The Instigator
MaryeaH
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
angie2517
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Riggs Debate

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 506 times Debate No: 66074
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

MaryeaH

Pro

1.)On August 13, 1880, Francis B. Palmer made his last will and testament, which he gave small legacies to his daughters Mrs Riggs and Mrs Preston, the plaintiffs in this action, and the remainder of his estate to his grandson Elmer E. Palmer, the defendant in this action.
2.)Elmer was sixteen years old and was also living with Mr. Palmer and members of the family at the date of the will and the death of Mr. Palmer.
3.)Elmer knew of the provisions made in the will, so to prevent his grandfather from revoking those provisions and to obtain speedy enjoyment and immediate possession of his property, he murdered him by poisoning him.
4.)The purpose of a will was to allow Mr. Palmer to give his estates to whom he wants after his death, and to carry out his final wishes legally.
5.)No one should be able to benefit off of their own crime and also no one should be able to profit by their own fraud, or wrongdoing to gain property by committing a crime.
6.)A will produced by fraud and deception should be declared void and the portion of the will that appears to be fraudulent should not be acted on.
7.)There was no certainty that Elmer would"ve survived Mr. Palmer, and also no certainty that Elmer would"ve gotten the property if Mr. Palmer had died naturally.
8.)Elmer knew that If he died first or died without children who could inherit the estate, the entire estate would return to the daughters and this is another reason why he killed Mr. Palmer.
9.)Elmer also thought that by killing Mr. Palmer it would be an easy and fast way to inherit the estates; without having to wait for him to die.
10.)Therefore, Elmer should not receive the inheritance from the will.

Non-Controversial: 1.), 2.), 4.), 8.)
Controversial: 3.) because if Elmer did not know about the will and the inheritance he would gain from it once his grandfather died, It is likely that he would not have killed him. Also, Elmer knew that his grandfather had the opportunity of revoking the inheritance and Elmer did not want to take that chance; he wanted to make sure that the estate was his no matter what, so to take matters into his own hands, he killed him. 5.) because if you let people benefit from their own crimes, profit off of fraud and gain property by committing crimes than that"s just like telling someone it is okay to commit the crime; if you start to let this happen, there will be a great rise in crimes all in the name of gaining something from it. In this case specifically, it would not be ok to let Elmer benefit off of his own crime of killing his grandfather because a life cannot be replaced; property can be. 6.) because in this case Mr. Palmer was betrayed by his grandson and I"m sure that when Mr. Palmer made his will it could have never been his intention to allow someone that betrayed him to benefit under his will. 7.) because there could"ve been a chance the Mr. Palmer would"ve changed his will; Mr. Palmer had recently gotten married before his death and he could"ve therefore decided to leave the property to his wife. There was also no certainty that Elmer would"ve gotten the property if Mr. Palmer had died naturally; we don"t know if Elmer would"ve even outlived Mr. Palmer. 9.) because Elmer knew that there was chance he would be disinherited by Mr. Palmer and he also knew that a will can be changed by the person, he wanted security in knowing that once his grandfather died he would be the one to inherit the property and he did not want to wait any longer, that"s why he decided to kill him.
angie2517

Con

1) A sixteen-year-old boy is aware of the estate that he will be receiving from his grandfather once he passes away. Because of this knowledge, Elmer Palmer kills his grandfather by poisoning him in 1882.
2) Elmer was tried and convicted for the murder of his grandfather and was sentence to serve his time in a state reformatory.
Appellant"s argument is that Elmer should not receive the estate due to his actions, killing his grandfather to receive his portion of the will.
3) The question that we have at hand is not whether or not he should receive the estate, but rather can a will be altered or revoked after the death of the testator.
4) There are a number of statutory restraints of when the courts are allowed to alter a will after the testator"s death. These statutes were thought out thoroughly by a number of lawmakers, who thought out all the important circumstances of when a will needs to either altered or revoked after the death of the testator.
5) This particular situation is not protected by these statues, the law-makers in my opinion thought that such situation would not need a statute because such situation would either not occur or it wouldn"t be such a frequent situation that it needs a statute to protect it.
6) Because there is no statute that protects such situation allowing the courts to alter the will, the courts should not make their own law in this particular case and change the will.
7) Voiding the will and eliminating Palmer to receive the estate, would only add a more significant punishment, which is not permitted without a statute.
8) Elmer Palmer is being punished by the criminal law, this should be sufficient of a punishment and by the time that Palmer is out of prison, the amount of years that he will be able to have the estate would be minimal.

