Instigator
Virtuoso avatar
Points: 7

Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 2 votes the winner is ...
RationalMadman
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Politics
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Characters per argument
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Contender
RationalMadman avatar
Points: 12
Description
--Topic--
Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.
--Definitions--
Plea Barganning: an arrangement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in the expectation of leniency.
Ought: indicates moral desirability
--Rules--
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all undefined resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
10. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the description's set-up, merits a loss
--Structure--
R1. Pro's Case; Con's Case
R2. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R3. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R4. Pro generic Rebuttal and Summary; Con generic Rebuttal and Summary
Round 1
Published:
Thanks to RationalMadman for accepting this debate. Looking forward!

---

1. Plea bargains pervert justice

A. The Innocent

Defendants are in a very vulnerable situation and will often plea guilty even though they are completely innocent. Those who cannot afford bail and do not want to wait 6 months for the trial will almost certainly plea guilty just to get it over with. According to the innocent project at least 31 people plead guilty to serious crimes like rape and murder to avoid long sentences and to avoid trial. These innocent people served a combined total of 150 years in prison (1). In the case of Robby Ray Dixon they pled guilty to a 1979 Mississippi rape and murder they didn’t commit. After the two men were threatened with the death penalty, they testified against a third innocent defendant (ibid).

The innocent project further breaks down some alarming statistics: 95% of felon convections are convicted through plea bargaining, 18% of those exonerated plead guilty, and 83% of DNA tests pointed to a different perpetrator (2).

If innocent people are forced to plea guilty to serious crimes they didn't commit, how many more are convicted on petty crimes and misdemeanors? That number really cant be known, but it's quite a scary probability. 

B. The Guilty

For those who truly are guilty, bargaining is to their benefit by avoiding trial and getting a super lenient sentences or some serious charges simply dropped. The Human Rights Watch founded the following statistics (3):

  • Defendants convicted of drug offenses with mandatory minimum sentences who went to trial received sentences on average 11 years longer than those who pled guilty (215 versus 82.5 months).
  • Among first-time drug defendants facing mandatory minimum sentences who had the same offense level and no weapon involved in their offense, those who went to trial had almost twice the sentence length of those who pled guilty (117.6 months versus 59.5 months).
  • Among defendants who were eligible for a sentencing enhancement because of prior convictions, those who went to trial were 8.4 times more likely to have the enhancement applied than those who plead guilty.
  • Among drug defendants with a weapon involved in their offense, those who went to trial were 2.5 times more likely to receive consecutive sentences for §924(c) charges than those who pled guilty.
Dr. Fawad Kaiser notes (4):

Plea bargaining undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system. Instead of establishing a defendant’s guilt and sentence though an impartial process with a complete investigation and an opportunity for the defence to present its case, prosecutors take on the role of judge and jury, making all determinations based on the probability of whether they will win or lose at trial. The end result is a decision that has little to do with the primary objectives of the criminal justice system.
2. Plea Bargains are Unnecessary 

Firstly it must be noted that if a prosector has so little evidence that they can't get a guilty verdict without a plea bargain then the case should not be going to trial. If you cannot prove to a judge or a jury that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, then a prosector must drop his case. 

Secondly there is empirical data within the United States that shows that banning plea bargains will work. Alaska was the first state to abolish plea bargaining and found that it forced police to become better investigators and case disposition time actually dropped rather than increased (5). There are a few other jurisdictions within the US that have abolished plea bargains with similar effects. 

Conclusion 

The first contention alone is enough to prove my case. It's disgusting that innocent people are forced to plea guilty and guilty people get off too lightly. Plea bargains allow prosecutors, police, and judges to be lazy with their case. Forcing the police to become better investigators and forcing prosectors to screen cases more efficiently will help reduce crime, restore faith in the justice system, and pursue real justice. 

Please vote pro!

Over to you, con! 

Sources

Published:
PB = Plea Bargaining
S&G Note: I like to type in British English

Them Tune for this Round (has swearing, just a beautiful rap on the subject don't listen if sensitive): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSCC96kVTPM

While I will not do any official rebuttals in this Round as per agreed debate structure, both the necessity of PB and the rebuking of PB 'perverting' justice are inherent to my case so it may appear I am rebuking but I am constructively building and defending PB.

Contentions (I will have a fluid-case where I don't split up the proof of the contentions into sections, all contentions will be proven in my case):

P1: There is a major misconception in mainstream media and even professional psychiatrists about what the 'worst criminals' are.
P2: The actual 'worst' (meaning best at what they do) criminals are always, without fail, the ones who would require PB to catch.

P1+ P2 = C1: If one analyses the psychology and mechanics of operating a highly organised, efficient crime, it becomes apparent that a system without PB is absolutely guaranteed to enable all of the criminals the entire system was built to consider most worthy of belonging in prison end up being the ones outside of it.

Concise version of C1: The better the criminals are/were at what they do/did, the more necessary PB is/was/will-be in order to catch them.

C2: No moral system (unless a non-consequentialist one) can ever deny that PB is absolutely necessary and beautiful in what it does to the justice system.

