The Instigator
16kadams
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
The_Mestari
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

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

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after 3 votes the winner is...
16kadams
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,276 times Debate No: 68914
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

16kadams

Pro

This is a re-do. Terms have been agreed upon. I will just start with arguments since we're behind in the Zaradi Tournament.

Premise I: What is Jury Nullification?


Jury nullification occurs when a jury votes not guilty in a trial when they believe the evidence is—beyond a shadow of a doubt—proving the defendant’s guilt. This occurs when a jury member either believes the law is unjust or the law should not be applied to that case for whatever reason [1].


C1) Nullification is a key check on tyranny


The founders of the US saw nullification as a tool in order to thwart oppressive regimes enforcing unjust laws. Throughout much of the world, trials were a rare occurrence—and trial by jury was almost unheard of throughout must of absolutist Europe. When trials occurred there, the judge—or a small group of elite officials—would determine one’s innocent or guilt. The founders saw this as tyrannical. A jury of one’s peers, not the government, should determine whether someone is guilty or not. The 6th amendment, which included a trial by jury, was created in order to have the people control the judicial system, not the government. The government would still have power: making the laws and attempted enforcement. But a jury of the common man was created in order to prevent any governmental wrongdoing. Former prosecutor Paul Butler argues, “Jurors were an important check on government power, part of the complex system of checks and balances that was designed to prevent the state from becoming too overbearing” [2].

The jury itself is a check-and balance. Our entire government relies upon checks and balances. The judicial branch checks the legislative branch ensuring the laws are in accordance with the constitution, for example. Our entire government is based upon checks-and-balances in order to prevent a tyrannical government. The jury is a check within the judicial system whose goal was to balance both individual rights to justice and the states interest in prosecuting criminals and enforcing the law.

The idea of nullification evolved because of the vision of the jury. Nullification was an added power a jury could exercise. Nullification allows a jury to thwart unjust laws and prevent their enforcement. This was attractive to the colonists because of their experience with the English government. The colonists were often charged of political crimes. But colonists often avoided conviction as the colonists had a jury system. The juries often would be full of anti-English colonists. They would nullify the laws, voting not guilty, even though there was indisputable evidence that the defendant would, in fact, be guilty. Peter Zenger was charged with libel for distributing pamphlets which were critical of the English government. The defense argued for nullification. The colonial jury did nullify Zenger [3]. Zenger was accused of a crime and was guilty, but the laws of which he was accused of breaking were unjust. Nullification allows jurors to counter tyrannical governments.

Aaron Mcknight argues, “jury nullification is an important tool for balancing government interests with individual rights” [8].

This can be exemplified with alcohol prohibition laws. These laws unjustly prohibited the consumption of alcohol, a victimless crime. The laws also had the consequence of increasing crime and corruption. In these cases, it would be obvious to nullify. These cases actually were nullified. Some estimates claim in 60% of cases jurors would acquit people accused of breaking alcohol prohibition laws—not because they were innocent, but because they saw the law as unjust [4].

Arguably the best modern example would be whistleblower laws. Snowden, the NSA agent who notified the world that the NSA was spying on US citizens as well as the citizens of other countries, is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. He broke US laws. He could be sent to jail forever. But, obviously, the application of those laws in this instance are unjust. Some sort of anti-espionage laws are obviously needed. Had he released US launch codes, for example, it would be logical to jail—maybe even execute—him. But he didn’t do that. He merely wanted a transparent government and informed us that the government was doing legally questionable things. The government’s enforcement of these laws are tyrannical. If he is ever to be tried in the US, he should be nullified by a jury of his peers. Yes, he broke the law, but the law is unjust and should not be applied in this situation.

Locking someone inside a prison is one of the most coercive things the state can do. As such, having more safe-guards to prevent unjust imprisonment is necessary for protecting citizens from government malice (see C4 as to why a jury nullifies). Criminal law is the strongest tool for tyranny to flourish. The USSR used their counter-revolutionary laws to lock up or murder many prominent dissenters against their totalitarian regime. “Propaganda” against the state was a triable offence. It was used as a tool for secret police to arrest anyone deemed suspicious [10]. Allowing a jury to interpret both the law, government actions, and different applications of the law prevents such heinous acts of a totalitarian government from occurring.

Nullification is a very important tool in preventing tyrannical governments from taking away our rights and balancing it with the state’s interest.


