The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.
After 3 votes and with 5 points ahead, the winner is...
- Publication date
- Last updated date
- Number of rounds
- Time for argument
- Three days
- Max argument characters
- Voting period
- Two weeks
- Point system
- Multiple criterions
- Voting system
In the United States criminal justice system, jury nullification ought to be used in the face of perceived injustice
Jury Nullification: the act of a jury returning a verdict of "not guilty" despite believing that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. The jury, by effect or choice, nullifies a law that it views as immoral, unjust, or unconstitutional.
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
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
- The mootness cuts both ways. If juries are going to acquit sympathetic defendants, then many of Con's arguments against jury nullification, if not all his arguments, evaporate as non-unique. If Con is embracing this fact, as it seems he is, than his objections to jury nullification are moot, and we should vote Pro because there is no reason not to. Remember, it is Con's burden to disprove the resolution, and he cannot do that without unique arguments against jury nullification. Since jury nullification is the status quo, we default back to that and vote Pro.
- Jury nullification retains unique benefits even if juries may acquit sympathetic defendants in either world. Not all victims of unjust laws may be sympathetic, and thus juries may not manufacture doubt to acquit them. In a world with jury nullification, the juries can abstract away from the unsympathetic nature of the defendant to instead consider the merits of the law itself, which they of course can nullify even if the defendant is not a sympathetic character.
- We should not prefer a world in which juries manufacture doubt, because (a) that undermines the concept of reasonable doubt and (b) it requires jurors to be dishonest. Firstly, in a world where jury nullification is prohibited, acquittals will naturally be interpreted as coming from reasonable doubt. But in cases where juries have to manufacture such doubt in cases where there clearly isn't any, those acquittals will create precedent that lowers the bar for what counts as reasonable doubt. In other words, cases that acquit without reasonable doubt in Con's world will be seen as having reasonable doubt, leading to a corruption of the standard of reasonable doubt. Secondly, jurors who manufacture doubt are essentially lying to themselves and to others when they claim that reasonable doubt exists. If we can solve the problem of unjust laws and unjust applications of law without requiring juries to engage in mental contortions to do so, we ought to prefer that solution (jury nullification) to the contortions. This is self-evident.
(2) On petitioning
(b) It takes a long time
Again, Pro did not respond to the nuance of this analysis, because what I really said was that in a world without jury nullification, petitions are naturally going to be of a better quality. What does this mean? This means that in a world without jury nullification, inherently good petitions will rise over the din of the trolls, and these are likely to be the petitions that will be approved of most by the people, and therefore will be responded to by the government quickly. Pro concedes this in the lack of response to my syllogism. And by responding quickly, obviously the government will have to take action quickly, because the more the government delays, the more the government loses popularity with the people. In theory, pro hasn’t responded to this argument. The Trump administration obviously cannot be used as a response, because it is quickly turning out to be quite a different presidency than most, to put it lightly. It’s unfair for Pro to his Trump as an example. In terms of Obama, the administration dd in fact respond and implement a few petitions, most of the rest of them were trolls.
Pro ultimately never ended up responding to wither one of my contentions, that victims deserve retribution, and that offenders deserve retribution. Both of these stand as unrebutted. But what did Pro say? Pro said that sometimes, victims do not deserve punishment. To this, I told you many things. I told you that anyone who has done something wrong has to face punishment for their actions. I also told you in the previous round that I can support proportional punishment. No response to this whatsoever. In Pro’s world, that man who stole 120$ will be allowed to walk free, time and time again, never being told what he did was wrong. And, in Pro’s world, there are bound to be many people like that man who can go on stealing small amounts over and over again, while not being punished for it, because let’s face it. The man who stole 120$ stole thrice. He was given two warnings, yet he chose to continue to steal. There will definitely be a huge influx of these cases on Pro’s side, because people are never told what is right and what is wrong. That was the fundamental principle that Pro had to defend, but never did. As for the three attacks that Pro put forth, I’ve already addressed the first two elsewhere in my case. I already stressed, throughout the third round, that unjustly convicted people can still be acquitted on my side. Pro simply ignores my responses and calls these attacks unrebutted. In response to Pro’s third attack, obviously this argument talks about crimes which do have victims. I thought that didn’t need clarification, but apparently Pro misunderstands my arguments to such an extent that every single word needs to be spelled out for him.
