Resolved: The United States ought to limit qualified immunity for police officers.
The first round of the debate is acceptance only and no new arguments in the final round. Kritiks are not allowed.
qualified immunity is the status of certain government officials, in this case police officers, in which lawsuits regarding civil damage when the official is on duty and performing their duty are dismissed as long as they qualify certain criteria. The criteria that a policeman would have to meet would be that their conduct does not violate a clearly established law that a reasonable official would have known.
The resolution of this debate can only be affirmed via government legislation. This is because the status of legal immunity is intrinsically government granted: the conditions in which one can qualify for immunity, to whom it is granted or repealed, or to what extent it is expanded or limited is entirely up to government discretion. I argue that all autonomous entities ought to act on a utilitarian basis: meaning that entities ought to act in ways that bring about overall good. Goodness is determined by the ratio of desirability to undesirability. This is because every sentient being intrinsically seeks to maximize their desirable states (pleasure) and minimize undesirable states (suffering). If I have a cramp that is causing me a negative mental state—in this instance: pain—I naturally seek to alleviate it, and do things that would stop the cramp so that I end that negative mental state. Although don’t *have* to act in this way, promoting positive mental states and suppressing negative mental states is still how I ought to act based on the nature of sentience and desirability. It is simply a truism, in and of itself. Without suffering, morality could not exist. What is something immoral you can do to a rock? Nothing, as it has no autonomy to violate nor pain to undergo. Empathy is also a contingent part of morality, for the pain that other beings feel is an objectively bad thing. Thus, since we know that other sentient beings face the same fundamental principle as us, we also seek to maximize their pleasure and minimize their suffering. That is why saving someone’s life at no substantial risk to your own is a morally good thing to do. Because it maximizes the overall well being of sentient beings. This is also why killing someone for no reason is a morally wrong thing to do since it causes large amounts of suffering (pain in the act, grief of loved ones, violation of autonomy because the person wants to live) with no outweighing positives.
Peace and Love
Counter-Plan Text: The United States will initialize civilian oversight to determine justice in cases of qualified immunity. Meltzer ‘14
"the current ... qualified immunity doctrine ... permits the use of nonjudicial statements of law in the qualified immunity analysis but impliedly demands it as a practical matter for continued constitutional … norm generation … qualified immunity … is rooted in considerations of notice, fairness, and culpability, the proposal rests on the premise that findings of external oversight bodies serve the same purpose and bear many of the same characteristics—as … sources of law cited by the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts in qualified immunity rulings … the findings of oversight bodies should be entitled to at least the same weight in the qualified immunity analysis as internal police regulations and advisory reports … where binding case law supports the existence of the right asserted by the plaintiff, an oversight finding can serve as additional evidence of notice or culpability, similar to the ATF directive in Groh and the ADOC regulation and DOJ report in Hope. … where binding case law is conflicting, an oversight finding can serve as a tiebreaker—occupying a space somewhere between an internal policy statement and a persuasive judicial opinion. … where no binding case law exists on point and persuasive case law is either supportive or conflicting, an oversight finding can serve as a tiebreaker with a thumb on the scale in favor of recognizing the right in question—situating the finding closer to a binding judicial opinion. … oversight bodies should formalize and publicize all of their merits findings."
This solves for unjustified qualified immunity claims, which solves for the entirely of the harms from the Aff. The board takes things out of the hands of the courts and thoroughly review each case with unbiased standpoints. Meltzer ‘14
"Civilian oversight represents a critical component of the patchwork of police regulation in the [US]. Given the limited effect of constitutional criminal procedure,the problems inherent in internal police oversight mechanisms and the ... barriers to ... criminal … sanctions on individual police officers … external oversight bodies reach police conduct that might otherwise escape reproach. … civilian oversight agencies play a vital role in developing the law of the police by addressing legal claims silenced by settlement in the civil arena. ... civilian oversight ... involves participation by persons who are not sworn officers (citizens) in the review of citizen complaints against the police and/or other allegations of misconduct by police officers. ... Civilian external supervisory bodies ... examine the investigations conducted by internal police investigative units. ... investigatory agencies “embody a criminal trial model of citizen oversight.” Investigations are directed at determining guilt or innocence in a discrete case and are governed by “elaborate rules of procedure designed to protect the rights of accused officers.” ... investigations are highly fact intensive, requiring the collection of testimonial, physical, and documentary evidence akin to what might be seen in a criminal or civil trial. ... the investigative findings of oversight bodies resemble the sources of law that may support a ruling on qualified immunity. ... unlike civilian in-house oversight bodies, civilian external investigatory bodies are entirely independent from the departments they regulate. This separation confers a presumption of neutrality—and ... legitimacy—on their investigative findings. ... by virtue of the novel factual scenarios they routinely encounter in the course of their investigations, civilian external investigatory bodies are constantly engaged in constitutional-norm generation. ... for qualified immunity purposes. ... the Court has endorsed the use of various forms of nondecisional law to demonstrate the sort of fair notice and culpability required to justify imposing individual § 1983 liability on a government agent."
