The Instigator
MariahBreeAnn
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
EvanK
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

Should accused terrorists be given the same constitutional due process as US citizens?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
EvanK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,498 times Debate No: 45532
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

MariahBreeAnn

Con

1: 1NC, then 1AC and CX questions
2: Neg answers CX Questions and then 2NC, Neg also asks CX questions, Aff answers Questions and then 2AC
3: 1NR, 1AR
4: 2NR, 2AR

This is for accepting. Shall we begin Evan? :)
EvanK

Pro

I accept! :)

Before your opening arguments, I would like you to define what you mean by "accused terrorists". Good luck, this shall be a fun and exciting debate!
Debate Round No. 1
MariahBreeAnn

Con

"We will not be intimidated or pushed off the world stage by people who do not like what we stand for, and that is, freedom, democracy and the fight against disease, poverty and terrorism."
~Madeleine Albright~

My value in today's debate will be that of Safety. The United States of America's top priority is to keep their citizens safe. Not people who are threatening the country. The purpose of the government is to keep the citizens safe and to keep things orderly. My value criterion in today's debate is Fairness, if we are not a fair nation there is no way we can ever be safe. We must follow the rules we have set as a nation to keep us safe. We claim to be a fair and just nation, so we must set that example.

I will now go over some definitions stated in the resolution and that will be essential in my case.

Definitions:
1: Terrorism: "(DOD) The unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies. Terrorism is often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political." (Therefore someone accused of doing the activity that is defined)
(src: http://www.dtic.mil... http://www.bits.de...(10).pdf)"
2. Citizen:: a person who legally belongs to a country and has the rights and protection of that country-
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3. Due Process: " a course of formal proceedings (as legal proceedings) carried out regularly and in accordance with established rules and principles" http://www.merriam-webster.com...

My first contention is Fairness. If you really are wanting to give the terrorists a fair trial, it's not going to happen in a regular courtroom. It is hardly probable that if we take people and put them on jury duty that they will vote for the accused terrorist release. As soon as an average American citizen hears what the trial is for, they will automatically be biased. 9/11 is rooted deep in everyone's brains. There is nothing unbiased about a due process case that concerns terrorism. It's not all about hating terrorists so much that we aren't going to be fair. If anything, putting them in a regular type of legal proceeding with a jury will delete any chance of them being found innocent.

My second contention is the 5th amendment, which states, "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury" That's a great affirmative case, until you read further into the fifth amendment. It goes on to say "except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger". I believe we can all agree that terrorism qualifies as a public danger. Also, considering we have declared a war on terror, it is also in the time of war. A war specifically targeted at terrorism. Therefore, we cannot give accused terrorists due process. This upholds my value criterion of fairness because of the fact that it is a law that we have in place. Which is already linked to the greater cause of safety, explained earlier in my case.
(http://www.law.cornell.edu...)

With all of the information stated above I strongly urge a Negative vote.
EvanK

Pro

Thank you for the opportunity to debate this interesting topic, and for a thought provoking opening round. As the guidelines state, I shall be presenting my opening arguments.

I would like to start off by noting that terrorists are not always foreign to the US. My opponent has defined terrorism as, [1]"The unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies...", a definition that I agree with. However, one only has to look nearly 19 years in the past, to the [2]Oklahoma City Bombing, carried out by American citizens Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, to note that terrorists can be American citizens.

Whether or not accused terrorists are entitled to the right to due process is a tricky question. First off, is the usage of the word [3]"accused". By insinuating that the person is only accused of terrorism, and at the same time, saying that that person should have his constitutional right to due process withheld due to the fact that he is an accused terrorist, is a very slippery slope to unjust punishment and government harrasment. The Government could simply accuse a person of terrorist activity due to him not supporting the current administration. Simply joking about wanting to kill the president could be seen as terrorist activity, and therefore, an excuse for the government to withhold their constitutional right to due process, leaving them at the mercy of that government, with no hope of a fair trial. As the 5th amendment states, [4]"No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...". It's pretty clear here, that in order to punish someone for an alleged crime, one must take him to court, and have it proved in a fair trial that the accused is guilty of the alleged crime. There is no exception in the amendment allowing the government to withhold a citizen's right to due process for any reason whatsoever.

