The Instigator
Cody_Franklin
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
C.Artificavitch
Pro (for)
Losing
14 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 5 votes the winner is...
Cody_Franklin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,599 times Debate No: 11621
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (5)

 

Cody_Franklin

Con

My opponent has sent me a PM requesting a debate on this subject in Lincoln-Douglas format. Since I am negative, LD format requires me to allow the affirmative to present his case before the debate begins. So, we'll sit back and wait.
C.Artificavitch

Pro

The primary function of an independent juror is not, as many people think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by the government." This quote from the American Jury Institute is why I affirm the resolution, Resolved: In the United States, the principle of jury nullification is a just check on the government. For better clarification of the debate I offer the following definitions. Jury Nullification- When the jury allows the defendant to go free either because the violated law itself was out-dated or unfair, or in that certain situation the letter of the law does not apply. Just- Fair.

The value to determine today's debate will be that of Justice, or the quality of being just or fair. To further elaborate, justice is needed in today's debate(or better called fairness) because in a case of jury nullification, fairness comes into action. For example, there are three men all charged with the same crime, manslaughter. One was a cold-blooded murderer. One was a student driver who lost control of the vehicle. And the last was a man who was viciously attacked by a gang and beaten. Out of self-defense, this man pulls a pistol and fires, killing a gang member. Also, lets just say if these men are found guilty, they'll all be subject to the death penalty. Now, the question today is, should all these men be charged with the same crime, all three seen as equal under the law, all three condemned to death on a technical issue? The technical issue being the law said killing is frowned upon. Or should the constitutionally protected process of jury nullification come into play? Jury nullification consists of two aspects or ways to conduct it. One being in a specific case the law should be disregarded. And two the law itself is wrong or immoral, thus the person who broke the law doesn't deserve punishment."

In the most strict context of the resolution (given it's legal nature) the way we must resist by LEGITIMATELY RENDERING JUSTICE. This will be the CRITERION for the round. This not only acts as a weighing mechanism for my value, but will serve as a vehicle for which justice is to be achieved. In conclusion, justice through legitimately rendering justice.

OBSERVATION ONE: JURY NULLIFICATION IS NOT THE ONLY MEANS OF CHECKING THE GOVERNMENT, HOWEVER IT IS THE BEST MEANS. Professor John Van Dyke, from the University of Hawaii-Manoa, says that in some cases Jury nullification may be that ONLY way for the public to express opposition to an unjust law. This shows that jury nullification is the best check on the government, because at times, it is the only voice the public has.

CONTENTION ONE: Jury nullification, in its principle and application, serves as both a legitimate and just check on the government.

SUB POINT A: The principle and application of jury nullification serves as a just check on the power of the government.
Jury nullification is intended to protect the defendant and ultimately people abroad. Professor James Duane at the Regent's Law School of Virginia asserts that applying the letter of the law in all of its generality to every situation may not be appropriate. Ultimately, the law does not equal justice thus the only way to legitimately administer justice is through jury nullification. Without Jury nullification the people of the United States would be lacking this legitimate and just check on the power of the government.

SUB POINT B: Jury nullification is a legitimate check on governmental power.
Some opponents of jury nullification would say that it is an unwarranted and dangerous power, not designated to the people by the constitution. On the contrary, jury nullification is: a perfectly constitutional and legitimate means of administering justice. Granted, nowhere in the constitution does it explicitly say the words JURY NULLIFICATION, however, Professor John Van Dyke said, "The framers of the constitutions strove to create an independent judiciary but insisted upon further protection against arbitrary action…" Clearly jury nullification is perfectly within the spirit of the constitution. It is much like the concept of freedom of expression, nowhere in the constitution does it say these words, however, freedom of expression is at the very core of our American values yet, is not in the constitution; it is inferred, but not explicitly stated. Beyond this, according to assistant Professor Andrew D. Leipold at the University of Illinois, jury nullification intervenes in situations where old, and often irrelevant laws, resurface. Jury nullification corrects these laws and ultimately legitimizes the system. The legitimate administration of justice and ultimately liberty cannot exist without jury nullification.

