Instigator
Points: 16

Jury Nullification

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After 3 votes the winner is ...
bsh1
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Society
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
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Contender
Points: 11
Description
--Topic--
In the United States criminal justice system, jury nullification ought to be used in the face of perceived injustice
--Definitions--
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.
--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 Shas04 for accepting the debate.

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I. Overview

Let us begin by acknowledging a simple fact, namely, that the legal system is, at all stages, discretionary. Police can choose to arrest this person but not that person. Prosecutors can choose to prosecute some but not others. Judges can render wildly different sentences for similar crimes. Parole officers can choose to be lenient or harsh and parole boards may not always act in the same way on like applications. This discretion is in some cases a reasonable reflection of circumstance, in other cases, however, it may simply be arbitrary. While this variance in the legal system may offend our sense of justice, it is unavoidable. To argue against discretion, which I take here to mean the freedom to make a choice, is to argue against the entire legal system. For Con, then, it is not enough to accuse jury nullification of being problematic because it is discretionary or potentially arbitrary, as this criticism is non-unique to any component of the legal system. Con must show some kind of unique harm to jury nullification that would not simultaneously justify throwing the baby out with the bath water, or, in this instance, the legal system out with jury nullification.

II. The Law as Integrity

It is the job of the jury to uphold the law. Therefore, the question of what is "law" arises prior to the resolution, and must first be answered before there can be any meaningful discussion on jury nullification. There is, on the one hand, the literal text of the law, the setting aside of which we call jury nullification. But any lawyer worth his salt will tell you that there is more to the law than its text. Politicians that create law do so for a reason, imbuing the law with a kind of intent which judges attempt to decode in order to better interpret it. There is, hence, a secondary notion of the law as a kind of miasma of purposes and emotions and, importantly, values. This is the law as integrity.

Consider for a moment a hypothetical. A legislature, acting in accordance with its lawful powers, passes a series of bills. These are that mango but not orange ice cream is prohibited, that women should be denied the vote, and that watermelon shall be called "waterpumpkin" on Thursdays.

If you were a constituent living in this hypothetical country, you would certainly have good cause to be flummoxed by these laws, insofar as they lack any discernible rhyme or reason. Why, for example, should watermelon become "waterpumpkin" only on Thursdays? It's a completely arbitrary and random rule to impose. It is prima facie absurd.

We typically hold, of course, that when people make laws in reality, they have reasons for the laws they make. For instance, we mandate the wearing of seat belts to save lives. The principle of respect for life justifies that law. Similarly, when we pass laws giving women the franchise, we ground those laws in the principle of equality, which gives justification to the legislation. It is the presence of reasons like these (i.e. respect for life and equality) rooted in commonly held principles that distinguishes legitimate law from unacceptable gobbledygook. There is a reason why we require the government to justify to us what actions it takes, namely, that we demand the government's actions be rooted in logic and fundamental respect for human dignity rather than arbitrary whim or brazon self-interest.

Think about it like this. Principles like respect for life and equality form the foundation of a house, and the laws form the walls which constrain our freedom. If the house lacks a foundation, the walls are flimsy and liable to collapse. Moreover, the foundation is an integral element of the house itself. Law as integrity posits that values are just as much "law" as the statutes themselves, much like the foundation is just as much part of the structure of the house as the walls and roof are.

"If people accept that they are governed not only by explicit rules laid down in past political decisions but by whatever other standards flow from the principles these decisions assume, then the set of recognized public standards can expand and contract organically, as people become more sophisticated in sensing and exploring what these principles require in new circumstances, without the need for detailed legislation or adjudication on each possible point of conflict." [1] The notion that law is constructed not just by the written rules, but by the conventions and principles that undergird those written statues, is the notion of law as integrity--i.e. lawmakers and citizens insist that the government use a coherent set of principles to craft legislation, and that these principles are integral parts of the legislation themselves.

The impact of this argument is simple. If jurors choose to ignore the text of the law, by which a defendant is clearly guilty, and instead acquit the defendant on the basis of the democratic values which justify and legitimize government action, they are not, in fact, overturning or ignoring the law. Rather, they are respecting law's most basic and fundamental element: its justifying principles. Without these justifying principles, there can be no such thing as legitimate laws.

III. Flexibility

Written laws are inflexible documents. What is illegal per the written statute is illegal per the written statute, extenuating circumstances notwithstanding. Yet, lawmakers are hampered by a frustrating reality: they cannot envision every circumstance in which the law might be misapplied, and therefore cannot create a law that could never be applied against the principles which gave rise to it. You cannot make enough exceptions and caveats to exempt all possible unjust applications of the law. Jury nullification is a defendant's last line of defense against the inevitable truth that laws can be contorted in ways never imagined by their makers to unduly harm those that don't deserve it.

Eliminating Jury Nullification as a tool would, in effect, inhibit the legal system from recognizing and adapting to these exceptional cases not addressed in the legislation itself. Doing away with it is akin to saying, "let's obliterate a key tool we have of stopping the malfunctions in the system."

I doubt that 3-strikes laws were designed to imprison people on the basis of a $120 check [2]. I doubt that laws against theft were designed to prevent people from keeping themselves safe from abusive parents [3]. I doubt that mandatory minimums were designed to give people life for 32 grams of pot [3]. I doubt that the law was intended to imprison someone for 15 years for possessing an amount of crack so small that police termed it "unweighable." [4] These laws were intended to make it easier to incarcerate the most dangerous or prolific offenders; yet, Con would have us say that it was totally fine to produce these verdicts. He would have us pretend that applications of the law are always, perhaps inherently, good.

IV. Check on Oppression

Jury nullification allows for juries to void oppressive legislation. Consider the cases of John Peter Zenger. He was charged with seditious libel. The truthfulness of what was published was not considered a valid defense against the charge, merely publishing the material (even if it was true) was sufficient to be guilty. [5] In this case, the freedom of speech of the defendant was at stake. When government overreaches and attempts to apply the law in a way that undermines our democratic society, jury nullification is often the most direct and immediate bulwark against that overreach. 

Moreover, the presence of a jury here is itself a check on power. If the jury's only job were to ascertain the facts and apply the letter of the law to those facts, their job could be better performed by a commission of trained legal experts and investigators. Yet, the Constitution vests the power of conviction not in a commission of this sort, but in a group of common citizens. The fact that we impanel our peers to judge us implies strongly that we want people rendering verdicts who are capable of judging the circumstances of the law's application, not just the letter of the law itself. Juries themselves were thus not intended simply to act as stooges of the government or robots apply the law as written exactly, but were rather intended as humans capable of understanding the moral subtleties of situations and able to challenge the government when it crosses a line.

"Providing an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge...[J]ury trial provisions in the Federal and State Constitutions reflect a fundamental decision about the exercise of official power--a reluctance to entrust plenary powers over the life and liberty of the citizen to one judge or to a group of judges. Fear of unchecked power, so typical of our State and Federal Governments in other respects, found expression in the criminal law in this insistence upon community participation in the determination of guilt or innocence." [1]

V. Conclusion

Jurors do not disrespect the law when they choose to nullify it. Rather, they refuse to accept the oppression and injustice which arises from a strict sense of literalism. Jury nullification is a vital check on government overreach, a last bulwark against misapplied laws or overzealous prosecutors, and a indispensable tool in our American legal system.

Moreover, law as integrity suggests that law is not merely the collection of written statutes created by legislators, but also that law is the collection of principles on which law rests and is legitimated. Any attempt to de-link the written law from the principles would delegitimize the laws themselves; they are inseparable concepts. In situations were law violates these essential principles, the law divorces itself from its own reason for being, at least in the circumstance in which the violation occurs. In that moment, the law becomes no less absurd and unworthy of being upheld then a law requiring us to call watermelons "waterpumpkins" on Thursdays. 

Thus, I strongly affirm.
  
VI. Sources


Thank you! Please Vote Pro.
Published:
Framework: 
Pro wants this to be a debate about truly horrific violations of human rights because of some ways in which the justice system treats criminals harshly and unjustly. I support the fact that while there are some instances where there is a miscarriage of justice, I support, as an alternative, people lobbying the government to change these laws, because let's face the truth. Not all laws are Jim Crow laws, where the sentences are so abhorrent that they are unacceptable. Most laws, contrary to Pro's characterization, are in fact just and fair. Things like life imprisonment fro carrying a minute amount of drugs are the kind of laws that I support lobbying as an alternative. Why is this system better than Pro's model? For the simple fact that prevention is better than cure, and actually stopping these miscarriages from happening in the first place is better than nullifying them when they do arise. Also, my model is mutually exclusive because if my model is implemented, then there won't be the need for juries to nullify, because unfair laws would already have been stifled, so Pro can't come up here and say he can implement my model along with his.  