Now, of course, there are instances where the accused terrorist might not be an American citizen. Does a foreign citizen get constitutional rights like US citizens do? Again, the answer is tricky, but the wording of the constitution and bill of rights suggests that some rights are to be afforded to all people in the United States, whether or not they are a legal US citizen.

As John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California-Berkley writes, [5]"Within U.S. territory, non-citizens have rights because of the 14th Amendment, which declares 'nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' Just before the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the 14th Amendment prohibits states from making or enforcing 'any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States.' Notice that the 14th Amendment uses citizens in one places, and persons in another. This has long been thought to mean that non-citizens ('persons') have due process and equal protection rights, once in the territory of the United States. The Fifth Amendment (which applies to the federal government) likewise uses the phrase 'no person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.'"

What this means is, anyone inside the United States (this includes our embassies in foreign land, as that is technically part of the United States, where our laws apply) cannot be denied the right to due process, no matter the case. The government cannot take any foreign citizen into custody on charges of terrorism, and deny that person the right to due process, because as soon as that person is on US property, he is entitled to certain constitutional rights, including to that of due process.

There has never been an amendment to the constitution making any exception of this. Meaning, that neither congress, nor the President, can pass laws or issue orders, (such as the [6]2012 NDAA, which authorizes the illegal detaining of American citizens by the military without due process) denying any person, foreign or domestic, the right to due process.

I cannot find any loophole in the constitution which allows for the government to deny any person, foreign or domestic, the right to due process, and because of this, I strongly urge a vote for pro.

As the guidelines follow, I shall now cross examine.

1-You state that [7]"The United States of America's top priority is to keep their citizens safe. Not people who are threatening the country. The purpose of the government is to keep the citizens safe and to keep things orderly...if we are not a fair nation there is no way we can ever be safe. We must follow the rules we have set as a nation to keep us safe."

However, one of the rules we have set up (through the 5th and [8]14th amendments) is the right to due process, protecting people from unjust accusations and punishments without a fair and just trial.

My question for you is, do you not agree, that to be a fair nation, we must uphold all of these rules, even if it might protect a criminal, so as to protect everyone from unjust punishments? In other words, if we strip those who are simply accused of terrorism from the right of due process, as you suggest, is the US still, (1), protecting all it's citizens (from unjust punishments without a fair trial), and (2), acting as a fair nation, even though we are breaking rules we have put in place.

2-In your first contention, you go on to say that there will be bias amongst the jurors due to the accusation that the defendant is a terrorist, and that putting them on trial will [9]"delete any chance of them being found innocent".

However, this can be said of any criminal, whether it be an accused child rapist or an accused serial killer.

My question is, do you believe, then, that we should take away their rights to due process as well?

That concludes my opening round. Thank you for reading.

Sources

[1] My opponent's opening round

[2] Oklahoma City Bombing-http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] "Accused"-http://dictionary.reference.com...

[4] 5th Amendment-http://en.wikipedia.org...

[5] "Constitutional Rights for Non Citizens?"-http://ricochet.com...

[6] 2012 NDAA-http://en.wikipedia.org...

[7] My opponent's opening round

[8] Fourteenth amendment-http://en.wikipedia.org...

