The Instigator
joetehgirl
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
thnbgr
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

resolved: hate crime enhancements are unjust in the united states.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,708 times Debate No: 3487
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (11)

 

joetehgirl

Pro

Crimes which arise out of hateful beliefs and desires are not distinctive forms of wrongdoing. Therefore, a category of supervening hate crimes carrying additional penalties is a moral inconsistency in the law that ought to be discarded; such a category of crminality cannot be made compatible with the claim that people should not be punished more severely than the degree of their wrongdoing would demand. The extra punishment forced by penalty-enhancement laws violate this proportionality constraint. Such laws impose upon wrongdoers a penalty in excess of what he or she deserves. Because of this, i affirm.

my value for this debate is justice, because without justice, the criminal justice system and democratic society itself is rendered meaningless.
my criteria is proportional punishments, meaning that the punishment will be proportional to the severity of the crime.

before i continue, i offer the following definitions:

hate crime enhancements refers to the harsher or heavier punishment given to an individual who commits a hate crime, or a "criminal offense committed against a person or property motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias agianst a race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual preference, or disability," as defined in the National Crime Victim Survey of 1999.

Unjust being that which is not morally permissable or does not come form to commonly accepted notions of what is right and what is fair.

my contentions:
1. it is an exaggeration to say tha thate crimes are unique in thier impact on people beyond the immediate victims. all crime infringe upon the rights of others. there is nothing that can be said about the damaging effects of bias crimes on social order that cannot be said about all crime.

2. enhancements are unjust to non-hate victims. it is true that crimes are perpetrated by those who choose their victims because they belong to a protected class should be punished. all criminals should be punished and no one should be victimized. however, other victims of violence suffer equally. the predominant emotional responses of hate violence victims appear similar to those of victims of other types of personal crime.

3. motive doesn't belong in a criminal trial. to punish a person for their motive would be the same as punishing a person for their beliefs, which is a violation of the first amendment.

Hate crime enhancements fail to provide justice, a basic democratic principle that must be upjeld in order for the United States to truly be a just government and protect it's citizens. Therefore, i urge you to vote affirmative.
thnbgr

Con

The first argument says that all crimes are equal.
"all crime infringe upon the rights of others."
Thus, are you saying we should punish them the same?
If this were actually TRUE, then why do we punish a robbery with 20 years in jail, and punish murders with the life sentence?
Obviously, different crimes deserve different punishments. And as so far, hate crime enchancements DO pose more of a threat than a parallel (normal) crime.

"there is nothing that can be said about the damaging effects of bias crimes on social order that cannot be said about all crime."
When a hate crime is carried out, EVERYONE in that minority group is affected, as the crime was directed towards the group in general, as opposed to a normal crime, and only the individual is affected.

The second argument states that a hate crime and a normal crime should be punished the same because the recieving end (the victim) does not particularly feel and bit more emotionally disturbed.

Let's keep in mind how false this is.
A person being attacked SOLELY based on their skin color or their ethnicity obviously feels a WHOLE lot more unjustified than one who is being attacked because they offended someone.
In other words, someone whole is attacked due to his/her identity feels a lot more unjustified than a parallel crime.

Finally, the last argument is that we cannot violate someone's right to speech.
They state this is true because we are essentially punishing someone's motive.

A person's rights are revoked when they violate someone else's rights. So, as so far, the revoking of someone's rights IS justified as the government has the right to violate someone's rights if that person has violated another person's rights.

Punishing someone's motive is, in no way, wrong, furthermore. Evidently, we punish someone who fails to murders someone, although no action was actually taken. In that case, we ARE punishing them solely on motive.

As the sole purpose of the negative is the NEGATE the proposition, I will only negate the arguments on the affirmative.
Debate Round No. 1
joetehgirl

Pro

To begin, my opponent failed to give a value and a criteria, which are necessary to show what my opponent is trying to prove and how he/she intends to prove it if at all. Therefore, since he/she has not provided one, his/her entire case is rendered meaningless.

