The Instigator
Jev-O
Pro (for)
Losing
49 Points
The Contender
LakevilleNorthJT
Con (against)
Winning
50 Points

Resolved: In the United States plea bargaining in exchange for testimony is unjust.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,820 times Debate No: 4297
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (29)

 

Jev-O

Pro

Because plea-bargaining leads to false testimony and bartering, I affirm the resolution.
Resolved: In the United States plea-bargaining in exchange for testimony is unjust. I offer the following definitions from Cambridge university press dictionary to clarify the round:
Plea Bargain: A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case in which a prosecutor and a defendant arrange to settle the case against the defendant. The defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest and in some cases to also provide testimony against another person in exchange for some agreement from the prosecutor as to the punishment.
Exchange: To give something to someone and receive something from them.
Testimony: In the law, testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of supposed fact.
Unjust: Simply not just
I now give you one observation:
1. The negative has to prove some specific benefit to testimonial plea-bargaining for it is not functionally identical to plea-bargaining in general.
I value Justice, defined as giving each his or her due. The resolution is asking to evaluate the rightness or wrongness of actions, presumably making justice the end goal.
My Criterion is maintaining fair judicial procedures.
Owen Flanagan states" If justice is the first virtue of law and politics, then fair judicial procedures is an essential element in its attainment. For no matter how good and just the laws supporting them may be, without fair suitable procedures they would fail in their purposes. If the criminal law is to be enforced, if the legal standards regulating and directing an array or activities are to be upheld, if burdens and benefits are to be distributed in accordance with the binding norms, and if disputes between parties are to be resolved, then fair procedures appropriate to each of those tasks must be maintained."
This criterion is preferable for two reasons:
1.It is necessary because it outlines the procedures that a fair government would take to protect its citizens
2.It is objective because it acts as a weighing mechanism that both debaters can link back to.

My first contention is: plea-bargaining in exchange for testimony gives the accomplice an incentive to fabricate the truth.
With this chance to lie you are creating an unfair judicial procedure.

Sub point A: Testifying accomplices lie because of self-interest.
Christine J. Saverda explains," The accomplice has especially compelling reasons to testify on his own behalf. He will often have pleaded guilty, or have agreed to plead guilty to the offense or a related offense, and will be awaiting sentencing. It is in his interest not only to implicate others but also to minimize his own role and exaggerate the roles of his co-conspirators. He may on the other hand, have escaped indictment on the charges by telling a story which exonerates himself and shifts the blame to the accused. In short, his sanctuary may depend upon the self serving nature of his story."
These testifying accomplices lie due to self-interest, because it is easier for them to get a lesser sentence. By manipulating the story in his favor he can receive a lesser sentence, when giving false testimony you are producing unfair judicial procedures.

Sub point B: Mistakes in testimony can lead to unjust convictions.
Cliffor Fishman states, "Occasionally, however, a prosecutor might quite sincerely and reasonably, but incorrectly, believe certain "facts" to be true, and might make it clear to the accomplice that there will be no deal unless the accomplice incorporates those "facts" into his testimony. The risk is substantially greater that a supposed accomplice might falsely incriminate one or more defendants in order to have something to offer the prosecutor and thereby obtain a deal more generous than he deserves."
Alexandra Natapoff states," Criminal informants play a prominent role in the wrongful conviction phenomenon. According to Northwestern Law School's Center on Wrongful Convictions, 45.9% of documented wrongful capital convictions have been traced to false testimony."
This shows clearly how false testimony causes unjust convictions.

Unfair judicial procedures are created due to the conviction of innocent because of false testimony.

Sub point C: Fabricated testimonies threaten the credibility of the judicial system.
Christine J. Saverda explains," Existing sanctions and strictures have proved that inadequate in detecting and curtailing the numerous instances of perjury that result when the government, via the prosecutor, entices a witness to testify in return for some type of consideration. Whether in the form of a more lenient sentence, a dropped charge, or immunity, in practical terms these promises are really rewards offered by the prosecution. Because the prosecution actually induces the testimony, the government should make forthright attempt to ensure that the ensuing testimony is void of falsity. Perjury not only threatens the accuracy of the fact-finding process but insidiously undermines the entire criminal justice system by attenuation the societal respect necessary for maintaining the system's viability." This is unjust because when a judicial procedure lacks credibility, citizens can no longer feel secure about the government not violating their rights.

Sub point D: It is really easy for testifying accomplices to lie.
Christine J. Saverda states," An accomplice claims to have participated in the intricacies of the crime alleged. Thus he portrays himself as having firsthand knowledge of the illegal act as well as being the witness most capable of relating the details of the criminal activity to the jury. This claim to "inside knowledge" coupled with the fact that his testimony is usually the most damaging evidence against the defendant, allows the accomplice to deviate from the truth without arousing the jury's suspicion. Since the accomplice alone knows about the pattern of criminal events, he can manipulate the details of those events without blatant discrepancies. In effect, then, little room remains to questions the veracity of his testimony. Thus, his testimony proposes a unique danger: the increased probability that a jury will, unquestioningly and with little scrutiny, accept his story as true because of its inherent "believability." This easiness to lie creates an unfair judicial procedure.