C2) Nullification is a check on prosecutorial discretion


Prosecutors have an extraordinary amount of power. They choose who, what, when, and how people are prosecuted. Arguably, they have a “larger role than the judge in determining how much punishment a criminal would receive” [5]. Prosecutors, in many cases, have nullification power. Policeman, too, can nullify. Prosecutors have in the past decided not to charge someone with a crime because they felt as though the law, or that specific application of the law, was unjust. Policeman, too, often do not arrest people due to moral inclinations. What is odd, however, is that people—like my opponent—oppose this when 12 jurors decide to do nullify. Unless my opponent opposes prosecutorial discretion, then his position is incoherent [6].

Prosecutors also have the potential to make mistakes. They may choose to prosecute someone regardless of the morality of the law or the situation of the person. They may not care that the homeless man stole a single apple in order to feed his starving son—he broke the law. It is cases like this where nullification can prevent this from occurring. Prosecutors can go the good which I described above, but they can also apply the law in a poor manner. Nullifications serves as a check to this.

A good example of prosecutors poorly using their discretion would be the case of statutory rape laws. These laws are good, but there are cases where they should not be applied and nullification would be justifiable. I am 17 and my girlfriend is 16. Say our relationship becomes sexual. When I turn 18, she will be 17. I would be breaking statutory rape laws. Even though the relationship was consensual, started before I turned 18, and we have feelings of love, I would still be breaking the law. I would be guilty—but the application of the law is unjust. I should be nullified. Is my opponent willing to argue, if this occurs, that I should be convicted of rape?

Death qualification is probably the most perverse thing currently in our legal system. Death qualification is applied toward juries who will be serving on a capital punishment case. Those who oppose the death penalty are taken off of the jury—women and minorities tend to be the most afflicted. Generally, wealthy white men tend to make up the backbone of juries on death penalty cases [7]. This procedure is meant to stifle potential nullifiers. Due to the fact the current legal system is generally in opposition to nullification, prosecutors are allowed to exclude certain members of a jury in order to prevent nullification. The people excluded tend to be women, minorities, and liberals. Prosecutors use death qualification and opt for death penalty for the sole reason that the juries are more biased in favor of guilty verdicts. This is proven by the fact prosecutors often take off the death penalty punishment after a guilty verdict is all but guaranteed [11]. If nullification were more engrained into our legal code, this atrocious power of the prosecutor—which leads to biased juries not of one’s peers—would disappear. Serious doubts about convictions exist when the jury is biased against a defendant, and innocent people are sent to die or rot in prison due to death qualification. It makes it impossible to be tried of a jury of your peers if liberals, women, and minorities are excluded from being on your jury. Nullification prevents this from occurring and would cause the justice system actually give the people justice.

Nullification is a check on unjust prosecutorial discretion and death qualification procedures. When a prosecutor uses his discretion to perform a de facto nullification no one has qualms about it. Yet when a jury of the common man does so, it is controversial. Why is this different?


C3) Nullification ensures that law comports with morality


There are way too many laws on the books. It has been estimated that the average American unwittingly commits at least 3 felonies per day [9]. There are two types of laws: things which are banned because they are inherently banned, or things are bad because the law says so. The fact most Americans commit 3 felonies per day tells us most laws fall into the second category. Things are bad because the government said so, not because they are actually bad. We should not punish people for doing things for no logical reason. Allowing a jury to evaluate the law through nullification protects people from being punished for stupid things.


C4) Challenge to my opponent

Name a good law jurors are likely to not enforce, and explain why it is good law.

http://tinyurl.com...;

The_Mestari

Con

Observations

1. My opponent in constructing a positive claim undertakes the full burden of proof. My burden to win this debate is not to prove that jury nullification is unjust, but rather that it is not just. Keep in mind the distinction, an action can be neither just nor unjust if it has no relation to justice, or unjust if it contradicts justice. Proving jury nullification to be possess either quality is sufficient for me to win the debate.

2. Jury nullification is the product of the jury that nullified. If it is assumed that jury nullification is indeed a just check on the government, that would only be in an abstract sense. In order to apply that realization in a way that is relevant to the United States, as referenced in the resolution, my opponent needs to prove (a) that the application of jury nullification is just in practice, not simply in concept. He must also prove, (b), that juries are just, because if jury nullification is a product of the jury, and juries are unjust, then their application of jury nullification is also likely to be unjust.

