The Instigator
hc
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
TheBear
Con (against)
Winning
14 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...
TheBear
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,881 times Debate No: 14396
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

hc

Pro

This is going to be an LD debate. Please don't accept unless you debate LD. At the bottom of the 3rd round please don't respond with an argument since there's no 2nr in LD.
I stand to affirm: Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.

The value for the round is justice, defined as giving each their due. This is the most important value within the round, because the resolution bases itself in the US legal system, the primary purpose of which is to deliver justice.

The criterion for the round is utilitarianism, defined as doing the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. By acting in the best interests of the greatest portion of society, utilitarianism is able to bring justice to more people and to widely effect the welfare of society more than any other criterion, making it the most important standard in the round.

Second, ethical rules must be universally applicable; if they apply to an actor in a given circumstance, then they ought rationally apply to all actors similarly situated. Otherwise, principles of right and wrong would not be predictable guides for action. Only a maximizing consequentialism maintains normative consistency as Philip Pettit proves:

if as a non-consequentialist I universalize the prescription that I should instantiate a pattern, then the prescription that any [person] ought to instantiate [the same] pattern, may force me to revise my self- [because]. I have equal reason to prefer both that I and any agent [act.] this is expressed by the word ‘right’ or ‘ought’ in each case [Since] universalisability blocks me from treating myself as special. [although] my initial claim must have been to instantiate [the pattern] in my own life, I countenance the general claims of the-pattern when I prescribe general conformity not just conformity in my own case. Thus general conformity is to be promoted, even if that means not instantiating the pattern in my own behavior [so] I must embrace consequentialism

I contend that putting juveniles in the adult system has a detterrent effect, since juveniles in the adult system will be punished harder than juveniles tried in the juvenile system. This is necessary since violent felonies have bad effects on the population.

First, juveniles are deterred by the public punishments provided in the adult system, as Christine Chamberline explains:

juvenile proceedings are still fairly confidential in many states. Transferring jurisdiction to adult court, would allow these proceedings to be more open to the public, increasing awareness among juveniles of the possibility of trial in adult court. [If] youthful offender trials [were] open to the general public as if they were adult trials, the imposition of an adult or blended sentence on a youthful offender may be publicized so that more juveniles become aware that severe penalties can be imposed on youthful offenders. This greater awareness should deter more juveniles from committing crimes.

Second, harsher punishment deters crimes. Studies show that as the threat of punishment goes up, criminal behavior goes down - as Brian Oliver explains:

trying juveniles as adults [causes] juveniles [to] be less likely to become involved in criminal behavior A study by Glassner provided support to this hypothesis. In the study, the authors interviewed youth about the criminal behavior they had engaged in as adolescents. What they found was that many of the youth interviewed made a conscious decision to stop engaging in criminal behavior once they turned 16, specifically because the laws on the books treated criminal offenders as adults starting at the age of 16. A recent study by Levitt 1998 provided additional support for the deterrence hypothesis. In the study, the juvenile crime rates between 1978 and 1993 were examined in relation to the punitiveness of the states’ juvenile court system in comparison to their criminal court system. What the study found was that states with harsher punishments for juveniles were more likely to experience lower rates of juvenile crime. This study provided evidence that harsher juvenile laws has a deterrent effect on juvenile crime.

Deterring violent felonies is necessary under Utilitarianism and outweighs any other impacts for a few reasons.
First, it outweighs on magnitude. Thousands of people are dying each year thanks to violent felonies, and this number can go down.
Second, it outweighs on reversibility. It's impossible for a dead person to come back to life, but even if some juveniles are hurt in adult courts they can be given treatment.
Third, it outweighs on probability. We know from these studies that if we put violent juveniles in adult courts crime WILL go down.
For these reasons, I affirm. (You can start with the NC now - CX doesn't really work on debate.org)

TheBear

Con

I firmly negate. I share the same Value and Value Criterion as my opponent. The order will be AC, NC. I also agree that deterrence is a huge part of the Value Criterion, Util, (as does my opponent) based on the three reasons he gives (magnitude, reversibility, and probablity).

My opponent's first contention is based on two sub points. Sub point A explained what factors in Adult courts lead to deterrence. Regardless of how adult prisons try to deter people, the only question that leads into our Value Criterion of Util is what the impact/consequences are. How much good is actually achieved? He only offers empirical consequences in subpoint B. The only applicable study he gives is the Levitt study in 1988 that found states with harsher punishments experience less juvenile crime. And this is why his sole piece of offense is invalid.

