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vand1832
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The Contender
aamjed91
Con (against)
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Riggs v Palmer

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,230 times Debate No: 65965
Debate Rounds (4)
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vand1832

Pro

1) In regards to the statutes that regulate the making, proofing, and the effects of wills when written, the intent with which they were made was that of making sure that the donee (or donees) named in the will were given the property promised to them.
2) To this end, and through a literal interpretation of the aforementioned statutes, one might say that if someone is named in a will, and the will can not be, and is not, modified in any way, then the person that was named must be given the property that was promised to them -- no matter what the circumstances.
3) However, it could not possibly have been the intention of the lawmakers, when creating these statutes, to allow a donee to obtain their promised property, when said donee murdered the will-maker in order to put the will into motion -- in other words, to make it operative.
4) Had such a situation been brought to their attention as they were making the governing laws of wills, they might very well have added a provision against it, specifically stating that one who murders in order to make a will operative should not gain whatever has been promised to them in said will.
5) To allow the murderer of a testator to reap the gains of a will in which they were named a donee is to allow them to benefit from a heinous crime that they committed; the "gains", in that case, would then become ill-gotten, and undeserved.
6) In the case of Riggs v. Palmer, defendant Palmer, having known about the provisions that his grandfather had included in his will that would give him the remainder of his estate after it was split up between his two daughters, willfully poisoned him, so that he might quickly and immediately reap the gains of the will in which he was named.
7) To this end, Palmer has indeed committed a heinous crime -- that of murder by poisoning his grandfather, the testator in the case -- in order to reap (ill-gotten) benefits; that of the inheritance left in his grandfather's will for him.
8) Thus, if Palmer is allowed to obtain the inheritance left for him in the will written by his grandfather, then he is essentially being rewarded for murder.
9) To reward Palmer (or anyone, for that matter) for committing an act such as murder is bad.
10) There is a construct in law called rational interpretation, which allows for the restriction and enlarging of the meaning of a statute, depending on whether or not the intention was with the lawmakers when they were writing the statute at the time.
11) The rule goes as follows: if a provision was within the intentions of the lawmakers as they were writing the statute, then it is within the statute, as if it were specifically written down; but anything that would not have been within the intentions of the lawmakers is not to be considered within the statute, even if it is "within" the letter of the law.
12) As was stated prior, it was within the intentions of the lawmakers, when creating the statues that govern over wills, to write them so as to ensure that the donees named by the testators would receive whatever property was left to them in their will, once the will was activated; however, it could not have been their intention to allow this to occur when the will was activated by willful murder.
13) To this end, by the rule of rational interpretation, the obtainment of an inheritance by a donee, in a situation where the donee knowingly and willfully murders the testator, would be unlawful -- because it was not taken into account by the lawmakers at the time.
14) In other words, they had no intention of ensuring that such a person would benefit from being named in a will; and since rational interpretation relies entirely on intent in order to include a provision within the boundaries of a statute, a provision to ensure that a murderer would benefit from murdering a testator would not be included within the statutes governing wills.
15) If we follow this rule of rational interpretation, having found through it that the lawmakers had no intention of allowing a testator's murderer to obtain what is bequeathed to them in their will, then Palmer, in the case of Riggs v. Palmer, would not obtain the inheritance left to him in his grandfather's will.
16) If Palmer were to not obtain the inheritance left to him in his grandfather's will, then justice would truly be upheld, both for the deceased, and the deceased's family -- in that he would not be profiting from a death that he, in his greed, willfully caused.
17) Thus, if we were to follow the rule of rational interpretation, justice would be upheld, both for the deceased, and the deceased's family -- because Palmer would not be allowed to profit from a death that he, in his greed, willfully caused.
18) Allowing justice for the deceased and his family is good.
19) Not allowing Palmer to profit from a death that he willfully caused, in part of his own greed, is also good.
20) The negative consequences that will stem from the decision to deny Palmer what was left to him in his will, such as the redacting and possible revision of certain parts of the will, and the potential for an argument for what appears to be "punishing a man twice" for his crimes, are acceptable in light of the circumstances that have been laid out in this case, and in light of the actions that Palmer took to activate the will in the first place.
21) Therefore, Palmer should not receive the inheritance from the will.
aamjed91