C3: Without negotiating, no justice system can be properly built. Nothing is ever black-and-white in most (not all) cases that require PB.


THE CASE (BASICALLY A RANT)

When the media (including movies and series) hits you with pieces of work like Hannibal and The Alienist or articles on the 'worst criminals in history', some are brilliant and others are bland but one thing they all have in common if they hit the mainstream is; they focus on lone-wolf or tiny-pack-wolves. You want to kill a kingpin? Want to take down the really notorious criminal masterminds of the world? Stalin, Genghis Khan and basically any leader of a tyranny is an example of the epitome of what 'criminal' becomes when an actual mastermind at what they do. The 'worst criminals' (meaning the opposite of worst in terms of efficiency) are those that have layers upon layers of incriminated people along the way and even if you're innocent, they know (and make it crystal clear to you) that they can, and will, frame you and get people to false-snitch on you instead of them.

When it comes to measuring psychopathy, perhaps the favorite instrument used by forensic psychologists and psychiatrists is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), developed by Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare in 1991 and revamped in 2003. Teaming up with Carleton University’s Julie Blais and Adelle Forth, Hare (now at University of British Columbia), examined over 20 years of data on the measure’s reliability using data from workshops in which trainees learned how to administer the PCL-R (Blais et al., 2017). Because the PCL-R is administered as a clinical interview, professionals who wish to gain proficiency in its use must be trained so that they are able to provide accurate assessments. The training workshops involve 2 to 3 days of intensive education in which they practice by rating excerpts from actual cases using portions of videotaped interviews, transcripts of full interviews, and file reviews. Their coding of the case studies are then used to determine if trainees are ready to use the PCL-R in their practice, for research purposes or as part of a forensic evaluation.

As the authors point out, these findings don’t mean that the PCL-R is a worthless clinical tool. The cases were not rated as they would be in real life, where the interview would be administered in person. In the field, trained administrators of the PCL-R would be able to ask follow-up questions and judge nonverbal behavior in ways not possible even from video recordings.

There remains, additionally, the possibility that some people are better than others in using the PCL-R. Blais and her colleagues noted that personal biases, objectivity, interpersonal skills, and tough versus tender-mindedness can all come into play when you’re confronted with evaluating someone’s psychopathic tendencies. Just receiving the training, even if it does go on for 2 or 3 days, isn’t enough to produce a qualified psychopathy rater.

What do these findings imply for nonprofessionals who must, in their day-to-day lives, decide whether they’re dealing with a psychopath? How about if you’re trying to decide whether to hire a baby-sitter, trust a salesperson, or go out with someone you’ve just met? The study’s upshot is that at moderate to low levels of psychopathy, it can indeed be difficult to provide an accurate assessment, even if you’ve received official training. When the individual’s behavior, interpersonal style, and history are more overtly psychopathic, less sensitivity is required by anyone providing an assessment. You'll also find it harder, for obvious reasons, to detect lying than you would behavior that suggests the person is always seeking new and riskier experiences.

The other takeaway message is that some people are better than others at figuring out whether they can trust the person they’re interacting with to be an honest, sensitive, and reliable individual. If you’re attracted to someone, even if you’re a great judge of character, your perceptiveness may be dulled. Be wary of the warning signs, and you’ll be better able to trust that your faith in the other person is indeed warranted.

When handling cases with highly organised criminals, there is something to comprehend about how they work. Not only have they got a contingency planned out for each and every 'chipping of their structure' (the structure being their criminal syndicate and ability to keep committing said crimes let alone their shield against getting caught, period/full-stop) but they also have ensured that there is complete and utter understanding among all in their criminal-life that if they do anything to so much as lead to suspicion of snitching/ratting, not just the snitch will be punished but their family and friends will too and not just by instant fatality, but usually so.

So, while there is obviously a habit of hurting and killing informants themselves the snitches/rats often have to fear worse if they had any friends in the cartel/mafia/gang as well as their innocent family members easily being framed/hurt/killed by other means (this stuff is done so subtle that there's hardly any articles about it so I couldn't find good sources on it but it's absolutely done by organised criminal syndicates as they can't always hurt the informant himself/herself and know that making an example of their family is the best way to terrify even the toughest wannabe-rat).

It doesn't even stop at direct informing, it can be as simple as this:

It's no secret Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous places for working journalists. However, you'd think commenters on web forums and blogs would be treated differently – exempt, perhaps, from retaliation for speaking openly about the country's deadly drug war.

You'd be wrong.

On Tuesday morning in the sprawling northern industrial metro of Nuevo Laredo, just across the Texas border, the bodies of two residents were found strung by their arms and legs from a pedestrian overpass. The appearance of the man and woman, both in their twenties, revealed signs of torture. The woman was disemboweled.

"This will happen to all the internet snitches (Frontera al Rojo Vivo, Blog Del Narco, or Denuncia Ciudadano)," read one banner accompanying the scene. Then a message. "Be warned, we've got our eye on you. Signed, Z."

That likely means the Zetas: one of Mexico's largest and most violent drug cartels. However, there is nothing necessarily new about victims of the Zetas hanged from bridges alongside or attached to crude "narco" banners, labeled with accusations of collaborating with the government or with rival cartels. But these banners listed websites, as if their victims' only apparent offense was to have said too much online.