Meltzer ‘14 continues,
"the Supreme Court ... never set forth a categorical rule demarcating ... sources of law that may clearly establish the relevant law to a reasonable official for the purposes of qualified immunity. ... The Court ... indicated ... willingness to consider nondecisional law in the modern qualified immunity inquiry in Wilson v. Layne. ... As this weight of authority indicates, the federal courts have reserved space for nonjudicial statements of the law to contribute to the qualified immunity analysis. Such sources of law are increasingly important in the post-Saucier era, as courts are now accorded largely unfettered discretion to reach the merits of constitutional tort claims. It is in this context that the work of civilian external investigatory oversight bodies constitutes an essential—albeit untapped—resource for constitutional articulation. .... By engaging in fact-finding, legal research, objective evaluation of compliance with internal regulations, and, sometimes, policy review, civilian external investigatory oversight bodies mirror the work of courts and compliance agencies and serve a function similar to the internal policies and regulations cited by the federal courts. …"
First, Jurisdictions just indemnify officers. They don’t have to pay anything - this kills any incentive to stop doing the harms in the aff. Schwartz ‘14
"indemnification of officers is virtually certain and universal. During the six-year period across the 81 jurisdictions, there were over 9,200 civil rights cases in which plaintiffs received payments. The total awarded was over $730 million, but there were just 37 to 39 cases in which officers contributed something. When they contributed, it was a rather small amount. The median payment was just over $2,000 by officers per case. ... No officer paid more than $25,000 in any case. ... Those findings amazed me, but what I found particularly amazing was jurisdictions indemnified officers for punitive damages. ... I found 20 cases ... in which a jury had awarded punitive damages ... In many instances those awards were reduced by the courts, often based on argument by defense counsel that the punitive damages awarded would be a financial hardship for the individual officer–but not one officer paid a nickel toward any of those punitive damages. They were either indemnified, paid by the cities and counties that employed them, or the cities and counties entered into some post-trial settlement that waived the punitive damages judgment, and essentially the city paid the entirety of the settlement ... There are cases in which officers planted evidence. ... Officers went to prison for between five and 10 years for their conduct, but they were indemnified in the civil case. …"
Second, limiting QI is counterproductive - QI allows cops to do their jobs better. Coates ‘12
"Qualified immunity balances “the need to hold public officials accountable ... and the need to shield officials from harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform their duties reasonably.” ... qualified immunity assumes that “it is better to risk some error and possible injury . . . than not to . . . act at all. ... qualified immunity “gives ... breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments” …"
Third, Courts have ruled that police have no specific obligation to the people - this means that a lack of QI will lead to police being bystanders to horrific crimes. This means that by limiting QI we make the harms listed by the Aff worse. Only negating solves. Eyre ‘13
"If you pay for a good or service, don’t you expect some benefit in return? ... Such deliverables – the supply of a good or service paid for, or even adequate customer service, are entirely void from policing as it’s currently structured. Not only are police “customers” told to pay “or else” ... courts ... have ruled that police employees have no obligation to provide you … any good or service. ... “When the news was brought to my attention that police had an opportunity to intervene and maybe prevent the whole incident, and it was explained to me they chose to stay in the motorman’s compartment instead of coming out, I was very upset.” Lozito sued for negligence, but city lawyers say his demand for unspecified money damages should be tossed because the police had no “special duty” to protect him or any individual ..."
 - http://www.americanbar.org...
 - http://www.copblock.org...
I’m writing this late at night after a very long soccer game and homework. My body is tired and aching, I’m in my comfy bed, and my eyes droop down. I blink them every couple minutes to try to stay awake. Given this, my response won’t be that extensive or sound sexy.
Peace and Love
Key misunderstandings and not enough work done on the CP means that you negate.
He makes a few responses against the CP. He starts by saying that the CP is "implementing majority rule".
First - Not true. The first Meltzer card does a really good job about saying that the counterplan is about, instead of using internal police investigations to investigate qualified immunity claims to provide information for the courts, to use independent civilian-ran oversight boards instead. There's no warrant as to why this is majority rule.