Case split:
The three arguments that I'l bring to the table are (1) That this is a hindrance to the criminal justice system, (2) That crime rates and recidivism will increase, (3) That there will be a disproportional disadvantage to racial and ethnic minorities

My case:

(1) That this is a hindrance to the criminal justice system

a.  No scope for justice, and for retribution for victims  

When victims do not see their attackers face justice, that is when the criminal justice system has failed them. Their attackers face absolutely no punishment, and are even acquitted, just because the members of the jury saw their punishment as unconstitutional or immoral. They see that their attackers go scot free, and can go on doing the things they've been doing. This is quite a horrible realization for the victims, when they realize that the man who murdered their husband is back on the streets again, just because the jury didn't feel like the death penalty is a reasonable punishment. The fact that a law, objectively, might not be fair, is never a reason for the perpetrators of crimes can walk away without any punishment whatsoever. It is never a reason for victims of a crime to not receive the justice they deserve, the justice that they were promised. Jury nullification actively perpetuates the harmful notion that it's okay for victims to not receive justice, and for criminals to receive no punishment, as long as a law is considered unjust. Also, jury nullification poses another unique harm towards justice because jury nullification is deeply objective. While some juries may perceive the death penalty unfair and unjust, another jury might think that the death penalty is the perfect punishment for murderers. This means, that people who committed the same level of crime can be sent to jail, or can walk free depending on the jury. This is frankly a horrible way for criminal justice to be meted out. The criminal justice system should be based on functional legal principles, rather than simply letting a jury decide whether a law is unconstitutional or not. So, at the end of this strand, Pro has to tell us why retribution is an unnecessary aspect of the criminal justice system, and Pro has to tell us why a system of objective punishment is a good enough standard for the criminal justice system.

b. No scope for rehabilitation of criminals
Criminals are only truly rehabilitated when they realize the extent of their crimes, and are truly remorseful for them. This can never happen on their side of the house, when whenever they are convicted of a crime that a jury feels has to harsh a sentence attached to it, they walk free. Murderers do not realize the extent of harm they've caused to the victim's family and friends, when they do not even understand the depth of the crime they've committed. That's what prison does to people. Prison makes people realize what they've done, what damage they've caused, and why they should never do what they did again. Instead, on Pro's side of the house a criminal, if nullified, can just walk free and keep doing the things they've been doing again.This is a truly appalling world, where criminals don't know why what they did was wrong. All they know is that they committed a murder, they didn't get arrested for it, and can do it again. Pro has to defend this world, and tell us why jury nullification is worth this cost.

(2) That crime rates and recidivism will increase

Following from my previous argument, the outcomes of a lack of rehabilitation are pretty devastating. What follows from this policy is a world where criminals commit a crime, don't get arrested for it, and continue to do it again. This looks like a world where seventeen year olds who carry crack have complete faith that the jury will nullify a fifteen year sentence, and so, are willing to commit the crime, or in the case of criminals, commit the crime again. This is truly a scary world to live in. Two ways that society will react to this:

a. Insecurity

Pro's world is a world where people are scared to sleep at night, for fear of someone attacking them. This looks like people feeling insecure about stepping onto the streets, for fear of someone assaulting them. This looks like parents of an adolescent being scared to death that their child will go into drugs, and might never come out. This creates an insecure society, one any responsible government 
should be vying to change. Instead, my side of the house gives people an alternative. It gives criminals a deterrent, and thus creates a much more safe and secure environment.

b. Stigmatization

The other outcome that inflated crime rates will have on society is that people will be a lot more averse to criminals. Why is this true? Firstly, since more murderers, more junkies and such will be on the streets that have not received any punishment, rhetoric is, they got out easy. Rhetoric is, they didn't get what they deserved, so society will take it upon themselves to punish them. This looks like employers being more stringent and harsh towards criminals, and not offering them jobs at all. This looks like colleges denying admissions to drug possessing students. This looks like criminals being isolated and separated from society, because society wants to give them the punishment they deserve. Secondly, people are more scared and insecure around these people, because they have not undergone rehabilitation, and changed, mentally. This is another reason for society to deny them jobs in a company, or admissions in for college, because they are scared of the fact that they might offend again, and commit crimes again, all because on Pro's side, the key deterrent, the thought of prison, does not exist. What are the outcomes of this? Simple. Criminals will be isolated and pushed away from society, and will be alienated by society. This will foster harsh feelings in the minds of criminals, a hatred towards society, which will undoubtedly motivate them to offend again, to commit a crime again. This creates a vicious cycle tat these criminals can never escape from, and one that society as a whole cannot escape from. This is an unquestionable consequence in Pro's world, and Pro has to respond to this key bit of analysis.

c. Drug usage will become rampant, particularly in teenagers 

Teenagers caught with drugs are likely to be given a sentence of around fifteen years for carrying drugs. The difference is, on Pro's side of the house, the jury would acquit that teenager, rather than tell him what he did was wrong. The jury would acquit that teenager because he has potential for the future, and the jury does not want to deny him the prime years of his life because of him carrying an 'unweighable' amount of crack. The jury will want to forgive that child, to give him a second chance. Ultimately, this will create an atmosphere where teens feel like they can get away with doing drugs, and more teens will fall into the shady black market of drugs that they can never escape from. This amplifies things like peer pressure, where more and more teens begin to succumb to the temptation of taking just a small amount, soon transcending into something they can never escape from.

(3) That there will be a disproportional disadvantage to racial and ethnic minorities

A average jury consists disproportionately of white people. African-Americans are still actively excluded from the jury system because racist prosecutors can give any reason they want to dismiss them. "We've had African-American jurors excluded because they're too old at 43, because they're too young at 28, while other white jurors much older are being accepted, and other white jurors much younger are being accepted," The Equal Justice Initiative’s Bryan Stevenson told NPR [1]. What this should tell you is that the American jury system in intrinsically racist. Why does jury nullification amplify this harm? As Pro rightly said, a jury system is meant to be a system by which you are judged by your peers, who can understand the moral nuances on a case-by-case basis. The problem with this is that African-Americans are no judged by their fellow African-Americans. They're not judged by their peers. They are, in fact judged predominantly by white people, who will have an inherent bias against them. No one can deny the fact that racism is still a prevalent problem in the US, and that African-Americans just don't receive the same outcomes of jury nullification that white people do. An African-American could be arrested for committing a crime, while a white person gets acquitted for committing that same crime. This perpetuates the already existing harmful biases in the criminal justice system, and gives one set of people an advantage over another, just because of his skin color. Racism is never a principle by which we should stand.      

Vote Con.

Sources:
Round 2
Published:
I. Framework/Counterplan

Con's arguments here are not so much offering a framework as they are offering a counterplan (CP). That CPis that citizens should lobby congress to make changes to unjust laws. There are several problems with this CP.

Firstly, this CP is not, as Con suggests, mutually exclusive. There is no reason why citizens cannot both lobby congress and nullify unjust laws which are already on the books. The status quo is evidence enough against the supposed exclusivity, insofar as lobbying and jury nullification exist in it. Perm Con's argument and do both. I can get the benefits of lobbying in my world while also retaining the additional safeguard of jury nullification.

Secondly, lobbying can take years to bear fruit. After the passage of an unjust law it may take years or decades to successfully lobby for that law's repeal, even if said lobbying began immediately after its passage. Jury nullification, by contrast, can prevent injustices from occurring while the unjust law is still on the books. Jury nullification is thus a necessary stopgap measure that can prevent injustices in the short-term, even as lobbying seeks to prevent injustices in the long-term. In this sense, the two strategies are complementary.

Thirdly, even where lobbying does cause the repeal of an unjust law, people convicted for breaking that unjust law will remain felons and will remain incarcerated because their actions were illegal at the time they took them. Lobbying can therefore not replace jury nullification's ability to prevent those people being made felons or incarcerated in the first place. 

Rather than forcing people to stay in jail or live with a conviction on their record as they pursue a lengthy appeals process or wait for lobbying to work, jury nullification can solve the problem. Consider that for every year of prison served, one's lifespan decreases 2 years. [1] In other words, unjust convictions are not only denying people basic freedoms, but they're hastening their deaths.

Fourthly, even with lobbying, unjust laws will always come to pass. Simply because a law is unjust does not mean it is unpopular or lacks support in key political circles. Retaining jury nullification is vital as a secondary check in the event that lobbying cannot prevent the passage of an unjust law.

II. Hindering the CJS

A. Retribution

Con's argument here is that, when jury nullification is implemented, victim's do not see criminals punished for their crimes. But this analysis is too simplistic, because it assumes that the victims are, in fact, victims. Consider that punishing someone who does not deserve it victimizes the person who was punished. The whole notion of "retribution" has packed in it an idea of desert; i.e. that retribution is punishment for some wrong that was committed. If no wrong was committed (and it certainly cannot be wrong to break an unjust law) than there can be no justified retribution. There are two key takeaways here. Firstly, victims of unjust laws are not legitimately regarded as victims. Secondly, punishing someone who does not deserve punishment victimizes the person who was undeservedly punished, turning Con's impacts against him (insofar as his world would permit people to be punished for breaking unjust laws).