Pro introduced three more points of contention, namely, (a) forgiveness is an essential element of protecting victims of injustice, (b) forgiveness is an essential element of vindicating victims of injustice, and (c) the restorative model of justice also encourages criminals to take responsibility for their wrongdoings. I’ve already responded to literally all these attacks in the previous round Simply cross-apply my responses here.
(2) Crime rates and recidivism
Pro’s main point of contention with the argument of insecurity is that the impacts are going to be small. This is a hugely flawed argument because it ignores the fact that by Pro’s own characterization, a lot of petty thieves are going to be let off as a result of jury nullification, and this makes more people scared of the fact that there is a much higher chance that their money is going to be stolen. Pro did not contest this. Therefore, this argument has hugely tangible impacts.
On stigmatization, Pro argued that I was shifting the goal posts. This is a blatant lie. From round one, my argument was that these people are going to be punished less severely, and so society will take it upon themselves to punish them. Pro has chosen to completely ignore this, while instead arguing that more people will be labelled as ‘convicts’ on my side, so it’s worse for them. This argument is refuted by simple logic, because of the fact that excluding people nullified by the jury, both sides will have roughly the same numbers of convicts. But on Pro’s side, the people whom are nullified will in fact be treated worse by society, as conceded by Pro in his lack of response to this substantive point. So, on average, more people are treated worse by society in Pro’s world, because while on both sides, convicts are treated the same, on Pro’s side, those who are nullified by the jury are much worse off. Even if all of the people who are nullified on Pro’s side are convicts on my side they are treated better on my side because society would universally prefer a punished criminal to a criminal who was let off with no punishment. This was the analysis that Pro had to respond to, and has failed to do.
Again, Pro has failed to address the key issue here, namely that much more addictive drugs which are strongly prohibited in society today will face a huge influx, especially among teens, whom, presumably, are going to be the ones that are not convicted. This is particularly harmful because not only do people who do drugs will have free access to feed their addiction, people who are opposed to drugs, and people who do not have an opinion will be forced into drugs because of things like peer pressure. Note that this was analysis I provided to you in round two. This will ultimately create a drug-infested society, the alternative that Pro has failed to defend throughout his response to this argument. Pro, rather, argues for a world with no drug restrictions. This is extremely problematic, because even if we were to buy that teens somehow benefit from this, which they do not, as I’ve told you in my above analysis, this means that adults have free access to drugs, and this can create whole new circles of drug hierarchies among adults, ultimately leading to the same outcome, an influx of harmful and addictive drugs. It was quite telling when Pro shied away from responding to this, because it meant that Pro had failed to defend an undeniable outcome of his world.
This was probably the most impactful argument on this debate, and it was devastating for Pro not to provide a sufficient response to this. Pro tells you that somehow this is a unique tool to fight racism. When I question this, Pro says that a jury’s vote has to be unanimous to reach a conclusion. How come this ‘unanimous’ vote has not stopped 4.1 African-Americans being arrested for every 1 white person? How come this ‘unanimous’ vote has had absolutely no bearing on the substantially high arrest rates of innocent African-Americans? It was not enough for Pro to say that the vote had to be unanimous. Pro had to tell us why, even if we were to believe that African-Americans are regularly impaneled on juries, these African-Americans could change anything. The status quo is proof that they can’t. In contrast, I gave you a much more reasonable argument. I told you that white people would get an unfair advantage over African-Americans, insofar as a racist jury lets them walk free, but they convict an African-American, when both defendants are guilty of the same crime. This was what Pro had to respond to, this was what Pro has failed to do for us.
Pro’s response to the fact that African-Americans are not impaneled on juries came after two rounds of thought, but even so, it was quite a flimsy response at best. Pro told you that there were laws preventing discrimination in the impaneling of juries. I’m sorry to inform Pro, but they don’t actually change anything. African-Americans still are systematically denied jury duty. Since Pro’s response was predicated on the idea that African-Americans were in fact impaneled on juries, and my response takes out that premise, Pro’s response collapses.
And on the last issue of this argument. I’ve already told you countless times throughout this debate why jury nullification is a uniquely racist tool. Pro has chosen simply to drop this analysis and mislead you, but that won’t work.
There were three main gaps in Pro’s case that were never really addresses by Pro, and automatically lose him this debate.
(1) Jurors need not necessarily be capable of truly judging a law, and whether it is necessary or not
(2) Truly unjustly convicted people can still be acquitted on my side
(3) In Pro’s world, justice is meted out based on the whims of the jurors, rather than actual evidence and truth
 Con R3 source 3