Con

Amina Amjed
Riggs v. Palmer debate

1.In the case of Riggs v. Palmer, the law was upheld during the decision making by Judge Earl. He critically analyzed the statutes regulating the making and proofing of wills and applied said statutes to the will of Francis B. Palmer.
2.The statute itself entails that a will cannot be modified, by any means, after the passing, of the testator due to the absence of said testator. Therefore, it is ill fated to state that the law should be expanded upon in any way to exclude and to deprive the defendant of his lawful possessions.
3.It can be agreed upon that the defendant, Elmer Palmer, by murdering the testator, committed a heinous and malicious crime, to expedite the activation of the aforementioned will.
4.Thus, the court has upheld the law of criminal jurisdiction, and is justified in their decision of the defendant for the crime that he committed which was the willful murder of Francis Palmer.
5.By claiming that the defendant, who is a lawful donee of the will, should not be allowed to enjoy the property that is legally endowed to him would be to subject the said defendant to cruel and unusual punishment.
6.Furthermore, by restricting the defendant from enjoying the property he has legally procured will be to impose additional punishment on the defendant.
7.It is stated in the law that a will obtained by deception or by fraud may be negated and set aside. A particular portion of the will can then be excluded or held inoperative by the undue influence of whom the will was in favor of.
8.However, in the case at hand, the will created by the testator, was made without undue influence and was made under rational and reasonable consciousness of the testator and can therefore be held operative.
9.It has been held by the Supreme Court that when a will has been kept from the destruction of misrepresentation and fraud of the beneficiary, to declare it void as against the fraudulent party would be to enlarge the statute, of which the court does not have the authority to do.
10.In addition, the will would have been held void, if the defendant, Elmer Palmer, had met the testator, before his untimely death and taken the property by force. Since that was not the case, and the will was made by the testator in full consciousness the will cannot and should not be held void.
11.The law provides that a provision was within the intentions of the law makers as they were writing the statute; but anything which was not in the intention of the law makers is not to be considered within the statue, even if it is within the letter of the law.
12.To this end, it could not have been the intention of the law makers to deprive a beneficiary from his legal claim in a will which he/she was made part of by the rational and reasonable decision of the testator. If that were the case, than it would have also been stated by the law makers as to when it would have been justified to alter a rationally created will. To deprive the donee from obtaining his possessions from the will, the law would be upholding a stance of injustice.
13.It can be concurred, then, that the purpose of the statutes is to allow for the testator(s) to dispose of their estates and personal property and to carry out their final wishes as they had legally expressed in their will. It was in the intention of the law makers that once a will has become operative the beneficiaries of the will should obtain the property given to them.
14.In accordance with the law, the legislators have made it comprehensible as to when and how wills may be made, revoked and altered. It holds than, that when these regulations have been fully and thoroughly complied with there is no room for the exercise of equitable jurisdiction by the courts in such matters.
15.The rights to dispose of an individual"s property after his death are subjected to legislative control in the extent and to the mode of its exercise.
16.In your argument, you have stated that it could not have been the intention of the law makers to ensure that the donee(s) (Elmer Palmer) named by the testator (Francis Palmer), should receive whatever property was left to them in their will, once the will was activated by murder.
17.It what you say is correct; this claim should have been a subtext of the provisions made to the statue regarding the rational mind of the testator when creating the will.
18.Since the will was created by the testator, without undue influence or fraudulent behavior by the defendant, the will should be held as it was written by the testator, without any alterations or revocations made to the will by the courts.
19.Therefore, making any alterations to the will would subject the true meaning of the will to be altered which by law the court does not have the authority to do.
20.The defendant, Elmer Palmer, has been tried in court for his heinous and malicious crime of murder, and has been justly punished for said crime.
21.The statute at hand states that no will in writing, nor any part of said will shall be revoked or altered. There are no explicit provisions made after said statue that cover the facts in the case of Riggs v. Palmer.
22.To withhold and/or revoke any parts of the will of which Elmer Palmer is a beneficiary would be to act in an illegitimate manner.
23.In addition, it would impose a penalty which is beyond the punishment already appropriated in the criminal trial.
24.Therefore, the will should remain as is and Elmer Palmer should be held legal beneficiary of the will without any alteration and/or revocation made to the will as it was the intention of the testator.
Debate Round No. 1
vand1832

