The Instigator
alden9590
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
megannnn
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

should juveniles be tried as adults

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
megannnn
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/18/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,850 times Debate No: 27337
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

alden9590

Con

juveniles shouldn't be tried as adults because they should not be held to the same standards of accountabilities as adults because some times they just don't know any better.
megannnn

Pro

Because I believe that morality is found in the result of the action, and not in the intention, I affirm the resolution, Resolved: Juveniles should be tried as adults. I support this view with the following contentions.

Contention One: We must judge morality of an action through its results.

It is crucial to look at the end result of the action at hand as opposed to an intention. There is a reason that, say, martyr killings are still illegal and looked upon as wrong: even though someone may kill someone else in an effort to do something good, they have still caused hugely negative consequences that, on balance, make the action bad. Essentially, if I am intending to do something good but end up hurting someone, I did do something bad.

Contention Two: The results of an adult offense and a juvenile offense are the same.

A murder committed by a twelve year old, a murder committed by a seventeen year old, and a murder committed by a twenty two year old all end up with the same thing: a dead body and a distressed group of friends and family. Because I have already shown you that we must look at the result of an action to determine morality, and because the result of an offense committed by someone of any age is identical, we can see that there is no reason to give have a different justice system for juveniles.

Because it is unnecessary and immoral to hold juveniles to a different standard than adults, even though the results of their offenses are the same, it is crucial to confirm that juveniles should be tried as adults.
Debate Round No. 1
alden9590

Con

My first contention is that juveniles are not capable of meaningful participation in his or her defense. Even though youths may develop the capacity for understanding rights early in adolescence, it often takes additional time and life experiences before their capacity influences their actual understanding. Knowing the difference between right and wrong is different than understanding long consequences. For many juveniles, past experience with authority provides little reason for them to imagine that an adult in a professional role would take their side against other adults in a legal process. The primary goal of the juvenile system is to rehabilitate and treat, whereas the goal of the criminal system is to give punishment proportional to the crime. Therefor, my second contention is justice is better served by rehabilitation. Putting young offenders in adult prisons only leads to more crime, higher prison costs, and increased violence.
megannnn

Pro

There are several major flaws with my opponent's first contention. For starters, juveniles are in fact capable of testifying in their own defense. It does not take life experience for someone to say "I'm innocent, here's why." In the case of true innocence, there should be no contention with a juvenile testifying. Second, while there is some room for error while on the stand, defendants are instructed by their lawyers pre-trial as to what to say; they are responsible only for framing their words. Lastly, this argument is largely not topical to today's debate. Because we must judge an action by its result, the manipulation of words during a testimony should be largely disregarded.

Moving on to their second contention, which talks about how rehabilitation is more effective than a traditional trial. What we can see is that this is accurate for both juveniles and adults, which is why we must vote affirmative. How can a society deprive someone of rehabilitation and give it to another, just because of a one year age difference? Why should an eighteen year old be treated differently than a seventeen year old, even when their crimes are exactly the same? The answer is that they shouldn't. It is because of this that I urge a strong affirmative vote in the resolution that states Resolved: Juveniles should be tried as adults.
Debate Round No. 2
alden9590

Con

My first contention, juveniles may be able to defend themselves but are not completely familiar with how the law works and the consequences that comes with their actions. Therefore, having them tried as adults would result in a pointless case.
My second contention, when the age factor comes into play in such situations as marriage, jobs, voting, etc., because we all know that the same cannot be expected from children as adults. if an adult comits a crime they will remember what they did throughout their sentence as to juveniles who often wonder what they did wrong throughout their sentence.
megannnn

Pro

What my opponent fails to see is that we are almost definitely not talking about three year olds when we're referring to juveniles. Teenagers are more than capable of listening to their lawyers and defending themselves; that extra year between being seventeen and being eighteen does not contribute so much added life experience that they need a separate trial. You can use that same argument to address my opponent's second point. I am sixteen years old. If I murder my parents tonight, I would be tried as a juvenile. Do you really think that I would have a hard time remembering how I stabbed my mother? Of course not. This is simply illogical. Regardless of age, one will remember their crime based on the resulting emotion of the crime.

What my opponent has yet to refute is that we must evaluate a crime based on the results of the crime. Because the result of a murder committed by a juvenile and one committed by an adult is identical, I urge an affirmative vote.
Debate Round No. 3
alden9590

Con

Juveniles often don't follow directions therefore, they will get in trouble regardless of age. But that doesn't mean they don't know what they did was wrong. If there was a 17 year old in court yes he probably should be tried as an adult but does he have the right to buy tobacco, alcohol, or vote? So until the day he turns 18 he should be tried in the juvenile court because still then he doesn't have as much responsibility as if he were 18.
megannnn

Pro

My opponent has continued to drop the most important part of my argument: that morality must be evaluated through the result of an action as opposed to the intention or other factors. Because this is the case, we can't talk about the rights or privileges an adult holds. My opponent has agreed that juveniles know what they're doing is wrong. Further, they have said that seventeen year olds "probably should have adult trials." Voters, if this doesn't convince you, nothing will. Side with morality and vote for the affirmative.
Debate Round No. 4
alden9590

Con

I believe you take this one. Good Debate.
megannnn

Pro

Hooray! Thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by charleslb 4 years ago
charleslb
Yo, Pro, the eminently commonsense, yet sage advice abbreviated in the acronym KISS, which you perhaps know stands for "Keep it simple, stupid" (I'm not actually calling you stupid, so don't retreat into being offended) should certainly be applied on this issue. Juveniles are precisely that, juveniles and not adults. Ergo, and quite simply, they should be tried and treated in the criminal injustice system as such, as minors and not as grown men (and women). This being said, there's a significant difference between simple and simplistic. Your argument that the focus should be exclusively and single-mindedly on the result of the action is, alas, the latter, i.e., overly simplistic. Well, even the law, as primitive and punitive as its conception of morality often is, has long realized that an actus reus (a guilty act) by itself does not constitute a crime or necessarily determine how a court should respond. Rather, the other part of the equation is what's termed mens rea, the ability to fully comprehend and appreciate the wrongful and wicked nature of one's misdeed. Certainly typical minors, especially quite young children, although they have some inchoate concept of right and wrong, lack the developed faculties and mature conscience of an adult and don't yet possess the ability to fully comprehend and appreciate the full extent of the badness of their bad behavior. Yes, the axiom, as it were, that actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea ("The act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is also guilty") should obviously be applied to the very young, to tweens and pre-tweens, and quite arguably it should be applied more frequently and liberally to older adolescents. The courts and our legislators don't all realize this, of course, but then whoever said that jurists and lawmakers are especially enlightened or justice-minded?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
alden9590megannnnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: For forfeiture, pro gets conduct. However I actually did not understand her justification for treating a child with an underdeveloped sense of self control and morality the same as a fully matured adult. She completely made no sense whilst con, although giving up, made a lot more sense.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
alden9590megannnnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: For many reasons, this contest was a challenge to score. I was impressed far more by the argument presented by Con, but the concession makes it very difficult to award argument points. The S&G displayed by Pro was clear, concise and very easy to read and follow. Sourcing in this debate was non-existent. Both sides were respectful.
Vote Placed by Muted 4 years ago
Muted
alden9590megannnnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: conceded