The Instigator
PrincessLindsey
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points
The Contender
Shakespeare
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points

Resolved: In the United States, the principle of jury nullification is a just check on government.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
PrincessLindsey
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/6/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,345 times Debate No: 11111
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (6)

 

PrincessLindsey

Con

First I would like to say that I'd like to do the Lincoln-Douglas debate style for this debate. I will allow my opponent to go first and present the PRO case. Then I will present my case and we will debate from there. Thank you for debating and I look forward to our rounds together.
Shakespeare

Pro

Jury nullification is an unjust governmental indulgence.

Our laws are by no means perfect, there are exceptions to every rule, but jury nullification is a kind of voluntary legal ignorance that blatantly overlooks thorough investigation, by coming to quick, and extreme conclusions.

A jury in effect nullifies a law that it believes is either immoral or wrongly applied to the defendant whose fate that are charged with deciding.

When has anyone ever truly agreed on what was moral or not? For example:

A group of men are charged with vandalizing a grocery store. It was owned by immigrants, and there is strong suspicion that the crime was motivated by the ethnic unrest that has been infecting the community. Although there is compelling evidence linking the defendants to the vandalism, they have the good fortune of being tried by a jury that shares their dislike of immigrants. Jury deliberations are brief, and the defendants walk away free.

This principle cannot be just when it allows for so much bias in the courtroom, and has in many cases let criminals walk free.

One is either guilty of innocent. There is no in-between.

Not letting the justice system do its job is not a check on government. It is an unjust, and dangerously easy way out.
Debate Round No. 1
PrincessLindsey

Con

I. INTRODUCTION: In this debate today the Negative will prove that Jury Nullification is an unjust check on the government and will prove how it is unjust.
II. RESOLUTION: Resolved: In the United States, the principle of jury nullification is a just check on government.
III. DEFINITIONS: I am using Merriam-Webster.com to define most of my terms. I would like to stipulate the terms that may come up in this debate as synonyms for Nullification: acquit, exculpate, discharge, vindication.
•Principle: a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption ; a rule or code of conduct
•Jury Nullification: Jury nullification is the power and ability of a criminal trial jury, federal or state, to acquit the defendant not only on the "facts" of the case but to declare the law illegal, nonsensical, or otherwise simply not justifiably enforceable. I.e., the jury can "nullify" the law.
In Laymen's terms Jury Nullification means: an instance when a jury returns a verdict of "Not Guilty" despite its belief that the defendant is guilty of the violation charged. The jury in effect nullifies a law that it believes is either immoral or wrongly applied to the defendant whose fate that is charged with deciding.
•Just: guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness; given or awarded rightly; deserved, as a sentence, punishment, or reward
•Check: to prove to be right; correspond accurately; to investigate or verify as to correctness.
• Government: the form or system of rule by which a state, community, etc., is governed.
IIII. VALUE: Injustice
IV. CRITERA: The government already has a system of checks and balances made, the 12 picked- at- random- jurors don't have the right to try to bend the laws as they see fit for a trial.
VII. CONTENTIONS
Contention 1: Jury Nullification is unjust for minorities. Jury nullification is unjust to minority groups because it gives more judicial power to the majority, while the Judicial Branch is the branch of government most suited to protect minority groups. The American checks and balance system works to prevent any member or group within the government from seizing too much power, but it also works to prevent any group of people or sector of the public from having too much effectual power in government. While the legislature and the executive branches are both popularly elected, the judicial branch is filled mostly by appointments. The appointed judges are meant to serve as unbiased interpreters of the law. They serve to ensure that society follows the laws it has set out for itself, and also that no person is punished for an unjust law that violates the constitution. The Supreme Court has often been ahead of its time in protecting the rights of the few: Brown v. Board of Ed. preceded the Civil Rights Act; the Warren Court's criminal rights decisions were unpopular with the public at the time, but are generally accepted today; Roe v. Wade protected the right to choose when almost every State had abolished that right. But it is the role of judges at every level of the judicial system to act as the unbiased referees of the law, in protection of both the many and the few. This prerogative is restricted by jury nullification because biased jurors can overrule an unbiased judge who is attempting to provide a minority group equal protection under the law.
CONTENTION 2: Jury Nullification can be an unjust when a jury is racially discriminatory towards a group etc. In the American South, during the Civil Rights Movement, while slavery was still prevalent and people were still extremely racist towards African Americans, juries constantly threw away any charges against white citizens who had harmed (or even killed) black citizens, no matter what the law, evidence, or jury instructions were.
A.For an example in literature that many people can relate to when a jury nullified something, would be in the fictional book "To Kill a Mockingbird" which was based upon actual trials that happened in the American South. The basis of the trial in the book was: A black man was on trial for murder, there was an all white jury, all the evidence pointed to a white woman committing the crime, the jury was very racist and ignored the facts and all the proof that the black man did no such crime. The jury decided that the man was guilty and convicted him of murder. The jury has nullified the law and right to the man convicted, that he was innocent until proven guilty. He was plainly innocent, but since the jury was biased, the nullified that law and concluded that he was guilty.
B.The point of this is that, a jury should have to abide by laws and should have to take in effect these laws, in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc. when they are judging a verdict. The laws of the government have been checked time and time again, and they don't need to bend the laws to fit how they see the convicted person, they need to acknowledge the laws, and base their verdict on facts brought up in that trial.
CONTENTION 3: Courts recently have been reluctant to encourage jury nullification, and in fact have taken several steps to prevent it. In most jurisdictions, judges instruct jurors that it is their duty to apply the law as it is given to them, whether they agree with the law or not. Only in a handful of states are jurors told that they have the power to judge both the facts and the law of the case. Most judges also will prohibit attorneys from using their closing arguments to directly appeal to jurors to nullify the law.
A.This just proves that even in court cases, the judges find it unjust to use jury nullification in a trial. Recently, several courts have indicated that judges also have the right, when it is brought to their attention by other jurors, to remove (prior to a verdict, of course) from juries any juror who makes clear his or her intention to vote to nullify the law.
B.Judges have worried that informing jurors of their power to nullify will lead to jury anarchy, with jurors following their own sympathies. They suggest that informing of the power to nullify will increase the number of hung juries. Some judges also have pointed out that jury nullification has had both positive and negative applications--the negative applications including some notorious cases in which all-white southern juries in the 1950s and 1960s refused to convict white supremacists for killing blacks or civil rights workers despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt. Finally, some judges have argued that informing jurors of their power to nullify places too much weight on their shoulders--that is easier on jurors to simply decide facts, not the complex issues that may be presented in decisions about the morality or appropriateness of laws.
VIII.CONCLUSION: In this debate, I've proven how Jury Nullification is indeed unjust, and an unneeded check upon the government. The government has laws and rules that it already is governed by and the people of a 12 member jury don't need to check up on it, because the laws are already checked through the system of check and balances in the United States.
Shakespeare