9) Therefore, The will should not be altered or voided due to the fact that there is no statue that allows the courts to do so.

Non- controversial: 1), 2), 4), 5), 6)

Controversial: 3) This is arguable, the appellant argument could be the courts trying to be parent in this particular case rather then being a referee. Because, the courts are trying to do what is right in this case, by not giving Palmer his portion of the will, it could be argued that the courts are being very paternal in this particular case. 7) The courts need precedent cases prior to the statutes that allow them to alter the will, so that Elmer does not receive his portion. The courts cannot take matters into their own hands and decided that in particular case it is okay for them to alter the testator"s wishes after death. 8) It is agreed that Palmer does deserve to be punished, however he is already being punished by criminal law adding additional punishment, will only raise the question when it is enough punishment? Palmer would be receiving double the double for killing his grandfather. 9) Allowing Elmer to receive the estate, does not mean that he will be getting the enjoyment of it. He will be sentenced to prison for a number of years, Elmer will not be able to do anything with the estate. Therefore, giving or giving the estate to Elmer would not make a difference. The enjoyment would be minimal.
Debate Round No. 1
MaryeaH

Pro

It is the role of the courts to decide matters before them. Courts do not have the power to be parental rather they do in fact have a legal obligation to try and achieve a just outcome. Therefore in the interest of justice the courts are entitled to render a judgment. When there is no statute in place to guide the courts, it is within the courts discretion to make a judgment in the interest of justice. The decision of this case itself would set the precedent for other cases who may choose to follow their lead or overrule this decision. Also, even though there are no statutes prior to this case, the act of statues is influenced by common law, which means that you can"t benefit from your own crime. Under the civil law developed from the general principles of natural law, someone cannot take property by inheritance or will from an ancestor who he has murdered. In constructing a law, it may not be possible to include every scenario that may exist, and judges therefore prefer to decide only the issues of the case at hand. The central issue is not whether Palmer would be punished twice, it is whether a person should be allowed to profit from their crime. A will serves as a contract; under the legal theory of illegality a contract is voidable if formed through illegal means. Although the will was not formed legally, the triggering action in a will is death. If this triggering is obtained through illegal means then the contract should be voidable because it was achieved through an illegal method. Elmer would also not be subjected to double jeopardy because this theory applies only to criminal punishment. Double Jeopardy would apply if Elmer was charged for another criminal offense with the same substantive issues as his capital punishment case, however since this is a civil case the civil outcome is substantially different from any criminal punishment. Although the issues are the same the judgment in the civil case achieves an entirely different outcome and if unresolved would allow Elmer to profit form his crime. If the estate were left delinquent while Elmer is in jail then the estate would essentially go to waste. Courts generally try to avoid waste so it would therefore make more sense that the plaintiffs should acquire the estate. The whole point of Elmer getting the estate would be to enjoy it so if he receives the estate wouldn"t he be essentially enjoying it? If we give Elmer the estate it would make a huge difference because that means he would definitely be profiting off of his own crime and we"ve already established that someone should not be able to profit off of his or her own crime. Are we saying that someone who commits a crime so brutal such as murder should be able to inherit property off of the person they've killed? To me that seems really unfair to the person that was killed. Mr. Palmer deserves justice in this case, and the just would be not to let Elmer inherit the estates
angie2517

