The Instigator
Mr_Anderson
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
V5RED
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The prosecution of Juveniles as an adult should be permitted

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: Select Winner
Started: 9/14/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 476 times Debate No: 79740
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Mr_Anderson

Pro

Prosecution:
1 the institution and conducting of legal proceedings against someone in respect of a criminal charge:

Juvenile:

For the context of this Debate using U.S laws, anyone over the age of at least 13 as this is the minimum allowed in some states. Reference here (http://www.nolo.com...)

1st round acceptance.
2 round introductory arguments only.
No new arguments in the 5th round.

Let's do it.
V5RED

Con

Agreed, but under the condition that we are talking about the current system where there is a cutoff for adulthood that is only adjusted when we are looking to prosecute a juvenile as an adult as I specified in the previous debate that this one is based on.
Debate Round No. 1
Mr_Anderson

Pro

1.In the case of more serious crimes (rape, murder, assault with a deadly weapon ect) the argument can be made that committing these crimes requires a certain knowledge or maturity to carry out. Con may try to say that since they're not adults (age-wise) that somehow they're not mature enough or developed enough to be held accountable for said crimes. Especially if there is significant evidence that shows forethought or pre-meditation.This isn't always true. Different people mature faster or slower than others and can be capable of "adult-like" maturity at the ages outlined in R1.

2. The victim in any case deserves the closure and justice that comes from the highest punishment allowed by law in regards to said crime. How is it right that someone who commits a crime such as one of the above outlined, and only receives minor punishment simply because they're not 18.

Each crime should be examined on a case-by-case basis and if it can be proven that the suspect has developed far enough along that they know they're doing and they know the effects their actions can have on people then they should be tried as an adult.
V5RED

Con

I will preface this by saying that Pro makes some very good points that I will address in the next round, but it would be inappropriate for me to make any rebuttals in this round, so this is my argument against the proposition without reference to or influence from Pro's argument. If I do not have any rational rebuttals to pro, I will concede the debate.

On to my argument:

The current system bans people under the age of 18 from participating in many activities. These include smoking, filming pornography, voting, serving in the military, purchasing firearms, etc. This is supposedly because they are considered to lack the cognitive capacity to either understand the potential consequences of these actions or to be trusted with that power.

The only time we make exceptions for this is when someone makes a profoundly stupid decision, and this seems to be a result of the blood lust people have with respect to crime. They want someone to pay.

This seems to define adult as a person who is profoundly stupid since highly advanced students cannot apply to be called adults and thus vote. If a 12 year old can be charged with murder, it stands to reason that there are 12 year olds who should be eligible to vote, have sex, purchase firearms, etc.

This is not, however how our system works. My argument is not that if a system existed where your legal rights and responsibilities were tied to your maturity, then people under 18 should not be prosecuted as adults. That kind of system would make sense and then age would be a non factor. I am arguing that in a system with a set cutoff for adulthood, having a special rule allowing someone to skip ahead to being called an adult because the person displayed a lack of intelligence is not justified.

The acceptance of prosecuting juveniles as adults has been used in such a way to where we now have pre teens being charged as adults.

A 12 year old and a 13 year old charged as adults.
http://abcnews.go.com...
Two 12 year old girls charged as adults.
http://www.washingtonpost.com...
12 year old boy charged as adult.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
10 year old charged as adult.
http://www.cbsnews.com...

According to the equal justice initiative, there are at least 10, 000 children housed in adult jails and prisons. Some of them are serving life sentences for crimes committed when they clearly could not have understood the consequences of their actions.
http://www.eji.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Mr_Anderson

Pro

1.There are plenty of other reasons my juveniles aren't allowed to do the things you mentioned-
Military- They're not PHYSICALLY developed enough to endure the rigors of combat.
Voting- This can be said it's because they don't understand politics at their age, but in todays age, this is becoming less and less relevant.
Purchasing firearms- This is to keep gang members from acquiring guns.
Porn- Child porn is illegal because of terrible things that happen behind the scenes like trafficking.

It's not necessarily bloodlust, but a sense of justice. If the juvenile in question displays above-average intelligence and maturity and evidence shows that they had full control and knowledge of what they were doing, then the only logical response is to prosecute them like they had full control and knowledge of what they were doing.

"This seems to define adult as a person who is profoundly stupid since highly advanced students cannot apply to be called adults and thus vote. If a 12 year old can be charged with murder, it stands to reason that there are 12 year olds who should be eligible to vote, have sex, purchase firearms, etc."