The websites include a (now closed) web forum owned by the Grupo Reforma media company, a popular and graphic news blog and the tip line of the Attorney General of Mexico.

A word of caution, however. We don't know if the two victims were indeed targeted, as their assassins claim, for participating in online discussions about the drug war – or for using social media to tip off authorities about crimes. But if true, the implication is that a war against media (or rather, an ongoing media war) has turned even more dangerous.


How is one to ever take down the head of a snake of such an organised, systematic powerful crime syndicate without giving a 'carrot' to oppose the 'stick'? Imagine this:

You are told you will be arrested for what you did, you know for a fact that the cartel is going to successfully kill you and work out that it was you unless you fake your own death or something else (oh yes witness protection cannot possibly work if the witness was a criminal in a PB-exclusive justice system). It's very hard to then motivate you to ever snitch. You have no incentive to risk anything as you lose regardless. The justice system, short of death penalty or threatening to pin you for child-rape (which would be corrupt and be perversion of justice if you didn't do it) can never offer a harsher stick than the cartel/mafia/gang's leaders can as they are 'good guys' relative to them. Their entire negotiating power comes from the rewards they can bribe you to fry bigger fish.
Round 2
Published:
I have less than a half-hr before deadline so I apologize to my opponent for my failure to go in depth in this round.

----

P1: There is a major misconception in mainstream media and even professional psychiatrists about what the 'worst criminals' are.
P2: The actual 'worst' (meaning best at what they do) criminals are always, without fail, the ones who would require PB to catch.
P1+ P2 = C1: If one analyses the psychology and mechanics of operating a highly organised, efficient crime, it becomes apparent that a system without PB is absolutely guaranteed to enable all of the criminals the entire system was built to consider most worthy of belonging in prison end up being the ones outside of it.

Looking at con's syllogism the first problem is that it's structurally invalid. Even if I grant both premises, the conclusion does not follow.

Sure, I'll concede to P1 that the organized criminals are "worse" than "lone wolves." Con seems to be basing his entire case against abolishing plea bargains on this account alone. 

There are several things I wish to address:

(1) Criminal informants often implicate the wrong person 

The evidence that I brought forth in round 1 shows that people are willing to testify falsely against another innocent person for a plea bargain. This form of bribery is disgusting and has no place in the US criminal justice system. Professor Emilio C. Viano further points out (1):

Criminal informants exercise a major role in the process leading to wrongful confession and conviction. A study by the Northwestern University Law School's Center on Wrongful Convictions traced 45.9 percent of wrongful capital convictions on the testimony of a false informant.  According to the study, "snitches (are) the leading cause of wrongful convictions in U.S. capital cases.
(2) Mexico is irrelevant to the debate because we are discussing the US criminal justice system. 

Summary

I have about 14 minutes left so this is the best I can do right now. Con's arguments only strengthen my arguments. Do we want to live in a world where prosecutors can bribe vulnerable defendants to testify against an innocent person? The facts are alarming that far too many innocent people are convicted. There have been far too many cases where these innocent people were "ratted out" by a defendant seeking leniency. 

Case is closed. Vote pro. 

Sources
Published:
I don't think it was a faulty syllogism in the sense of splitting a Contention up into the premises that lead to it. I will happily concede that it clearly isn't a 'hard syllogism' where P1 and P2 are the only things or direct ways to get to C1 in and of themselves. C1 still stands and P1+P2 are absolutely important to grasp, I thank Pro for not wasting time by not conceding about what the worst criminals are that the system should seek to stop at the cost of stopping lesser ones if it's impossible to not do so without giving leeway and bargaining with incentive to snitch.

I would quickly like to go into something here before rebutting Pro's entire case at the root (which means this Round will be mainly typing, less proving with stats etc. because I am attacking Pro's vase via fundamental root-logic and base premise-building path-blockage as opposed to elaborate argument building or stats-combatting.

While my source is Australian, the core basis of plea bargaining is identical across all cultures so it's applicable also to US law etc. :

Why do plea negotiations occur in criminal matters?
There are many reasons why Plea Negotiations occur in criminal matters.

In most criminal matters a number of criminal charges will be laid by Police. The charges selected will normally reflect the nature and extent of the alleged criminal offending reported to the Police.

It is also important for the charges selected to provide the Court with an appropriate basis for sentence.

Usually, the charge or charges laid by Police will be the most serious available for that type of offending.


However, due to a number of factors, which can include:

  • the strength of the available evidence,
  • the probable lines of defence to a particular charge,
  • statements of witnesses,
  • medical or forensic evidence,
  • whether new evidence comes to light as the police investigation continues,
  • whether a victim wants to proceed to a trial, and
  • the ability of the court to impose an appropriate sentence,

it may be appropriate to 1) proceed with the original charges, or 2) proceed with a different charge.

In some cases the charge(s) can be less serious than the original charge(s).

Depending on the strength of the Prosecution Case, an accused (via their legal representative) may direct their lawyer to enter into negotiations with the Prosecution.