Con

I will agree that the courts do have a legal obligation to achieve justice in every case that is brought to their attention. However in this particular case, we are seeing the courts as being a parental figure. The reason I say this is due to the fact that the courts feel that they have a decision to make as to whether or not Mr. Palmer should receive the estate.It is clear in the statutes that there is no law or doctrine claiming that a person who does murder the heir, they should not receive any property that is claimed in the will to be theirs. The possible reason as to why there isn't any statute protecting the courts to do such decision is because the law makers did find that any person who would kill the heir then, he or she would receive the proper punishment through the criminal courts. Elmer Palmer is already getting his sentence, and is receiving the proper punishment for the crime that he committed. And while I also agree that courts do have the discretion to decide what is the right decision to this particular case, the decision is absurd. The statute in question stated that " no will in writing, except in the cases hereinafter mentioned, nor any part thereof, shall be revoked or altered otherwise."And no explicit provision there in after mentioned covered the facts raised in the case . To conclude that Francis Palmer's will should be carried out as written, even if the effect were to give his murderer most of his estate. To do otherwise would be to act illegitimately where the laws were silent and to impose a penalty above and beyond the punishment already meted out in the criminal trial. By allowing this to happen, we go back to the courts being a parental figure to society. The courts should alter or tell us on how we should right our wills, even if such a tragedy were to happen. The courts should simply go by what the laws state. The estate would still remain for Mr.Palmer until he has served his sentence. It is not a waste to allow the will to stay how the heir wanted it to be. It would just simply be waiting till Mr. Palmer is out of prison. Another question at hand would be, if we allow the courts to make such decision on this case, then we must be okay with the courts making their own decision even if it is not on law or statute or doctrine. Then it is okay for judges to go with their gut is telling them to do and simply ignore the laws that have been written. Justice does need to be served and it is was served because Mr. Elmer Palmer has been convicted of murder without a doubt. By allowing the courts to alter the heirs will, then we are allowing the courts to alter our rights even when we have passed away. Allowing this the courts to make just decision we are allowing the courts to make their own decision, allowing this particular case to be the precedent case of the other cases that are going to come after , we will be seeing these cases being handled in a way that isn't right. I do agree that we should not allow a criminal to rewarded for his or her actions however Mr. Elmer Palmer is not going alway with no punishment, he is being punished by the criminal courts. Just because the civil courts do not have the ability to punish the criminal does not mean he is being rewarded. We need to allow the law makers to use this case as an acknowledgment that the courts need a statute, law or doctrine protecting the courts. Protecting them to be able to alter or revoke a will when someone kills the heir to receive a part of an estate or property that is stated in the will. I do believe that the law makers did not find it necessary to have such a statute or doctrine for this type of predicament, maybe because these law makers agreed that the criminal courts would take care of the punishment. However, as we can see that it might be necessary have such a statute, due to the fact that by allowing the courts to alter the law and make the decision without any typing of rule or law inspire the decision. Therefore, I believe that mr. Elmer Palmer should receive the estate once he has paid his dues by doing his time in prison.
Debate Round No. 2
MaryeaH