Furthermore, Con assumes that there are indeed victims in these cases. In the case of someone caught with too much home-grown pot, it seems like there is no victim at all from whom retribution could provide solace. 

Con then goes into a discussion on objectivity and subjectivity, claiming that jury nullifcation is too subjective. Simply apply my case's overview about arbitrariness (i.e. subjectivity) to Con's argument on subjectivity. Next, the "objectivism" Con wants the legal system to embody is something I referred to as literalism. It is the notion that the laws should be enforced by their letter. This, of course, leaves no leeway for juries to prevent victimizing defendants who do not deserve to be punished. It also means that the jury becomes a mere rubber-stamp for the government, robotically applying the letter of the laws even when those laws might be unjust or might facilitate oppression. This links into my argument for juries as a check on government authority. Juries should not be mere rubber-stamps.

Finally, we should reject outright a retributive model of justice. Rather, forgiveness is an essential element of both protecting and vindicating victims of injustice. A restorative model of justice also encourages criminals to take responsibility for their wrongdoings. On the first point, "'A state of unforgiveness is like carrying a heavy burden--a burden that victims bring with them when they navigate the physical world...Forgiveness can lighten this burden.'" [2] On the second point, acknowledging the victim's power to forgive recognizes their power over the assailant or criminal, and asserts that they are the ones with power. On the third point, "Restorative justice programs..typically prioritize victims' needs and enable the perpetrator to tell his or her story. These elements foster a dialogue between victim and criminal that results in two important consequences: victims report high rates of satisfaction with the process, and offenders are more likely to take responsibility for their crimes." [3] Conversely, victims who seek retribution seldom feel relief when that retribution is obtained. [4] Obviously, criminals must be held responsible for their actions and victims are under no obligation to forgive (some crimes are unforgiveable), but it is better to approach the CJS from a mindset of conscientiousness and healing than from a mindset of revenge.

B. Rehabilitation

Why should someone who broke an unjust law feel remorseful about breaking it? Should Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King or Gandhi be remorseful for violating immoral laws designed to disempower minority groups? Here Con assumes that the "wrongdoers" actually did something wrong, which is a false assumption to make. In cases where someone violated an unjust law, they have nothing to feel remorseful about, and so are not in need of rehabilitation.

Con's world is non-unique insofar as bad people can go free through lack of evidence, procedural technicalities, or a non-jury nullification acquittal. The kinds of cases in which nullification is likely to occur are the same kinds of cases where defendants are likely to be sympathetic. Where juries feel a criminal does not deserve punishment, or that the criminal is being unjustly or unfairly treated, they are likely to empathize with the defendant, putting them in a mood-state conducive to acquittal. Therefore, even if juries in these situations did not vote with the intent of rejecting the law or its application, they may be inclined to more easily manufacture doubt within themselves as to the criminal's guilt. We are less likely to believe someone guilty if we don't want them to be guilty. 

III. Recidivism

A. Insecurity and Stigmatization

Con has presented literally no data to back up his claim that jury nullification will increase crime rates. Because all of Con's arguments here are predicated on his earlier claims about rehabilitation, simply cross-apply my arguments against his rehabilitation claims here.

Con's first argument (insecurity) is filled with little more than wild and fear-mongering speculation unsupported by anything resembling a warrant. Perhaps the only shred of logic we see in this sub-point is that Con's world has a deterrent (but so does mine, since many criminals will continue to be incarcerated in either world).

Con's second argument is equally fear-mongering, but it seems to support my case rather than my opponent's. The label of "convict" makes it far harder to obtain jobs and leads to social isolation, which have been demonstrated to lead to recidivism. [5] But, I see no evidence offered by my opponent that non-convicts who have committed crimes are equally isolated and denied job opportunities. In this way, the evidence actually seems to support jury nullification (as a means to prevent criminals being convicted) as a tool to fight recidivism. At worst for Con, this turns his argument. At best, it shows that either world will isolate criminals, leading to recidivism, which moots his argument.

I'd like to add, since Con talks a bit about druggies, that "drug prohibition creates high levels of crime. Addicts are forced to commit crimes to pay for a habit that would be easily affordable if it were legal...More dramatically, because drugs are illegal, participants in the drug trade cannot go to court to settle disputes, whether between buyer and seller or between rival sellers. When black-market contracts are breached, the result is often some form of violent sanction, which usually leads to retaliation and then open warfare in the streets...[D]rug prohibition channels over $40 billion a year into the criminal underworld. Alcohol prohibition drove reputable companies into other industries or out of business altogether, which paved the way for mobsters to make millions through the black market." [6] Jury nullification, as a tool to fight against unjust and overly-restrictive drug laws, actually prevents recidivism, turning Con's argument. 

B. Drug Use

Contrary to what Con supposes, more lax policies regarding drugs have little to no effect on the rates of drug use. For example, one study found that "more liberal marijuana laws have had 'minimal impact' on marijuana use, other substance use, alcohol consumption or crime rates, the study found." [7] Not exacting legal punishments for drug use is thus not going to increase rates of substance use. 

IV. Minorities

Con says that jury nullification is intrinsically racist. In fact, the entire US Justice System is intrinsically racist. So how on earth are Con's arguments unique? Answer: they're not.

Furthermore, when African Americans are impaneled on juries, they can use their position to fight racist laws or racist applications of the law by refusing to convict on the basis of those laws or applications. [8] African Americans don't have that ability to directly prevent racist convictions in other areas of the justice system, making jury nullification a uniquely powerful tool to fight racism. Because African-Americans are a reliably Democratic voting bloc, blue legislators have little incentive to cater to their needs (why pander to them when you already have their votes) and African-Americans are likely a minority in the police, prosecutorial, and judicial ranks. Only by jury nullification can a minority member, acting alone, have such a directly beneficial impact. This turns Con's argument.

V. Underview

Jury nullification is rare, so even if you buy that Con's deriving some impacts from his arguments, those impacts are going to be small. [9]

VI. Sources


Thank you! Please Vote Pro!
Published:
Overview:
Pro would have us believe that this debate is primarily about unconstitutional laws, unfair laws that are extremely harsh towards criminals. This is not reality. The reality of this debate is that jury nullification is more of a process to decide whether a certain punishment is too harsh, or whether a certain criminal deserves punishment. This is the lens through which we should view this debate. On the other hand, regarding unconstitutional laws, only twenty such cases have been reported since the turn of the decade. Society is becoming more progressive, that's why we see the fact that there are not a lot of unconstitutional laws, per se, out there. Maybe if this debate were set in the eighteen hundreds, we could accept Pro's framework of this debate, but certainly not in this day and age. And even if Pro were to argue about these twenty remarkable cases, the unjust law in question was rectified very quickly, contrary to Pro's rhetoric on how lobbying and petitioning takes a while to take effect. They do not. Keeping this in mind, I'll talk more about why my framework is actually mutually exclusive in the next round. 

Rebuttal road map:
Three big ideas in Pro's case: (1) The law as an integrity, (2) On this whole idea of flexibility, (3) On checking oppression. I'll deal with all of these systematically.

My rebuttal:

(1) The law as an integrity

What is Pro trying to convey to you through this argument? Pro is trying to tell you that if jurors choose to ignore the text of the law, and instead acquit the defendants on the basis of democratic values, they are not, in fact ignoring or overturning the law. Rather, they are respecting the justifying principles of the law. Two responses here:

(a) On jurors

Through this argument, Pro assumes that juries are extremely fluent in things like democratic values and legislature. Let's deal with the reality here. The fact of the matter is that the jury, while certainly being able to discern things like the moral sophistication of a scenario, are not always fluent in the legislative sophistication of a scenario. That's why juries are appointed to decide whether a defendant is guilty without reasonable doubt, and not to decide whether a law is unjust or not without reasonable doubt. While juries may not think certain laws are fair, they do not always know the administrative reasons behind those laws. They do not always know the demographics and statistics which make a seemingly unfair law actually justifiable. Like legislators, who may not understand the moral intricacies of a certain situations, ordinary people might not always understand the legal intricacies of a certain law. This is a direct attack on the thrust of Pro's argument, that the jury isvastly knowledgeable on things like democratic values.   