Pro

1) It is indisputable that a will, once drawn up, cannot be rewritten or modified in the absence of the testator, due to the testator"s passing, whether untimely or otherwise.
2) However, to say that expanding the law in this case is "ill-suited", or illegitimate, is simply not true; for expanding upon or even restricting the law to include or exclude a specific set of facts, or a specific case, does not involve modifying the original will in any shape, way, or form; on the contrary, the will remains completely in-tact, and untouched.
3) This "restricting of" and "expanding upon" the law in cases such as this one, where one would undeservedly reap the spoils of an illegal and heinous act, is a legitimate tactic, and the very core of what rational interpretation is " the courts may either expand the law to include a case that would not actually be included according to the letter of the law, or they may restrict it, so that said case would not be included at all.
4) It depends on both interpretation, and what is perceived to be the intentions of the original lawmakers at the time " not on the deconstruction and revision of the will in question.
5) Therefore, the second half of your declaration, despite the first part being indisputable, makes the entirety of Premise 2 false.
6) Furthermore, you claim that if it was truly the lawmakers" intention to deprive a man that committed a heinous act from the gains he would knowingly reap from said act, then they would have included a provision within the governing statues of wills saying so.
7) This, however, is not entirely true, seeing as how, in most cases, lawmakers cannot set down the guidelines for every case in express terms within the statutes.
8) This is somewhat because cases of a certain kind will have had yet to be tried in court at the time the statue was made, but it is mostly because of the fact that if we were to create guidelines for every single set of circumstances out there, the law would become more rigid, and less like the flexible, "gray" sort of law that we have now.
9) To make the law more rigid, more defined, would mean compromising justice altogether, because the law being a "gray" area allows for less opportunities for those with a specific skillset (lawyers, draftsmen, etc.) to find loopholes; on the other hand, defining every part of law allows such a person to be able to find loopholes, simply because everything is laid out for them.
10) This goes back to the notion of rational interpretation, but it also has to do with equitable construction " which simply means that when a case is not within the letter of the law, it can be held to be within the meaning, because its circumstances would be within the "mischief" for which the statute provides a remedy.
11) One need only suppose that the corresponding lawmaker is present, and then conclude with an answer that would suit such a man as himself " "reasonable and upstanding", considering he is a man of the law " regarding whether or not he, when writing his statute, meant to include (or exclude) a certain circumstance.
12) Thus, while you were correct when you said that provisions pertaining to Palmer"s specific set of circumstances were found nowhere within the letter of the law, specifically, within the statutes that regulate wills, you are incorrect in saying that he cannot be held accountable for his actions.
13) And, to that end, my point regarding rational interpretation " and now, equitable construction " I feel, still stands.
14) However, it is true that the will in the case at-hand was made without undue influence, as well as under rational and reasonable consciousness on the part of the testator.
15) I cannot dispute this, nor can I dispute when you say that the property would have been taken by force if the defendant, Elmer Palmer, had met with his grandfather before he died, and used some malicious method to "snatch" it away from him, as it were.
16) To this end, I can agree that the will written is, for all intents and purposes, legitimate.
17) Despite this, I simply cannot agree on the fact that it should be executed " or, at least, I cannot agree that the part which rewards Palmer all that his grandfather left him should be executed.
18) This is mostly because I fail to see how taking away what was named to go to him, in a will that he forcibly expedited the activation of by way of murder, would be akin to "punishing him twice", much less "cruel and unusual punishment".
19) Therefore, I would like to ask: Why is it that you believe this to be the case?
20) Do you not think that giving a man property that he killed to receive with haste, as opposed to letting nature take its course and gaining it in time, is unreasonable?
21) If Palmer had simply stayed the course and allowed the will to activate whenever his grandfather"s passing came, then I would see no problem with giving him what would be rightfully his.
22) But Palmer did not stay the course and allow the will to activate of its own accord; rather, he took matters into his own hands, and in his greed, killed his grandfather to expedite the activation of his will.
23) Therefore, I do indeed see a problem with giving him what was left in his name.
24) Essentially, and once again, it comes down to this: If we allow Palmer to obtain what was left in his name, after all that I"ve said on statues and on general morality, then we are rewarding a man for murdering his own grandfather out of sheer greed.
25) Rewarding this man for being greedy, and killing his grandfather in cold blood, is bad.
26) True, we will be depriving him of property that was left in his name, and true, he may perceive it to be a cruel and unusual punishment " but a) it is just not so; and b) these supposed-negative consequences are acceptable in light of the fact that we will be punishing a man for doing evil, which is just what the criminal justice system is meant to do.
27) Therefore, I still uphold my original conclusion: Palmer should not receive the inheritance left to him in the will of his grandfather " the will of a man that he willfully murdered in order to "collect" at a quicker rate.
aamjed91