Sub point E: Juries may be unaware of the accomplices lack of credibility.
Saverda again states," Not only are jurors unaware that they should search for evidence to corroborate the accomplice's testimony, they are also not consistently instructed to view such testimony with caution. Hence, their neutral assessment and unquestioning acceptance of the testimony as true is predictable since they have no reason for not viewing it as on par with that of other witnesses. Moreover, in the absence of mandatory cautionary jury instructions, appellate courts are burdened with the task of determining where a particular set of instructions was adequate to ensure justice at the trial level. Understandably, the appellate decisions in this area have proved inconsistent and have generated uncertainty in trial courts." You can not maintain fair judicial procedures when juries may be unaware of the accomplices lack of credibility.

In conclusion, plea-bargaining in exchange for testimony is unjust due to false testimony. Therefore you must vote pro.
LakevilleNorthJT

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for challenging me and wish him good luck. I would also like to show how this debate is going to work. First round is cases. Second round is rebuttals. Third round is rebuttal/ optional cross examination. Final round is for final arguments/ rebuttal.

I negate. Since the reciprocal burden for the round exists around proving PBT just/unjust, I value justice
1Derrida furthers, . No exercise of justice as law can be just unless there is a "fresh judgment.". This "fresh judgment" can very well conform to a preexisting law, but for a decision to be just and responsible, it must, be both regulated and without regulation: it must conserve the law and also destroy it or suspend it enough to have to reinvent it in each case, rejustify it, each decision is different and requires an absolutely unique interpretation, which no existing, coded rule can or ought to guarantee absolutely."
"Justice in itself, outside or beyond law, is not deconstructible. No more than deconstruction itself, Deconstruction is justice. It is because law is constructible, and what's more, that it makes deconstruction possible."
Therefore, Justice is perpetual deconstruction in which precedents are constantly reevaluated.

We use this definition because:
1) pre-fiat social benefits. It allows for societal benefits such as civil disobedience, which lets law be deconstructed and then made stronger, for instance, Martin Luther King Jr., with civil rights protests.
2) This is a concrete definition that is centered on the ability to challenge ideas and is not subject to conflicting conceptions of due, allowing for consistency and clarity in debate.
3) Deals directly with the relation between justice and law, making it more applicable to the resolution.

C: Reevaluation of Power Structures
3Foucault expands, "Disciplinary power, is exercised through its invisibility; at the same time it imposes on those whom it subjects a principle of compulsory visibility. It is the fact of being able always to be seen, that maintains the disciplined individual in his subjection. holds them in a mechanism of objectification. In this space of domination, disciplinary power manifests its potency, essentially, by arranging objects.
Reevaluation of power structures is crucial for deconstruction by its ability to dispute state and social precedents creating fresh judgments. Foucault tells us that power is exercised through arranging laws that create a precedent; therefore precedents create potentially oppressive control. For an action to be just, it must deconstruct oppressive precedents within power structures in order for them to be reevaluated and rebuilt with fresh judgments.
My thesis is that Plea bargaining for testimony deconstructs oppressive precedents that prevent equal political discourse and consistent reevaluation making it just.
Adam Cory explains the oppressive racial precedents in our legal system, "African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites, and Latinos at nearly double the rate. Minorities also face comparatively harsher charges on felony counts in trials. Juries add to these biases by including whether the defendant meets a stereotype when calculating guilt. The fact the matter is, our adversarial system widely embraces its majoritarian favoritism by setting procedures that rely on hired lawyers and a matter of guilt based on stereotype." This results in bias punishment consequently oppressing racial minorities. These harsher convictions further oppress racial minorities with disenfranchisement laws.
Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza explain, "Some form of felon disenfranchisement exists in 48 of the 50 states. 11 states disenfranchise some or all felons indefinitely. In many states, these laws were the product of explicit efforts to disenfranchise black voters after the Civil War. And even today, states with higher proportions of African Americans in their prison systems are far more likely to have strict laws disenfranchising felons. The net effect is to dilute African American voting strength." These oppressive conditions occur with trials; however, Plea bargains for testimony are mainly used with racial minorities because they have knowledge of the crime world, allowing them to evade trial.
Wesley Skogan warrants, "Organized crimes are usually acts of minorities. Minorities are most common in impoverished living conditions where their overwhelmingly the majority. These living arrangements instill insecurity in people since law enforcement is minimal with low funding and corrupt officials. of people seeking security. One way to regain a secure feeling is through gang membership."
In addition, well-off racial minorities will also be targeted since they could have knowledge of members of their family who are more likely to be a component in organized crimes.
Skogan furthers, "In ghettos, individuals turn to organized crime because it's their only option for profit. Ghettos have high amounts of drug use and distribution, making the economic demand high. Systems of drug distribution trap individuals to a crime lifestyle since; with little law enforcement nothing checks this growth of crime."

