The Instigator
mvc29
Pro (for)
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The Contender
mack2014
Con (against)
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Riggs v. Palmer (No one should be rewarded for their crime)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/22/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 242 times Debate No: 65660
Debate Rounds (4)
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mvc29

Pro

1. On August 13, 1880, Francis B. Palmer made his last will through which he left his two daughters Mrs. Riggs and Mrs. Preston as well as his grandson an inheritance. (1.1)
2. In order for Elmer Palmer to receive his part of the inheritance he would have to be under age, unmarried and without any issue when his grandfather died. (1.1)"
3. Elmer Palmer was 16 at the time. (1.4)
4. Elmer Palmer knew of the condition under which he would receive his inheritance and the possibility that he could not be a heir if such conditions were not met. (1.5)
5. Elmer Palmer poisoned his grandfather in order to expedite and ensure that he would get what he believed he was entitled to. (1.5)"
6. Palmer argued that because the testator is dead, he was under age, unmarried, and without any problem the will should be honored. (1.6 - 2.1)
7. Statutes exist that regulate the process of creating a will and it helps ensure that every scenario is taken into consideration when creating such. (3.1 - 4.1)
8. When these statutes were created the idea that a person could obtain an inheritance in a case where they murdered the testator in order to obtain it was, clearly not present. (4.3)
9. If Francis Palmer knew of his grandsons intent to murder him, we can assume that he would have without a doubt removed him from his will. (4.3 - 4.4)S10;
10. Common law indicates that no person should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of his/her own crime. (10.1 - 10.2)
11. In the case of Mutual life Insurance Company v. Armstrong (117 U.S. 591) it was held that a person who murdered the policy owner in order to receive payment on behalf of the policyholder, payable only upon his/her death, would forfeit their right to that payment. 10.4 - 4.6)
12. It would not be acceptable in the law if any person who killed another in order to receive payment, upon their death were to receive it, as well if any were to commit insurance fraud by burning a building in order to claim the funds. (10.7 - 10.8)
13. Before the murder Elmer Palmer was not a heir, nor was it guaranteed that he would be as per the conditions in which he would become a heir. (15.1 - 15.6)
14. Thus, he should not be awarded the inheritance. (19.1)

Non- Controversial:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Controversial:
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

7,8,9:
Although statutes that help regulate the creation of a will do exist and these statutes are in place in order to make sure that the testator takes into consideration all possible scenarios and the will be satisfied in its entirety, it was not clear in the minds of the creators of such statutes that another could possibly murder the testator in order to expedite his inheritance. As well we can assume that the grandfather knowing that his grandson would attempt his murder in order to obtain it, he would not have made him a heir. Or if the scenario presented itself where the father survived the attempted murder, it is assumed that him knowing his grandsons intentions he would have immediately removed his from his will, as any reasonable person would.
10, 11, 12:
In any scenario it is clear that we would not award a criminal for his criminal acts. For example if a thief were to break into a jewelry store and take all the diamonds he could find, even after being charged and convicted we would not let him keep the jewels as that would not deter others from committing the crime.
The text presented many cases in which the decision clearly stated that no man, should receive compensation for their criminal acts. For example in the case of Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Armstrong it was held that if a beneficiary were to murder the policy holder in order to receive the benefits of the policyholder, that he/she would not be compensated, as , had he/she not committed such act, it is quite possible that the policyholder would have out lived the beneficiary, etc.
Another example that is clear is if the owner of a business were to burn it down in order to receive payment from the insurance company, and it can be proven, he/she would not be entitled to it.
13, 14:
In addition, Elmer was not guaranteed to be a heir, he made himself one upon committing the murder of his grandfather. It is quite possible, as mentioned before, that Francis Palmer could have out lived Elmer, or lived past Elmer"s 18th year, the possibilities are endless, therefore we can easily conclude that he should not be entitled to his inheritance because it was not his to begin with.
mack2014

Con

1. On August 13, 1880 Francis B. Palmer's last will and testament were to leave his two daughters Mrs. Riggs and Mrs. Preston with small legacies and his grandson Elmer Palmer with his estate.(1.1-2)
2. In the case Elmer should survive him and die under age , unmarried and without any issue. (1.3)
3. Elmer at the age of 16 murdered his grandfather by poison, knowing the will would be in his favor if he could prevent provisions. As a result the testator is dead, therefore the will must have affect according to the letter of the law. (1.7-9)
4. It was the intention of the law-makers that the donees in a will should have the property given to them. (3.2)
5. But it never could have been their intention that a donee who murdered the testator to make the will operative should have any benefit under it. This expresses that the testator didn't have prior knowledge to put in the will statues such as " in the event I be murdered by the donee. (3.2-3)
6. qui haeret in litera, haeret in cortice translated means "he who stices to the letter sticks to the bark"(4.1)
7. We are bound by the rigid rules of laws. (19.2-3)
8. Statuary restraints are placed when dealing with the disposition of one's property by will. they are strict and systematic rules in the event of execution, alteration and revocation of a will. It must be followed to ensure the validity and performance of the will. (19.9-10)
9. It is quite reasonable to suppose that a testator would revoke or alter his will, where his mind has been so angered and changed as to make him unwilling to have his will executed as it stood. But these principles only suggest sufficient reasons for the enactment of laws to meet such cases. (21.2-5)
10. Therefore it must have effect according to the letter of the law. (1.13)

Non Controversial
1,2

Controversial
3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Although Elmer's action of murdering his grandfather is not justifiable, when it comes to a will it can and should not be altered. Alteration of the will dishonor the testators wishes and allow the courts full control in altering anyone's will. when writing a will the testator must carefully consider different scenario's in the event such an act like murder should happen, "he who stices to the letter sticks to the bark". Had the testator stated to revoke the estate from Elmer in the event he shall murder "I" Riggs the testator the court can revoke as well as punish for actions. The estate does not come from nor is produced by the courts, so it shouldn't be looked at as a reward.
If a law is going to be presented and set for everyone to follow then it should be followed as. If not then the law has forfeit is power in which a will will lose is statute thus there will be no point to a will if the courts can alter it. It is not the laws responsibility when a testator doesn't consider all possibilities in the distribution of there belongings after death, That's why its a awarded to whom ever the testator seem fit to have it and not if they commit a crime.
Debate Round No. 1
mvc29

Pro

mvc29 forfeited this round.
mack2014

Con

mack2014 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
mvc29

Pro

mvc29 forfeited this round.
mack2014

Con

mack2014 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
mvc29

Pro

mvc29 forfeited this round.
mack2014

Con

mack2014 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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