(b) The threat to the law

Let's strip the law down to its bare minimum. What is the law? The law is a set of rules aimed to properly govern and administrate society, in such a way that peace is maintained. This is why it's so problematic for Pro to say that the standards of law and expand and contract organically. Pro is putting the responsibility on a jury to decide whether death row is a morally justifiable punishment for convicted murderers. Pro is putting the responsibility on a jury to decide whether a thief should go to jail for a few months, or for him to be let off with a warning and a slap on the wrist. And apparently, this exercise is supposed to make people more sophisticated in understanding legal principles. The biggest problem with this line of reasoning is that Pro fails to understand that while he/she wants to talk about the standards of the law, these standards dip the lowest on Pro's side of the house, when Pro lets ordinary people take it upon themselves to solve impending legal issues, rather than letting actual legislators, who actually understand the nuances and ramifications of these legal issues, do this work for society, because let's face it. Even if people have a sophisticated understanding of certain issues, there is a reason why we leave it to legislators to maintain the legal standards of society.  

(2) On this whole idea of flexibility

In this argument, Pro wants to talk to us about why people have an understanding on the moral nuances of each given scenario, and so, are a defendant's last hope. Again, a few responses here.

(a) This amplifies the extent at which personal prejudices and biases can affect a defendant

Pro would have us believe that all jurors are perfectly sound moral actors, who do everything only for the will of the case presented to them. This would exist in an ideal society, but unfortunately, this is not reality. In reality, all jurors are set back by their personal biases and prejudices. In reality, jurors might overrule a law for a white person, but might not do so for an African-American, or a Mexican. The odds of this happening are far more likely right now, especially because of the Trump administration spreading harmful and untrue stereotypes, like 'Mexicans are rapists' or 'African-Americans are murderers'. Now while these comments may not be taken seriously by the whole of society, it certainly affects majors blocks of people, especially hardcore Republican supporters. This is where jury selection comes into play, because Pro completely ignored my reasoning on why African-Americans are not even selected as jurors in the first place. It was damning for Pro to ignore this. Just cross-apply my reasoning on why African-Americans are not selected as jurors. Then you will realize how intrinsically racist the jury system is, and you will see how jury nullification amplifies this racism. I told you in my third argument that jury nullification is a unique tool, insofar as it can offer freedom for one person and incarceration for another, solely based on their race. It is simply not enough for Pro to say that my criticism is not unique, because of the fact that without jury nullification, jurors have to actually make a decision based on the facts and the evidence presented to them, whereas jury nullification gives them the unique opportunity to judge based on, not the facts of the case, but rather on their personal feelings. The latter is clearly the system where personal prejudices and biases are more of a deciding factor to the defendant.

(b) On stopping malfunctions in the system

The other main contention that Pro has asserted through this argument is that jury nullification is a tool to make legislators and government more aware of mistakes in the legal system. Through this contention, Pro has banked on the idea that there are many horrendous and appalling laws out there. Now, while I may agree that some laws are carry a miscarriage of justice, these laws are being fought by society on a daily basis. Society takes action against truly unjust laws, which is why, as I mentioned earlier, there are, right now, not a whole lot of truly unjust laws out there, at least inasmuch as there are controversial punishments. On punishment, as I've already told you before, society often might not be the best judges of whether a certain punishment is necessary or not, insofar as legislators are the ones with actual knowledge about things like statistics and demographics, thus being ale to judge whether a particular law is necessary, effective, and justified. What actually happens, as a result of jury nullification, is that while some minor technicalities, for which there are low sentences in the status quo anyway, are smoothed out, actual criminals are getting out as a result of a biased jury and the overall ineffective system that is jury nullification, truly effective laws are overturned by jurors, and, as a result, actual, tangible harms can be seen in society. So even if you believe that technicalities can be sorted out on Pro's side, the harms of this system far outweigh its benefits.

(3) On checking oppression 

Pro tries to tell you through this argument that this is a unique system through which jurors can prevent the government from overstepping its bounds. My responses are as follows.

(a) The role of the jury

Through this argument, Pro tries to portray juries as these multifaceted organizations that do everything from discerning moral subtleties of a case to determining whether a law is oppressive or not. the problem with this is, like I've told you throughout this round, juries simply do not have enough data to decide whether a law is oppressive or not, or whether a law is democratic or not. This argument, like Pro's first argument, asserts that a jury is well-versed in whether a law will contradict or complement societal norms. I've told you throughout this round that this is untrue. I've told you that there is a reason that we leave it to legislators and lawmakers to decide on functional legal principles for society to follow. Also, I told you, in response to Pro's second argument, that the fact that a jury thinks a law is unconstitutional does not necessarily mean that law is unconstitutional. They simply do not understand the legal nuances and intricacies behind certain laws, and thus, might not always make the right decision while choosing to overturn it. The effects of this can be devastating to society. Pro's world is one with a society where legal norms are decided on societal whims, and, like I told you in response to Pro's first argument, this is a world where standards dip the lowest. On my side, I believe in letting actual lawmakers make my laws, and, if they turn out to be truly horrific, lobbying and petitioning against it. my solution is not simply to say - see, you made a mistake with legislature then, so I'm letting criminals go free for it now, which is precisely what Pro is saying. This is why, I say, let the jury do what they were meant to do, and judge cases. Don't let them make a misinformed judgement and overturn a law, and by doing so, create tangible societal consequences.

Vote Con.

Sources:
I didn't use any sources for these rebuttals. 
Round 3
Published:
I will now defend my case.

I. Overviews

Con says nothing against my overview regarding the inherent nature of subjectivity/arbitrariness in the legal system. Extend my overview as unrebutted. Instead, Con offers his own overview, which attempts to limit the scope of my ground as a means of restricting the amount of offense I can claim. Con does this by arguing that there are only twenty something laws which might plausibly be considered "unconstitutional." There are several problems with Con's analysis.

Firstly, Con cites literally no evidence to support his assertions. He says that only twenty laws were held unconstitutional, but offers no proof. He says that lobbying fixed each of those twenty laws "very quickly" but offers no proof. He says that the number of unconstitutional statutes is decreasing, but offers no proof. It is, frankly, outrageous that Con makes these claims, while offering no proof to support any of them.

Secondly, there are far more than twenty unconstitutional laws passed every year. I found 181 laws that were struck down in whole or in part by the US Supreme Court with just a quick search. [1] More have been held unconstitutional since that time, and I am not even sure that the 181 number is entirely comprehensive for the time running to 2006. [2]

Thirdly, this debate is not just about unconstitutional laws. As Con writes, "Pro would have us believe that this debate is primarily about unconstitutional laws." Con's claim commits a strawman fallacy, namely that is not attacking my argument but is instead addressing some phantom argument which he wants you to believe is my argument. I talked in my case about the misapplication of laws. Even good, constitutional laws can be misapplied in ways which subvert the cause of justice. Take, for example, a law against theft which lands a man in jail for stealing $120. [3] We may agree that stealing should be illegal, and may agree that laws which prohibit it are good, but still disagree about certain applications of that law which are nonetheless constitutional. The phantom argument Con thinks I am making is that "this debate is primarily about unconstitutional laws." That's wrong; my actual stance is that this debate is about injustice in the judicial system and how jury nullification can prevent that injustice, whether that injustice arises from an unconstitutional law or not. Jury nullification may occur in response to a clearly unconstitutional law, but it may also occur in situations where the law is constitutional but is immoral or being misapplied.

Fourthly, even if we are talking about a small number of laws--but we're not really, since almost any law has the potential to be misused in a way that is unjust--we should still preserve jury nullification as a check against those laws. One law can have enormously negative consequences (e.g. mandatory minimums, the fugitive slave act) spanning hundreds or thousands of cases, impacting hundreds or thousands of lives. That these are only a few laws is not good cause to do away with checks like jury nullification which can minimize the wide-spread injustice which stems from them.

II. The Law as Integrity

My opponent's arguments against the law boil down to two points. The first is that jurors lack the knowledge necessary to make the judgments necessary in protecting the fundamental values which underpin the laws. The second is that the law as integrity is somehow a threat to the law. I will address each of these claims in turn.

A. Juror Capacity

Firstly, jurors do have the knowledge necessary to make the value judgments which are called for by the notion of law as integrity. Jurors do not need to speak legalese to understand that the law against theft is being misapplied to an abuse victim who steals his relatives gun to protect himself from impending harm. [4] Jurors do not need to speak legalese to evaluate a law requiring individuals to turn in fugitive slaves to their owners is unjust, nor do they need to speak legalese to evaluate mandatory minimums. Jurors need to be fluent not in legal mumbo-jumbo, but rather they need to be able to appreciate the morality of a law and its application. As I wrote earlier, "[j]uries themselves were thus not intended simply to act as stooges of the government or robots apply the law as written exactly, but were rather intended as humans capable of understanding the moral subtleties of situations" and acting on that understanding to prevent injustice and resist oppression. Con concedes that jurors have this knowledge when he writes that they are "certainly...able to discern things like the moral sophistication of a scenario."