Second - Not true again, 100 people hardly consitutes "majority rule". CCRB proves. Meltzer:
But, even if you buy that this is "majority rule", go to where he says that "majority rule is dangerous to the rights of the minority".
First - This makes no sense when we're looking at evaluating arguments that link into a utilitarian framework (i.e. encourage the most amount of pleasure possible) considering how that necessarily means that the minority are going to get screwed.
Second - The idea of the judicial system being the best chance for minorities is a joke. Laundry list of reasons. Quigley:
"One ... whites and blacks engage in drug offenses ... at roughly comparable rates - according to a report ... by Human Rights Watch in May 2008. While African Americans comprise 13% of the US population and 14% of monthly drug users they are 37% of the people arrested for drug offenses - according to 2009 Congressional testimony by Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project. Two. The police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much higher than whites. In New York City ... 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos. When whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked. When blacks and Latinos are stopped 85% were frisked according to information provided by the NYPD. The same is true most other places as well. In a California study, the ACLU found blacks are three times more likely to be stopped than whites. Three ... African Americans are arrested for drug offenses at rates 2 to 11 times higher than the rate for whites - according to a May 2009 report ... by Human Rights Watch. Four. Once arrested, blacks are more likely to remain in prison awaiting trial than whites ... the New York state division of criminal justice did a 1995 review of disparities in processing felony arrests and found that ... blacks are 33% more likely to be detained awaiting felony trials than whites ... Six. African Americans are frequently illegally excluded from criminal jury service according to a June 2010 study released by the Equal Justice Initiative. ... in Houston County, Alabama, 8 out of 10 African Americans qualified for jury service have been struck by prosecutors from serving on death penalty cases. Seven. Trials are rare. Only 3 to 5 percent of criminal cases go to trial - the rest are plea bargained. Most African Americans defendants never get a trial. Most plea bargains consist of promise of a longer sentence if a person exercises their constitutional right to trial. As a result, people caught up in the system, ... plead guilty even when innocent ... “Who wouldn’t rather do three years for a crime they didn’t commit than risk twenty-five years for a crime they didn’t do?” Eight. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported in March 2010 that ... black offenders receive sentences that are 10% longer than white offenders for the same crimes. ... African Americans are 21% more likely to receive mandatory minimum sentences than white defendants and 20% more like to be sentenced to prison than white drug defendants. Nine. The longer the sentence, the more likely it is that non-white people will be the ones getting it. A July 2009 report by the Sentencing Project found that two-thirds of the people in the US with life sentences are non-white. In New York, it is 83% ... Eleven. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes that the chance of a black male born in 2001 of going to jail is 32% or 1 in three. Latino males have a 17% chance and white males have a 6% chance. ... black boys are five times and Latino boys nearly three times as likely as white boys to go to jail. Twelve ... African American juvenile youth is but 16% of the population ... 28% of juvenile arrests, 37% of the youth in juvenile jails and 58% of the youth sent to adult prisons. 2009 Criminal Justice Primer, The Sentencing Project. ... Fourteen ... A study by Professor Devah Pager of the University of Wisconsin found that 17% of white job applicants with criminal records received call backs from employers while only 5% of black job applicants with criminal records received call backs. Race is so prominent in that study that whites with criminal records actually received better treatment than blacks without criminal records! ... Professor Michelle Alexander ... sees these facts as evidence of the new way the US has decided to control African Americans - a racialized system of social control. The stigma of criminality functions in much the same way as Jim Crow - creating legal boundaries between them and us, allowing legal discrimination against them, removing the right to vote from millions, and essentially warehousing a disposable population of unwanted people. ... Poor whites and people of other ethnicity are also subjected to this system ... Because if poor whites or others get out of line ... they will be treated just like poor blacks ... They must be controlled and dominated for the safety of the productive. They must be intimidated into accepting their inferiority or they must be removed from the society of the productive."
This has two impacts:
One - It means that the courts are always going to be further harming the marginalized.
Two - Moving away from complete judicial control and allowing independent intervention via civilian oversight is the best chance to minimize or eliminate the problem.
Since these were his only responses to the CP, then the CP can be cleanly extended. This is an easy neg vote because it a) fixes the problems identified within the Aff world better than affirming would, and b) fixes the problems I outline in my responses against his case, whereas he causes those problems. This means I'm always winning the weighing debate and turn the aff offense.