[9] My opponent's opening round

Debate Round No. 2
MariahBreeAnn

Con

For my opponents first question, I do agree that to be a fair nation we must uphold the rules that we have set. That happens to be my entire second contention. But considering the facts that I have brought up previously, that would go against your side of the argument. Part one of his first question asks if stripping away due process is still protecting it;s citizens from unfair punishment. Well, in short, yes I do agree that we are still protecting our citizens. With the information given before on the bias and complications of an ordinary jury trial. Also, part two of his first question; " acting as a fair nation, even though we are breaking rules we have put in place." I do not agree that we are breaking rules that we have set as a nation, but following them more accordingly to what they say. Instead of focusing on the right within the amendment, you also have to look at the exceptions and consequences, as well as the responsibility.

For my opponents second question...
"What does "actual bias" mean? Can"t a juror have any opinions?
The term "actual bias" means the juror has a state of mind that would interfere with his or her ability to try the issue impartially and without prejudice to the substantial rights of a party. The state of mind may exist concerning the action, a party to the action, the sex of a party, the party"s attorney, a victim, a witness or a racial or ethnic group. Where a juror has an opinion upon the merits of the case, perhaps from what he or she may have heard or read, that opinion will constitute "actual bias" only when all of the circumstances indicate that the juror cannot disregard his or her own opinion and try the issue impartially" -http://courts.oregon.gov...

The jurors are not able to partake in a trial that they will be biased in. My point is that the entire nation has been effected by terrorism vs individual experience that not everyone has experienced such as rape or theft or serial killing.

Now on to my response:

My opponents first contention/argument is irrelevant. He states that terrorists are not always foreign, but that doesn't matter. My second contention quotes the exception in the 5th amendment where we can not be active in war nor can the person be a public danger or be considered a public danger because of their actions. It doesn't matter what country you come from, if you are from the US or not. If you are in custody of the government you follow the government rules.

His argument for the word "accused" is simple. First off, it is the same as if you were accused of manslaughter and you were innocent. You are "accused". But in this case you are being accused of something the entire nation is extremely sensitive about. Detectives and criminal justice majors and judges with years of experience and people like them who have studied these things would be more fit to handle those types of cases vs the ordinary citizens who have been traumatized by terrorist attacks. This is common sense. Also, the word accused "A person who has been arrested for or formally charged with a crime." which would be after it was investigated. Especially with your example, if someone "jokes" about that over text, they ping your phone. Which would be against privacy rights but obviously they don't care about that and it's because you are a danger.

He mentions the 5th amendment, but only parts of it. The 5 amendment further explains due process and it's limitations, exceptions, and the responsibility that comes with it. I will quote it again.

"The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, 'No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.'"

As you can see, the exception lies in this segment: "except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger"

Notice the word EXCEPT.

I found the loophole for you my dear opponent.

Now for my cross examination, please answer yes or no to the following questions.

1. Would you agree that terrorism is a public danger?
2. Do you believe that terrorism has hurt this country in any way?
3. Has terrorism traumatized people?

Thank you for taking your time to read this.
For all of the above reasons and explanations I respectfully ask for a Negative vote.

(Note: please continue with the sources I used in my first argument for my continuations.)
EvanK

Pro

To answer my opponent's first question, while I do believe that terrorism is a "public danger", I believe it is an overused excuse from the government and those in favor of a larger government, used only to expand the government's role in our life.

To the second question, I do believe terrorism has hurt the country. It has caused many of it's citizens to idly stand by as the government takes away more of our rights in the name of "public safety" and "National security". After all, we are currently arguing about whether or not the government can suspend one's right to due process in the name of terrorism.

And to the third, yes, it has traumatized people into believing big government can protect them and solve all of their problems.

Now to my rebuttal.

My opponent's first contention is fairness. She believes that if an accused terrorist were to stand trial, there is no way he'd receive a fair, unbiased trial. This is, of course, only a matter of opinion. There is nothing in that argument which gives the government a reason to suspend someone's right to due process. It is a right guaranteed under the constitution, the government cannot tell you they are suspending it in order to "protect you" from a biased jury. This is why we have appeals courts. In the case of an obviously biased jury, the option to appeal the verdict is readily available.