Definitions


Jury Nullification
is defined by Cornell's Wex Law Dictionary [1] as, "A jury's knowing and deliberate rejection of the evidence or refusal to apply the law either because the jury wants to send a message about some social issue that is larger than the case itself, or because the result dictated by law is contrary to the jury's sense of justice, morality, or fairness.

Jury nullification is a discretionary act, and is not a legally sanctioned function of the jury. It is considered to be inconsistent with the jury's duty to return a verdict based solely on the law and the facts of the case. The jury does not have a right to nullification, and counsel is not permitted to present the concept of jury nullification to the jury. However, jury verdicts of acquittal are unassailable even where the verdict is inconsistent with the weight of the evidence and instruction of the law."

Justice references the intended function of the judicial system, to fairly and equitably apply laws so as to remove bias and personal agenda from binding legal decisions. As such, we shall define justice as the fair and equitable application of the law.

Contention One: Jury Nullification runs contrary to philosophical conceptions of justice.

To ensure fairness and equitability, justice, we must maintain consistency in the application of laws. This much is hard to deny. One cannot deem the application of a law to be fair and equal if under identical circumstances one individual is declared guilty and another is declared innocent. But that is exactly what jury nullification allows. If one particular jury determines that the defendant should not be punished by the law, and another, different jury does not, then two identical individuals who committed identical crimes in identical manners and went through identical trials could receive very different punishments. In terms of multiple worlds theory, or the analysis of every possible outcome of a scenario, in two different worlds the same event can result in two different consequences. If laws can be applied differently in different worlds - different courtrooms - then the application of law is blatantly inconsistent, and therefore unfair and inequitable. As a result, for one to prove that anything is just, they must prove consistency among all possible worlds. In other words, they must prove that there is only one possible result, that the application of law is black and white.

Jury nullification by definition opposes this conceptualization of justice. For jury nullification to exist simultaneously with justice, every single jury would have to nullify the same law if any single jury does so. Lacking an absolute, either every jury nullifies or no jury nullifies, then jury nullification stands opposed to justice on a conceptual level, let alone a practical one. Furthermore, if a law is so abhorrent that it would be conceivable for 100% of juries nullify, the better solution is to repeal the law, as it better ensures consistency in the application of the law - there is no application. Remember that the proper check on inappropriate laws is democracy itself, our ability to vote for our representatives who then propose and vote on legislation on our behalf. One cannot say that this does nothing to help those currently being accused of breaking the law as it may be appealed to the Supreme Court and declared unconstitutional.

Contention Two: The justification of jury nullification simultaneously and necessarily justifies its opposite, jury indictment.

The reasoning behind jury nullification, that the jury is better able to apply justice than the laws themselves, opens the door for jury indictment. If a jury can nullify a law because they disagree with the evidence, or the law, or what the law represents, or any number of things, then they can simultaneously indict a defendant absent the presence of evidence, or an actual violation of an actual law. Remember that if a charge is pressed, the jury can vote guilty without any reasoning whatsoever under the same rule that allows them to vote innocent without any reasoning whatsoever. This rule is that jury verdicts are unassailable, we cannot question them. As a result, juries never provide reasoning beyond stating, "Innocent" or "Guilty". This is why jury nullification is possible in the first place. If a jury declares a defendant innocent, there is no way to hold them accountable for that verdict or to even question how they came to their conclusion. Similarly, if they declare a defendant guilty, there is no way to hold them accountable for that verdict or to even question how they came to their conclusion. The reasoning mirrors itself.

Pro's Contention One: Nullification is a key check on tyranny

Jury nullification fails as a check on tyranny. Alexis de Tocqueville explains [2], "If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute power may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach? Men do not change their characters by uniting with one another; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with their strength. For my own part, I cannot believe it; the power to do everything, which I should refuse to one of my equals, I will never grant to any number of them." What Tocqueville is saying is that if we would not give the power of tyranny to an individual, then it is irrational for us to give it to a majority. Similarly this claim can be applied to juries. Are juries not tyrannical if their ability to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant is unchecked? Are juries not tyrannical if they can determine a man to be a murderer without an ounce of evidence? The fact is, juries operate outside of any known system of checks and balances. Juries are not held accountable for their actions. Our check on executive tyranny, tyranny of the president, is the ability to elect presidents, the president's limited ability to enact change, the ability for Congress to impeach the president, and the ability for the Supreme Court of declare presidential acts unconstitutional. Our check on legislative tyranny, tyranny of the Congress, is our ability to elect representatives, the president's ability to veto legislation, and the ability for the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional. Our check on the judicial system is the ability to appeal, the right to a jury of our peers, and the fact that judges are nominated by executives and approved by legislators. Keep in mind that juries are a check on the judicial system itself, they are fact finders who are means to interpret evidence, not work around it. Also note that juries have no check. Jurors are unelected, unassailable, unaccountable. We lack control over who sits on the jury. Juries are the tyranny of modern democracy.