This isn't necessarily true, I outlined reasons above why juveniles can't do those things. And even then, because they are mature enough to do one thing, doesn't mean they posses full-adult maturity and can do all of the other adult things. You can be a murderer and not be fit enough to be useful in the military. You can rape children and still not know how democracy works. In this instance of intelligence, A does not equal B,C and D.

All of the examples you provide are the serious crimes I outlined above that require a certain knowledge and maturity. Most of them even admitted to it.
V5RED

Con

Rebuttal to Pro's Opening argument:
1: I do not see how carrying out the crimes pro outlines displays any maturity. It may display knowledge or how to carry out acts and desire to carry them out, but that does not mean that the people carrying them out are mature such that they should be considered adults. Forethought and premeditation do not require a full understanding of the effect of one's actions. Children use forethought and premeditation all the time in video games, hide and seek, capture the flag, and any other competitive game. By that reasoning, all children are actually adults.

2: There is a bit of a contradiction there. "Justice that comes from the highest punishment allowable by law". If the law allowed for capital punishment for a robbery, that statement would mean that executing robbers is just. Justice and the law are very separate things.

As to how it is right that the person escapes punishment for being under 18, I would argue that most people who have yet to reach adulthood are very different people from the adults that they become. Were you the same person when you were a kid as you are today? If we are putting juveniles in prison for crimes as if they are adults, then by the time they are released, it will have been a different person serving that sentence than the one who committed the original offense.

As to examining each ease, that would be nice, but the problem with doing such an analysis after the fact of a crime is whoever is doing the analysis will be biased. If it is a police psychologist, then the doctor will be motivated to label the offender as an adult, and if it is a psychologist hired by the parents of the offender, the doctor will be motivated to label the offender as a child. What we would really need is a system where children get regular psychological screenings to determine their status. This would lead to a system with little bias.

Rebuttal to Pro's Rebuttal:
1. Military-I would argue that there are plenty of 15 year olds who could physically handle combat. Look at high school wrestling teams, there are some extremely fit kids on those teams.
Voting-I doubt most voters understand politics. Children are probably more well informed than most adult voters.
Purchasing firearms-Please explain how allowing kids to buy guns means that gangs will get them.
Porn-Please explain why trafficking is relevant if we are just talking about people under 18 that have been ruled to be adults. Kidnapping people and selling them is a problem at all ages, but I see no problem with professional, reputable, porn studios making films of people who have been determined to have the ability to understand the ramifications of their actions.

Control and knowledge of one's actions do not necessarily speak to an understanding of the ramifications. I knew a kid who was annoyed by a gerbil because the gerbil would not play with him. The kid was pissed and decided to kill the gerbil, so he flushed the gerbil down a toilet. In the morning he proudly told us what he had done. That kid is now an adult in his 20's and mortified by what he had done. As a kid, he knew that flushing a gerbil down a toilet would kill/destroy it, and he was able to plan out and execute the murder. He did not, however, have the capability of understanding or considering the suffering that the gerbil endured as it was killed or he suffering of his brother who now had to deal with the loss of his pet.

As to selectively choosing what adult things a person can and cannot do, I think you are treating psychology like it can be far more precise than it can be. Psychology is not physics. It is hard enough to determine that someone is able to understand the ramifications of their actions, let alone parse those actions out to ones he understands and ones he does not. Another problem with such a system is it would be extremely open to racism. We could see black kids being labelled as adults for crimes they might commit, but kids for voting so they can go to prison but they cannot vote.

To commit a serious crime does not require maturity, often it actually shows a lack of maturity. All deliberate actions require "a certain knowledge", so that is irrelevant. I gave those examples because it should be obvious that preteens are not adults. I am surprised that you think those cases are being correctly handled. It seems like you think that committing a murder is a sufficient condition for adulthood.
Debate Round No. 3
Mr_Anderson

Pro

1. Forethought:

noun

careful consideration of what will be necessary or may happen in the future.

Premeditation:

noun

the action of planning something (especially a crime) beforehand:



The type of premeditation that often goes along with a crime cannot be seriously compared to premeditation that occurs in what is essentially fantasy. With your logic, the type of premeditation required to succeed in Call of Duty will see me through in real military engagements.Which is utterly false and nonsensical.