Similarly, the DPP may canvass the accused’s attitude (via their legal representative) to an appropriate plea resolution.

DPP means Director of Public Prosecutions and applies to British-Colonial nations that have kept the system's structure. The rest is directly applicable to US legal system and prosecution.

I do not understand how Pro thinks they have proven that the innocent pleading guilty, in their statistics, is due to plea bargaining. You would find that under a non-PB system (which no culture on Earth that functions well legally has) we are left with the guilty not pleading guilty because they gain nothing at all by doing so. This is actually the single most important aspect to turning Pro's case on its head. Why does anyone plead guilty? Aside from a select few honest criminals with something to get off their chest, there's also the case of the framed person who is pleading guilty (I admit this, I'll get to it) and the case of people seeking less harsh punishment, saving the court resources of all kind (time, staff, physical research facility usage space etc). Without plea bargaining only the white-knight type is going to plead guilty because you cannot create a negotiating-position landscape since you can't threaten harsher punishment without being able to alleviate punishment with earlier admission of crimes, it's only possible if the police are so corrupt as to willingly frame you with worse or accuse you of less and this indeed will become the new way they negotiate.

So, I have just established 2 things (which I require no source for, they are so blatantly true by pure logic of negotiating position and how humans process risk vs/ reward):

  1. The guilty who aren't being framed have no motive other than feeling 'good' and 'honest' to ever save courts, detectives and the police time and effort by outing a single thing nor admitting to a single thing in a non-PB negotiating landscape so long as the police are not corrupt.
  2. Without PB. the only way to still have negotiating power is to operate around willingly hiding crimes the interrogated has/hasn't done as well as adding on what they have done. The ability to negotiate punishment to crimes they have done and will be caught for regardless is completely removed and forces the cops etc to have nothing left to push or pull the person in a net-direction of confessing with.

So now we get to the person who hasn't done a crime admitting to it simply out of terror of the greater punishment. Yes, yes, Pro makes this their entire case almost. Unfortunately for Pro, there's a raw, brutal way to handle this:

What happens without PB? Why do ALL NATIONS ON EARTH have their own form of PB in the system (even an anarchic island would have a system where if you admit to the crime they kill you in a more merciful way etc.)? Tell me why. Go on, try... Think.

Without PB, the people Pro champions himself as a social justice warrior in defence of... ALL ARE GOING TO BE FRAMED ANYWAY. You see, what will happen is this (1= first chronologically):

  1. The person realises they gain nothing by confessing to the crime they didn't do (or did only half as bad or involved as is being made out).
  2. The prosecution team has still got no reason to assume that suspect isn't the one that did it.
  3. The entire reason they'd confess in PB is the inevitable framing being a success in their eyes and this begins to sink in, in the non-PB system in an ugly way...
  4. They do any and everything to hide the crime, now having motive to dirty their record worse and face worse punishment by perverting the course of justice (which was already perverted in this case, admittedly) by framing someone else or blackmailing cops to remove evidence by threatening their spouse and children and whoever/whatever else they can. 
You see, the system Pro has suggested has removed any reason to plea guilty, this doesn't mean it motivates a single thing in the criminal or justice system towards anti-corruption or superior failure to frame the innocent, it just completely and utterly blackmails the person into a spot where they perceive themselves having so much to not-lose and so little to still-lose that they will go to any lengths to get themselves out of the tough spot. The motivation to be a coward is corrupt, I admit this, and the successful imprisonment of the innocent is a horrible side-effect of any non-all-seeing, non-omniscient justice system but it's the better alternative to what happens without PB present.

All my points in R1 stand, even the one contested by Pro because he purely pointing out that my syllogism didn't prove itself correct.
Round 3
Published:
I forgot about this debate and have 20 minutes remaining. I will not be able to respond to everything.

Con brings up that almost every country has a form of plea bargaining. This is an argumentum ad populum fallacy. Just because other countries do it doesn't mean we should also.

Second, the global spread of plea bargaining has been creating significant miscarriages of justice worldwide. 

The adoption of US-style plea bargaining has reached “epidemic proportions” as more and more countries persuade defendants to plead guilty and renounce traditional trial rights, a survey of international justice systems warns.
The study of 90 countries by the human rights organisation Fair Trialsreveals that use of such procedures has increased by 300% since 1990, boosting, it is alleged, the risk of miscarriages of justice.

When America’s Supreme Court gave its seal of approval to plea bargains in 1970, it did so on the understanding that they would not be used to press innocent defendants falsely to admit guilt. But since then a series of miscarriages of justice and new psychological research suggest that, all too often, that is what happens.
In 2002 Brian Banks, a high-school football player, was accused of rape and kidnapping by an acquaintance. After his arrest, prosecutors offered him the chance to plead guilty and spend just a few years in jail, or to go to trial where he could face up to 41 years if convicted. He took the deal. After he was released, his alleged victim contacted him. They met and, in a conversation which he recorded, she admitted that she had invented the incident. In 2012 he was exonerated.
Mr Dervan is now running studies in Japan, which is introducing plea-bargaining, and South Korea, which may do so. Japan, where criminal suspects may be held for 23 days without charge, often with only minimal contact with a lawyer, perhaps deprived of sleep, is already worryingly good at extracting confessions. Plea bargains are being brought in as part of the horse-trading over a larger criminal-justice reform, in which prosecutors opposed to routine recording of interrogations have managed to limit it, in exchange for formal recognition of plea-bargaining and other aids to investigating complex crimes.
Early results suggest that the “innocence issue” is universal, says Mr Dervan. Differences in legal systems do not change the rate of false confessions much. Another study he is conducting suggests that guilty participants are no more likely to plead guilty if offered a big incentive rather than a small one. Innocent ones, however, become more likely to make false confessions as the incentive—in other words the penalty for rejecting the deal—rises.