My opponent speaks as if jury nullification is an inherent power of the jury, that it is intended, but remember that it is not. Jury nullification is possible through our inability to require jurors to provide reasoning, or RFDs if you will. Jury nullification is the legal equivalent of a voter voting against you because, "fvck you" and not being able to delete or counter the vote.

Pro's Contention Two: Nullification is a check on prosecutorial discretion

I agree that prosecutorial discretion is unjust, but nullification is also unjust and fixing an unjust thing doesn't make the action that fixes it just. Nullification may be the lesser of two evils, but that doesn't mean we accept it. We simply get rid of both evils. Adjust the laws related to statutory rape if you must, but jury discretion (nullification + indictment = discretion) is, in all honesty, the greater evil between the two because it actually overrules the law itself.

The death qualified point is a scare tactic more than anything. The supreme court has defended the practice as just in the past, and the reason being is that the death penalty is considered legal and just in the United States. When a juror is anti-death penalty, they will never vote in favor of it, and must be removed to ensure justice. Somebody who disrespects the law is not qualified to apply it fairly and equitably. This does result in pro-death juries, which sucks, but the fear is in jury indictment, which is logically justified by jury nullification. To resolve our fears of indictment, we must also remove the possibility of nullification. If indictment is unjust, so is nullification.

Pro's Contention 3: Nullification ensures that law comports with morality

The solution is to remove the laws. The juror's conception of morality is not always that of reality. Also, morality =/= justice and is irrelevant to this debate. A juror may believe laws themselves to be immoral and always nullify.

Sources

1. http://www.law.cornell.edu...
2. Alexis de Tocqueville, "Tyranny of the Majority," Chapter XV, Book 1, Democracy in America
Debate Round No. 1
16kadams

Pro

== Definitions ==

Jury Nullification: Jury nullification is refusal to convict due to moral reasons, not a disregard to the facts. Juries which nullify generally accept the defendant’s guilt, but move to acquit because the law is unjust, the application is unjust, or the government broke the law during the procedure of acquiring evidence or in the trial itself. Juries used to have the power to judge both the laws and facts, but nullification itself is disregard for the laws, not the facts in regards to guilt [1].

Justice: This definition seems appropriate, but it must be noted equitable does not mean equal in legal terms, it means fair [2]. Thus, according to this definition, laws must be applied *fairly* and *justly* in order for them to be justified.

== Defense ==

C1) Tyranny

My opponent does not understand how nullification works. He says nullification is bad because they can determine the innocence or guilt of a person. This is untrue. Nullification means acquittal, not conviction. Nullification is a one way street: not-guilty, it NEVER causes a guilty verdict. Nullification is not tyrannical in the sense that it locks people up in jail. However, a system without nullification leads to more people in jail--something tyrannical in and of itself and has been used improperly in the past. Allowing juries to free people at will the opposite of tyranny. Putting someone in jail is arguably the harshest thing (other than execution) a government can do to a person. Nullification in no way shape or form is tyrannical. As noted, the government has many real life laws which harm people, and nullification is the best way to combat these extractive institutions.

Con also claims that juries are not checked. This is untrue. There is an extensive jury selection process in order to ensure a fair trial. And his argument puts too little faith in the jury. As I will argue below, there is empirical evidence suggesting jurors act appropriately [3].

And, again, nullification only allows a not guilty verdict--not guilty ones. Allowing people to free other people, regardless as to how they are ‘checked’ by other powers, is not tyrannical. Promotion of not-guilty verdicts is one of the hallmarks of our justice system.

Jury nullification is not a right--my opponent is correct. Though the judicial precedent agrees that the jury has the power to nullify [1]. Regardless, juries having the power to nullify or not has no bearing as to whether or not it is just.

I also offered countless examples--prohibition, whistleblower, statutory rape, tyrannical governmental--laws which have existed in the US and have been combated effectively via nullification or have existed elsewhere which nullification in part prevents from occurring. Con drops these. Therefore, we can assume nullification has been--and is--instrumental in combating unjust laws which do affect the modern American.