CONTENTION TWO: JURY NULLIFICATION INSURES THAT LAWS ARE FAIR AND LEGITIMATE
It is critical that one understands that the law does not equal justice not matter how you define it. There are times when laws are unfair and unjust. Carrie Ullman from the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics supports this saying that, "jury nullification can be a useful corrective tool in situations where the interests of justice and strict compliance with the law do not necessarily coincide." Jury nullification renders justice in these instances by administering it in ways that are out of the power of the judge. This position is illustrated by Professor Alan Scheflin from Santa Clara University saying that a jury can administer justice in ways that a judge cannot.

Ultimately, through extensive research and generally accepted fact the resolution Resolved: In the United states, the principle of jury nullification is a just check on government, is upheld. The burden of proof on the part of the affirmative is upheld as is the resolution, therefore I urge you to vote affirmative.
Debate Round No. 1
Cody_Franklin

Con

Before I begin, I would just like voters to see something: [http://www.debate.org...]

If you take a look at this other debate, many of the arguments between these two opponents of mine share striking similarities; this leads me to believe that either

a. my current opponent has stolen arguments from other debaters, or

b. my opponent has stolen arguments from an off-site source.

Oh, I just found the same arguments here [http://www.debate.org...] as well. Interesting.

To cover the debate, though, I'll go ahead and attack his arguments.

Concerning his definition of jury nullification first of all, he defines the principle in a way that presupposes the violated law to be unjust; however, considering that this definition is blatantly abusive, I submit that nullification is simply a jury's disregarding of the judge's advice and the acquittal of a defendant despite overwhelming evidence of guilt.

1. The affirmative's standards

a. I agree that justice is the primary value in today's round; however, his definition of justice is extremely circular. He claims that justice is fairness, but he never provides an objective standard of evaluating what is fair, and what is not. Because Pro provides no such standard, he obviously cannot win the value, as he is unable to determine exactly what justice consists of.

b. Additionally, I'd ask you to disregard the argument he presents within his value premise; if he wishes to make arguments to support his standards, they belong in the contentions.

c. His criterion is as circular as his value. He even states in his analysis that his standards are set up as such: "justice through legitimately rendering justice". He not only lacks a standard for determining justice, but he lacks a standard for evaluating the round in its entirety. He gives no analysis as to what justice is, or how it is legitimately rendered. Prima facie, you can negate based on the lack of legitimate standards on Pro's part.

Because Pro hasn't any real standards of his own, I offer my own, which I've copied and pasted from a previous debate I had on the very same subject, under frighteningly similar circumstances.

2. My standards

Value: Justice

Justice is defined by Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition, as the fair and proper administration of law. This is an important value in the United States because the justice system is set up primarily to apply laws in an objective fashion so as to impartially arbitrate disputes among men. If a law cannot be fairly and properly applied, the proper channels must be used so that the statute in question might be repaired or scrapped.

Criterion: Objectivism

Ayn Rand argues in The Virtue of Selfishness that the proper purpose of government is "as a policeman which protects man's rights... and settles disputes by rational rules". To ensure that laws are fairly and properly applied to that end, Rand states that the rules under which a government operates must be absolutely objective; otherwise, the use of force would remain solely in the hands of individuals, which contradicts the function of government as a policeman, and subjects individuals within a social setting to the equivalent of mob rule; ergo, objective law and the application thereof are the primary priorities of a just system.