Pro

I do not understand how the courts were being parental in this case when in fact they were just trying to reach justice. If a court was acting as a parental figure, that means whatever decision the court would make would be just a decision and it doesn't have to be within the constraints of the law. As stated previously no one should be able to profit off of his or her own crime. Once Elmer committed the crime of murder, he should not be able to profit off of that crime which would be inheriting the estate. Letting Elmer inherit the estates would just be telling people that it is ok to murder someone and still profit from it, and that would just lead to more crimes being committed specifically for that reason. Although there is no statue, common law carries just as much influence in cases like this. Common law was meant to ensure that justice was served in instances not covered by a statute or where the statute was vague. Indeed Elmer was convicted of murder, which is a criminal case; he can still face punishment for a civil case. In any event he committed a criminal act specifically in order to benefit from an inheritance that he already knew about. Hence it was a deliberate criminal act and not something that happened by accident or chance. If someone says that the decision was absurd it implies that it cannot be justified or probably that it contradicts a law, for example, an act of double jeopardy, which it clearly does not. The question boils down to whether or not the courts should be allowed to make decisions concerning the distribution of property, which is contrary to the wishes already expressed in a will; the answer rests in the application of common law to this specific circumstance. Because of Mr. Palmer"s unlawful death, we cannot determine whether or not he would have changed the contents of the will sometime in the future. We can speculate that if Elmer did not know he was included in the will, no crime would have been committed and Mr. Palmer would have still been alive. We can also speculate that if Mr. Palmer knew that leaving an inheritance to Elmer would have resulted in his death, he would not have included him in the will, which is a reasonable assumption. Also, the murder of Mr. Palmer was premeditated by Elmer which means that Elmer thought and planned out the murder beforehand rather than if it was something like in the heat of the moment; that makes it even more obvious that Elmer did it just for the reasoning of the will. The judge's decision based on common law is a reasonable interpretation of what Mr. Palmer would have desired. The fact that Mr. Palmer recently got married is important in that it may have caused Elmer to assume that Mr. Palmer would have changed his will in favor of his new wife and he would have been excluded in the long run. You can imply that by giving Elmer the estates, justice was not served for Mr. Palmer"s death. In any case whether criminal or civil, the main purpose is to ensure that justice is served. If Elmer had received the inheritance after committing such a vicious act on the person who was so benevolent to him, it would have been a travesty and justice would have not been served. You also have to understand that when a will is problematic because of unusual circumstances such as this one, the courts have to take matters into their own hands to make sure that the outcome of this dilemma is a justifiable one. If we allow someone like Elmer to inherit the estates left to him by the person whom he murdered, what are we really telling the world? We could be saying that yes it's ok to commit murder and still profit off of it and that does not sound like justice to me. What about Mr. Palmer? How would he feel about this? Mr. Palmer's murder was an intentional wrongful act so how can we allow someone inheritance from a crime such as this?There is a legal maxim that no one should be allowed to profit from his or her own crime, so Elmer is therefore barred from inheriting the estates.
angie2517

Con

The courts are being looked at as a parental figure in this case because the courts is going by what the law says but rather looking at moral standards. By allowing moral standards to be part of such a case, then we are accepting for courts to deal with cases the brought to them, to practically take the case and go by what societies moral standards are. Then what is the point on the law in the books? Why do we have law makers trying to find new law that can stop any type of crime? It is because of those laws makers that we have Elmer Palmer behind bars. It is because of the law that we are able to put Elmer in prison because of his crime. He is not being rewarded for the crime that he committed, having him behind bars is not a reward a lot. He is paying the price for the malicious act that he committed, however I do not agree that taking that altering the will that Mr. Palmer wrote before his death is the way that the justice system should go about. We are simply allowing the courts to do what they think is best even if it means altering the law as well. The courts are not altering or revoking Mr. Palmers will but also the law. The reason I say this is because the decision that was made we can see that the courts not only revoked the fact that there is no statute in the law that protects the courts from making such decision but also, the altering the law by letting moral standards come in as part of law. The decision on this case will be a precedent case to cases similar to this one further down the line. We are accepting the law to invisible in cases just like this one. We are allowing the courts to simply go with the moral standards of that year or decade. We are allowing the courts to put aside the law whenever they feel is necessary. I completely agree that Elmer Palmer should not be rewarded with for the crime that he committed, however we cannot simply put the law to the side because of the feelings that we have of not allowing Elmer receive the estate. It is unfortunate that there is no law protecting the courts from altering someones will if the heir has been murdered to receive whatever is it that the will is states that he or she should receive. However, just because it is unfortunate does not mean we should allow the courts to take matters into their own hands. Elmer Palmer is receiving the appropriate punishment for his actions. He will be in prison and will not have access to the estate that his grandfather left him. By the time that Elmer Palmer is out of prison, it will cost him more work to try to get a hold of the estate and be able to do something with it. That should be punishment enough. I believe that the next step should be, allowing the law makers see this case as an inspiration to builded a new statute that allows the courts to alter the will when such an event occurs. I want to point out something else, we cannot assume anything in such a delicate case like this. We cannot assume that Mr. Palmer would have changed his will if he knew the intention that his grandson had, and we cannot assume that the reason that the reason that Elmer Palmer killed his grandfather was because his grandfather was recently married. We can only make decision with what we have at hand. Unfortunately we do not know the reason as to why Elmer Palmer killed his grandfather but what we do know is that we cannot allow the courts to make decisions outside the laws that where written. There could have many different circumstances that could of happened in the homes or Mr. Elmer Palmer and his grandfather, for all we know Elmer"s grandfather could have agreed to this type of scenario in order for his new wife not receive any estate. This is why I strongly suggest that assuming the circumstances that could have happened in this case does not justify that the courts are revoking the law and making their own. This type of behavior from the courts should not be allowed, we should not allow the courts to put aside the laws of the law just because the courts do not want to "reward" Mr. Elmer Palmer. A person who is already receiving his punishment from the criminal courts. The decision the courts made in this case, is only showing that we are okay that the courts are making their own decisions whenever they feel is necessary.
Debate Round No. 3
MaryeaH