1) The fallacy in this study is that
correlation does not imply causation. There could be other possible factors involved.
2) Deterrence logically does not work. The very offenders who can be enraged enough to commit a violent felony such as murder are obviously irrational when they commit the felony. If so, then deterrence (which holds that offenders think about consequences when about to rape, murder, or assault someone) would not function since irrationality would take hold of the perpetrator and that perpetrator would not be able to look at consequences. So when it counts, deterrence logically fails.
3) Empirically denied. If you want to look at my opponent's own writer: Brian Oliver, you realize that the question of deterrence is empirically questionable.

Oliver writes:
Not all research has provided support for the theory of deterrence, however. In New York, the Juvenile Offender (JO) Law of 1978 was passed in response to concerns about violent juvenile crime. It provided that all juveniles who were between the ages of 13 and 15 and were charged with murder would automatically be tried as adults. To see if this law had a deterrent effect on crime, Singer & McDowell (1988) analyzed arrest data using an interrupted time series model for the years between 1974 and 1984. They found that after the law was implemented, the New York arrest rates for 13- to 15-year-old for homicide and assault increased. Additionally, while the New York arrest rates for 13- to 15-year-olds for rape and arson did decrease following the implementation of the law, similar declines in the arrest rates for 16- to 19-year-olds from New York and for 13- to 15-year-olds from Philadelphia were seen, indicating that the decrease in these crime rates was not the result of the new law. These findings led the authors to conclude that the implementation of the Juvenile Offender Law in New York did not deter juvenile crime.

After discussing even more studies, Oliver concludes: The evidence, thus, is not clear whether or not harsher juvenile transfer laws deter juveniles from committing crimes.

So the literature that even my opponent cites does not justify an affirmative vote as he has not fully fulfilled his burden of truth required for his argument to be taken with concern in the round. I shall crystalize here: As of right now, I have already justified a negative ballot as the judge must presume Neg when given no reason to Affirm. My opponent has no offense since I refuted his sole contention that he can only regain if he refutes all three refutations I gave against his argument.

Now the NC

1) Adult leads to Recidivism and Recidivism Bad:

Jane Wilson (1) writes:
Research shows that juveniles convicted in adult courts are 50% more likely to recidivate than those convicted in juvenile courts for the same crimes.

Therefore, juveniles placed in juvenile courts will recidivate significantly less than those in adult courts. This links into the magnitude, reversibility, and probability arguments my opponent advocated for earlier since it is much like the impact my opponent gave for deterrence since live's will be saved and there will be less offenders.

Debate Round No. 1
hc

Pro

As an overview, I concede that Utilitarianism measures what the impacts and consequences are to any action to determine whether it is good or bad. However, that doesn't mean the Chamberline analysis goes away. In fact, you can extend it - it went clean dropped by my opponent. It quite clearly tells you that if we try juveniles as aduts then more juveniles will be deterred from committing crimes since adult court is more public than juvenile court. Further, prefer it to all of my oppnents' empirical evidence for a few reasons.
First, analytical evidence applies in every case that fits the given premises whereas empirical evidence cannot. A study can't test everyone, and different studies produce different results at times. However, you can logically know that juveniles would be deterred by public punishment, especially since my opponent fails to provide a counter-reason.
Second, a hypothetical experiment is more isolated then a real one since it only tests one variable. Real - world studies suffer from many flaws, biases, or lack of controlled variables, and while the occurrence of these can be reduced they can never be competely eliminated.
Third, it outweighs everything on strength of link. The link between public punishment in adult court and deterrence was uncontested by the negative debater, so in debate we assume that the impact coming off of it is true.

This extension of Chamberline has two impacts. First, it means I'm getting significant offense in the round, especially since it was dropped. And second, it means that even if he partially responds to the Chamberline evidence, if he doesn't provide any reason why you should vote for him in the round you will be voting for me since my evidence clearly states that deterrence will likely occur.

Let's go to my opponents' NC where he tries to respond to the Levitt Study contained in the Oliver evidence.
His first point about correlation not implying causation actually supports my case. During the period in which Levitt conducted his study, nationwide crime rates actually went up, not down. Therefore, it bolsters the unique strength of the threat of being punished in adult courts as a deterrent.