Her second contention is, in my opinion, and extreme misunderstanding of the 5th amendment. To refresh the readers, the 5th amendment reads: ""No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger..."

She assumes that by "in actual service in time of war or public danger...", the amendment is addressing people who cause a public danger. When, in actuality, it is very blatantly addressing those in the service of the military (land and naval forces, or militia, which is basically the National Guard). This is due to the fact the military has it's own set of laws and legal system. If someone breaks those laws, they are subject to court martial, not trial by jury. That is what is addressed in the 5th amendment.

Now, I shall refute a few points she made in her last round.

"My opponents first contention/argument is irrelevant. He states that terrorists are not always foreign, but that doesn't matter."

It does matter, because the debate we are in is titled "Should accused terrorists be given the same constitutional due process as US citizens". However, as I have shown, terrorists can in fact be American citizens, entitled to the constitutional right to due process. And, as I have also shown, people foreign to the US are also entitled to that right.

"My second contention quotes the exception in the 5th amendment where we can not be active in war nor can the person be a public danger or be considered a public danger because of their actions."

Again, this is a gross misunderstanding of the 5th amendment. Whether or not we are at war, anyone in the US is entitled to the constitutional right to due process.

Again, there is no loophole in my arguments, nor in the constitution itself, suggesting that the government can suspend the right to due process. I strongly urge a vote for pro.
Debate Round No. 3
MariahBreeAnn

Con

I would like to start this round by saying that my opponents comments after his answers to my questions aren't going to be taken into consideration because of the fact his answers are what matters, and also they were yes or no questions.

To the first question of whether or not terrorism is a public danger he answered yes.
To the second question of whether he believed that terrorism has hurt the country is a yes.
To the third question of whether or not terrorism has traumatized people his answer was yet again, yes.

My response to my opponents attack on my first contention is simple. Just as simple as the contention is. This is COMMON SENSE. Especially according to the response of whether terrorism has hurt the country and traumatized the people. The government takes terrorism very seriously.

"The threat is ongoing. Government leaders have informed their publics that the dangers
stem not just from those associated directly with al-Qaeda but organizations that share roughly
similar goals with that organization. Western-oriented governments have passed measures that are
directed toward not just the terrorists themselves, but also any persons who support those
organizations through financing or other means. Government-sponsored websites give detailed
accounts of terrorist threats and the steps that are being taken to counter the threats.6
Public leaders
in the United States, England, and Australia, among others, have continually emphasized the threat
of terrorist organizations to Western life-styles and political structures. This is not to claim that
these concerns and warnings are unwarranted, but the result is that whole citizenries consider
themselves to be victims.7
This sense of being a victim goes beyond just the threat of physical
harm to themselves, loved ones or acquaintances but also threats to their conceptions of their
deeply held personal values national membership and culture. Some of these attitudes have been
expressed in racial and religious slurs or violence against persons identified as Muslim or Arab.8"

This is an excerpt from "Trial by Jury Involving Persons of Accused Terrorism or Supporting Terrorism" by Neil Vidmar,Ph.D., Russell M. Robinson II Professor of Law, Duke Law School and Professor of Psychology, Duke University.

This is saying that people feel like victims, and not only in the US. With this information it is easily concluded that people will go to extreme lengths to protect themselves and their loved ones whether the person is innocent or not. A Jury trial is not suitable for the accused terrorist. It would be more fair and safe for the US if accused terrorists were tried without a jury. outside of a normal court.

Also, My opponent seems to be forgetting the definition I gave him for terrorism.
1: Terrorism: "(DOD) The unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies. Terrorism is often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political." (Therefore someone accused of doing the activity that is defined)

Motivations are within the government and military.

Besides that, the 5th amendment has exceptions. Also it has responsibilities. As I mentioned before, to keep your rights you have to maintain the responsibility that comes with it. If I fail and neglect my responsibility not to kill, I lose my right to life. Hence the death penalty. With every right that we have there is a corresponding responsibility. Otherwise we have no order.