"all crime infringe upon the rights of others."
Thus, are you saying we should punish them the same?
If this were actually TRUE, then why do we punish a robbery with 20 years in jail, and punish murders with the life sentence?
Obviously, different crimes deserve different punishments. And as so far, hate crime enchancements DO pose more of a threat than a parallel (normal) crime.

i assume that my opponent meant "hate crime" and not "hate crime enhancements". First of all, i did not state that we should punish all crime the same. I simply stated that all crime infringes upon the rights of others in some way. Simply because a victim is a member of a protected class does not mean he or she has had more of his/her rights violated than a victim of a parallel crime. Secondly, we punish a robbery and a murder differently because of the result and damage caused by the crime. Two murders which were committed through the same means merit the same punishment, regardless of whether the victim was targetted because he or she was a homosexual, for instance, or not. both victims in this case had their right to live safely and without fear violated.
All persons must be treated equal under the law and hate crime enhancements violate this principle in that they take victims of hate crimes into more consideration simply due to the fact that they are members of protected classes. As said by Gregory R. Nearpass of Albany Law School, "Try explaining to a mother whose child was murdered that the crime does not rise to the level of a hate crime, and that the crime is not highly valued, solely because the crie was not committed with the requisite element ofspecific hate toward a protected group"

""there is nothing that can be said about the damaging effects of bias crimes on social order that cannot be said about all crime."
When a hate crime is carried out, EVERYONE in that minority group is affected, as the crime was directed towards the group in general, as opposed to a normal crime, and only the individual is affected."
in any crime, people are affected. I believe that if someone was murdered in your neighborhood and a serial killer was on the loose, you would feel afraid for your wellbeing.

"The second argument states that a hate crime and a normal crime should be punished the same because the recieving end (the victim) does not particularly feel and bit more emotionally disturbed.
Let's keep in mind how false this is.
A person being attacked SOLELY based on their skin color or their ethnicity obviously feels a WHOLE lot more unjustified than one who is being attacked because they offended someone.
In other words, someone whole is attacked due to his/her identity feels a lot more unjustified than a parallel crime."
It is true that no one deserves to be a victim because of his or her race, sexual orientation, etc. The fact that someone was singled out when others, equally situated, were not is unjust and such crimes violate our standard of eqaulity. however, as quoted by Heidi M. Hurd and Michael S. Moor, professors of the University of Illinois, "this is true of all crime victims. No one deserves to be singled out for a violent crime. when a victim is so singled out, (he or) she always can say that (he or) she is in no morally relevant sense different than others not so targeted, and can rightly conclude that her right to equality was violated as well as her substantitive right to bodily integrity. Hate/bias crime victims thus can tender no claim to a violation of equality that cannot be equally claimed by every other crime victim."
Secondly, my opponent fails to provide any evidence to support this, and even if he or she were to, there would still be no way to determine who feels more pain.

"A person's rights are revoked when they violate someone else's rights. So, as so far, the revoking of someone's rights IS justified as the government has the right to violate someone's rights if that person has violated another person's rights.

Punishing someone's motive is, in no way, wrong, furthermore. Evidently, we punish someone who fails to murders someone, although no action was actually taken. In that case, we ARE punishing them solely on motive."
Intent is punished in our criminal justice system. However, Hate crime enhancements are designed to punish beliefs, which is unconstitutional and undemocratic. Consider this:

-my criteria is proportional punishment, which means punishments which are proportional to the severity of the crime.
-if two crimes are equal in severity, they merit the same punishment.
-thoughts, beliefs, and speech are protected under the first amendment.
-"I want to kill someone" is a thought.
-"I want to kill a person who is a woman because i hate women" is also a thought.
-both are protected under the 1st amendment.
-if these thoughts, or intentions, are carried out, a person will be killed in both cases.
-therefore, since the end result was the same, the two crimes should be punished the same way.

however, hate crime enhancements prevent that. because my opponent did not offer definitions, i will assume he or she agrees with mine and finds mine to be fair for this round. let's look at the definition for hate crime: "a criminial offense committed against a person or property MOTIVATED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, BY THE OFFENDER'S BIAS against a race, religion, etc."
because the only difference between a hate crime and a parallel crime is the biased motive, and biased motives are thoughts which are protected, they do not merit harsher punishments. Why should having racist or sexist thoughts cause someone to deserve a worse punishment than if someone just happened to hate society in general?

"As the sole purpose of the negative is the NEGATE the proposition, I will only negate the arguments on the affirmative."
in response to this, i would like to point out that i am arguing in LD format, in which both the negative and the affirmative have a burden of proof.
thnbgr

Con

Ok, I'm going to try to make this debate more readable by shortening my arguments.

The main point of clash comes here:

*A hate crime victim should not get more punishment than a regular victim.*

ATK:
You stated: "We punish robbery and a murder because of result and damage caused. "

That's why hate crime enhancements are justified. In hate crime enhancements people are being hurt based on identity, and the threat is directed toward everyone sharing that identity. Compare this to a conventional crime, where the target is one individual. More people are hurt by hate crimes, therefore hate crimes deserve a harsher punishment under "proportional punishment".

Their third paragraph is telling us that people being attacked because of their race do not feel worse.