C2) Prosecutorial Discretion

Con seems to assume nullification is unjust. Though he has yet to explain how allowing people to go free is unjust. It is not the lesser of two evils because nullification itself is a good. Just like all good things, it can be used for malice. Prosecutor Paul Butler argues we should not be worried “about jurors nullifying inappropriately” [4] as they act in an appropriate manner. Nullification is the *only* check on prosecutorial discretion and is the *only* immediate way to prevent unjust prosecution. Prosecutorial discretion can be used for good, and we should not abolish it outright like Con suggests. But it can also be used for malice--and nullification is the only check on this. Con may respond: we need a check on nullification (like C1). But we need a check on unjust guilty verdicts, not-guilty verdicts are, in and of themselves, not immoral, and do not need to be checked.

He claims the supreme court says death qualification is legal and just. So what? The government sanctioning an action does not make it just. He has to explain why death qualification is just, not just that the government says it does. Nullification is the only way death qualification will disappear in the current judicial precedent. Thus, his argument works against him.

Con also drops how police officers and prosecutors have the power to nullify--thus it makes no sense that a jury should not be allowed to nullify laws. I extend it.

C3) Morality

The solution to merely remove laws is a weak response. Nullification is immediate. Changing laws is a process which can take up to months or years--by then, the harm of the laws would have been too extreme. Yes, unjust laws need to be changed, but nullification needs to exist in the transitory periods. In a perfect world, this would never happen. But it does, and nullification is the *best* tool we have in order to combat idiotic laws.

Governments also tend to add laws much faster then they tend to take them away. In 2013 there were 40,000 new laws were passed [5].

Con claims morality =/= justice. This is not really true. Just laws are by definition moral, and unjust laws immoral. There are so many laws on the books many of them are unjust and immoral. Nullification as I note above is the best tool in combating the fact that each citizen is guilty of 3 felonies per day--is Con arguing everyone reading this debate should be in prison? Is he arguing that would be justice? The laws should be changed, yes, but nullification needs to exist when the laws are not yet changed.

C4) Challenge

My opponent has not taken the challenge. Thus, he has failed to prove nullification prevents good laws from being enforced.

== Rebuttals ==

R1) Justice

Con claims for justice to prevail laws must be applied in the same ways always, and says ‘this is hard to deny’. But I disagree with this in every way, shape, and form. I already provided a real life example--such as statutory rape laws--which would land me in jail for a long period of time for committing a “crime” which in no way harms society. The law itself is ‘good’, but the specific application is unjust. It would be inefficient to reword all the laws in relation to statutory rape, when nullification is a much more efficient and speedy way to fix the problem.

Unjust laws must not be applied. To apply unjust laws is to support the opposite of justice. In an ideal world, no unjust laws would exist and my opponent’s belief would be justified. But the world is not ideal, and unjust laws exist and are applied all the time. Allowing juries to nullify on occasion is preferable to allowing unjust laws to be enforced. Nullification is an instrumental part of justice as it prevents the government from enforcing unjust laws--or enforcing laws in an unjust manner (see statutory rape R1).

Allowing jurors to nullify is preferable to always allowing governments the power to enforce unjust laws.

R2) Jury Indictment

This contention seems to put little faith in the jury system being fair (in regards to nullification). It seems to assume jurors move for nullification for unjust reasons. However, the “bulk of the research still shows that jurors do use information about their power to nullify in a circumscribed and careful manner” [3]. Thus, there is empirical evidence that jurors do act in a fair and careful manner in regards to whom they should nullify. Jurors act in accordance with morality.

This contention simply does not understand how nullification works. Nullification works in only one direction: towards not guilty verdicts (as I have argued before many times). A jury cannot move towards a guilty verdict via nullification, they can only move towards a not guilty verdict. The practice of nullification itself is a bias against jury indictment and unjust prosecution.

Due to the fact nullification deals with not-guilty verdicts and indictment results in guilty verdicts or accusations, they are inherently different. It is not hard to envision a society where nullification is common but indictment is not.

Our system works to control guilty verdicts more than not-guilty ones. Our system is meant to give people the largest chance for acquittal in order to reduce the amount of innocent--or, in this case, those accused of victimless crimes-- convicted. A prosecutor who attempts to charge people of a crime must have a reason. But it does not follow that a not-guilty verdict needs a reason, as the effect on the defendant is much less. Nullification promotes not guilty verdicts (NOT guilty ones): something a proper system of justice would favor.