The idea that deterrence doesn't work because violent felonies are irrational is just false for two reasons.
First, juveniles are empirically capable of being deterred, as Christine Chamberline explains,
This argument fails, however, because in many cases, juveniles know that the crime they have committed is wrongful and are thuscapable of being deterred. For example, in 1989, nine-year-old Cameron Kocher used a rifle to shoot and kill seven-year-old Jessica Carr. Even at age nine, however, Cameron knew that his actions were wrong because he tried to hide the spent cartridge.
Second, all offenders must think about the consequences when they commit violent crimes. That's why they do it in the first place - to make themselves happy. If we provide a great punishment that outweighs that pleasure then it makes sense they will refrain from comitting such crimes.
Third, the Oliver evidence takes this out - it says juvenile are successfully deterred since "many of the youth interviewed made a conscious decision to stop engaging in criminal behavior once they turned 16, specifically because the laws on the books treated criminal offenders as adults starting at the age of 16." - My opponent didn't respond to this in the last speech so it's a clear reason to take out his response.
The third point that he makes provides another study contesting the claims of the Levitt study contained in my Oliver evidence - however, prefer mine for a few reasons.
First, it's more recent - Levitt published his study 10 years later then the authors my opponent cited, so conditions in my study are more accurate and relevant to the status quo.
Second, his evidence states " similar declines in the arrest rates for 16- to 19-year-olds from New York and for 13- to 15-year-olds from Philadelphia were seen" and this is logically consistent with being more than just false causation. That's what the first Chamberline evidence tells you - the publicized punishment from trying these violent juveniles as adults and giving them the proper punishment deterred other juveniles and juveniles in nearby states, proving that it works.

Therefore extend my Oliver evidence, which says that trying juveniles as adults causes juveniles to be less likely to become involved in criminal behavior based on two studies - one by Glassner that proves juveniles can be consciously deterred and one by Levitt that uses crime rates to measure the effect of deterrence on society.

Next, his Wilson evidence that talks about recidivism is inherently flawed.
First, this is a result of the transfer process in the status quo. The really violent offenders right now go to the adult court and the not-so violent ones go to the juvenile court based on what the prosecutor thinks and based on the crime the juvenile is charged for. Differences in recidivism rates are based on the fact that the juvenile court contains less-violent offenders.
Second, this makes no sense. For the violent crimes these offenders are being sentenced to life in some cases - how can they have the opportunity to commit crimes again? The evidence doesn't say.

Third, Barry Feld proves why this isn't true since juvenile court rehabilitation empirically fails. He explains,

Evaluations of the effectiveness of juvenile court intervention on recidivism rates counsel skepticism about the availability of programs that consistently or systematically rehabilitate juvenile offenders. The inability to demonstrate significant treatment effects may reflect either methodological flaws, poorly implemented programs, or, in fact, the absence of effective methods of treatment. Moreover, even if some model programs do "work" for some offenders under some conditions, fiscal constraints, budget deficits, and competition from other interest groups make it unlikely that states will provide universally such treatment services for ordinary delinquents. In the face of unproven efficacy and inadequate resources, the possibility of an effective rehabilitation program constitutes an insufficient justification to confine young offenders "for their own good" while providing them with fewer procedural safeguards than those afforded adults charged, convicted, and confined for crimes.

Fourth, even if what he explains is true, it's not inherent in the adult system. If we could reduce institutional misconduct, we could reduce recidivism even while trying juveniles as adults. Chad Trulson explains,

Based on data from juvenile correctional systems, this research found limited support for institutional misconduct as a determinant of recidivism. Of all measures of misconduct, only the rate of total misconduct infractions was related to postrelease rearrest, and this effect was generally small and found only in the rearrest frequency model, not the dichotomous rearrest model.


Fifth, he provides no specifics for the research on how it was conducted nor why his Wilson evidence is true. What studies cite a 50% recidivism rate? What is the reason for this rate? We don't know, since my opponent never clarifies this. That's enough to not vote for him on this evidence right there since we don't know what he's saying.
Lastly , even if you accept what my opponent saying as true, it still doesn't matter very much in this debate. The juvenile system may cause offenders to recidivate 50% less than those in adult court, but how often do those in adult court recidivate? There's no clear answer. That's why you can't look to the recidivism rate, and must look to the crime rate instead. There, i'm clearly winning due to my clean extensions of the Oliver and Chamberline evidence. There's no way he can win this debate since the only justifications you could have for voting for him link to flawed statistics.
TheBear

Con

The order is AC, NC.

My opponent says I dropped the Chamberline evidence. This is a lie. As you will recall, I said this:

Deterrence logically does not work. The very offenders who can be enraged enough to commit a violent felony such as murder are obviously irrational when they commit the felony. If so, then deterrence (which holds that offenders think about consequences when about to rape, murder, or assault someone) would not function since irrationality would take hold of the perpetrator and that perpetrator would not be able to look at consequences. So when it counts, deterrence logically fails.

Since this logically contradicts the Chamberline evidence, my opponent did, however, respond to this later on, so I’ll respond to those objections.