3. Pro's observation

a. This is simply an attempt by Pro to use an affirmative argument to frame the round in a way such that the negative hasn't any ground left to argue. That's abusive.

b. To respond to his actual assertion, the "public" has no voice. The public is merely an aggregate sum of individuals; however, considering that individuals within a social setting have vastly different values, ideologies, and ways of thinking, the affirmative cannot possibly claim that a nullifying jury

A. accurately represents every perspective, or

B. has the ethical authority to render judgment on a law.

c. Even if the jury did represent the majority of individuals in a society, Pro presupposes that it is morally acceptable to permit the majority's whims to determine when law is being fairly applied (ergo, justice); keep in mind, however, that both law and ethical judgments must be based upon human reason, not upon popular sovereignty. At the point that the affirmative explicitly argues that nullification is a tool of the public, he has lost the round.

4. Pro's first contention (sub-point A)

a. This argument is based upon the circular presupposition that nullification is a just/legitimate institution. Pro has to prove the truth of the resolution, not assume it as a premise.

b. Pro also presupposes that the law being nullified is unjust; however, since Pro offers no objective standard of justice (something you get only on the negative), nullification could easily target just laws that are merely unpopular.

5. Pro's first contention (sub-point B)

a. Even if nullification is implied in the Constitution, that doesn't prove that it is a just check on government.

b. His evidence doesn't support his claim; it says only that there is to be an independent judiciary; it would be a non sequitur to say "the framers intended an independent judiciary; therefore, jury nullification is a just check on government." It simply does not follow.

c. His evidence also discusses the importance of protection against arbitrary action; however, Andrew Leipold with USA Today clearly explains that juries are neither elected nor accountable [http://findarticles.com...]; if anything, nullification's lack of oversight puts the judiciary in greater danger of arbitrary, subjective action if the principle is glorified.

d. He is appealing to novelty [http://en.wikipedia.org...] when he claims that "outdated" laws are unjust by virtue of their being old. A law's age, however, has nothing do with its legitimacy.

6. Pro's second contention

a. I agree with his assertion that sometimes laws are unfair/unjust; however, Pro hasn't provided any standards which evaluate the justice of a law; ergo, he cannot definitively claim that he is fighting injustice since he has failed to establish the lens through which we might identify it.

b. Even assuming that a law in question is unjust, jury nullification is not the way to deal with it. Understand that nullification merely ignores the problem - something which will not make that problem go away. Nullification doesn't stop people from being subjected to the law, nor does it change/repeal the law; it merely ignores the laws based on the diverse whims and personal feelings of each juror.

c. Once again, we see Pro relying on the circular presupposition that nullification WILL render justice; however, I remind Pro that the validity of the resolution is to be proven, not assumed.

d. I do agree with pro that the effects of nullification "are out of the power of the judge", inasmuch as the jurors are not accountable to the judge, the attorneys, and so forth for their acquittals; ergo, the lack of accountability merely destabilizes the delicate system of checks and balances integrated into American government, and creates a judiciary that, from an objective standpoint, is a bit TOO independent.

This early in the game, I'm curious to see how things will unfold, and I hope that the affirmative will be able to come up with some slightly more original arguments. ;) Good luck, and I'll see you in Round 2.
C.Artificavitch

Pro

To start off, I would like to ask my opponent to refrain from accusing me of being a thief, and to stick to the debate. Also, I would like to ask the voters to disregard those other cases seeing as that doesn't at all impact this debate. What makes this debates is the arguments and counter-arguments. But, for the sake of clearing my name, 1) In the debate community it is not unlikely to see similar or even exact same arguments pop up on the same topic. 2) I have friends who I share ideas, evidence, and blocks with to not only educate them, but myself. So \that other debater having my case is not a surprise. I don't mind, because its not the case that makes the debater, its the arguments. But moving on, here's for an interesting rest of the debate.

Concerning the definition debate, I view "abuse arguments" as whining, so for the sake of a more interesting, less technical debate, we will use his definition of jury nullification.

I'll go down the flow in the same format as my opponent.