Conclusion

Is nullification subsersive of the law? Sure. But it is just. As prosecutor Paul Butler argues, “serve[s] a higher calling than law: justice”. Nullification is instrumental in the promotion of a fair and just legal system which serves as a check towards tyranny.

1. Darryl K. Brown. “Jury Nullification Within the Rule of Law,” Minnesota Law Review 81 (1997): 1149.

2. http://thelawdictionary.org...

3. http://www.niu.edu...

4. Paul Butler. “In Defense of Jury Nullification,” Litigation 31 (2004): 46-49.

5. http://www.usatoday.com...

6. http://digitalcommons.law.byu.edu...;

7.
Paul Butler. “Racially Based Jury Nullification: Black Power in the Criminal Justice System,” Yale Law Journal 105 (1995): 700.


The_Mestari

Con

Definitions

Jury Nullification: Keep in mind that Pro cites Darryl K. Brown's article in the Minnesota Law Review and specifically notes the first page of the article in his sources section. The first page reads, in it's entirety [1], "The jury has been the subject of a resurgence of scholarly and popular interest in recent years, partly in response to several high-profile criminal trials and civil jury damage awards." Continuing on to the second page of the article, Mr. Brown explicitly writes that jury nullification is, "defined as a jury's ability to acquit a criminal defendant despite finding facts that leave no reasonable doubt about violation of a criminal statute." Prefer this definition of jury nullification and refuse to acknowledge any debate about the definition of jury nullification beyond this point because I have provided a direct quote from a source that my opponent introduced to the debate. If he disagrees with this definition, then he wouldn't have cited this source in reference to the definition, unless his intention was to misrepresent the author, which may explain why the page he cited has nothing to do with his paraphrase, but I digress.

Justice: I concede my opponent's claim that, "equitable does not mean equal in legal terms" and I concede the incontestable validity of his source. However, yet again, he has failed to represent his source. Elaborating on the claim of fairness, his source states that equitable means [2], "Just, fair, and right, in cconsideration of the facts and circumstances of the individual case." Again through using the same source, we have ended the definition debate on another topic. For an action to be just, it must be fair and equitable, and for an action to be equitable, it must be made "in consideration of the facts".

Definitional Observation

Let's look back at the definitions provided this round in reference to the resolution. Jury nullification is, "a jury's ability to acquit a criminal defendant despite finding facts that leave no reasonable doubt about violation of a criminal statute." Justice must be equitable. For an action to be equitable it must be made "in consideration of the facts." My opponent's source on jury nullification admits that jury's that nullify disregard the facts, therefore, by definition, jury nullification exists in contradiction to justice. Remember, I am deriving BOTH definitions from sources provided by my opponent, don't let him backtrack next round and disregard evidence that he legitimized by introducing to the round. In essence, it has become definitionally impossible for my opponent to prove jury nullification to be just. This debate is over.

Sources

1. Darryl K. Brown. “Jury Nullification Within the Rule of Law,” Minnesota Law Review 81 (1997): 1150.
2. http://thelawdictionary.org...
Debate Round No. 2
16kadams

Pro


I thank Mestari for a fine debate. I will summarize my case and refute his very short response.


== Empirics ==


This is an important point I brought up and was dropped. I demonstrated how the majority of evidence suggested jury members act in a rational and careful manner in regards to nullification powers. If this is the case, we can assume nullification does not measurably harm—and only benefits—the justice system.


Con essentially assumes jurors will decide cases in reckless disregard of the facts and vote not guilty based upon emotional grounds or anti-government extremism. However, the fact “nullification accounts for a small portion of the factors that determined the verdict”[1] suggests jurors rarely exercise their nullification powers. As they use it rarely, it can be assumed jurors take their power very seriously and only nullify when they see that it as reasonable. What must be noted is that fact—that it is rarely used—has come from cases in relation to race, where the ‘bad’ juror should exist. Thus, even in extreme cases, jurors seem to act appropriately.


The vast preponderance of the evidence suggests that nullification is not bad, and generally they act in accordance with the law.


== Dropped arguments ==


It must be noted Mestari has dropped my entire case. He thus concedes nullification is a check on tyranny, prosecutorial discretion, death qualification, and that nullification makes the legal system more moral. He also drops my challenge.