1) He gives a card from Chamberline about a kid killing someone and hiding the evidence. This actually says nothing about why my analytics are wrong. The kid was not stopped by the consequences when he murdered someone since he was blind about the consequences when it mattered the most. Even if he was aware of what happened was bad afterwards, he wasn’t deterred. My analytic stands.

2) He says all offenders commit the crimes they do for the consequences, and thus he assumes they can look at other consequences. His first warrant negates this logically, as does my analytic. Further, in order to commit the crime someone has to be in an extremely primitive or beastly state that cannot look at anything besides the situation at hand. Otherwise, the felony would not have taken place.

3) Once again, he doesn’t understand my analytic. Juveniles are not deterred when it matters. They may be able to look at consequences when they’re rational, but the poll didn’t take place when those juveniles were extremely angry. He also lies again and says I didn’t respond to this, but if I said this analytic in the NC, then it is the logical thing to assume that this argument was meant to negate any analytic involved.

Thus, my analytics (for the reasons my opponent gave in the AR) outweighs the empirical evidence. He loses the impacts. I could stop here, but I shall refute the empirical based argument now.

My most important negation against the empirical evidence he gives is that correlation does not imply causation which he fails to refute. He actually admits that his evidence is based on correlation. Once again, there could be some external factor these studies did not account for. This alone negates the empirics he gave.

I shall move to the AC.

These are his refutations and my answers:

1) More violent people are in adult courts so there is a natural bias.

Answer: People are defined by their actions and this study compares people with the same felonies (actions), so people sent to the adult courts were just as violent as those sent to the juvenile courts as both were caught for the same crime.
2) Some offenders are being sentenced to life in some cases, so they couldn’t possibly commit crimes again.

Answer: Very few kids tried as an adult actually get life sentences. Even with that, we can assume those people were taken into account and that even with those discrepancies, far more kids in adult courts are attracted by gangs and put back on the streets.
3) The rehabilitators don’t care

Answer: The mere separation juveniles have away from the culture of an adult prison is enough to lower the standard recidivism rate. Thus, rehabilitation may not be the key as much as the separation is.

4) He gives some meaningless hypothetical about possibly making the adult system better.

Answer: This doesn’t matter though since we’re not questioning whether or not these prisons should be made better, but rather what we ought to do in the status-quo.

5) I gave no specifics about the study or reasons behind why the empirics are what they are.

Answer: I don’t have a burden to show the specifics behind the study. The results come from a reputable source (PhD graduate from Stanford who studies this subject) and giving the specifics is not part of my burden of proof. Further, I don’t have to explain WHY something is the way it is. Even if I were to, the amount of gangs in adult prisons would be a standard reason. Still, giving a reason doesn’t change the effect.

6) I gave no specific impact.

Answer: Just because there is not specific impact given does not ignore the drastic margin between x and x(150%). Don’t discard the impact just because there is no exact impact. Rather, use common sense to know that 50% is a lot and has a big effect.

Thus you negate.

As a side-point, my opponent has decided he didn’t want this to be an LD Debate and gave a 1AR longer than either the AC or NC which is absurd. As such, I shall assume that if he continues to ignore the general rules about LD debate (That the 1 AR is half the length of the AC) that I am justified in giving a 2NR. I’d assume a 2AR 1,500 characters long would justify the roughly 4,000 characters he went over in the AR. If he doesn’t give such a 2AR, I’ll presume he truly doesn’t care about the rules of LD Debate and I’ll give a 2NR.

Debate Round No. 2
hc

Pro

hc forfeited this round.
TheBear

Con

Extend everything. My opponent dropped all my arguments so they must be held as truth
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by TheBear 5 years ago
TheBear
To improve on my NC, you could prolly find a card with the same analytic that I gave. I'd appreciate it if you cared to share the author if you found one. Also, have had some actual offense instead of goofing around like I did here.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
Forfeit = con vote.

Good job by con. I ran and am running a case similar to pro's and con did about as well as you can do in attacking deterrence.
Posted by One-Humble-Man 5 years ago
One-Humble-Man
I would like to thank you both for competing in this debate. It has helped me in writing my own cases on this topic.
Posted by TheBear 5 years ago
TheBear
I'll take that as a compliment!
Posted by nhq 5 years ago
nhq
The NC was hilariously short compared to the AC.
Posted by hc 5 years ago
hc
Sounds good. Feel free to post your NC when ready.
Posted by TheBear 5 years ago
TheBear
I do varsity LD, and i'm looking foreward to debating you.
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Vote Placed by ofbecerra 5 years ago
ofbecerra
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Amethist17
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BlackVoid
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