1. The affirmatives standards

a. He agrees that Justice is the primary value in the debate, yet goes on to attack mine. You can disregard this seeing as its contradictory. So you as voters will determine the debate by the value of Justice. Also, going off the "fair" argument, he's now expecting to define every word in my case. But for the sake of my opponent, fair will be determined by what the majority see as fair, For ex: The majority agrees its fair to vote for president, then its fair.
Also, once again back to the annoying technical debate of definitions. He defines Justice as "Fair and proper administration of the law". But this definition is more like two definitions, seeing as sometimes the proper administration of the law isn't always "fair". So for compromise, we will use the definition of "Fair administration of the law".

b. Show me a rule that said arguments go in only the contentions. Granted its more expected that way, but don't just disregard a key argument in this debate because it doesn't fit with my opponents ideal format. I ask you as voters to get past who uses the most debate jargon, or who follows the most debate format. I ask you to vote on who makes the most convincing arguments.

c. I notice in this debate that a lot of my opponents tactics is to point out how im not doing my job, but he doesn't focus on his job. Since all he said's is I provided no analysis, but never said why legitimately rendering justice is bad, then once analysis has been provided you must accept my measuring mechanism since it stands unrefuted. Throughout the debate I provide analysis, but to sum it up, to legitimately render justice is to enact "fair administration of the law". Plain and simple.

2. Negative standards

Agree on standard of Justice, except with the new compromised definition. Also my opponent states that the "justice system is set up primarily to apply laws in an objective fashion", but I don't ever recall seeing that in the constitution or any book of law. My point is don't buy that objectivism was a building block of the U.S constitution. Already his value criterion falls because

1) Being objective would violate the definition of Justice or better known as fair. It would be illegitimately rendering Justice. See the argument in my framework about the manslaughter convictions

2) He ignores that the proper channels to repair the law don't always work, if they do at all. He provides no alternative channels, or evidence to point them legitimately rendering justice.

3. My observation

a. Once again, whine whine whine *abuse* whine. It's merely an observation. I'm narrowing the debate to show that the Negative must prove other channels better, or jury nullification itself an illegitimate way to render justice. By him advocating the public having no voice, he's being anti-democratic, going against all foundations of the U.S. He should be downed for that because he isn't debating for the welfare of America, i.e the people.

A. He even said that the people have different views and perspectives, so I'd say I have most perspectives quite covered.

B. Who has the ethical authority then? Some corrupt political figure? No, the people of the democratic nation should.

C. Then who should determine when the law is being properly applied? Since the Negative provides no alternative, and since this is a government for the people, by the people, and of the people, I vote the people.

4. Pro's first contention (sub-point A)

a. I make a claim, I back it up with evidence. What is circular about that? Since he neither attacks my evidence or provides any counter evidence, you can extend my C1-SPA that "The principle and application of jury nullification serves as a just check on the power of the government.", as supported by my warrants.

5. Pro's first contention (sub-point B)

a. Okay...and point? The negative needs to say why it isn't a just check.

b. Essentially he's saying the author is wrong. Right or wrong, he provides no evidence himself, so extend that jury nullification is a just check on government power.

6. Pro's second contention

a. Once again, i didn't do my job so he ignore his. Nope. I clearly give the so called "lens". But since he doesn't do his job, i.e show why I'm NOT fighting injustice, then we have to default Affirmative and assume I fight injustices.

b. I see no warrant's, example's, or anything to back him up. Actually jury nullification has been known to start a social outcry against the law in question, thus urging for change/repeal.

c. As affirmative I'm required to state those claims. I back them up. Unless your going to attack my arguments, warrants or examples, stop playing the same old tune.

d. Yes, agreed. The judiciary is very independent. But seeing as you give no reason why thats bad, it has no impact in this debate.

As an overall objection, my opponent only provides framework but no contentions or evidence to

1) Support his claims

2) Show what the Neg world looks like

3) Show how he enacts the Neg world.

So already vote him down because he makes all these arguments without evidence. I feel it almost pointless to just defend my case if I have nothing to attack.