2. We don't have captial punishment for robbery. Punishments are most often tailored to the types of crimes commited.
Me? There's actually little difference in my nature when you compare my 13, 16, 19 and 21 and 25 year old self. Only difference now is responsibilities really. But I am simply an anecdote. The change associated with entering adulthood is also a weak argument. What if the serial murder/rapist in jail right now converts to Buddhism and becomes a pacifist? The serial murderer/rapist that he was/is still has to be punished. You can't get out punishment because there's a slight possibility that you could theoretically become a better person than you are now.

Burden of proof is on you to prove that a police psychologist is biased against juveniles and private psychologists are biased in favor of juveniles.

3. Again. Apples and oranges. They might be able to lift this or that, but can they carry 80lbs of gear for who knows how long? How good is their stamina and agility when the floor isn't waxed and maintained? The most fit 18 year old will still best the most fit 15 year old, all other things being equal simply due to skeletal and muscular development.

4. Voting: Citation required.

5. Porn: List one "professional, reputable" porn studio that makes child porn. I'll wait.

6. Guns: Average age of gang members age from 12-24 https://www.nonprofitrisk.org...

If you would allow children to buy guns, then you are allowing newly initiated gangmembers to buy guns.



In the case of your friend with the gerbil, anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.

"
As to selectively choosing what adult things a person can and cannot do, I think you are treating psychology like it can be far more precise than it can be. Psychology is not physics. It is hard enough to determine that someone is able to understand the ramifications of their actions, let alone parse those actions out to ones he understands and ones he does not"


That's why we have psychologists that work with investigators, to see what kind of person we're dealing with. Not all juveniles will fit the bill, but some will. That's the job of the psychologists, the investigators and the prosecution to prove. If they have the evidence that they understood the ramifications of their actions then in my book adult prosectuion should be actively pursued.

V5RED

Con

"1. Forethought:
noun

careful consideration of what will be necessary or may happen in the future.

Premeditation:

noun

the action of planning something (especially a crime) beforehand:

The type of premeditation that often goes along with a crime cannot be seriously compared to premeditation that occurs in what is essentially fantasy. With your logic, the type of premeditation required to succeed in Call of Duty will see me through in real military engagements.Which is utterly false and nonsensical. "
This is clearly a strawman and does not counter my points about premeditation. You used premeditation and forethought as defining features of of someone being mature, I pointed out that they do not necessitate maturity. In fact, you making this strawman demonstrates that your own assertion that these demonstrate maturity is fallacious. It would be on your logic, not mine, that playing Call of Duty could imply that one is ready to be a soldier.

"2. We don't have captial punishment for robbery. Punishments are most often tailored to the types of crimes commited."
I was countering your assertion that the highest punishment allowable by law is just. It is possible to pass a law which would sentence jaywalkers to death, but such a penalty would be absurd.

"Me? There's actually little difference in my nature when you compare my 13, 16, 19 and 21 and 25 year old self. Only difference now is responsibilities really. But I am simply an anecdote. The change associated with entering adulthood is also a weak argument. What if the serial murder/rapist in jail right now converts to Buddhism and becomes a pacifist? The serial murderer/rapist that he was/is still has to be punished. You can't get out punishment because there's a slight possibility that you could theoretically become a better person than you are now. "
I disagree with you saying it is a weak argument. There is a difference between an adult that decides to change his ways and a child who has not yet matured to the point where he is capable of choosing to try to become a different person.
http://io9.com...
http://www.hrw.org...

"Burden of proof is on you to prove that a police psychologist is biased against juveniles and private psychologists are biased in favor of juveniles. "
Here is your proof. It has been demonstrated that the psychologists will be biased toward whoever is providing the paycheck.
http://www.psychologicalscience.org...
http://pss.sagepub.com...

"3. Again. Apples and oranges. They might be able to lift this or that, but can they carry 80lbs of gear for who knows how long? How good is their stamina and agility when the floor isn't waxed and maintained? The most fit 18 year old will still best the most fit 15 year old, all other things being equal simply due to skeletal and muscular development."

This is not particularly important to the debate, but I will now ask for your proof of this.

4. Voting: Citation required.

5. Porn: List one "professional, reputable" porn studio that makes child porn. I'll wait.
That is not relevant. My point was that if you have a system where a person under the age of 18 can be deemed as counting as an adult, then there is no problem with making pornographic movies of that person. You have now thrown out two red herrings at this idea. The first was trafficking and the second was pointing out that reputable studios don't make illegal porn.