Pro

1.)On August 13, 1880, Francis B. Palmer made his last will and testament, which he gave small legacies to his daughters Mrs Riggs and Mrs Preston, the plaintiffs in this action, and the remainder of his estate to his grandson Elmer E. Palmer, the defendant in this action.
2.)Elmer knew of the provisions made in the will, so to prevent his grandfather from revoking those provisions and to obtain speedy enjoyment and immediate possession of his property, he murdered him by poisoning him.
3.)The framing of statutes is largely influenced by common law which means no one should be able to benefit off of their own crime and also no one should be able to profit by their own fraud, or wrongdoing to gain property by committing a crime.
4.)A will produced by fraud and deception should be declared void and the portion of the will that appears to be fraudulent should not be acted on.
5.)There was no certainty that Elmer would"ve survived Mr. Palmer, and also no certainty that Elmer would"ve gotten the property if Mr. Palmer had died naturally.
6.)Elmer also thought that by killing Mr. Palmer it would be an easy and fast way to inherit the estates; without having to wait for him to die.
7.) Just before the murder Elmer was not a heir and it was not certain that he would ever be; he might have died before his grandfather, or might have have been disinherited by him; he made himself a heir by the murder as he seek to take property following his crime.
8.) Under the civil law developed from general principles of natural law, one cannot take property by inheritance or will from an ancestor whom he or she has murdered.
9.) The crime committed would make Elmer receive the benefits of the will earlier than expected so his rights to the property should be disallowed.
10.) Although there is no statue, common law carries just as much influence in cases like this and common law was meant to ensure that justice was served in instances not covered by a statute or where the statute was vague.
11.) In any event he committed a criminal act specifically in order to benefit from an inheritance that he already knew about and hence it was a deliberate criminal act and not something that happened by accident or chance.
12.) A will serves as a contract; under the legal theory of illegality, a contract is voidable if formed through illegal means.
13.) Although the will was formed legally, the triggering action in a will is death and if this triggering action is obtained by illegal means then the contract should be voidable because it was achieved through an illegal method.
14.) Elmer would also not be subjected to double jeopardy because double jeopardy would only apply if he was charged with another criminal offense in this specific case, however, this is a civil case.
15.) In any case whether criminal or civil, the main purpose is to ensure that justice is served.
16.) If Elmer had received the inheritance after committing such a vicious act on the person who was so benevolent to him, it would have been a travesty and justice would have not been served.
17.) Therefore, Elmer should not receive the inheritance from the will.