Published:
It is not an Ad Populum fallacy to point out that there is no properly functioning system of justice in the history of mankind (and even more so in modern times) that failed to develop Plea Bargaining (PB) as part of it. The fact that it's so popular isn't the reason it's right, the reason it's right is the reason it's so popular. I was not proving it correct with the point I was making, I was highlighting that it's impossible to build a system that doesn't work only in theory, as opposed to with implementation, if you don't have PB in it.

The first source and quote that Pro uses highlights that with PB in the system, lawyers eventually learn that there's better odds for them and their clients (the two are the same set of odds in a macro-sense) if they plead guilty to charges that they either have done or are successfully framed for than pleading innocent, facing worse punishment anyway and making the lawyer look like they gave terrible advice. This does entail a higher risk of overall injustice than everyone pleading innocent, in theory, but in practise (as was my biggest point raised in Round 2) the systems that lack PB are even worse; they would either incite people to plant evidence and frame another themselves (to avoid harsh punishment for the crime they did/didn't do but are going to be found guilty for) or alternatively, they will be found guilty anyway and punished harsher since there was no opportunity available to plead guilty earlier on. I also pointed out that guilty-pleas do not just help the "found guilty" party in basically all scenarios where you'd compare it to a non-PB system but actually they help the police too, since it speeds up hunting of higher-ranking gang members and better-hiding criminals where the only way to speed up the process of investigation is to grease the wheels via PB to those that are also implicated in the crime and have their back against a 'wall'.

The second source that Pro uses is hypocritical to use. It is about Japan's system of justice and the procedures involved, which is used by Pro after Pro says that I committed an Ad Populum fallacy and should keep the debate strictly about the US and its Justice System. The problems involved seemed to have very little to do with PB. The only part of the entire source that indirectly was about PB is that by having such harsh pressure put on the jailed suspects, the likelihood of them pleading guilty to get out of it is higher. The solution is 0% to get rid of PB and 100% to audit the damn law enforcement procedures happening in Japanese jails and their interrogation tactics. 

I have nothing else to prove as I have fully made my case.
Round 4
Published:
Thank you con for an enjoyable debate. I will summarize this debate and provide some voting issues. 

I. Voting Issues

Drops

Below is a non-exhaustive list of things that con has either dropped or failed to respond to:

  1. That abolishing plea bargaining makes police officers better at investigations and thus better at their job
  2. That it restores faith in the justice system 
  3. That abolishing plea bargaining resulted in shorter wait times 
  4. That innocent people have plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit
Impact

We all want a justice system that works better and works fairer to the people. Trials are essentially a public audit of how well the system is working. If people like Casey Anthony keeps getting found not guilty in court, then it shows how poorly of a job the police and prosecutors are doing. Similarly by avoiding trial, they are denying the right to a trial by their peers. By being pressured into accepting plea deals they are denying the right against self incrimination, one of the most foundational rights in the constitution.

II. Conclusion

The debate comes down to a single question: should we abolish plea bargaining? I believe I've shown how and why the plea bargain system perverts justice and punishes the innocent. 

Thank you. Please vote pro. 
Published:
Pro says:

Below is a non-exhaustive list of things that con has either dropped or failed to respond to:

  1. That abolishing plea bargaining makes police officers better at investigations and thus better at their job
  2. That it restores faith in the justice system
  3. That abolishing plea bargaining resulted in shorter wait times
  4. That innocent people have plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit
- Pro R4

Except that Pro never ever proved 1, 2 or 3... Wait did Pro even hint at 3 at all? I think Pro is making something up there or raising a new point.

Let's first look at how I handle 1 and 2 before proceeding to prove that Pro is raising a new point in the last Round and handling that.

Pro asserts: Abolishing plea bargaining makes police officers better at investigations and thus better at their job
Alright, let's see where I addressed this.
You are told you will be arrested for what you did, you know for a fact that the cartel is going to successfully kill you and work out that it was you unless you fake your own death or something else (oh yes witness protection cannot possibly work if the witness was a criminal in a PB-exclusive justice system). It's very hard to then motivate you to ever snitch. You have no incentive to risk anything as you lose regardless. The justice system, short of death penalty or threatening to pin you for child-rape (which would be corrupt and be perversion of justice if you didn't do it) can never offer a harsher stick than the cartel/mafia/gang's leaders can as they are 'good guys' relative to them. Their entire negotiating power comes from the rewards they can bribe you to fry bigger fish.
- Con, R1
^ This is what you call a conceded and dropped point by the other side. Not once did Pro address any of this.