"6. Guns: Average age of gang members age from 12-24 https://www.nonprofitrisk.org......

If you would allow children to buy guns, then you are allowing newly initiated gangmembers to buy guns."

Are you then arguing that nobody under the age of 25 should be able to buy a gun? I fail to see how this is relevant.

"In the case of your friend with the gerbil, anecdotal evidence is anecdotal. "
Yes, it is anecdotal.

"That's why we have psychologists that work with investigators, to see what kind of person we're dealing with. Not all juveniles will fit the bill, but some will. That's the job of the psychologists, the investigators and the prosecution to prove. If they have the evidence that they understood the ramifications of their actions then in my book adult prosectuion should be actively pursued. " As I have demonstrated, there will be conflicts of interest based on who is hiring the psychologists. This means that rich families will be able to have their members classified as children while poor families will have no such protection. This also leads to the need to ask who to believe when psychologists come to opposite conclusions. The only way to avoid this is to make these assessments before anyone has committed a crime by an independent psychologist such as someone who assesses children in schools on an annual basis.
Debate Round No. 4
Mr_Anderson

Pro

"This is clearly a strawman and does not counter my points about premeditation. You used premeditation and forethought as defining features of of someone being mature, I pointed out that they do not necessitate maturity. In fact, you making this strawman demonstrates that your own assertion that these demonstrate maturity is fallacious. It would be on your logic, not mine, that playing Call of Duty could imply that one is ready to be a soldier."

I'm not the one who compared video games to real life.



3. Male musculature and body shape

By the end of puberty, adult men have heavier bones and nearly twice as much skeletal muscle. Some of the bone growth (e.g. shoulder width and jaw) is disproportionately greater, resulting in noticeably different male and female skeletal shapes. The average adult male has about 150% of the lean body mass of an average female, and about 50% of the body fat.

This muscle develops mainly during the later stages of puberty, and muscle growth can continue even after boys are biologically adult. The peak of the so-called "strength spurt", the rate of muscle growth, is attained about one year after a male experiences his peak growth rate.

https://en.wikipedia.org...


4. That's not how that works. You made the assertion that children understand politics better than adults. So you have to prove that statement. Not me.

5. Traffiking is never a red herring. If you think it is, I have genuine concerns for you.

6. No. The ages of 18 and 21 are high enough to make sure that you're either not a gang member or have been in long enough to be able to fail a background check.



"Yes, it is anecdotal."

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com...


As I have demonstrated, there will be conflicts of interest based on who is hiring the psychologists. This means that rich families will be able to have their members classified as children while poor families will have no such protection. This also leads to the need to ask who to believe when psychologists come to opposite conclusions. The only way to avoid this is to make these assessments before anyone has committed a crime by an independent psychologist such as someone who assesses children in schools on an annual basis

Or the 2 parties can simply agree on a non-biased 3rd party.






As I close, I'd like to leave with these quotes.

"Less than 20 years after Thompson, the juvenile death penalty came before the Supreme Court again in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005). This time, the Court was asked whether execution of juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 violated the “cruel and unusual punishments” clause of the Eighth Amendment. A five-member majority of the Court held that it did. Christopher Simmons, the defendant in the Roper case, was seventeen when he committed his crime and 18 when he was tried and sentenced to death. The crime was brutal. Simmons and another boy, age 15, kidnapped a woman from her home, bound her hands and feet with wire and wrapped her head in duct tape, and threw her from a railroad bridge into a river, leaving her to drown. Shortly after his arrest, Simmons confessed to the crime. Three years before the Roper case, the Supreme Court had ruled that the execution of a mentally retarded person violates the Eighth Amendment (Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)). The Atkins decision rested on a finding that mentally retarded individuals have diminished personal culpability, even if they can distinguish between right and wrong. (Culpability means “guilt” or “blameworthiness.”) On the basis of the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Atkins, the Missouri Supreme Court held that Christopher Simmons could not be executed because, as a juvenile, he similarly had diminished personal culpability. It set aside Simmons’s death penalty and resentenced him to life imprisonment without possibility of parole"