I will conclude by saying that Elmer committed a horrible crime that cost someone their life just because of his selfish ways. His grandfather was the one that was making sure that when he left this earth Elmer would have something that would help him maintain at least, and what did Elmer do to him, he murdered him. Why should someone who did such a horrible thing be rewarded with something that caused them their life? If we award Elmer with the property there would be no lesson taught. Mr. Palmer deserves justice and im sure that he would not want something that caused him his life to be rewarded to the person that killed him. If we allow Elmer to inherit the estates, im sure that there will be a number of cases in the future where people will just kill to inherit from someone else's will. We need to set an example so that a case like this wouldn't happen as often.
angie2517

Con

1.On August 13th, 1880 Francis B. Palmer finished writing his will, in which is states that once he passes away he will be giving two small estates two his two daughters and the rest to his grandson Elmer Palmer.

2. A sixteen-year-old boy is aware of the estate that he will be receiving from his grandfather once he passes away. Because of this knowledge, Elmer Palmer kills his grandfather by poisoning him in 1882.

3.Elmer was tried and convicted for the murder of his grandfather and was sentence to serve his time in a state reformatory.
Appellant"s argument is that Elmer should not receive the estate due to his actions, killing his grandfather to receive his portion of the will.

4.The question that we have at hand is not whether or not he should receive the estate, but rather can a will be altered or revoked after the death of the testator, even if it means there is no statute that allows this to happen.

5.There are a number of statutory restraints of when the courts are allowed to alter a will after the testator"s death. These statutes were thought out thoroughly by a number of lawmakers, who thought out all the important circumstances of when a will needs to either altered or revoked after the death of the testator.

6.This particular situation is not protected by these statues, the law-makers in my opinion thought that such situation would not need a statute because such situation would either not occur or it would not be such a frequent situation that it needs a statute to protect it.

7.The courts should not be allowed to make decisions on cases based on moral standards when there is a number of different statutes and laws that clearly do not protect the law from revoking and/or altering Mr. Palmer's will.

8.By allowing this decision to occur we are accepting the fact that the courts should ignore the laws that are presented.

9.Revoking the will and eliminating Palmer to receive the estate, would only add a more significant punishment, which is not permitted without a statute.

10.Elmer Palmer is being punished by the criminal law, this should be sufficient of a punishment and by the time that Palmer is out of prison, the amount of years that he will be able to have the estate would be minimal.

11.I do agree Mr. Elmer Palmer should not be rewarded for his actions however, this does not allow for the courts to disregard the law.

12.Elmer Palmer is receiving the appropriate punishment that he deserves.

13.This case should be inspiring to the law makers that we need a statute that protects the courts to alter or revoke a will with such a situation.

14.Therefore, The will should not be altered or voided due to the fact that there is no statute that allows the courts to do so. Elmer Palmer is receive the punishment that the law allows for him to receive. Judges should not be forget the laws that were past, and make their own judgements on this case.

Yes, no person should receive a reward for their bad actions. And while yes Elmer Palmer should not receive the estate because of his actions, not following the appropriate statute and laws that the law makers have passed is not the way to go. This case will be a precedent case for all the ones that will be coming after. We cannot allow for this to be a precedent case, a case where decision are made on moral standards instead of straight forward laws and statutes. We should see this case as a way to allow our law makers to build upon this and make new laws that protects the judges and courts from altering and revoking a will when the heir is murdered. I do believe that the law makers did not find it necessary to have such a statute or doctrine for this type of predicament, maybe because these law makers agreed that the criminal courts would take care of the punishment. However, as we can see that it might be necessary have such a statute, due to the fact that by allowing the courts to alter the law and make the decision without any typing of rule or law inspire the decision. Mr. Elmer Palmer should receive the estate and moving forward we should pass a law of where it protects the courts to revoke a will when a heir is murdered in order to get his or her estate.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.