Pro

Shakespeare forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
PrincessLindsey

Con

Questions? Comments?
Shakespeare

Pro

Shakespeare forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
PrincessLindsey

Con

Shakespeare, I completely agree with what you are saying. It totally agrees with the con side. I think you might have accidentally thought you were con and posted the speech as if you were con. But anyways, I agree. It is an unjust check upon the government.
Shakespeare

Pro

Shakespeare forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
PrincessLindsey

Con

are u done?
Shakespeare

Pro

Shakespeare forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by PrincessLindsey 7 years ago
PrincessLindsey
i know...i meant justice...i messed up my value...im just gunna delete this debate bc i rewrote it and its completely different
Posted by Yoguy-107 7 years ago
Yoguy-107
im sorry, but i see no validation to your value of INJUSTICE, so im curious how can one achieve injustice? and why does it work in this round?
Posted by PrincessLindsey 7 years ago
PrincessLindsey
your welcome. best of luck in your debate- evidence finding. you can message me if you want to do another debate.
Posted by Yoguy-107 7 years ago
Yoguy-107
ill take the debate when i got some cases for sure. as of now tho i am only working on finding evidence thank you for your help tho princess
Posted by PrincessLindsey 7 years ago
PrincessLindsey
Oh, I'm sorry Shakespeare....i just want to get the show on the road and debate asap lol. I've got a tourny on Thursday, and I would like to have some practive debating both sides of this debate before I go to the tournament....
Posted by PrincessLindsey 7 years ago
PrincessLindsey
yoguy-107 : since my opponet isnt realy doing the LD style of debate once you get your case together id love to debate you. my cases are just in the early stages and by the time state and districts come around they will be totally different. My school uses the carver files for public forum and "squirrel killers" for LD. although both cost like 75-100$ per topic....soooo this is the only think free on the internet that can help you as of this moment...thats why i posted this debat eb/c there is nothing on the internet that is free that could help me this weekend when i was writing speeches without my "squirrel killers" evidence files and stuff to help me out.
Posted by Yoguy-107 7 years ago
Yoguy-107
ok, im preparing for my state tournament on this topic, and am searching for information before i write my cases. does anyone know any think tanks or law school databases that are public accessible that i can use? my coach gave me some but they are all private or require membership.
Posted by Shakespeare 7 years ago
Shakespeare
Are you trying to dump me, Princess?
Posted by PrincessLindsey 7 years ago
PrincessLindsey
wjmelements: would you be interested in doing a debate with me where i would be aff. and you would be negative?
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
If this stays up a little longer, I might take it.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Debatenewbie14 6 years ago
Debatenewbie14
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Vote Placed by rougeagent21 6 years ago
rougeagent21
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Vote Placed by redsoxfreak010 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Shakespeare 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by tbtaylor 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by PrincessLindsey 7 years ago
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