This neglection of enforcement creates cycles of oppressive outcomes.

Skogan explains, "Incentives for a citizen to involve oneself in politics is directly dependent on how much the politics involve and aid them. These problems are reaffirms notions that political structures only involve the well-off or ideal citizens and exclude minorities This creates a feeling of helplessness in these communities, making people distance themselves from political involvement out of spite and fear of further neglection." This affect keeps these communities in a cycle of political oppression since incentives for a citizen to participate is minimal, giving minorities no ability to change their oppressive circumstances.

With Plea bargaining for testimony it deconstructs these oppressive precedents in three ways making it just.
First: Since more plea deals for testimony are with racial minorities, the decrease in sentencing acts as a procedure to favor minorities, deconstructing the oppressive majoritarian favored procedures as a precedent in our current legal system such as having better lawyers and racial biases, forcing reevaluations of legal procedures.
Second: It deconstructs the oppressive racist precedent of disenfranchisement laws presented by the state, by giving a reduction in charges with the bargain, it makes less minorities qualify for disenfranchisement laws. This establishes equal ground of political recourse in the democratic sphere. Forcing reevaluations of disenfranchisement laws.
Third: Plea bargains for testimony puts a rehabilitative calculus into punishment by including participation on sentencing. This shows defendants that the state values their inclusion in the political system making a goal to rehabilitate for future inclusion. Also, it gives individualized attention to each case, showing it's not the states incentive to neglect, but to help. The testimony gives defendants a chance to create positive discourse in society, giving inclusion. This deconstructs the precedent that the state neglects minorities which created psychological barriers that prevent citizenry involvement in political spheres. By having a judicial procedure outlining inclusion and giving aid instead of adding to notions of neglection and helplessness it gives more incentives for political involvement and forces reevaluations of government incentives in the eyes of the public. With more subjects involved in political spheres through incentives and equal opportunity, reevaluations of power structures will happen more quantitatively and consistently creating more deconstruction in state and social precedents.

Thus you negate.
Debate Round No. 1
Jev-O

Pro

Jev-O forfeited this round.
LakevilleNorthJT

Con

JEV-O HAS CLOSED HIS ACCOUNT SO THERE IS NO WAY HE CAN REBUTTAL AND THUS I WIN. EXTEND ALL ARGUMENTS MADE LAST ROUND.
Debate Round No. 2
Jev-O

Pro

Jev-O forfeited this round.
LakevilleNorthJT

Con

JEV-O HAS CLOSED HIS ACCOUNT SO THERE IS NO WAY HE CAN REBUTTAL AND THUS I WIN. EXTEND ALL ARGUMENTS MADE LAST ROUND.
Debate Round No. 3
Jev-O

Pro

Jev-O forfeited this round.
LakevilleNorthJT

Con

JEV-O HAS CLOSED HIS ACCOUNT SO THERE IS NO WAY HE CAN REBUTTAL AND THUS I WIN. EXTEND ALL ARGUMENTS MADE LAST ROUND.

I negate. Since the reciprocal burden for the round exists around proving PBT just/unjust, I value justice
1Derrida furthers, . No exercise of justice as law can be just unless there is a "fresh judgment.". This "fresh judgment" can very well conform to a preexisting law, but for a decision to be just and responsible, it must, be both regulated and without regulation: it must conserve the law and also destroy it or suspend it enough to have to reinvent it in each case, rejustify it, each decision is different and requires an absolutely unique interpretation, which no existing, coded rule can or ought to guarantee absolutely."
"Justice in itself, outside or beyond law, is not deconstructible. No more than deconstruction itself, Deconstruction is justice. It is because law is constructible, and what's more, that it makes deconstruction possible."
Therefore, Justice is perpetual deconstruction in which precedents are constantly reevaluated.

We use this definition because:
1) pre-fiat social benefits. It allows for societal benefits such as civil disobedience, which lets law be deconstructed and then made stronger, for instance, Martin Luther King Jr., with civil rights protests.
2) This is a concrete definition that is centered on the ability to challenge ideas and is not subject to conflicting conceptions of due, allowing for consistency and clarity in debate.
3) Deals directly with the relation between justice and law, making it more applicable to the resolution.

