The Instigator
ericschatzker
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Zanomi3
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

the US should change its law regarding sentencing juveniles to life in prison

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Zanomi3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,165 times Debate No: 62658
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

ericschatzker

Pro

life sentence punishment should only be reserved for adult offenders who are mature enough to understand what is bad and what is good . especially for those group who have committed the same crime over and over despite previous punishment. when we are talking about juvenile offenders. we are talking about kids (some of whom as young as 12) who have done something out of child fullness and ignorance and are experiencing for the first time that there is a punishment for every thing they do wrong in society. for the first time offenders of this age a simple punishment like being detained at home for a couple of days and being deprived of all sorts fun activity would be a great deterrent and lesson for them to stay away from crimes. but the idea of treating them like adult and punishing them like a fully grown individual by giving them life sentence some times as long as forty six years In prison ,in my opinion is not fair and logical
Zanomi3

Con

I would like to accept this debate. To keep things fair, this round will only be used for acceptance and additional clarification of terms, giving us each two rounds to debate.

Definitions:

US - Seeing as this is not completely clarified, I will take this to mean the US Supreme Court, being the main judicial system in the country.

Juvenile - Any individual under the age of 18

Life in Prison - I will take this to mean Life in Prison without parole

In short, I will be arguing that the US Supreme Court should NOT change their current standing on sentencing juveniles to a life in prison without parole.

Looking forward to a great debate. I will let my opponent begin with his opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
ericschatzker

Pro

We as human are all prone to mistake. We are always making mistake and correcting ourselves. So mistake is natural part of every body's life. Mistakes only becomes problem, when they are repeated knowingly over and over again.in case of our social life , a mistake that ultimately harms the society should be prevented with varying degree of punishment. A severe punishment like life in prison is only justifiable when the social mistake, (in this case crime )is repeated over and over again despite repeated warnings and punishment.so for the first time offenders especially juvenile, however the intensity of crimes, exceptions should be considered, and circumstances surrounding the crime should be taken into account. The idea of treating young first time offenders like adult criminals, not only solves the societies problems, but it also takes away the chance for desperate ,regretful people with a whole life ahead of them, to have a second chance of living a peaceful and fruitful life in the society having learnt from their mistakes. rather than being condemned to a cramped inhumaniterian place for the rest of their lives because of some careless,irrational stupide decisions made by the power to be.
Zanomi3

Con

I appreciate my opponents arguments, yet I believe his arguments may support my claim. Seeing as things were not defined previous to the start of the debate, I proceeded to define certain phrases for the sake of clarification. This being said, we must look at the US Supreme Court's standing on sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole (this is the argument as stated by my opponent, along with the definitions I presented.) As of 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that "mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles under 18 violate the 8th Amendment." It was deemed so following the Miller vs. Alabama, where the Supreme Court came to the resolution that it was violating the 8th amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. (This decision of course contained exceptions depending on the severity of the case).

Now it is clear that as of today, the US Supreme Court is against sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole. Therefore, being Con, I believe that the US Supreme Court should not change this, partially for reasons spoken by my opponent, and also for reasons such as juveniles not being fully developed mentally, therefore not being subjected to the same judgment as a full grown adult. Allowing juveniles to be imprisoned indefinitely would simply be cruel and unjust, and I agree with pro that it would be unlawful to subject them to this punishment. In this agreement, I support my case that the current standing should not be changed.

P1: Not changing the laws would protect juveniles from life in prison without parole
P2: The US Supreme Court should protect juveniles from life in prison without parole
C1: The US Supreme Court should not change laws

Sources:

http://www.youthlaw.org...
http://www.law.cornell.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
ericschatzker

Pro

Hi back, I think you have trouble determining your ground. you are supposed to be against me not supporting me! I said that the united states should change its policy about sentencing the juvenile to life in prison without parole. but you say that it should remain the same in order for this problem to end.if the current court system works than why are we having so many children some of whome as young as 12.14) sentenced to life in prison? also the 8th amendment doesn't apply in this case because it prohibits "unusual and cruel punishment" unfortunately, the US doesn't think that sentencing children to life in prison is unusual and cruel, that's why, they don't practice 8th amendment other wise, we wouldn't have been seeing this problem. which brings us to the conclusion that this cruel system should be changed either through amendments to constitutions or modifications to the judiciary system ,namely supreme court.

There are at least 2,500 people in the US serving life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were under 18 years old. The United States is believed to stand alone in sentencing children to life without parole.Children can and do commit terrible crimes. When they do, they should be held accountable, but in a manner that reflects their special capacity for rehabilitation. However, in the United States the punishment is all too often no different from that given to adults.
Zanomi3

Con

Thanks for a quick response. Glad this debate has actually moved quickly!

As this is the final round, and to make things clear for all readers and voters, I would like I once again clarify things.

The US Supreme Court has deemed it a violation of the 8th amendment to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole.