The negotiating position of the Law Enforcement is entirely positive/bribing, they cannot out-blackmail or negatively negotiate without PB in the system. With PB in the system there is finally a way to out-negotiate crime bosses and even medium-scale gangsters or people involved in crimes with others so as to give the implicated people a single reason to out anything at all. This was entirely dropped by Pro because, frankly, it's an irrefutable point that (alone) wins the case for Con there and then. Nonetheless, let's continue with what I call 'fluff to the case' so as to cement this victory and see that Pro has genuinely deceived you, voters, in what I conceded or dropped while doing that very thing to my arguments, a whole lot, himself.

Pro asserts: Abolishing Plea Bargaining restores faith in the justice system
Do you see where Pro said this? He didn't actually say this, even once. He assumed that he could say the following and that it would directly prove the resolution true:

Forcing the police to become better investigators and forcing prosecutors to screen cases more efficiently will help reduce crime, restore faith in the justice system, and pursue real justice.
- Pro, R1

Since Pro earlier asserted that abolishing PB will somehow force the police to become better investigators and force prosecutors to screen cases more efficiently, Pro then says that the result of the resolution being enacted has itself a result of restoring faith in the justice system. Since Pro's assertion is entirely skipping over the part where he has to prove the former link, the latter can be negated as irrelevant to the resolution via non-expanded point linkage.

I also, actively, opposed this line of reasoning by the paragraph raised earlier.


As for 3, Pro never ever raised this the entire debate. Pro says I dropped the point that:

Abolishing plea bargaining resulted in shorter wait times
Except Pro never once said this or proved it. It is very obvious that PB being abolished would increase waiting times due to increasing duration of the investigation of all cases and exhausting any and all resources the department has. This is linked to the following, which I stated clearly in Round 2:

So, I have just established 2 things (which I require no source for, they are so blatantly true by pure logic of negotiating position and how humans process risk vs/ reward):

The guilty who aren't being framed have no motive other than feeling 'good' and 'honest' to ever save courts, detectives and the police time and effort by outing a single thing nor admitting to a single thing in a non-PB negotiating landscape so long as the police are not corrupt.
Without PB. the only way to still have negotiating power is to operate around willingly hiding crimes the interrogated has/hasn't done as well as adding on what they have done. The ability to negotiate punishment to crimes they have done and will be caught for regardless is completely removed and forces the cops etc to have nothing left to push or pull the person in a net-direction of confessing with.

So now we get to the person who hasn't done a crime admitting to it simply out of terror of the greater punishment. Yes, yes, Pro makes this their entire case almost. Unfortunately for Pro, there's a raw, brutal way to handle this:

What happens without PB? Why do ALL NATIONS ON EARTH have their own form of PB in the system (even an anarchic island would have a system where if you admit to the crime they kill you in a more merciful way etc.)? Tell me why. Go on, try... Think.

Without PB, the people Pro champions himself as a social justice warrior in defence of... ALL ARE GOING TO BE FRAMED ANYWAY. You see, what will happen is this (1= first chronologically):

  1. The person realises they gain nothing by confessing to the crime they didn't do (or did only half as bad or involved as is being made out).
  2. The prosecution team has still got no reason to assume that suspect isn't the one that did it.
  3. The entire reason they'd confess in PB is the inevitable framing being a success in their eyes and this begins to sink in, in the non-PB system in an ugly way...
  4. They do any and everything to hide the crime, now having motive to dirty their record worse and face worse punishment by perverting the course of justice (which was already perverted in this case, admittedly) by framing someone else or blackmailing cops to remove evidence by threatening their spouse and children and whoever/whatever else they can.
You see, the system Pro has suggested has removed any reason to plea guilty, this doesn't mean it motivates a single thing in the criminal or justice system towards anti-corruption or superior failure to frame the innocent, it just completely and utterly blackmails the person into a spot where they perceive themselves having so much to not-lose and so little to still-lose that they will go to any lengths to get themselves out of the tough spot. The motivation to be a coward is corrupt, I admit this, and the successful imprisonment of the innocent is a horrible side-effect of any non-all-seeing, non-omniscient justice system but it's the better alternative to what happens without PB present.
- Con, R2

I have no idea where Pro remotely addressed this prior to, or following, me stating any and all of this. It's fairly irrefutable when you take into consideration that (as quoted by me in R2):
In most criminal matters a number of criminal charges will be laid by Police. The charges selected will normally reflect the nature and extent of the alleged criminal offending reported to the Police.

It is also important for the charges selected to provide the Court with an appropriate basis for sentence.

Usually, the charge or charges laid by Police will be the most serious available for that type of offending.