Secondly, if you believe that jurors lack the ability to understand legalese and complex legal concepts, then you cannot support a jury system at all. Take the Manafort trial for instance. Jurors had to understand such things as whether someone is "required to file...an FBAR...if they owned less than 50 percent of such an account and did not have signature authority but did have the ability to direct disbursement." [5] The jury had to wrangle with legal terms like shelf-companies and complex financial evidence that simply boggles the mind. [5, 6] The jurors even had to ask what "reasonable doubt" is. [5] Reasonable doubt is not an intuitive notion, since the brightline for reasonability can be fuzzy. The argument that jurors cannot cope with legal jargon and complicated legal ideas is thus an argument against the jury system itself--it's throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So unless Con is willing to defend scrapping the jury system altogether, I don't see how his line of attack against me can stand up.

Thirdly, Con contradicts himself. Con says that jurors possess moral sophistication and that legislators possess legal sophistication, but not vice versa. Then Con says, as if it is a bad thing, that "Pro is putting the responsibility on a jury to decide whether death row is a morally justifiable punishment for convicted murderers." Well, wouldn't you want the morally sophisticated party to make the moral judgments? Seems like that's the case to me; so, by Con's own reasoning, juries should decide whether death row is a morally appropriate penalty in a given situation. But setting that aside, juries, under the status quo, are constantly asked to make judgments like this. In civil court, for instance, juries are asked to make judgments about what penalty a defendant ought to pay, if any. There are even juries which are impaneled specifically to determine if someone deserves the death penalty. [7] Thus, Con's objection here is not unique to my world. Juries are often tasked with making judgments about desert, and such asks are going to keep being made with or without jury nullification. So, there are two impacts of this point: the first is the contradiction and the second is the non-uniqueness.

Fourthly, someone had better be making judgments about the application of laws. Since legislators cannot foresee all possible applications of a law in order to rule out any and all misapplications, when misapplications occur, it necessarily falls to the jury to stop the misapplication. Jury nullification the only way to prevent injustices in the short-term.

B. The Law

Con says the idea of the law as integrity is a threat to the law because it's "problematic for Pro to say that the standards of law and expand and contract organically." This is a bit circular (law as integrity is a problem because its a problem). Besides, the law will always expand and contract as it is amended, re-interpreted, or made obsolete. It's a non-unique issue. What we don't ever get from Con is a clear, impacted argument as to why the law as integrity undermines the legal system. If anything, Con fails to rebut the reasons I give that prove the opposite. Extend those reasons as unrebutted. Those reasons are:

1. The law is more than its text. There is intent behind the law, and when interpreting the law, judges often make an explicit effort to identify and honor the intent behind the law. If intent guides interpretation, intent is part of the law itself.

2. A law divorced from justifying principles cannot be legitimate. The reason why a law the requires us to call watermelons "waterpumpkins" on Thursdays is absurd is because there is no good reason for such a law to exist. The lack of a justifying principle makes the law prima facie absurd. In the same vein, a law which denies citizens the right to vote is illegitimate is because it violates the basic principles of democracy and equality which undergird our legal system. As I wrote earlier, "[i]n situations were law violates these essential principles, the law divorces itself from its own reason for being." The principles are literally inseparable from any legitimate system of laws. It would therefore be far more problematic and threatening to the law itself to sever the principles from the law.

III. Flexibility

Firstly, cross-apply my overview here. Biases are just another form of subjectivity, and are present at all levels of the legal system, from legislators to police to judges on down.

Secondly, if Con is so worried about bias in juries, then he must want to do away with the jury system altogether, as it is equally possible that a racist jury could convict someone on the basis of their racist feelings. Again, Con would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Furthermore, Con writes, that jury nullification is unfair because it "can offer freedom for one person and incarceration for another, solely based on their race." The same is true for racist witnesses, judges, and police officers. Is Con going to do away with all these things too?

Thirdly, it is enough to defeat Con's arguments to say that they're non-unique, because Con cannot demonstrate that a jury with prejudices couldn't manufacture reasonable doubt among themselves or warp their views (intentionally or not) to fit their ideological perspectives.

Fourthly, Con makes wildly unsubstantiated claims. He writes, "actual criminals are getting out as a result of...jury nullification." Yet, Con offers no proof whatsoever showing that, right now, dangerous criminals are being loosed en masse into society as a result of jury nullification. Where's the beef?

Fifthly, most of the other comments Con makes (e.g. is a jury knowledgeable, are there many unjust laws) are things I've dealt with elsewhere in this speech. Just cross-apply as needed.

Sixthly, Con fails to rebut some of my core claims from this contention.

For example, I wrote that "lawmakers are hampered by a frustrating reality: they cannot envision every circumstance in which the law might be misapplied, and therefore cannot create a law that could never be applied against the principles which gave rise to it." Con never challenges the reality that lawmakers cannot make laws which cannot be misused. If you buy that, then it is almost impossible to deny the need for jury's to be able to nullify, if only because once convicted, even if the law is repealed, the conviction remains on the defendant's record and the defendant may remain incarcerated. But, even if the defendant is released after a law's repeal, it is wrong for them to have spent any time in jail. A jury is a defendant's last line of defense against unjust laws. This is never seriously questioned by my opponent.

Con also fails to rebut the notion that strict literalism causes injustices. When the juries inflexibly follow the letter of the law, they fail to take into account the moral dimensions of the situation, and thus enable injustices to occur by misapplying the law themselves. Extend both of these points as unrebutted.

IV. Check on Oppression

Con's argument here is the same argument about juror's knowledge that I've addressed before. Con even goes so far as to say that "juries simply do not have enough data to decide whether a law is oppressive or not, or whether a law is democratic or not." It's as if Con believes that juries cannot put 2 and 2 together to get 4. Who needs a ton of data to, for example, understand that the Sedition Act, under which Zenger was charged, was oppressive. [8] The act prohibited people from speaking critically of the government.

Con wants you to think that juries are doing theoretical physics when, in reality, they're doing high school algebra. Common sense is often enough to navigate the waters the juries are asked to plow through. And no one is obligating the juries to do anything--if juries feel in over their head, they're not obliged to nullify. My world only gives juries the option to nullify.

Con also fails to engage with a core piece of my argument, namely the following: "the presence of a jury here is itself a check on power. If the jury's only job were to ascertain the facts and apply the letter of the law to those facts, their job could be better performed by a commission of trained legal experts and investigators. Yet, the Constitution vests the power of conviction not in a commission of this sort, but in a group of common citizens. The fact that we impanel our peers to judge us implies strongly that we want people rendering verdicts who are capable of judging the circumstances of the law's application, not just the letter of the law itself." It illustrates, quite succinctly, why the strict literalism of my opponent's world actually makes it easier for the government to engage in oppressive policies and actions. In fact, Con's world is a one in which only the government can decide which laws are legitimate and which laws are not, and can exercise unchecked authority to use those laws to lock people up, including, potentially, political opponents. That is not a world in which any rational person would wish to live; it is a world ripe for oppression.

Thus, I negate.

V. Sources

3 - Pro R1, Source 2
4 - Pro R1, Source 3
8 - Pro R1, Source 5

Published:
Overview:

Two things to point out here. Firstly, on Pro's stance. In the first round, Pro's stance was quite unclear, because he had an argument both on the misapplication of just laws, and on unjust laws. But in round two, Pro's stance became quite clear when he used rhetoric on unjust laws to refute the better part of my first argument. But then in round three, Pro made it quite clear to us that his case stood for the misapplication of just laws. Assuming this is Pro's final stance, I'll use this very stance to defend my arguments. But secondly, Pro made quite a huge concession in his response to my case, namely, that on my side of the house, a jury can manufacture reasonable doubt within themselves to free a truly unjustly convicted person, thus restoring all the benefits that Pro's side has on my side. This is devastating to Pro's case, because it means that the better part of his case can accrue on my side to. Pro has to respond to this, otherwise, he loses this debate wholeheartedly.

Framework:

Pro had two direct attacks to my framework, which will be responded to in turn.

(a) That it's not mutually exclusive

My response here is that petitioning can only truly reap its benefits in a world without jury nullification. But firstly, a little bit about petitioning, and the wide gap between that and jury nullification. A petition, on its base level, requires at least a 100,000 signatures within thirty days of formulation to even be considered by the government[1]. This means that for a petition to actually take effect, it has to tackle an impending legal issue that troubles society, and it has to have enough research and background data to catch the attention of people, and lots of people have to agree with the proposal for it to be taken into courts, compared to the twelve people sitting on a jury who think a certain law is unjust, or is misapplied. Obviously, the former is preferable. Also, another key difference here is that a petitions an actual representation of the views of society, because a lot of people sign it, and, out of that 100,000 people, there are bound to be a few who actually have basic knowledge about whether the proposal actually deals with oppressive laws, and not just any laws, so a petition is also ground in actual societal problems, unlike jury nullification, where laws are ignored on the whims of the jury. Having recognized this, let's move on to why petitioning works better without jury nullification. The reasoning here is simple. A world where jury nullification is accepted perpetuates the notion that any law, as long as it's thought of as unjust, is unjust. This means that there is an influx of technical and mechanistic petitions, crowding out room for the true, meaningful petitions. Simply put, there are a lot more meaningless petitions on Pro's side, so the important ones get crowded out. 