Con

Amina Amjed
Debate Round 2
Riggs v Palmer

1.The intention of the lawmakers, when they inscribe the law, is quite clear through their writing unless they say so otherwise.
2.According to the law, it is the legislation that has control over how an individual may dispose of their property after their death, and how that power can be exercised.
3.In making of the will at hand, it is undisputed that the will was made without force and/or undue influence. It was made without any pressures from the beneficiaries of said will.
4.By claiming that one legitimate beneficiary of said will, after the death of the testator, should not be able to enjoy what is rightfully given to him by the testator, is a claim that has not been demonstrated through any acts anticipated by the statute.
5.Therefore, by taking the law out of context, by expanding it to an extent that an individual is victimized by it would be an unjust act towards the individual.
6.Although it is true, that law makers cannot foresee every act to be included in the statute; it is still uncertain as to what their intention of the law maker(s) was regarding the passing of a will that was made operative by the heinous act of a beneficiary named in the will.
7.If what you say is correct, regarding the flexibility of the law, then it is also true to assess that the intention of the law makers, when creating the law regarding will(s), was to allow the will to become operative, no matter under what circumstances it had become operative. By murdering the testator, and making the will operative, does not give a testimony of the legislator"s intention to withdraw the content of the will from becoming operative in the favor of Elmer Palmer.
8.It is however, undisputed that to make the law more defined, would compromise justice altogether.
9.In addition, the law provides that a provision was within the intentions of the law makers as they were writing the statute; but anything which was not in the intention of the law makers is not to be considered within the statute, even if it within the letter of the law.
10.To this end, it would not have been the intention of the law maker(s) to deprive a beneficiary from his legal claim in a will which he/she was made part of by the rational and reasonable decision of the testator.
11.There are no instances in the law at hand where the law maker(s) have suggested an altering of the will at any time after the original testator of the will has passed, and the original will was not made by undue influence or by force by a beneficiary named in the will.
12.Although it depends on the interpretation and what is perceived to be the intentions of the original lawmakers at the time, it could not have been their intention to deprive someone of what is legally theirs.
13.I agree that one only has to suppose that the corresponding lawmaker is present, and then conclude with an answer that would suit such a man as himself " "reasonable and upstanding".
14.I do not contend that Elmer Palmer should not be held responsible for the crime that he committed voluntarily.
15.I stand by the decision of the court in punishing him for his immoral, heinous act for which he was sentenced. However, I do not believe that further action need be taken towards him thereby extending his punishment.
16.Elmer Palmer did indeed hasten execution of the will by illegal means.
17.In doing so, he committed an atrocious act for which he deserves full punishment but for the crime committed and nothing further.
18.The defendant, Elmer Palmer, is already paying his debt to the law and society for murdering his grandfather, Francis Palmer, and no further punishment should be granted to him. He is already been given the punishment to the full extent of the law for committing murder, and further punishment would be beyond what the law provides.
19.Denying Elmer Palmer his rightful inheritance would most definitely be a form of further punishment.
20.It is not inherently justifiable for one to benefit from a crime, but in the case at hand, the law did not state any provisions to keep Elmer Palmer from legally attaining the contents of the will prescribed to him.
21.To answer your query, I do not believe it is unreasonable for one to obtain what is legally given to him/her. Though it is wrongful to obtain the contents of the will by malicious acts, and for that law should take its course. I do not however believe that by revoking Elmer Palmer"s claim to the will, justice would be upheld.
22.By claiming that the defendant should be deprived of the property left to him by the testator, you are allowing for conscious to play a role in decision make where the law does not allow for it.
23.For the law to be carried out in a justifiable way, Elmer Palmer should remain the legal beneficiary of the will without any alteration and/or revocation made to the will as it was the intention of the testator.
Debate Round No. 2
vand1832