Then extend Schwartz. Schwartz does a really good job in outlining that in civil suit cases against police officers, even if they're found guilty of having violated QI that they are just indemnified by their jurisdiction - meaning that the cops are responsible for only paying a fraction of the cost of the suit, if they have to pay a dime at all. This means they never face any kind of punishment, thus have no incentive to actually stop the actions they take. Limiting QI doesn't change this in any way.
Aff tries to say that "But the harms I argued for was the system that is used to grant qualified immunity allows officers to not be punished for brutality which hurts public image and thus police effectiveness." and then that "I do not need to incentivise them to do anything for my argument to work." There's a lot of problems with this.
First: This literally makes no sense - you would need to incentivise police officers to act better to improve public perception, otherwise their actions won't change, thus perception won't change.
Second: This is exactly the problem Schwartz identifies. In the current system, even if suits are successful, cops aren't punished at all. This means that limiting QI to punish cops more often - a.k.a. how he's trying to improve public perception - doesn't actually change anything.
Schwartz is key because it acts as terminal defense against the aff's offense. Because I'm winning Schwartz, it's impossible for aff to access any of their offense since they only make one offensive argument in the entire round. This means it's literally impossible for him to affirm.
Then extend Eyre. Eyre does a good job in showing that, because courts HAVE RULED that cops aren't obligated to the people, a decline in QI will lead to less police action against crimes.
He tries to say that there's no link between this happening and affirming, but a) it's not these rulings will happen, but that they HAVE HAPPENED. The card is really specific to that; b) even if that's not true, the card does a good job of putting it into resolutional context by talking about its application in civil law suits (a.k.a. where QI applies). Hold him accountable for not reading the card fully.
Eyre is really damning to the Aff.
One - It turns the entire Aff. By limiting QI, police will prevent less crimes. This is going to further hurt perception of them, meaning he doesn't fix his problems.
Two - Obviously more crime happening is bad for its own reasons.
Round breaks down really simply. He's not doing enough work against the CP. The CP solves for his problems better than he does as well as solves for the problems I raise that he doesn't solve for. Multiple responses against him are mishandled that turn his case and prevent him from gettting any offense, which means he can't affirm.
 - See Round Two
 - http://www.huffingtonpost.com...;
Civilian oversight is majority rule because a group of civilians is likely to represent the ideology held by the majority. Because people will make decisions based on what they believe, and their belief is the majority held belief, the majority views are imposed. Civilian oversight would be the same as a jury as a random group of civilians is collected to review the facts of the case and impose their ruling. The existence of the judge is essential to balancing this power and Con argues for replacing the judge with another jury. This disrupts the balance of power in favor of majority rule.
Minority rights is satisfactory under utilitarianism because conscientiously violating rights of the minority in favor of the majority leads to a slippery slope of tyranny. Just as the minority rights of the Jewish were violated in favor of the majority rule of the Germans in Nazi Germany, allowing it leads to a slippery slope of gratuitous suffering. This is why under utilitarianism minority rights are important.
Zaradi"s second point on this doesn"t make much sense as he lists the current offenses against minorities in the court system. This isn"t a reason to not fix these issues, it's irrelevant.
The argument that civilian oversight is the best way to eliminate the problem does not work because the problem with the court system as far as discrimination is in the jury, not the judge. Studies have found that the majority of discriminatory rulings came from racist sympathy from the jury rather than the judge. Overruling the judge with another gathering of citizens to review the facts with repeat the same results. Giving balancing power to the judge is the best way to fix the problem.
I have limited understanding of the Schwartz discussion because it is so damn confusing. I see the argument as thus: qualified immunity allows officers to not go to trial and the suit discarded when they have been proven to do something wrong. Zaradi"s proposed solution to this while not limiting QI doesn"t work because it leads to majority rule. Thus I affirm the notion that QI should be limited in order to not allow policemen to escape a trial for a crime they have been proven to commit. The problem is not necessarily the police officers having to pay for the trial, although that is a part of it, it is that the case gets dismissed by the judge. My argument does not have to do with incentivising policemen to act one way or another, my argument is in the media seeing people getting away with brutality which lowers respect for policemen which increases crime. This argument is a misunderstanded rebuttal against an argument I didn"t make.
Okay so time to do a little jumping around. I'm just going to go down the list of voters.
First, extend the Eyre evidence. Eyre makes the argument that court rulings have shown that police have zero obligation to help people. This means that, according to Eyre, if we reduce the amount of protection that QI gives to police officers, then we'll see an increase in bystander behavior from police officers during events of crime, meaning that cops will allow more crime to occur. This turns the aff - he's trying to fix problems by improving the perception of police officers, but Eyre will lead to a drastic worsening of police perception, meaning he makes the problems outlined within his own case worse. Not to mention that this just means more crime is going to happen, which sucks however you wanna look at it.