At the end of the paragraph they say it is impossible to determine pain. He more or less just destroyed his own argument there. If it is impossible to determine pain, then how do you know there is no difference in regular crimes to hate crimes? My argument against this is that since it's impossible to determine intent, that's not something we should be looking to when analyzing hate crime enhancements.
But purely for argument purposes, I really think people being attacked based on race feel more pain. There is no evidence for this, there cannot be any. But it's really obvious.

That's basically the meat of their case.

My case: Hate crime enhancements are just because they provide a proportional punishment.

Vote negative.
Debate Round No. 2
joetehgirl

Pro

one cannot assume anything in this debate, and because my opponent lacks the evidence necessary to support his belief that victims of hate crimes feel pain from the crimes more acutely. also, there is little evidence that supports his belief that other members of the protected class of which the victim of a hate crime belonged would feel the pain as well. Do not other members of a parallel crime victim's family feel pain as well? Why should these people be given less consideration and reconciliation simply because they were not members of protected classes?

also in my argument about free thoughts and beliefs, hate crime enhancements punish the biased beliefs which are, as i stated in my previous speech, protected under the first amendment.

"Their third paragraph is telling us that people being attacked because of their race do not feel worse.
At the end of the paragraph they say it is impossible to determine pain. He more or less just destroyed his own argument there."
also, i did not state that it is impossible to determine pain. i stated that "there would still be no way to determine who feels more pain." pain can always be determined, but the levels of pain, to a certain point, are subjective. and either way, even IF they do feel more pain, hate crime enhancements will be pointles because the biased motive that makes a hate crime what it is will be meaningles and the crime will be punished due to it's resulting harm, rather than the beliefs which led up to the crime.

i urge you to vote affirmative because justice is about equal protection under law and proportional punishments, which hate crime enhancements do not provide.
thnbgr

Con

The opponent has come down to stating 3 statements:

1) "my opponent lacks the evidence necessary to support his belief that victims of hate crimes feel pain from the crimes more acutely."

Besides the grammatical flaw, I am PRETTY sure that someone will be pretty unjustified if his house were lit on fire because he of his skin color. This is not an evidence analysis. It's common sense, and it seems as though that has been lost in this debate.

2) "my argument about free thoughts and beliefs, hate crime enhancements punish the biased beliefs which are, as i stated in my previous speech, protected under the first amendment. "

Once again, PEOPLE'S RIGHTS ARE REVOKED when they commit a crime. This, the right to speech shall NOT be respected when someone has murdered another man due to his ethnicity.

Finally, 3) "there would still be no way to determine who feels more pain. pain can always be determined, but the levels of pain, to a certain point, are subjective. and either way, [...] led up to the crime."

Once again, WHY are we debating over this so in depth?
Moreover, if there is really no way determining pain, then why has the opponent made it the focal point of their case?
Realistically, this should not even be discussed, as it is not gaining any side offense of any sort.

In short, because the opponent has failed to drag past any more arguments into the 3rd round, negate.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by joetehgirl 9 years ago
joetehgirl
well i mean, the variations in hate crime laws from state to state also are problematic. If a disabled person who was assaulted simply because they were disabled, that would only be classified as a hate crime in certain states. Other states such as Maryland, for example, dont' legally consider that a hate crime and thus don't offer a hate crime enhancement for perpetrators who commit hate crimes against disabled people.

and thanks for the debate, thnbgr.
Posted by the-mad-ones 9 years ago
the-mad-ones
Common sense is not proof.

From an objective point of view, the contender failed to prove anything.

1) Is the total value 'lost' from a hate crime greater than that of a parallel non-hate crime? Why?

2) Judging from the comment(s) listed below, there is an assumption that hate crimes are intended to victimize and oppress and entire class of people. This could be a matter of opinion. Even if I chose to kill a man who I felt wronged me because he was African-American, when I would only have beaten a man of different race, this does not indicate that my intent was to intimidate anyone. It could simply be that I am a racist and bigot, and therefore believe African-Americans deserve harsher retaliation. But I may not be actively searching to kill more African Americans.
Posted by thnbgr 9 years ago
thnbgr
Thanks for extending my point.
And yes, I agree with you.
The magnitude of a hate crime is far greater than that of a parallel crime.
Posted by sethgecko13 9 years ago
sethgecko13
Hate crimes deserve enhanced penalties because they are not merely a crime committed against one person: they are crimes intended to victimize, censor, and oppress an entire class of people. When someone attacks someone else because of their sexual orientation or race or religion - their intent is to intimidate or cow everyone of that orientation, race or religion (by showing them that they could be subject to random violence simply for those features of their person).
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