(b) That it takes a long time

It's quite hypocritical for Pro to accuse me of not providing evidence of petitioning not taking long, while Pro fails to provide evidence on why petitioning takes long. Since both sides have not produced evidence, let's reason this out. Firstly, let's acknowledge that a government wants to stay in power for as long as it can. This is a fairly obvious premise. This means that a government will want to to appease its people, and the most basic way of doing so is to respond when a large part of society comes knocking on their door, telling them there's a problem with the system. This means that the government has to respond to that, and respond to it quickly, because the longer it takes, the more disgruntled society gets. This means that a government, in its own self-interest, has to respond to a petition that society puts forth, and has to respond to it quickly. This is the simple syllogism that Pro has to respond to, because if he doesn't, I take this clash.

Lastly, quickly, on Pro's rhetoric about how petitioning cannot save the unjustly convicted. In response o this, Pro himself acknowledges that the truly unjustly convicted can be acquitted on wither side, so this is a problem that has a solution on my side. These were the major attacks on my framework. The rest are mechanistic problems, which will have no significance if I win the rest of this debate.

Substantive arguments:

(1) Hindering the CJS

(a) Retribution and justice

Pro's main response to this argument was to miss the crux of it entirely, and talk about how my side victimizes the unjustly convicted. Two things to note here. Firstly, on the crux of my argument. In this argument, I talked about the actual criminals that are let loose on Pro's side. I talked about the murderer who was set free because the jury thought death row was too harsh. I talked about such criminals, that were let off with no punishment on Pro's side. To this, we heard resounding silence. But even if Pro wants to talk about the thief who stole 120$, ignoring Pro's concession that these thieves will be let free on my side too, doesn't Pro believe that these thieves should receive some form of punishment? Doesn't Pro believe that they should be told that what they did was wrong? I believe that if a person commits an act that is ethically wrong, he should be punished. Also, obviously, a thief who stole 120$ is not going to be punished to the extent that a thief who stole 120,000$ is. I can obviously support proportional punishment on my side, but Pro has to support no punishment whatsoever on their side. Pro has to support the fact that a person who has done something wrong can be let off scot free, without any direct punishment. This is morally and ethically abhorrent, and Pro has to justify this.

But the second big claim that came in response to this argument was that a retributive model of justice is not one that should be supported. Again, two things to note here. Firstly, my model is not not outright retributive, as Pro claims. It's balanced on three key pillars - retribution, rehabilitation, and deterrence, no of which can exist on Pro's side. It's unfair for Pro to strawman my model. But secondly, Pro has to have told us why retribution was outright bad in all circumstances, which he's failed to do. The only thing that Pro gave us was some weird rhetoric on how victims forgiving their attackers gives them power over them. This is kind of a flawed argument, because society approves of retribution, which is why we don't see the government or the CJS receiving backlash for it. Despite what people say on the outside, on the inside, everybody has an innate feeling of wanting to see their attackers punished for what they've done. Everybody wants to see someone who has done something wrong to receive the punishment that they deserve. That's why the concept of retribution exists. Pro needed to attack the core of my argument, he has failed to do so.

(b) Rehabilitation

Its kind of funny that Pro's only response to this argument was to talk about people like Rosa Parks and MLK jr., because there's two things to note here. Firstly, these are the kind of laws that are barely existent in today's progressive society. Secondly, Pro himself specifies that this debate was about the misapplication of just laws, not about unjust laws, so it's unfair for Pro to use this as a response to this argument. But crucially, like the previous argument, Pro has completely missed the crux of this argument. Pro has failed to see that whether a person stole 120$ or 120,000$, he deserves to be told that what he did was wrong, and he deserves to be taught never to do it again. This is a benefit that a petty thief can never accrue on Pro's side, because since Pro is indifferent to the fact that he committed a crime, he can take to the streets again, and commit that same crime again, since nobody ever told him what he did was wrong.

But Pro's last claim about this argument was that jury nullification only happens when jurors feel sympathetic towards unjustly convicted or unfairly treated defendants. But, as Pro concedes in this very same claim, this can happen on my side too. So Pro's response is moot insofar as he has completely missed the crux of this argument, and claims a benefit to these people that in reality, can happen on both sides. Simply put, this argument has not been responded to.

(2) Crime rates and recidivism

Before I get into the depth of this argument, note that it is entirely speculative, since jury nullification is not all that common now. Pro cannot expect me to provide evidence to back up a speculative argument. But, on to Pro's other areas of contention.

(a) Insecurity and stigmatization

Note that other than calling my argument on insecurity 'fear-mongering', Pro has done nothing much to respond to it. What are the impacts of this argument? This argument states that since people are let back onto the streets again, people are scared. Since a murderer is let back onto the streets as a result of the jury nullifying death row, those affected by that murderer are scared. They are terrified that he will come back to haunt them, and they feel betrayed by their own government, who has done nothing to punish their attacker. The same can be said in the case of a thief, a burglar, or any other small-time crook. Ultimately, these people feel insecure on Pro's side, when they see these criminals back on the streets again. This is an actual impact on Pro's side, and has not been responded to.

But secondly, on my argument on stigmatization. Note that this argument was about the fact that when society looks upon these crooks, rhetoric is, they got out easy. Rhetoric is, they didn't get what they deserve. That's why these criminals are denied admissions to colleges, and are denied jobs, because people are angry that they've not been disciplined by thee CJS, and they're also scared that because of this, these people might do the same thing again. Again, Pro strawmanned this argument by saying there will be more people labelled as 'convicts' on my side, so the impacts are worse for these people. Firstly, society generally accepts criminals back into society, whether at a slow rate, or at a fast rate. What people don't accept are people who haven't been punished for their wrongdoings, people who haven't been disciplined. Secondly, this misses my argument altogether, that these people are not accepted because they've not been punished. This argument too, has not been responded to by Pro.

(b) Drug usage:

Pro had two responses to this argument. Firstly, that Pro's side reduces recidivism, and secondly, that laxer drug policies don't necessarily lead to increased addiction. On the first idea, Pro had a weird syllogism, which goes as follows. drug prohibition creates high levels of crime; jury nullification fights against oppressive drug laws; this prevents recidivism. Two things to note here. One, Pro hasn't provided any logical links to these three unrelated strands. Pro has given us not reason why statement one is connected to statement two, and statement two is connected to statement three, therefore, ,this line of reasoning fundamentally does not make sense. This was quite odd coming out from Pro. But two, drugs are presumably going to be prohibited on both sides. Pro has given us no framework as to legalizing drugs, and summary is too late to do so. Therefore, even if this syllogism were to make sense, it would apply to either side, since unjustly convicted victims of overly oppressive drugs laws can be acquitted by a jury regardless of jury nullification. But on the second idea. Pro uses the cherry-picked example of marijuana to respond to this argument. The problem with that is, many states were on the fence about the legalization of marijuana, because of its various health benefits. Therefore, many people used marijuana regardless of its legality. The same cannot be said for more addictive drugs, like cocaine, which have worse withdrawal symptoms[2]. Pro's side is essentially a haven for drugs like cocaine, which are already popular among teens. Pro's side produces a mass influx of these drugs. Pro cannot simply deny this by talking about marijuana.

(3) Racial discrimination

Pro's first response to this argument was that it was non-unique, but I've already dealt with that in the previous rounds, so simply cross- apply those responses here.  But more importantly, pro completely dropped my analysis on African-Americans getting on a jury in the first place, and since Pro's key response to this argument is predicated on these people being on juries, his main response to this argument falls. But even if we accept that African Americans are accepted as jurors, the status quo proves that these few people cannot stop, or even affect discrimination. The status quo shows us that there are 4.1 African-Americans arrested for  every 1 white person[3]. It is far too idealistic for Pro to assume that African-American jurors can be uniquely empowered to reverse this discrimination, because if African-American jurors cannot prevent innocent or unjustly convicted African-American from being arrested, who's to say that they can somehow magically convince a jury to nullify a certain law, thus acquitting their fellow African-Americans? This is a fundamental question that Pro needs to ask himself before posting a completely ignorant response to my argument. Apart from this, I've already shown you how jury nullification can be a uniquely racist tool, something else that Pro has not responded to. In the end, this, like most of my other arguments, has not been responded to at all by Pro.