I'll give my voters in the last round, and I'd like to apologize to my opponent if the tone of this rebutal was edgy. I was offended by the thief comment. All and all he made great, interesting arguments and I look forward o the next round. Best of luck Neg.=)
Debate Round No. 2
Cody_Franklin

Con

1. The affirmative's standards

a. His claim that I contradict myself is superficial, considering that he is equivocating on the word justice. Look to the fact that his definition is entirely circular (an argument which he does not contest). Unfortunately, he redefines this value as what the majority deems fair, essentially arguing "if the majority says X is fair, X is fair." Unfortunately, this is an appeal to popularity [http://www.nizkor.org...].

He also contests my definition of justice; unfortunately, he fails to explain why the proper administration of law isn't always fair; that is, why the proper application of law isn't always impartial and objective. I refuse to compromise. Without objective, impartial application, the law becomes superfluous.

b. The place of the value premise in a case is to explain one's value, and how it applies to the resolution. The contentions are the proper place to support one's standards, not the premise itself. But, considering that he considers it to be a "key argument", I'm sure it will come up in other places in the case; if not, let it die.

c. Of course I didn't say that legitimately rendering justice is bad; I would be foolish to argue that. My objection was that he never really provided the standard for determining what justice was, much less a standard to determine how it would be legitimately rendered. Of course, he employs my definition by saying that it is the "fair administration of the law". So, Pro is basically arguing "you legitimately render justice by fairly applying the law"; but, since fair administration of law IS justice, his argument is of the form "you legitimately render justice by achieving justice". Still circular, and still without an objective standard. My objections remain valid.

2. My standards

a. I still refuse to compromise on the definition, on the grounds that Pro is committing the "middle ground" fallacy [http://www.nizkor.org...]. Also, I really don't care whether Objectivism was in the Constitution. If Pro wants to claim that rationality shouldn't be our highest standard of evaluation, that's his prerogative.

1) Actually, being objective doesn't violate the definition of fair - namely, impartiality (and by extension, consistency). Pro's definition of fair is whatever the majority says is fair (which is based upon a fallacy); so, in that respect, objectivity doesn't remain in line with fairness, if we're defining fairness in Pro's terms.

2) Generally, replacing legislators, protesting, appealing verdicts, and things of that nature tend to work. Even so, my job as the negative isn't to provide alternatives, nor to support any positive assertion of my own. My task is to disprove that jury nullification is a just check on government - that is all.

3. The observation

a. Try to keep it professional, Pro. Making fun of me is not only in bad taste, but is another logical fallacy [http://en.wikipedia.org...]. Furthermore, despite what his observation claims, I don't have to prove that other channels are more effective. This isn't policy debate. Also, keep in mind that he is attacking a straw man (yet another logical fallacy) [http://en.wikipedia.org...] by presupposing that an indict of jury nullification is an indict of democracy; however, this relies solely on the hidden premise that nullification is a strictly democratic institution; but, I've already disproved that assertion in multiple ways.

Also, "the people" isn't an entity. By Pro's admission, he's only concerned with what the majority thinks is fair.

A. Prove it, Pro. How can 12 people accurately represent the ideological perspectives of 300,000,000 Americans - especially when those 12 people aren't elected?

B. Probably the judge. If you want to claim that the politicians are corrupt, by the way, I don't think you can do that while praising democracy, nor can you glorify "the people" who elected those officials.

C. Laws are supposed to be based on objective reason. You're attempting, by your own definition, to determine fairness and justice based fallaciously upon whatever happens to be popular at the time. Also, keep in mind that my lack of alternatives has no bearing on whether jury nullification is a just check on government. I only have the burden of clash - and I'm certainly clashing with the position you've set forth.