However, due to a number of factors, which can include:

  • the strength of the available evidence,
  • the probable lines of defence to a particular charge,
  • statements of witnesses,
  • medical or forensic evidence,
  • whether new evidence comes to light as the police investigation continues,
  • whether a victim wants to proceed to a trial, and
  • the ability of the court to impose an appropriate sentence,

So, one is left to wonder how, if they have taken into account all of that prior to the negotiations of a plea bargain, isn't that person blatantly going to be found guilty anyway? To a huge, huge probability yes. Only a miracle confession or finding of evidence is going to save them at that point and if Pro is seriously resting his entire case on that, he has yet to have made it clear and also this is so unreasonably rare a circumstance to justify abolishing something that is going to 97%+ of the time be dealing with people who are going to be found guilty and punished worse in a non-PB system regardless of if they did it or not as everything else about the investigation process is either the same or severely stunted (due to extreme lack of Intel as no one has motive to snitch or 'turn' anymore).

I conclude that PB is not to be abolished in the US justice system, or any justice system on Earth for that matter.
Logical-Master avatar
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Will do!
#36
Virtuoso avatar
Added:
--> @Logical-Master
Understood! I want votes on this debate https://www.debateart.com/debates/338
Instigator
#35
Logical-Master avatar
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Have thought about it, but am way way waayyy too biased on this debate to give my personal preference to properly judge it! As a consolation, I shall set aside some time to vote on any one debate either debater solicits from me starting . . . now. Consider this comment a free voucher on any one debate either debater would like for me to look at!
#34
Virtuoso avatar
Added:
--> @Raltar
Thanks for the feedback!!
Instigator
#33
Ramshutu avatar
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
Well it kind of is your problem: because without that justification it’s just an assertion (which you seem to have denied), which makes it a weak argument (which you also denied), and wasn’t a conclusion that was supported by a source (which you denied), which, along with the fact you didn’t support any of your other arguments conclusions with sources (which you denied), is why you got marked as losing sources (which you angrily object led to).
So, if you have no response to any of it any more, then I accept your apology.
#32
RationalMadman avatar
Added:
Not my problem.
Contender
#31
Ramshutu avatar
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
Feel free to quote the place in round two - or anywhere - where you provided a justification of why people are going to be framed at a materially equivalent rate. Throughout, you hvs simple said this would be the case.
#30
RationalMadman avatar
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
You don't know what my Round 2 quote said, do you?
Contender
#29
Ramshutu avatar
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
For the moment, let’s ignore the fact that these points were considered and factored in to the vote: these arguments depend on the assertion that people or are going to be framed at a materially equivalent rate - an assertion that nothing you quoted serves to directly justify.
#28
RationalMadman avatar
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Totally wrong. I went further. It was so brutal that he was stuttering, barely able to type a fucking word in response; that's how you would be if you dared take me on.
He knew I had him totally cornered given that he'd conceded what I said was the worst and most desirable type of crriminal to arrest and deal justice to, in his R2.
See, while the framed stay framed there's two angles that absolutely are unique to PB being taken and offered and two angles that take his case down with his own attack:
1. The person realises they gain nothing by confessing to the crime they didn't do (or did only half as bad or involved as is being made out).
2. The prosecution team has still got no reason to assume that suspect isn't the one that did it.
3. The entire reason they'd confess in PB is the inevitable framing being a success in their eyes and this begins to sink in, in the non-PB system in an ugly way...
4. They do any and everything to hide the crime, now having motive to dirty their record worse and face worse punishment by perverting the course of justice (which was already perverted in this case, admittedly) by framing someone else or blackmailing cops to remove evidence by threatening their spouse and children and whoever/whatever else they can.
This is worded perfect, it was so brutal and eloquent that Pro knew he was fucked. I don't blame him for struggling.
Contender
#27
Ramshutu avatar
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
If your Aussie source implies that PB is only used when a crime is already proven from multiple angles - then this directly supports your opponents contention that PBS are unnecessary. Right? So in actuality your source actually harms your argument, rather than supports it.
Now, secondly: I am always willing to hear objections to my interpretation. So, you claimed the innocent people would be framed any way with or without Pb. In the context of the contention of the debate, for your argument to be valid, framing must be so prevalent for innocent people, it must be equivalent to the existing bargaining system. You offered no evidence of that, and as the argument is inherently hypothetical, you have to offer practical justification of why it is reasonable to conclude this would occur. This argument was mostly asserted, meaning that you have just argued as if this is an inherently proven point. As you offer no real supporting justification of what would motivate prosecutors to do this and why it is reasonable to conclude this was the case: this was an incredibly weak assertion - and was dismissed accorsingly.
#26
RationalMadman avatar
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Hahahaha, whatever you say. You voted for me and I still am critical what's your excuse now?
Contender
#25
Ramshutu avatar
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
Quite frankly though, if you have specific issues or particular areas in a way I determined the vote - I will be happy to discuss.
Whenever anyone strenuously objects to a vote I make with such generic summaries as “you made a poor vote”, or “you have poor logic” it makes me think that there wasn’t anything that specific you could really point out, but you have to hate on the vote anyway - because it’s critical of you.
#24
RationalMadman avatar