The point I was making when I said that it was irrelevant was that it doesn't matter whether you are in the US or not, if you are a public danger, threaten our national security, if we declare war on you because you happen to be killing people and causing our entire economy to collapse then we will have to do our job as the government and protect the people. With high intensity crimes come high intensity consequences.
He says that people who are foreign to the US are also entitled to that right, well look we agree on something. The only thing is that he's missing the whole point. The citizens of the United States don't even get that.

Now, here is the reason to vote for Neg.

First off, if you really want fair treatment for people, If you want accused terrorist to actually have a chance instead of with an extremely biased jury that will automatically send them to their death then you should vote neg.
Voting negative will win you :
- Safety (for all people, including ones accused of being involved in the crime)
- Fairness (Giving accused terrorists a chance at actually being pronounced innocent)
- Life (you will be promoting life through fairness and safety, when considering the jury will not be suitable for deciding the fate of someone accused of terrorism because of the suffering of the nation)
- You will be saving America's Bacon because who the heck wants terrorism around. Save your people, Keep your guns. 'Murica.

Now if you vote Aff...

-Unfair (sending accused terrorist to a court full of people who automatically associate them with 9/11 and our broken economy and millions of deaths)
-Unsafe (for the accused, for the court, for America, and for National Security.)
-Death ...

What Aff wants to do is watch people die slowly while pleading that it's what is right and is moral when in reality it gives the accused no fair chance at life or of being considered innocent. Terrorism is a sensitive subject, everyone knows that. Also with the evidence I give from Duke, people are defensive. Aff is really no mercy and all blood shed for the accused.

So concluding, it would be a wise, and appreciated vote for Negative.

Thank you! :)
EvanK

Pro

First off, my comments after my answers were an explanation for my answers. So that you know why I answered the way I did. I have not conceded anything.

Secondly, your comments ending your round: "What Aff wants to do is watch people die slowly while pleading that it's what is right and is moral when in reality it gives the accused no fair chance at life or of being considered innocent. Terrorism is a sensitive subject, everyone knows that. Also with the evidence I give from Duke, people are defensive. Aff is really no mercy and all blood shed for the accused" were uncalled for ad hom attacks against me, not my argument. They should not be taken into consideration, other than giving me points for conduct.

My opponent is basically trying to argue that suspending the 5th amendment right to due process in certain cases will make the public safer, and also protect the accused from an unjust trial. However, she has not presented one reasonable argument showing this to be the case. The burden of proof lies with her to show that what she says will work, and I have not seen one reason to vote con.

The right to due process is in the constitution to prevent the government from punishing someone for a crime they are not convicted of. It is to prevent the government from accusing you of a crime, and punishing you for it without any proof or due process. If we allow the government to take away this right in certain circumstances, what is going to prevent them from creating more circumstances in which they can take away due process? The fact is, whether or not juries can be biased, we have appeals courts in place to help ensure that the accused gets a fair trial. I mention this in my previous round, and my opponent never addressed this. She still maintains that the juries will always be biased against accused terrorists, and therefore, stripping him of his 5th amendment rights is only in his own good.

My opponent says "The 5th amendment...has responsibilities. As I mentioned before, to keep your rights you have to maintain the responsibility that comes with it. If I fail and neglect my responsibility not to kill, I lose my right to life. Hence the death penalty. With every right that we have there is a corresponding responsibility. Otherwise we have no order."

The 5th amendment states that no one shall have to answer for a crime unless convicted by a jury. Just because you commit a crime (or are accused of a crime) does not mean you lose your right to due process or a trial by jury. There is absolutely no logic behind that. She states that if you kill, you lose your right to life and receive the death penalty. However, you will not be arrested by the police on alleged murder charges and proceed to be executed. You will be charged with murder and stand trial for murder, before they even think of handing you the death penalty. That is what the 5th amendment is there for. To prevent a person from having to answer for a crime without conviction.