Vote Con

Sources:
Sorry for not including the source for there being only twenty unjust laws in this decade, the claim that I made in the previous round. It must have slipped my mind.
Anyway, here it is: https://law.justia.com/constitution/us/state-laws-held-unconstitutional.html (start counting only from 2010 onwards)

Round 4
Published:
I. On Clarity and Mootness

Con accuses me of having an unclear position. In fact, my position has never been unclear: whenever an unjust law or an unjust misapplication of law comes before a jury, the jury ought to have the option of nullifying. I am, and have consistently been, talking about both unjust laws and unjust applications of laws. Con is simply trying to manufacture a lack of clarity where none exists.

Next, regarding juries acquitting sympathetic defendants and how that supposedly renders my case moot, I have three responses.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
II. Framework/Counterplan

Con only address two of my four attacks against his framework. I will touch on Con's drops in a moment, but first I'll respond to those arguments he does make.

A. Mutually Exclusive

1. Key Drop

Con originally claimed that his advocacy was mutually exclusive to mine. He is no longer making that argument; instead, he is now saying that implementing both advocacies simultaneously would render them less effective. Con therefore drops that his advocacy is not mutually exclusive to mine. Extend this as unrebutted. Remember: I advocate for doing both jury nullification and Con's plan, so I can get all of Con's benefits plus the benefits of jury nullification.

2. Clarity

Con accuses me of having an unclear advocacy, when his own advocacy is unclear. In his case, there is no mention of petitioning whatsoever. Instead, he talked about lobbying, which, in the American political context, as a different meaning than simply petitioning. Either way, however, Con's argument here is going to fail.

3. Efficacy

On the question of efficacy, Con claims that jury nullification will crowd out petitioning and lobbying because "A world where jury nullification is accepted perpetuates the notion that any law, as long as it's thought of as unjust, is unjust." Firstly, this makes no sense. Like, on a literal level, what even is this argument trying to say? It seems like Con is claiming that jury nullification leads to perceptions of injustice creating the perception that the perception of injustice is injustice. Not only is that logic highly tortured (and is thus extremely ambiguous/unclear), but perceptions of injustice, whether in the jury or in the public (as with petitioning), always lead to the conclusion that the injustice is, in fact, unjust. It's also entirely unclear how Con moves from the above claim to the claim that the first claim leads to "influx of technical and mechanistic petitions." Con's argument is gobbledygook disguised as reason.

Secondly, the status quo proves that jury nullification is not crowding out petitions. Jury nullification is legal in the status quo [1, 2]. Petitioning is still extremely common and popular in the US, as websites like Change.org demonstrate. [3, 4, 5] Clearly, therefore, jury nullification and petitioning can exist together and still remain useful tools for addressing issues.

4. Petitioning

Con claims that petitioning has several benefits: that it reflects the views of society, that petitions have research to persuade people, and that petitions are always tackling impending legal issues. None of these claims is correct.

Firstly, petitions reflect the views of the signatories, not society as a whole. If I got 100,000 racists to sign a petition calling for the extermination of all black people, my petition, though signed by 100,000 people, would not be (and I am quoting Con) an "actual representation of the views of society." Secondly, just scanning through the first group of petitions on Change.org, I find no cited research, but, rather, an abundance of anecdotal evidence and appeals to emotion. Where is the evidence from Con that petitions are usually or always well-researched? There is none. Petitioners often write about issues in which they believe, but that doesn't mean that they are supported by evidence. If Alex Jones wrote a petition calling for the government to look into whether a race of extraterrestrial aliens was controlling key members of Congress, I don't think he'd have much evidence on his side to legitimate his petition. I do, however, think that with his following, he could get 100,000 signatures on that petition. Thirdly, petitions are not always tackling real or serious legal issues. Consider that a petition to begin constructing a Death Star recently gathered enough signatures to be submitted to the White House for consideration. And that isn't the only odd petition to have accumulated thousands of signatures. "And the petition to deport British-born CNN host Piers Morgan. And the entreaty to designate and protect the Sasquatch as an indigenous species. And the appeal to nationalize the Twinkie. The 'We the People' site has received, the White House says, 141,310 petitions over the course of its young existence. And many of those have been, effectively, hoaxes--elaborate yet low-investment jokes played by citizens rising up, coming together, and exercising their constitutional right to troll." [6] Making the White House respond to junk like this is wasting government time and money.

B. Long Time

Con made the assertion that petitions work quickly to affect change. It's his burden to show that. If he has no sources or evidence to support his claim, then there is literally no reason to believe it. Moreover, making a quick response to a petition is not the same as taking action based on a petition. The government could respond with agreement, and then take no action to implement the petition's idea. Con needs to show not only a fast response time, but a fast implementation time, in order for his argument to have any weight.

The evidence shows that petitions are often unanswered or are answered only after lengthy waits. [7] "None of the Trump-era petitions have been given a response...Under...Obama...petitions that challenged the administration went years without answer while goofy, softball or more politically convenient ones got a response." [8]

C. Drops

Con drops two of my arguments, which show that (a) even where lobbying does cause the repeal of an unjust law, people convicted for breaking that unjust law will remain felons and will remain incarcerated because their actions were illegal at the time they took them, and (b) even with lobbying, unjust laws will always come to pass, so keeping jury nullification is vital as a secondary check in the event that lobbying cannot prevent the passage of an unjust law. Extend these argument as unrebutted.

III. Hindering the CJS

A. Retribution

1. Proportionality

Let's not forget why Con felt that retribution was important. Con wrote in his case that "When victims do not see their attackers face justice, that is when the criminal justice system has failed them." Con argued that retribution was important because it delivered vengeance and closure for victims. Con tries in this last round to reframe his argument about retribution being something owed to the criminal, but in doing so he is shifting the goal posts. The question of whether a defendant deserves a certain punishment is thus less material to this contention that Con would have you believe. That said, Con's primary argument here is that people who do something ethically wrong ought to be punished. I agree with a caveat and a caution. The caveat is that they ought to be punished in a just manner, and the warning is that ethics is not the same as law (often the law mandates the unethical). 

Con writes that "obviously, a thief who stole 120$ is not going to be punished to the extent that a thief who stole 120,000$ is." But Con's wrong. The man who stole $120 "was sentenced to prison for life under Texas’s three strikes law." The man had been convicted twice before both for thefts of only $80 or less. [9] So yes, a thief who steals $120 is going to be punished "to the extent that a thief who stole 120,000$ is." When Con suggests that obviously won't happen, he is making a value judgement that it would be absurd to equate those two crimes and thus absurd to punish them similarly. So, it would be absurd for a jury not to nullify this law in order to prevent an egregious miscarriage of justice. A guy who, throughout his lifetime, had only been convicted of stealing $229.11 got life in prison. How is that just? How can Con condone that happening in his world, when even he clearly thinks that such a punishment is absurdly unjust? Con does not have proportionality on his side. A jury nullifying in this case might allow a thief to go free, but it avoids the greater injustice of sentencing a man to life in prison when he clearly doesn't deserve it. 

Remember my arguments from earlier in this debate: (a) retribution for breaking unjust laws cannot be owed to the victim because breaking an unjust law is not wrong, (b) punishing someone for breaking an unjust law victimizes the person so punished, and (c) that not all crimes have victims. The first one Con just assumes is wrong without engaging with my argument, the second is reinforced by the analysis I just gave, and the third was never rebutted at all.

2. The Model

My claim about retribution can be applied to that pillar of his model. It is not enough for Con to say that retribution is only a pillar of his model without responding to why retribution is bad. If it's bad, it should be included in his model at all.

Con then claims that I need to show why retribution is bad in all cases, but this misunderstands the argument. If retribution is a fundamentally flawed approach, we should not use it when we have better approaches available (e.g. rehabilitation- and restoration-based approaches). A broken clock is right twice a day, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't throw it out.

Con then drops my arguments as to why retribution is a fundamentally flawed approach, namely that (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. Extend each of these arguments as unrebutted. Since we can reject a retributive outlook as fatally flawed, we can scrap all of Con's retributive-based arguments and impacts.

B. Rehabilitation

Con claims that unjust laws are "barely existent" in the modern era. Yet, it's legal to fire someone for being gay and it's somehow alright to institute a Muslim ban and laws that claim that oral sex isn't rape if the victim is unconscious. [10, 11, 12] Unjust laws will always be an issue because legislators are imperfect beings. Having checks against such laws, checks like jury nullification, will therefore always be important.

IV. Recidivism

A. Insecurity and Stigmatization

Con cannot get out of needing to supply data simply because his argument is speculative. There are many speculative studies out there, and, because jury nullification exists in the status quo, you'd think that there would be data analyzing its impact on the world that Con could cite. 