Pro

1) To take the law and then expand upon it, or even minimize its effects, is not akin to taking the law out of context; because the cases to which such a tactic is applied are cases that would indeed fit within the context and the letter of the law, but were not explicitly written down.
2) And, once again, these cases were not explicitly written down because they simply could not be, for reasons that I explained prior.
3) So while it is true that our laws state that a legal beneficiary of a will should be able to enjoy what has been left to him or her in said document, should they be named, after the testator of said document has passed -- we cannot say with certainty that a case's specific circumstances would fit within the context of this law until we examine it fully.
4) I will admit that there are undertones of morality to my argument, but it could also be argued that the enforcement of laws and the writing of statutes are acts that are done with an air of morality about them, as well; because in writing and enforcing its laws, no matter if these laws are civil or criminal laws, the state seeks to enforce and reinforce its own brand of morals -- that is, things that we, subjects of the state, should and should not do.
5) Keeping this in mind, if the state truly sought to enforce its own brand of morals, to say that it would allow for a man who murdered another to reap the gains of a document that he would have gained in time is somewhat contradictory.
6) I agree that indicting Palmer in a court of law, and punishing him for orchestrating the untimely murder of his grandfather, the testator, is in itself one way to bring justice down upon him for breaking the law.
7) But, at the same time, to allow Palmer, a man who incited chaos out of impatience and greed, to then collect his inheritance after being punished for the way in which he collected said inheritance, negates the effects of the initial punishment entirely.
8) After all, in the end, whether he receives the proper punishment for murder or not -- he manages to obtain what he set out to obtain in the first place by murdering his grandfather, and that is all that was left to him in his will.
9) To this end, the punishment becomes lackluster, and without any significant meaning; because while he has been indicted for murder, he also reaps the gains of his will, which was the reason he'd committed murder in the first place.
10) Therefore, I ask: is there any point at all in punishing him for murder, if you are not also going to justly repeal what he had committed murder for?
11) And I say 'justly', because declining him the ability to reap the benefits of the will in which he was named could be done in a justified manner; by interpreting the statutes and the intentions of the lawmakers, for one, and by appealing to the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law, for another.
12) Above all else, the state (and to this end, lawmakers themselves) strives for a society in which there is justice for all; in which there is a sort of harmony, not chaos.
13) In my honest opinion, and contrary to yours, to allow Palmer to inherit what was left to him by his grandfather, despite punishing him to the fullest extent for murdering him, would not be upholding justice, but injustice.
14) I would also think that it is very clear that appealing to the spirit of the law, rather than the word of the law, is optimal when attempting to decide on the ruling for a case; but therein lies the heart of our disagreement.
15) We cannot abide only by the letter of the law, because the letter of the law only provides so much for us, in regards to punishment guidelines: who to punish, when to punish, and why.
16) Were we only to abide by the letter of the law, countless cases of injustice would ensue; because a literal interpretation, rather than one in the "spirit" of the law, would likely allow people of more unique cases and fact patterns to go free and without punishment, simply because there would be no written guidelines on how to deal with those specific cases.
17) It's much like the case of Mr. Palmer, though this has to do more with the statutes of wills, and not so much his punishment -- for, as you've already stated, the court has already punished him to the fullest extent of the law for his crime.
18) But his crime of committing murder, and upholding the legitimacy of a will -- and, furthermore, making sure that the will is enacted in a legitimate way -- are not one and the same; rather, they are two separate things, governed by two separate sets of laws (ie., the statutes of wills don't apply to criminal law because they are a part of common law, and vice versa).
19) Therefore, it is not entirely correct to say that one is imposing "additional" or "excessive" punishment upon Palmer for interpreting the statutes in such a way that he would not gain his inheritance.
20) The criminal law will have, at this point, already done its job in punishing him for the crime of murder. It is the job of the common law, then, to ensure that the handling of the will, in the aftermath of the event that led to its activation, is proper; and that the will, remaining unchanged (because, as you stated prior, a will cannot be altered after the passing of its testator), is executed correctly in the eyes of the law.
21) In other words, the court would not be punishing Palmer further by redacting his inheritance via statute interpretation; it would simply be making sure that the will in question is enforced in such a way that could be considered legitimate.
22) Allowing for a murderer, as statute interpretation would find, to gain what was left to him in the wake of a death he willfully caused is not what one would find "legitimate" to be.
23) Therefore, and to this end, I disagree with your last statement: that the only way that the will could be carried out in a legitimate manner would be to allow Palmer to remain legal beneficiary of the will without any alteration and/or revocation made to the will.
aamjed91