Hayd 100% concedes this argument in the last round. He gave a brief, not even close to sufficient response in the 3rd round then never touched on it in the last one. Eyre is damning for three reasons:
1) It means he doesn't have any solvency for the problems he claims to be fixing.
2) It means he makes the problems he claims to be fixing worse.
3) The CP is the only thing that fixes the problems within Eyre because the CP doesn't reduce QI. This means negating is the only way to avoid the harms coming from Eyre.
Hayd dropped it in his last round. Clear offense against the Aff and is more than sufficient to vote negative off of. Game over, you vote neg here.
But, even if you don't like that argument:
Extend the CP. Implimenting civilian oversight in reviews of QI fixes the problems associated with the aff without actually reducing QI, meaning that it also fixes the harms I listed against the aff.
Hayd tries to argue that this is majority rule which is bad because I'm replacing the judge with another "jury".
Again, this isn't majority rule. Cross apply the first respones I made against this last round that he seems to have ignored. The CP doesn't replace the judge, all the CP does is instead of using internal police investigations to investigate necessary information for QI claims to instead use an independent board of civilians to investigate the matters. No where in anything that I read does it ever talk about replacing the judge with a jury. Not my fault that Hayd doesn't want to read.
But even if you do buy that this is "majority rule" for some reason, extend my response that majority rule is literally what util is going for by going for the most amount of beneficial impacts as possible - this necessarily means that we say yes to the majority and no to the minority. Hayd's response to this makes no sense whatsoever. His response is the below paragraph:
"Minority rights is satisfactory under utilitarianism because conscientiously violating rights of the minority in favor of the majority leads to a slippery slope of tyranny. Just as the minority rights of the Jewish were violated in favor of the majority rule of the Germans in Nazi Germany, allowing it leads to a slippery slope of gratuitous suffering. This is why under utilitarianism minority rights are important."
First - this is literally him defining utilitarianism as "not utilitarianism". Util is concerned with the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people, which necessarily f*cks over the minorities.
Second - the entire argument is that "util would respect minorities because not respecting minorities means we become nazi germany so we wouldn't become nazi germany." a) no where in here is there any warrant for why util doesn't bite into this slippery slope, and b) there's still no warrant in here for why util respects the rights of minorities - all he does is he says they do without actually explaining how or why.
Third - even if he is right there, you still prefer the CP because the current status quo of the judicial system is the biggest middle finger to minorities of all time. The CP is a step away from the squo in how the court operates, meaning that if we really are concerned with the minorities until util then you negate off of the CP. There's zero response to this argument from Hayd last round.
No other responses against the CP were ever given. This means that the CP is cleanly extended out. Easy place to negate. But even if you don't want to buy the CP:
Extend Schwartz. Since Hayd seems to still not understand what it's saying, despite me summarizing it multiple times in really plain words up to this point, I'll make it super clear again:
What Schwartz is saying is that even if the aff were true and we limited QI, municipalities just indemnify officers anyway. Indemnification is where whenever there are legal fees levied against a police officer because of a civil suit or something similar, the municipality covers the bill instead, meaning that the officer doesn't receive any kind of punishment. If officers aren't being punished for doing really bad things and violating the rights of citizens, then there's no reason for them to change how they're acting - even if we're putting them in trials and not giving them QI protection, they're still not facing any of the reprocussions of their actions because the municipalities take the hit for them. This means that even if we do things exactly how Hayd wants it to the letter, there's still not going to be any kind of perception shift of the police force beacuse officers aren't going to have any reason to change how they act - they're not being punished even with less QI protecting them, so why change how they work?
This means that because Schwartz is true, even if Hayd's case is 100% right, he's not going to actually be causing any kind of perception shift, which means he doesn't actually fix anything that he says he fixes. This means that it is physically impossible for him to affirm the resolution because he has zero offense that isn't related to a perception shift. What Schwartz does is severs his ability to solve for the harms he's wanting to solve for, which means that there's zero impact to any of the aff's arguments. I'm the only one who has any kind of risk of offense, even if you don't like the argument. Schwartz means that Hayd has zero chance of having any kind of offense. If you really need to go this far down to find a voter, this is sufficient to negate - I'm the only one with offense back towards the framework established, which means that I'm the only one actually doing anything in the round.
So this debate breaks down really simply. The CP stands and solves for the harms presented by both sides. Hayd doesn't solve for anything. Hayd actually makes the problems he's trying to fix worse. Easy neg vote.