’t do the crime!

Danielle

Con

Thanks to my opponent for beginning this debate.

Pro has offered the following contentions:

1. Adult crimes deserve adult punishments.

---> As my opponent points out, juveniles are still being tried separately from adults for non-violent crimes. Laurence Steinberg writes about the crimes juveniles commit, noting society views "most of them as delinquent acts to be adjudicated within a separate juvenile justice system, that is theoretically designed to recognize the special needs and immature status of young people and emphasize rehabilitation over punishment" [1]. This is primarily for two reasons. First, juveniles are not as competent as adults, and therefore ought to be held to separate standards. Second, juveniles have demonstrated a higher capacity to change.

If it can be recognized (and it is, based on current psychology and law) that juveniles ought to be held to separate standards than adults in SOME cases, then it logically and necessarily follows that they should be held to a separate standard in ALL cases. If the idea is that a juvenile is not fully developed and can make a mistake, then this must apply to even violent cases. While the damage and harm there is obviously worse than non-violent cases, that just means their punishment and/or rehabilitation needs to be more extensive. It doesn't mean they should be considered to have adult faculties when they clearly do not.

2. Unpunished crimes take away safety in the community.

---> We punish criminals for two reasons: to protect society, and to achieve some sort of justice (or fairness). So why should we try juveniles as adults? Regarding the protection of society, young offenders will still be kept off the streets in juvenile detention centers, so there is no safety issue. In terms of achieving justice, the idea is to hold the assailant responsible for his or her actions if it is deemed the offender intentionally inflicted harm upon another, or violated their rights in some capacity... which brings us to the next point.

3. Crime is a matter of choice.

---> A study done by the National Institute of Health found that the region of brain that inhibits risky behavior does not fully form until age 25. This is the final stage of brain development [2]. While that is not to say people cannot be held accountable for their actions until that age, it logically follows that people at different ages have a different capacity to understand different things. A three year old does not understand murder the way a thirteen year old does for example, and still a twenty three year old understands murder at an even more complex level.

One's capacity to understand their actions absolutely plays a role in the criminal justice system. For example if a mentally handicapped person walked out of a store holding a piece of store property, people aren't going to assume it was intentional theft and thus may not seek to punish him the way they would an intentional offender. Similarly, people who commit crimes accidentally are not held to the same standard as those who intentionally inflicted harm. Likewise, children who do not or can not grapple with the severity of their crime should not be held to the same standard as a competent, more developed adult. That is not to say the child should not be punished at all; they should simply be given a fair assessment by acknowledging their inferior reasoning abilities.

Note that the resolution does not call for juveniles to be tried as adults in ALL crimes; only violent ones. This simply does not follow. If it is accepted that juveniles should be tried separately from adults in *some* cases because they are not up to being held to the same standards as adults, then this mentality applies to crimes of ALL capacity. If you're saying juveniles should be more severely punished in only specific cases, then it's essentially leading by emotion and not logic. At that point it becomes not about justice but revenge. Therefore, Pro's value of justice is being violated.

There are rapid and dramatic changes in individuals' physical, intellectual, emotional, and social capabilities during their pre-teen to adult years. If there is a period in the life span during which one might choose to draw a line between incompetent and competent individuals, this is it [1]. Additionally, researchers for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice found that teenagers are less blameworthy than adults, and that their capacities change significantly over the course of adolescence [3]. What does this mean?

Consider the cases of 9 year old Cameron Kocher or 11 year old Jordan Brown [3]. Both young boys were ruled to be tried as adults for murder. Do people really view 9 year olds as "small adults?" Obviously not. If so, they would have the same rights as adults -- which they obviously do not. Clearly, the State does not see them as being mature enough to be recognized as adults in *some* instances, yet when it comes to punishment, they somehow miraculously children gain the capacity to be considered as mature and responsible for their decisions as adults can be. It simply does not make sense.

Justice is being violated if the resolution is upheld.

[1] http://findarticles.com...
[2] http://www.ehow.com...
[3] http://articles.cnn.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Mr.alwaysright

Pro

Mr.alwaysright forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

As expected (when people create debates just so they could get help for their own real life ones), my opponent has forfeited and failed to present anything other than an opening round. I have refuted his arguments, but he has not refuted mine. Please extend them - thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
NHQ - First of all, I'm a she. Second of all, my vote was legitimate and fair. Yours was not. Third of all, I don't care.
Posted by nhq 5 years ago
nhq
I agree with the Con on all accounts, but I'm going to vote all for pro until Con neutralizes his votes for himself.
Posted by Amethyst 5 years ago
Amethyst
Argh; why do people not vote for or against any sides of a debate, and then they vote the same debate 3 times?
Posted by Sniperjake1994 5 years ago
Sniperjake1994
obviously a con victory. pro never rebuttal-ed.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by nhq 5 years ago
nhq
Mr.alwaysrightDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by AntiChrist666 5 years ago
AntiChrist666
Mr.alwaysrightDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Sniperjake1994 5 years ago
Sniperjake1994
Mr.alwaysrightDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
Mr.alwaysrightDanielleTied
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