The title of this debate is "the US should change its laws regarding sentencing juveniles to life in prison." That being said, and being Con, I need to argue that the laws should not change. As of right now, with the current law actually protecting these juveniles, my opponent supports my side. Changing the law would in fact be a disadvantage to these children, allowing it to be legal to sentence them to life in prison without parole.

To address my opponent, I am I no way having trouble establishing my ground. I am simply stating facts as Con, or would be, yet you stated a majority of them. When looking at the current standing, my opponent is actually arguing to back to the previous protocol, allowing the US Supreme Court to sentence these juveniles to life. Pros arguments, in fact, support my claim, because in the argument he is stating, he strives to change the law. This would be contradicting his attempts to protect these individuals from life sentences without parole. I have not needed to rebut any of my opponents arguments because they support my side.

There are several reasons the law should stay the same, and in turn protect these children.
- children are not always as developed as mature individuals (most likely not)
- subjecting these individuals to life in prison is unjust and cruel
- this would not give these individuals an opportunity to redeem themselves in later life
- there are better ways to deter these individuals from committing further crimes than life in prison
- being under 18 years of age, these children are most likely going to make stupid decisions at some point

This debate may be slightly confusing for readers, seeing as the arguments posted by Pro support Con. If you have had no trouble following my case, vote con. If you did have trouble, I would advise you look at the current standing of the US Supreme Court and understand what a change would call for. Keeping the current standing is the best case for protecting these Children.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zanomi3 3 years ago
Zanomi3
Eric, he definitely read the debate. That's how he knows that my argument is sound. Not sure that you are understanding where my argument originated from.

You wanted to argue that the US should change it's laws correct?

The laws protected against juvenile life in prison.

You argued the change them.
Posted by ericschatzker 3 years ago
ericschatzker
sherlockholmesfan2798, I wish you had taken time to read the arguments carefully and completely before casting your biased vote! hopefully I will be able to vote after this and I am goanna set record straight and even with you!
Posted by Zanomi3 3 years ago
Zanomi3
I chose to define US as the US Supreme Court seeing as my opponent didn't define it. But yes, at a federal level there are still some laws legalizing it, but not in the US Supreme Court specifically.
Posted by Big_Nick 3 years ago
Big_Nick
I'm assuming this entire matter is whether or not it should be changed at the federal level? I'm asking because, in the state I'm from, they have what's referred to as "Juvenile life" for the most serious offenders, which means imprisonment until age 21. For the most egregious offenders, murderers who are closer to 18, though, they can be tried as an adult and sentenced to life without parole, though that rarely ever happens.
Posted by Zanomi3 3 years ago
Zanomi3
I'm not sure that you are understanding the US Supreme Court's current opinion on this topic. Like I have stated several times in my argument, the US Supreme Court is AGAINST sentencing them to life in prison. You are right that they allowed it, but that was before 2012. In this day and age, it is illegal in the US Supreme Court.

"but the problem is that the supreme court doesn't prevent life in prison without parole for juvenile [sic]"

This is a false claim. They do prevent it.

I rest my case.
Posted by ericschatzker 3 years ago
ericschatzker
yes. you should have supported arguing that the US should keep the current laws in place concerning sentencing juveniles to life in prison, but you started supporting my side , you said the system should stay the same in order to help the kids. but the problem is that the supreme court doesn't prevent life in prison without parole for juvenile, it actually supports it. we have over 2500 kids serving in prison. that is why it should be changed to prevent this tragedy. I am wondering how couldn't you not get it! it was as clear as day!
Posted by Zanomi3 3 years ago
Zanomi3
Comments here don't play a part in the debate; if those are your arguments, I would politely request you post them in the debate.
Posted by ericschatzker 3 years ago
ericschatzker
We as human are all prone to mistake. We are always making mistake and correcting ourselves. So mistake is natural part of every body's life. Mistakes only becomes problem, when they are repeated knowingly over and over again.in case of our social life , a mistake that ultimately harms the society should be prevented with varying degree of punishment. A severe punishment like life in prison is only justifiable when the social mistake, (in this case crime )is repeated over and over again despite repeated warnings and punishment.so for the first time offenders especially juvenile, however the intensity of crimes, exceptions should be considered, and circumstances surrounding the crime should be taken into account. The idea of treating young first time offenders like adult criminals, not only solves the societies problems, but it also takes the chance for desperate ,regretful people to have a second chance of living in the society having learnt from their mistakes.
Posted by Zanomi3 3 years ago
Zanomi3
I would like to accept this debate. To be clear, I would be arguing that the US should keep the current laws in place concerning sentencing juveniles to life in prison, correct?
Posted by cheyennebodie 3 years ago
cheyennebodie
I agree. They should take away life without the possibility of parole.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by sherlockholmesfan2798 3 years ago
sherlockholmesfan2798
ericschatzkerZanomi3Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con is correct when saying Pro is supporting Con. Pro should've looked a bit more in to this or changed it to " The u.u letting juveniles stay out of life imprisonment is the right thing to do"