Con

Amina Amjed
Riggs v Palmer
Debate " Round 3

1.If you were to expand on the law, as you say the courts should do, by depriving the defendant of his legal property would indeed be taking the law out of context because the courts would then be expanding on his punishment for murder. Has his crime not been accounted for?
2.I agree that we cannot be certain about a case"s specific circumstances would fit within the context of this law until we examine it fully. But by examining it we have to maintain a rational state of mind rather than regarding this case with emotion and conscious standing.
3.By suggesting that defendant, Elmer Palmer, should be subjected with further penalty for his offense would be condemning him with unfair justice which would be granted by an emotional audience rather than one with sound and rational mind as the law should.
4.The law seeks to maintain justice where justice is required and nothing further. By appealing to the argument of the Plaintiff, in revoking what is granted to the Defendant by the will of the testator, could ultimately grant Plaintiff with excessive access to the will in question, which the testator had not wished for through his will.
5.It is true, that Elmer Palmer was the person who brought untimely death upon his grandfather, the testator, and there was no way of knowing that had the defendant not committed this offense, the testator may have survived Elmer Palmer.
6.It is also to be noted that although Francis Palmer, the testator, had made some remarks about changing the will to reduce or revoke the benefits that would be granted to Elmer Palmer, he had not done so before his untimely demise at the hands of his grandson.
7.I do not agree that after being allotted the punishment for murder, he should be further scrutinized.
8.It could also be said, during the time he is incarcerated for his crime, he is already unable to enjoy the property for which he had committed murder and caused untimely death of his grandfather, the testator of the will. He is incapable of attaining what he had hoped for by making the will operative before time.
9.The criminal law, in case of Riggs v. Palmer, has established punishment for the murder of the testator, Francis Palmer.
10.Furthermore, by denying Elmer Palmer his estate, adds further punishment to that which the defendant has already received under the criminal statute and that is something which the court is not allowed to do without the express, written statute.
11.The existing statutes do not authorize the action of courts to simply makeup and/or create statutes which obtain a result which is morally pleasing.
12.In accordance with the law, the testator has passed; his will was made in due form and is admitted to probate, therefore, it must go into effect according to the exact letter of the law.
13.For that reason, that the statutes regulating the making, proofing, and effect of will(s), if constructed literally, and if their effect and force can in no way be modified, the property should be granted to its legal owner, the beneficiary, Elmer Palmer.
14.This purpose of the statutes, regulating wills, is to enable the testator(s) to dispense with their estate(s) as they please, and to carry into effect the legality of their final wishes and that sole purpose must be kept in view when giving effect and operation to the will(s).
15.Because the makers of the law do not express their intentions perfectly, but either fall short or exceed it, it is left to the judges to collect from their intentions probable or rational assumption only.
16.We must abide by the letter of the law if we hope to remedy the crime and provide punishment proportional to the crime.
17.Literal interpretations are necessary to ensure that an individual is not making to suffer more or less for his/her crime.
18.The rules of the law states that any will made and or litigated with undue influence and/or by force shall be held void. In this instance, no such circumstance is available which holds the will to its word and grants all its beneficiaries what is provided to them through said will.
19.To that end, I stand by my previous point that by restricting the defendant from enjoying the property he has legally procured will be to impose additional and unfair punishment on the defendant.
20.I agree that committing murder and upholding the legitimacy of the will are not one in the same but they are tried in court under the same instance and he is tried for murder for which his punishment is justified and nothing more.
21.If the will is altered, to revoke the privileges granted to the defendant, Elmer Palmer, than the courts are taking into their own hands what was not granted to them by the legislators and in doing so they are creating what is not in their right and jurisdiction to create.
22.Reinstating my previous point, the defendant would be made without his claims to the will until he has served his punishment for the murder of his grandfather, hence, it is unnecessary to further that punishment by entirely and completely revoking form him his claims to said will.
Debate Round No. 3
vand1832