4. Pro's first contention (sub-point A)

a. Pro says in Round one: "Ultimately, the law does not equal justice thus the only way to legitimately administer justice is through jury nullification. Without Jury nullification the people of the United States would be lacking this legitimate and just check on the power of the government." In this statement, he is presupposing that jury nullification is a just check on government - that's the only thing that allows him to say that it's the "only way to legitimately administer justice". He hadn't proved anything prior to that. And, using the conclusion as one of the premises (even if the premise is hidden) is circular logic.

b. He drops my argument that, since he provides no standard for determining the justice of a law, or of its application, he cannot argue that nullification justly checks government, or that it won't target just laws (since nullification, as a doctrine, is based upon jurors' personal feelings toward the law).

5. Pro's first contention (sub-point B)

a. My point is, if his argument doesn't prove that it's a just check on government, it won't win him the round. This argument doesn't fulfill that burden.

b. I'm not attacking the author at all. I'm saying that it's a non sequitur [http://en.wikipedia.org...] to claim that, because the founders intended an independent judiciary, jury nullification is a just check on government. I'll say it again: does not follow.

c. He drops this argument as well - extend that juries are neither elected nor accountable, which puts the judiciary in greater danger of arbitrary action; if anything, nullification is an antidemocratic institution. Critical argument.

d. He also drops the argument that he's appealing to novelty by claiming that old laws are unjust by virtue of their being old; or, perhaps it's chronological snobbery [http://en.wikipedia.org...]. I might be mixing fallacies, and I apologize for any confusion.

6. Pro's second contention

a. Pro hasn't provided a lens. He has redefined his standards in equally circular terms, but considering that he has denounced objectivity as being inherently unfair, it would be contradictory of him to claim that he has an objective standard of determining what justice is - his criterion is used to legitimately render it, at best; not to evaluate what is just, and what is not.

Oh, and Pro - we can't just "default affirmative and assume" anything. That would be a bit of a cop-out in terms of the burden of proof.

b. Since juries don't warrant their verdicts (secrecy of deliberations and all that), it's hard to believe that nullification has actually caused social outcries. Be careful of confusing correlation and causation [http://en.wikipedia.org...].

c. He backs his conclusion up by assuming it as a premise. That's circular.

d. Independence is detrimental to fairness when jurors aren't accountable, being that institutional accountability is a cornerstone of democracy.

7. Pro's objections

a. I didn't really make any claims. I merely refuted Pro's, and proved that most (if not all) are mired in fallacy.

b. This isn't policy debate. I don't have to demonstrate a "neg world". I merely have to disprove the affirmative position.

c. Again, this isn't policy debate. I'm not required to show solvency, much less demonstrate what method(s) I use to do anything. I must only disprove the resolution.

Good luck in R3.
C.Artificavitch

Pro

C.Artificavitch forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Just joking with you. No need to apologize.
Posted by C.Artificavitch 6 years ago
C.Artificavitch
True, but I guess it's up to the voters. I don't think the drop matters. There were no new arguments, you just got the last say. But it was out of conduct of me to miss the deadline. Sorry for that.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Given the drops on your side, and the fact that I refuted your arguments, there's not much to cross-apply or extend. ;)
Posted by C.Artificavitch 6 years ago
C.Artificavitch
Sorry for missing the deadline...that's my fault and I docked myself for it.

Conduct- Con because i missed my deadline
Spelling&Grammer- Tied, not to many mistakes
Convincing Arguments- Even though I missed the deadline, I still think that if you cross-apply my arguments in previous rounds and extend, I have the more convincing arguments.
Reliable Sources- Seeing as he never had a case, we have to vote me for the sources.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Conduct: Con - Pro forfeited.

S/G: Tied - Apart from a few minor errors here and there, nothing to vote on.

Arguments: Con - Pro committed a gratuitous number of fallacies, and dropped some crucial points.

Sources: Tied - Con used more sources, but most of them were just encyclopedia articles explaining the different fallacies Pro was committing. The one article Con quotes is enough to match the sources pre-integrated into Pro's case.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Manastacious 6 years ago
Manastacious
Cody_FranklinC.ArtificavitchTied
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Vote Placed by rawrxqueen 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by C.Artificavitch 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
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