"Justice Scalia’s dissent argued that in other contexts, studies had indicated that persons under 18 were sufficiently mature to make difficult moral decisions, such as the decision to have an abortion. It noted that the majority was making generalizations about young people, while capital punishment decisions require a jury to make individualized assessments of each defendant. And it argued that there was a difference between the willingness of juveniles to engage in risky or anti-social behavior and the decision of a juvenile to commit murder. “It is entirely consistent to believe that young people often act impetuously and lack judgment,” the dissent argued, “but, at the same time, to believe that those who commit premeditated murder are—at least sometimes— just as culpable as adults.” Justice O’Connor also wrote a dissent in Roper. She agreed with Justice Scalia’s opinion that even though juveniles in general might have diminished culpability, a particular juvenile offender could have sufficient culpability to warrant a death penalty. "



Taken from here: http://www.americanbar.org...
V5RED

Con

"I'm not the one who compared video games to real life."
When one makes an analogy, it is not required that all aspects of the two items be the same. You, however, said that the same personal traits needed to do well at video games were the traits to be used to mark someone as mature. Therefore you were the one whose logic would mean that a Call of Duty player is, by definition, mature.

"3. Male musculature and body shape
By the end of puberty, adult men have heavier bones and nearly twice as much skeletal muscle. Some of the bone growth (e.g. shoulder width and jaw) is disproportionately greater, resulting in noticeably different male and female skeletal shapes. The average adult male has about 150% of the lean body mass of an average female, and about 50% of the body fat.

This muscle develops mainly during the later stages of puberty, and muscle growth can continue even after boys are biologically adult. The peak of the so-called "strength spurt", the rate of muscle growth, is attained about one year after a male experiences his peak growth rate."
Irrelevant, they have physical fitness tests which would weed out the people whose bodies had not matured.

"4. That's not how that works. You made the assertion that children understand politics better than adults. So you have to prove that statement. Not me."
Yes, I forgot to fill that bit out, oh well. It is not that important. The important part is coming shortly. I would try to add something here, but it would be unfair to add data when you can't reply to it.

"5. Traffiking is never a red herring. If you think it is, I have genuine concerns for you."
You must not know what a red herring is. Anything can be a red herring and you used trafficking as one by trying to distract from the issues using it. As to genuine concerns, that you thought that those children in the articles I posted should be prosecuted as adults raises concerns.

"6. No. The ages of 18 and 21 are high enough to make sure that you're either not a gang member or have been in long enough to be able to fail a background check. "
Where did you pull those numbers from? If you want to argue that a child should be held legally responsible for his actions, then you have no business arguing that the child is too young to choose not to join a gang. Your logic here is completely illogical.

""Yes, it is anecdotal."

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com...;
Meh, the studies I posted in the reply you are quoting from demonstrate that children are significantly different from adults. The anecdote is a fallacy which I basically admitted, the science is not. My mistake was not posing them directly after this bit you are quoting, but this is also not that important to the debate.

"Or the 2 parties can simply agree on a non-biased 3rd party."
You should have taken this objection more seriously since it is completely devastating to your argument and by a wide margin the most important thing you needed to defend against. It demonstrates that your idea of labeling an offender as an adult AFTER committing a crime is not possible because of inherent biases and the fact that it favors the wealthy. Your flippant reply demonstrates that you did not understand the magnitude of this problem. Whoever pays the therapist is the one the therapist will be biased toward. The state will have to be the one paying for this because many defendants can't even afford an attorney, let alone a therapist to defend their age. This means that whoever is "agreed" on will still be biased. This would mean that you would still need to let the defendant hire his own therapist to counter the bias, but then you are creating a situation where wealth determines who gets prosecuted for crimes. Additionally, a great defense in that case would be to refuse to agree to a therapist thus blocking the prosecution.

"As I close, I'd like to leave with these quotes."

Your quotes are just a rewording of your stance, but they are not meaningful. I could just as easily cite chemists talking about who the best football players are. That person is an expert in law. She is not an expert in psychology, so I reject your appeal to authority fallacy.

If you wanted something substantial, you would need the studies she claims to have read.

To close, I am glad we had this debate because I am now significantly more convinced that my position is correct. I might not have noticed the fallacy/conflict of interest in trying to label kids as adults AFTER they commit crimes had we not had this debate. All I was going on before was how ridiculous it is to say that an act of immaturity suddenly means you are mature. Now I also have the ammunition that trying to label someone an adult after the fact is not possible due to biases inherent to the psychologists and inequity by creating a system where wealthy juveniles face one legal system and poor juveniles face another. Regardless of who "wins" I am very pleased with this outcome.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Mr_Anderson 1 year ago
Mr_Anderson
Totally fine.
No votes have been placed for this debate.