Pro

1) To summarize, our main point of disagreement hinge on whether or not Palmer should receive the inheritance left for him in his grandfather"s will -- a man that he willfully murdered, so as to expedite the activation of the will itself, so as to more swiftly enjoy the benefits that said inheritance would provide.
2) Our secondary points of disagreement hinge on whether or not we should use such things as rational interpretation and equitable construction to expand or minimize the statutes of wills, and therefore, either include or exclude Palmer from obtaining the inheritance left in his name; this ties into whether or not we should use a more or less literal interpretation of the law, in other words, the "spirit" of the law, or the "letter" of it.
3) It"s very much true that once a will is in effect, and the testator has either passed on or cannot, for whatever reason, be present, then that will cannot be altered in any shape, way, or form; it must stay true to its original words.
4) Rational interpretation does not involve altering or rewriting a will in any shape, way, or form, however; rather, it involves interpreting the law in such a way that a unique set of facts specific to a single case may either be included or excluded in a statute, though it has not been explicitly stated.
5) Furthermore, rational interpretation is beneficial to us -- especially in the case at hand -- because it allows for the court to include and provide fair judgments for cases that are not specifically stated in the letter of the law; simply because making the law (or the statutes) too specific would leave room for men skilled in the area of law (such as lawyers) to find and create loopholes in their cases, contracts, and et cetera.
6) In other words, rather than use a literal interpretation of the law in cases like the one at hand, we should make our decisions "in the spirit" of the law, because it allows us to make our best judgments and act according to the principles set up by the law.
7) I still firmly stand by the fact that allowing Mr. Palmer to inherit what was left to him by his grandfather in his will, despite the fact that he murdered his grandfather so as to activate the will faster and reap the benefits of what was left to him more quickly, would be akin to rewarding him for his crime, despite the fact that the law would have already punished him for murder.
8) If he were to be allowed to collect his inheritance, he would feel no remorse for his actions, which directly negates the purpose of his punishment in the first place; because he killed in order to activate the will, and, should he be allowed to collect he will have gained exactly what it was he set out to gain when he killed the testator.
9) This in itself is a form of injustice, and therefore should not be tolerated; because to reward anyone for murder, even if they were rightfully and legally named in a will, is bad.
10) Thus, as I have said in my prior arguments, the only way to truly serve justice is to expand the law so that Mr. Palmer is declined the ability to receive the inheritance that his grandfather, the testator, had left for him.
11) The main argument against this, as you have stated, is that doing this would be akin to subjecting the defendant to "cruel and unusual punishment", or "excessive punishment" -- thus, you say, he should be allowed to reap the benefits of the will.
12) But, as I feel I have at least adequately shown, this is simply not so; for one, the criminal and civil law are not intertwined, so there would not be excessive punishment on behalf of the criminal law, as they only charged him with murder, and nothing more; and for another, allowing him to reap the benefits of the will he was named in would contradict entirely the moral code that the legal system has put in place for us, the people, through its laws and statutes.
13) Even further than that, if we were to follow the rule of rational interpretation, justice would be upheld, both for the deceased, and the deceased's family -- because Palmer would not be allowed to profit from a death that he, in his greed, willfully caused.
14) And, as stated in my prior argument, allowing justice for the deceased and his family is good; the same can be said for not allowing a man to benefit from his own greed.
15) There are negative consequences to declining Palmer his inheritance, the majority of which you have pointed out and elaborated on in your own argument, but in light of the benefits that I have listed in my own argument, these negative consequences are acceptable.
16) Therefore, I sustain my initial conclusion: that Palmer should not be allowed his inheritance.
aamjed91