C: Reevaluation of Power Structures
3Foucault expands, "Disciplinary power, is exercised through its invisibility; at the same time it imposes on those whom it subjects a principle of compulsory visibility. It is the fact of being able always to be seen, that maintains the disciplined individual in his subjection. holds them in a mechanism of objectification. In this space of domination, disciplinary power manifests its potency, essentially, by arranging objects.
Reevaluation of power structures is crucial for deconstruction by its ability to dispute state and social precedents creating fresh judgments. Foucault tells us that power is exercised through arranging laws that create a precedent; therefore precedents create potentially oppressive control. For an action to be just, it must deconstruct oppressive precedents within power structures in order for them to be reevaluated and rebuilt with fresh judgments.
My thesis is that Plea bargaining for testimony deconstructs oppressive precedents that prevent equal political discourse and consistent reevaluation making it just.
Adam Cory explains the oppressive racial precedents in our legal system, "African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites, and Latinos at nearly double the rate. Minorities also face comparatively harsher charges on felony counts in trials. Juries add to these biases by including whether the defendant meets a stereotype when calculating guilt. The fact the matter is, our adversarial system widely embraces its majoritarian favoritism by setting procedures that rely on hired lawyers and a matter of guilt based on stereotype." This results in bias punishment consequently oppressing racial minorities. These harsher convictions further oppress racial minorities with disenfranchisement laws.
Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza explain, "Some form of felon disenfranchisement exists in 48 of the 50 states. 11 states disenfranchise some or all felons indefinitely. In many states, these laws were the product of explicit efforts to disenfranchise black voters after the Civil War. And even today, states with higher proportions of African Americans in their prison systems are far more likely to have strict laws disenfranchising felons. The net effect is to dilute African American voting strength." These oppressive conditions occur with trials; however, Plea bargains for testimony are mainly used with racial minorities because they have knowledge of the crime world, allowing them to evade trial.
Wesley Skogan warrants, "Organized crimes are usually acts of minorities. Minorities are most common in impoverished living conditions where their overwhelmingly the majority. These living arrangements instill insecurity in people since law enforcement is minimal with low funding and corrupt officials. of people seeking security. One way to regain a secure feeling is through gang membership."
In addition, well-off racial minorities will also be targeted since they could have knowledge of members of their family who are more likely to be a component in organized crimes.
Skogan furthers, "In ghettos, individuals turn to organized crime because it's their only option for profit. Ghettos have high amounts of drug use and distribution, making the economic demand high. Systems of drug distribution trap individuals to a crime lifestyle since; with little law enforcement nothing checks this growth of crime."

This neglection of enforcement creates cycles of oppressive outcomes.

Skogan explains, "Incentives for a citizen to involve oneself in politics is directly dependent on how much the politics involve and aid them. These problems are reaffirms notions that political structures only involve the well-off or ideal citizens and exclude minorities This creates a feeling of helplessness in these communities, making people distance themselves from political involvement out of spite and fear of further neglection." This affect keeps these communities in a cycle of political oppression since incentives for a citizen to participate is minimal, giving minorities no ability to change their oppressive circumstances.

With Plea bargaining for testimony it deconstructs these oppressive precedents in three ways making it just.
First: Since more plea deals for testimony are with racial minorities, the decrease in sentencing acts as a procedure to favor minorities, deconstructing the oppressive majoritarian favored procedures as a precedent in our current legal system such as having better lawyers and racial biases, forcing reevaluations of legal procedures.
Second: It deconstructs the oppressive racist precedent of disenfranchisement laws presented by the state, by giving a reduction in charges with the bargain, it makes less minorities qualify for disenfranchisement laws. This establishes equal ground of political recourse in the democratic sphere. Forcing reevaluations of disenfranchisement laws.
Third: Plea bargains for testimony puts a rehabilitative calculus into punishment by including participation on sentencing. This shows defendants that the state values their inclusion in the political system making a goal to rehabilitate for future inclusion. Also, it gives individualized attention to each case, showing it's not the states incentive to neglect, but to help. The testimony gives defendants a chance to create positive discourse in society, giving inclusion. This deconstructs the precedent that the state neglects minorities which created psychological barriers that prevent citizenry involvement in political spheres. By having a judicial procedure outlining inclusion and giving aid instead of adding to notions of neglection and helplessness it gives more incentives for political involvement and forces reevaluations of government incentives in the eyes of the public. With more subjects involved in political spheres through incentives and equal opportunity, reevaluations of power structures will happen more quantitatively and consistently creating more deconstruction in state and social precedents.

Thus you negate.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Life_is_Abstract 8 years ago
Life_is_Abstract
lakvillenorthJT has multiple accounts
Posted by kcirrone 8 years ago
kcirrone
Lol, I debated this topic, you obviously got it from the NFL. This topic was the worst of the whole year. Hmm, my favorite was the nukes topic.
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monicat
Jev-OLakevilleNorthJTTied
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