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Holy fuck you are beyond reason. The argument that they will be framed anyway is so incredibly strong that I don't know how to win as the other side at all when the opponent brings that up. I used the source of Aussie Plea Negotiations to explain that the bargaining only begins after they have you cornered from so many angles already that you're going to be the lead suspect and found guilty regardless.
Contender
#23
Ramshutu avatar
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
Your sources did not support any of your conclusions. The first was delayed to psychopathy which was entirely irrelevant to the contention. The second was supporting the idea that cartels hurt snitches, which you then used to support a conclusion - but didn’t support the conclusion itself and the third (which you posted twice) gives some background information on PB but does not support your argued conclusion that - people would be framed otherwise, that you need PB to catch criminals, and that people would otherwise be framed. None directly support your conclusion. Pros main position is that it leads to the innocent pleading guilty, and he provided direct evidence of that in sources. They support his position much better than yours as a result.
If you had paid a little more attention to my RFD, you would have noticed what I was talking about when I was looking at the list. I was specifically looking for rebuttal points to the first argument about innocent people - one of your points I felt was a direct rebuttal, the other points included claiming people would be framed anyway, which if you read the whole RFD I covered - and mostly rejected as incredibly weak - on its own, and two points about the effect in the guilty. So only one of them - as I pointed out - was directly relevant to the point I was discussin at the time.
You mixes up a lot of your rebuttals for multiple points with your argument in multiple places - while there was somewhat of a good reason for doing so, it lead to a stilted and unstructured argument (which is what I was also pointing out), and made it hard to judge this debate in a linear fashion.
All the relevant points on your list were covered elsewhere in the RFD - all of which, if you spent more time reading it rather than accusing me of having poor comprehension - you would have noticed.
#22
Raltar avatar
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
First of all, conduct. Pro made very little contribution to the debate. All of his arguments were very short, consisting mostly of quotes. In both the second and third round he openly admitted that he wouldn't say much, since he didn't have time to do so. The third round was particularly bad, being almost entirely quotes from his sources and virtually no explanation of what the reader is intended to extract from those quotes. Conduct to Con.
Arguments were moderately good on both sides, but Con obviously approached this with a strategy that caught Pro off guard. Pro built a (rather small) case for why he felt he was right. Con, rather than attempting a directed rebuttal or refutation, instead focused on building the opposite case first, before returning to poke holes in Pro's case near the end of the debate.
Pro's case effectively revolved around four points (one of which didn't seem to appear until his conclusion). 1. Innocent people are sometimes "forced" to plead guilty. 2. Plea bargaining is to the benefit of those who are guilty. 3. Alaska had some benefits from banning plea bargains in their state. And 4, banning plea bargains would "restore faith in the criminal justice system."
While each of these main points had some minor merit to it, I felt the overall argument being made here was rather weak. Pro never demonstrated that anyone is "forced" to accept a plea bargain, so although innocent people may sometimes do so, they do so by their own choice. His claim that they are "forced" to do so comes of as hyperbole. Additionally, his statistics about Alaska are great, but Alaska is a very unique situation and he offers no guarantee that other locales with drastically different social and criminal elements would experience the same benefits, so that struck me as a claim which needed a lot more backing to be taken seriously. And his claim that banning plea bargains would "restore faith" in the criminal justice system didn't seem to make any appearance until the final round, with no actual support for the idea that anyone had lost faith in the criminal justice system.
Con initially veered away from a direct rebuttal and instead began building his own case. Firstly, he points out the necessity of utilizing plea bargains as an incentive to persuade informants to give information on more serious criminals, such as organized criminal groups. As one example, Con cites the Mexican Drug Cartels and their aggressive (and often grotesque) methods of intimidating witnesses, making plea bargains advantageous when dealing with such an organization. In following rounds, Con also provided an authoritative source which listed an extensive list of reasons why plea bargains are advantageous (forgive me if I don't quote the entire government report here). Lastly, Con stated that the strongest reason why his case was right and Pro was wrong is that if plea bargains were to be removed from the system, then it would eliminate any reason for guilty parties to EVER plead guilty. Based on basic logic, this makes a lot of sense, because if you have no material benefit to plead guilty, you may as well claim innocent and hope the prosecution flubs the case somehow.
Pro's rebuttals were absolutely terrible, not just because of their brevity, but because they were just plain bad. For one thing, Pro tried to criticize Con for using a source from Australia, which Con accurately pointed out was hypocritical when Pro used a source from Japan. Pro also tried to claim that "Mexico is irrelevant" because he is apparently unaware that the Mexican Drug Cartels are a huge criminal threat to the United States with direct ties to many organized crime groups in the U.S. This made Pro seem really ignorant and unaware of basic criminal justice facts. Pro's only remotely useful rebuttal was pointing out that informants sometimes point the finger at innocent parties, but that one effective rebuttal hardly made up for the awful mess which was the rest of his argument. Yikes!
Pro's conclusion tried to claim that Con "dropped" his original four arguments, but Con addressed this in his conclusion by responding to each one of those four points and showing how his arguments either override or rebut each of those issues.
If Pro's opening arguments had just been the first volley in a larger assault, he may have won this... but it seems his opening argument was really all he had and everything after that mainly just served to expose his own lack of knowledge about criminal justice and organized crime threats within the U.S. Con alternatively provided a valid explanation of the benefits of plea bargains as well as the potential consequences of banning them, while displaying a greater knowledge of the topic. Hence, argument goes to Con.
Ramshutu avatar
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
RFD in comments.