Con

Amina Amjed
Riggs v Palmer
Round 4

1.What you say is true, that Elmer Palmer did indeed commit a malicious crime by murdering his grandfather only to attain, before its timely due, what had already been named to him in his grandfather"s will
2.It is, without a doubt, a cruel act for which one should be punished accordingly.
3.However, I do not agree that he would be without remorse if he is granted his inheritance from the testator"s will.
4.He would have sufficient time to repent his wrongdoing for which he is punished. He would not be able to attain and enjoy his estate/property which he was made beneficiary until after he has fulfilled his sentence for committing murder.
5.Not only would revoking and/or altering the will of the original testator, Francis Palmer, towards the defendant, Elmer Palmer, be cruel and excessive punishment but it would be altering the original letter of the law to better fit a moral, conscious based decision than that of a rational and reasonable one.
6.In accordance with the law, the legislators have made it simple enough to comprehend as to when and how a will may be made, revoked, and altered. It holds then, that when these regulations have been fully complied with there is no room for the exercise of equitable jurisdiction by courts in such matter.
7.I agree, to the fact, that through rational interpretation a will is not altered but only the letter of the will is comprehended fully I accordance to the case at present.
8.The statute at hand, without a doubt, states that no will in writing, nor any part of said will shall be revoked or altered, after the testator has passed away. There are no explicit provisions made after said statute that cover the facts in the case of Riggs v. Palmer.
9.Once again, I would say that once the defendant has already been tried and convicted of murder, he has already repented his crime. He has not been able to enjoy the possessions he obtained from his grandfather, Francis Palmer"s will. In that time he has awaited not only the time that he would have to wait, if his grandfather, Francis Palmer, had died of natural causes, but probably a long time after, to enjoy his estate/property left to him in said will.
10.It is not inherently justifiable for one to benefit from a crime, but in the case at hand, the law did not state any provisions to keep Elmer Palmer from legally attaining the contents of the will prescribed to him.
11.To this end, it could not have been the intention of the law makers, to deprive a beneficiary from his legal claim in which he/she was made part of, without undue influence or force, by the rational and reasonable decision making of the testator.
12.The law provides that once a will becoming active, the contents of the will should pass as they have been applied by the testator.
13.Elmer Palmer, the defendant, is already paying his debt to the law and society and to the aggrieved party for the murder of his grandfather, Francis Palmer; therefore, no further punishment should be granted to him.
14.He has already been punished to full extent of criminal law for committing murder and further punishment would be beyond what the law provides.
15. If the will is expanded upon, by way of alteration, or by way of revoking certain rights and/or grants provided by the original will of the testator, the courts are taking into their hands what is not granted to them by the legislators and in doing so they are creating what is not in their right and/or jurisdiction to create.
16.For the court to alter or expand upon the will of the testator, who is no longer present, is to change the entire meaning of the original will when it was first created.
17.By doing so, the will no longer has meaning and the true intent with which it was made by the testator, Francis Palmer, has been deterred from said will.
18.If law makers had intended for courts to take such actions than there would be no need for legislators and only the courts would make laws and expand upon them.
19.Therefore, I believe that depriving the defendant, Elmer Palmer, of his rightful possessions, would be exceeding on the criminal law and punishing the defendant for a crime more than need be. Elmer Palmer should be allowed to keep his inheritance as was the wish of the testator.
Debate Round No. 4
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