And dropping the challenge is extremely important. He has not shown a single case of nullification gone wrong. He argued I had to prove that nullification was good in practice—I have. Both theoretical examples (statutory rape, tyranny) and real life ones (prohibition, 3 felonies per day) show nullification benefit society. He has not even shown one example that nullification is bad in real life. He then concedes nullification only causes good, and has no downside in the actual world. This also means he concedes jurors only nullify bad laws—something which is just. If nullification only affects bad laws, then nullification amplifies justice—and is ‘just’. I win the debate just from that.


== Definitions ==


Nullification: I never said jurors do not disregard some facts. Indeed, jurors often accept the defendant is guilty. So they are subverting the facts in that they vote not guilty when the evidence suggests the defendant is guilty. However, this is not unjust. In many cases, this serves to promote justice as voting guilty for a nonviolent crime such as statutory rape (in the example in R1, at least), euthanasia, or drug use is blatantly unjust. Thus, opposing the facts does not necessarily mean something is unjust. Mestari also accuses me of misrepresentation—something which horrifies me. However, he seems to ignore how the author later concludes “I want to suggest, in contrast with prevailing assumptions about nullification by both its supporters and detractors, that jury nullification can, and in many contexts does, occur within the rule of law rather than subvert it”[2] (emphasis added). He also states “nullification can be reconciled with the rule of law”[2] (emphasis added).


It also must be noted Brown’s definition does not include jury indictment, and thus refutes one of Con’s previous arguments. His definition also works with my paraphrase. I said they do not deny facts in relation to guilt—they accept that—but they ignore facts in relation to law. Thus, it is Mestari wrongly interpreting what I said. I am not going to accuse him of academic malpractice like he did to me.


It also must be noted Brown argues “To achieve … justice--we must sometimes abandon law's means, such as rule application … nullification is one way … to correct the imperfections of the rule of law and, when wisely used, to achieve justice in an individual case that rule application would not achieve.”[2]


Thus, Brown argues nullification is in fact justified. The Brown’s article SUPPORTS my position. And I have offered empirical evidence from both [1] and last round proving jurors do use nullification wisely. Thus, nullification achieves ‘justice … that rule application would not achieve’.


Justice: Again, Mestari claims I misrepresent my source which is honestly one of the most insulting things you can say to someone in an academic setting like this. It must be noted the quote Mestari shows us says equitable includes “circumstances of the individual case”. He, on the other hand, is arguing that laws must ALWAYS be applied. Nullification argues opposite, and in fact argues that each case INDIVIDUALLY must beevaluated. His definition proves that nullification is actually IMPORTANT for the justice system to be equitable. And his definition (well, the way he interprets it) contradicts itself: facts must always be applied, but the circumstances of the individual case must be evaluated as well? Thus Con’s position is contradictory and actually supports my position.


So Mestari essentially drops everything I have said. He concedes it as true. He rests his entire argument upon semantics—and even then, he fails as Brown argues from his definition that nullification is, in fact, legal and actually promotes justice. Brown’s definition is also very similar to the one I presented. He then disputes justice, but the way he portrays his definition is contradictory and as equitable means accepting the facts based upon individual cases—as nullification does—he thus concedes nullification is just upon his own terms.


Con drops way too many arguments to win, his definitions do not support his case, and it is obvious that I have proven that in theory nullification is just and as well as in practice. As it is last round, he cannot undo these drops. Thus, it is obvious: Vote Pro. Or, as Mestari would put it, ‘the debate is over’. I win.


1. http://www.niu.edu...


2. Darryl K. Brown. “Jury Nullification Within the Rule of Law,” Minnesota Law Review 81 (1997).


The_Mestari

Con

The_Mestari forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
1Historygenius
You guys are actually doing much better now than that last debate.
Posted by Zaradi 1 year ago
Zaradi
EYYYYYYY you guys have finally started!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TN05 1 year ago
TN05
16kadamsThe_MestariTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Not going to judge the entire debate due to COI as a participant in the tournament, but as Con forfeited, conduct points must go to Pro.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 1 year ago
bluesteel
16kadamsThe_MestariTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Mestari forfeited, which resulted in dropping all of 16k's rebuttals, so nothing of Mestari's is left standing. 16k wins that nullification is a key check on tyranny, whereas Mestari's objections, e.g. jury indictment, don't happen because 16k offered sources proving that empirically jurors nullify in an ethical manner. Even mestari's non-forfeit round was just about definitions and left these rebuttals untouched.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
1Historygenius
16kadamsThe_MestariTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Me vs. 16k next in debate tournament