She goes on to say "...if we declare war on you because you happen to be killing people and causing our entire economy to collapse then we will have to do our job as the government and protect the people."

We are not talking about prisoners of war. We are talking about terrorists. The Geneva rights are rights that prisoners of war are entitled to, but we are not in a time of war. As I have mentioned before (and my opponent has not addressed) the War on Terror is not a legal war, and therefore, any accused "terrorist" captured by our military is entitled to the 5th amendment right to due process. Regardless of our emotions or feelings towards terrorism, these are the rules set in place, and we cannot deviate from them just because we are angry or scared.

In conclusion, I once again urge a vote for pro. Con has not presented one reasonable argument in favor of her argument, and has resorted to emotional arguments and ad hom attacks. Again, I urge a vote for pro. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
MariahBreeAnn

Con

Thanks for the round.

Thank you to the voters/Judges!!

Thank you guys for voting and please read commentary.
EvanK

Pro

Thanks again for a fun and interesting debate. Let the voting begin!
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
Alright, so as I said in the comments, I've been tracking this debate from the start, hence I've had a while to consider the arguments. What I feel is lacking from Con's case is a certainty as to what happens when due process is removed. I'm not certain if she is supporting status quo, where most don't get any court proceedings whatsoever, or a system where court proceedings are made necessary but no longer require a jury of their peers.

Essentially the contentions have some cognitive dissonance. One the one hand, you want to be harsh to them based off of their potential harm to society. On the other, you want to be fair to them. I'm not sure you're doing both effectively. It seems you're leaning on the former more heavily than the latter here, and as such, fairness seems to go a little more to Pro, though I would have liked to hear more about how each case can have a sense of personal attachment, something that came up early but was never defended. So what Pro gets, he doesn't get much of. The rights argumentation functions for him as well, but all I get for an impact is a slippery slope, which isn't very believable.

So that leaves me with the benefits of punishment through restricted trials. I'm having a hard time seeing the impact here. Unless we view some potential harm to their being tried normally, I can't really see a problem with it. The rights calculus has better warrants and better explained impacts. So this doesn't really sway my vote enough to win the round. Hence, my vote goes to Pro.
Posted by MariahBreeAnn 3 years ago
MariahBreeAnn
I wanted to comment to clarify that when I say "what aff wants to do" it's not saying my opponent himself wants to do that. It is Aff, as in the aff case. Which is why it is in the voter of my case. Saying what the affirmative is doing vs what the negative is doing. It is not an individualistic attack, it's a way of showing what voting for affirmative does. Thank you.
Posted by EvanK 3 years ago
EvanK
I do agree to that. :)
Posted by MariahBreeAnn 3 years ago
MariahBreeAnn
Evan K and I have decided that we will be doing closing arguments in round 4. The fifth round will be for thanking each other and our judges/voters :) thank you!!
Posted by MariahBreeAnn 3 years ago
MariahBreeAnn
Sorry about that, I might use a different definition of accused.

"A person who has been arrested for or formally charged with a crime." is what I use.

Oh and please excuse me for not copying the source. It's the same for a previous definition. http://www.law.cornell.edu...

It's the legal definition. Thank you :)
Posted by The_Scapegoat_bleats 3 years ago
The_Scapegoat_bleats
You should have rephrased that topic. You say "accused", but by US law, people are to be considered innocent until PROVEN otherwise.
If I were to accuse you of terrorism, based on false assumptions (honest mistake), by your own account you would lose your civil rights, despite being totally innocent.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
Hmm... I'm interested to see where this one goes, though I can imagine that cross examination will be difficult given the format on this site.
Posted by MariahBreeAnn 3 years ago
MariahBreeAnn
On the first round with the rules, there is not meant to be two constructives. That's my bad. Ignore that. There is one constructive for each side and then the rest are rebuttals.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
MariahBreeAnnEvanKTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.