Regardless, I don't see people running around concerned that jury nullification is freeing the next Ted Bundy. By and large, the criminal justice system, even with jury nullification, acts as an effective deterrent and an effective means of incapacitating criminals. Since jury nullification is rare, whatever impact its likely to have is small.

Next, on the question of stigmatization, Con's argument was never that criminals were isolated because they weren't punished enough. This is a shifting the goal posts fallacy. But, jury nullification takes place in the trial phase (except in death penalty cases, where it occurs in both phases), and so has no bearing on the extent of a sentence. Ultimately, Con is trying to use flimsy reasoning to escape the inescapable: that his argument turns to support my case.

My argument was: The label of "convict" makes it far harder to obtain jobs and leads to social isolation, which have been demonstrated to lead to recidivism. But, I see no evidence offered by my opponent that non-convicts who have committed crimes are equally isolated and denied job opportunities. In this way, the evidence actually seems to support jury nullification (as a means to prevent criminals being convicted) as a tool to fight recidivism. At worst for Con, this turns his argument. At best, it shows that either world will isolate criminals, leading to recidivism, which moots his argument. The data is clearly on my side.

Also worth noting, because, as my earlier sources note, juries often deal with death penalty sentencing separate from the trial, it is unlikely that juries will nullify a conviction of a murder eligible for the death penalty. [13] Rather, a jury might nullify the death sentence. In such a case, the murderer would still get life in prison, and not go scott free. This is going to refute that worst case scenario that Con likes to bring up.

B. Drug Use

On drug use and recidivism, the argument being made by my source is that drug prohibition (much like alcohol prohibition) increases crime. By weakening that prohibition through nullification, jury nullification can reduce crime. If juries in Denver, for instance, refused to convict people for selling pot, pot sales could be conducted in the open and legitimate business people could engage in that commerce, helping to crowd out criminals. 

I am certainly not in favor of criminalizing most currently-illegal drugs, including marijuana. I am required to support jury nullification; nothing about that precludes me from also arguing that drugs should be decriminalized, and fiating that in my world.

On drug use and rates of drug use, Con's only argument is to say that cocaine is more addictive. So what? Addiction rates apply only to existing users. Con has to show that cocaine rates would spike in my world in order to get offense off this argument, but he has no evidence that they would spike. Marijuana may be a unique case, but at least my study is pertinent to the question of use rates and not the red-herring of addictiveness.

V. Minorities

Con says he already addressed the issue of uniqueness on this argument, but he hasn't. Again, my argument was: "Con says that jury nullification is intrinsically racist. In fact, the entire US Justice System is intrinsically racist. So how on earth are Con's arguments unique? Answer: they're not." Nowhere has my argument been refuted. Extend it as unrebutted. This is going to take out Con's argument here.

Con then says that because African Americans are a minority, they lack the numbers to use jury nullification as a tool. That's not true. Since a jury must be unanimous to reach a conviction, even a single African American on a jury who chooses to nullify can derail an unjust law or unjust application of law in a particular trial. As I wrote earlier, when African Americans are impaneled on juries, they can use their position to fight racist laws or racist applications of the law by refusing to convict on the basis of those laws or applications. African Americans don't have that ability to directly prevent racist convictions in other areas of the justice system, making jury nullification a uniquely powerful tool to fight racism. Only by jury nullification can a minority member, acting alone, have such a directly beneficial impact. This turns Con's argument.

Finally, Con says I didn't address his argument about African Americans getting on juries. It might be the case that African Americans are sometimes excluded, but its clear that is not always the case. In fact, "racial discrimination in the selection of jurors...is specifically prohibited...[T]he court ruled that the defendant could make a prima facie case for purposeful racial discrimination in jury selection by relying on the record and that a State denies a defendant equal protection in a trial before a jury from which members of his race have been purposely excluded." [14]

VI. Underview

Extend this as unrebutted. Jury nullification is rare, so even if you buy that Con's deriving some impacts from his arguments, those impacts are going to be small.

VII. Sources

9 - Pro R1, Source 2
13 - Pro R3, Source 7
Published:
Overview: 

The biggest gap in Pro’s case thus far was that I prioritize arrest based on evidence, while Pro prioritizes it based on the internal convictions of the jury. This was the horrendous gap that plagued Pro’s case throughout this debate, and, please note, has not been responded to, or even addressed, throughout this debate. Failing to address this fatal flaw in Pro’s case is what loses him this debate. Also, as a side note, please note that contrary to Pro’s vivid imagination, I have, in fact, responded to most, if not all, of his case. Pro has mislead you to believe that I haven’t done so. I’ll prove that I have through the course of this round.

Framework:

Pro’s main response to my mootness argument towards his framework was that it cuts both ways. Here’s the thing – it does not. All I said was that juries can acquit truly unjustly convicted criminals. I never said that I would allow juries to acquit sympathetic defendants. I can set up regulations on juries acquitting criminals for crimes they’ve actually committed – that’s something Pro can’t do. This means on my side of the house, that thief who stole 120$ will still be arrested. Therefore, all my arguments against Pro’s system still stand. Also, this effectively takes out Pro’s third attack on my framework, because manufacturing doubt to acquit an unjustly convicted person is definitely justifiable. My response to Pro’s second attack will segue into my later responses.

(a)    Mutual exclusivity:

Pro has completely ignored the reasoning I’ve pushed to you through this line of analysis. He has completely ignored the fact that while some petitions might be of an unserious nature, many of them are in fact genuine complaints to the government, and that jury nullification dilutes this utilitarian nature of patents. That’s why, for petitions to work to their fullest extent, jury nullification cannot exist. That is mutual exclusivity. This characterization has been completely dropped by Pro, so extend it as unrebutted.
 
(1)    Efficacy

My argument here was the same one that I made to you in response to Pro’s case, back in round two, that juries might not always be the best judge of whether a law is unjust or not. I told you that the simple fact that a jury this a law is unconstitutional does not make that law unconstitutional, because juries do not always have knowledge about the legal framework. It’s honestly not that hard to understand. This material, again, has not been touched by Pro.
 
(2)    On petitioning

Pro’s main argument here was that petitions themselves are a very inherently flawed system. One question to ask here. Why does Pro support petitioning? If Pro were to follow the analysis that he has presented to us, why does he support petitioning, instead of a world with jury nullification as the only check in the system? The answer is simple. Pro recognizes the unique benefits that petitioning poses to society. Pro recognizes that even if they can sometimes be of a trolling nature, they are only worsened when jury nullification is only thrown into the mix, as can be seen in his lack of response to my first strand on mutual exclusivity. But now, on this whole argument of the views of signatories. Firstly, racist, ridiculous, or emotion-based petitions are clearly not going to be responded by the government. It’s unfair for Pro to claim this as a disadvantage on my side because these are the kinds of petitions that are going to get no response whatsoever. Moreover, no government money or resources are going to be wasted on these ridiculous petitions, it’s outrageous for Pro to assert this. And, also, presumably, it’s much easier, in Pro’s world for a group of twelve racist jurors to let a white man walk free, regardless of whether he commits a crime, than for one racist to go out and find 99,999 other racists to sign a petition. The impacts of this is much worse on Pro’ side, because it involves actual, just laws being overturned. So if Pro wants to talk about racism, it’s much worse on his side. This, again was analysis presented to you by me in round two of this debate, which has not been responded to by Pro thus far.
(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.
 
(c)     Drops

I did in fact respond to Pro’s third attack on my framework, directly after I responded to his second attack. I’ll quote it right here – “Lastly, quickly, on Pro's rhetoric about how petitioning cannot save the unjustly convicted. In response o this, Pro himself acknowledges that the truly unjustly convicted can be acquitted on either side, so this is a problem that has a solution on my side.” Either Pro is intentionally lying to you, or he cannot think of a good enough response to this. Either way, my response to this attack still stand. On Pro’s last attack, I’ve already addressed it elsewhere in my case, by saying that juries are not necessarily the best judges of whether law is constitutional or not. It was Pro’s burden to do this, and apart from providing flourish and rhetoric about high school math, he has failed to provide us with solid analysis.
 
Substantive Arguments:

(1)    Retribution and justice
 
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.
 
On drugs:
 
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.
 
(3)    Minorities
 
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[1]? 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[2]. 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.
 
Case gaps:
 
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
 
Vote Con.
 
Sources:
[1] Con R3 source 3
[2] Con R1 source 1

Added:
--> @oromagi
I agree 100%. This is one of the best debates I've seen in a while and definitely one of the best debate on the site.
Added:
What excellent form and conduct this debate had. Nice work.
Added:
--> @bsh1, @Tejretics, @drafterman, @whiteflame
Thanks for this debate and the detailed feedback. I learnt a lot, and look forward to more such debates.
Contender
#108
Added:
And perhaps some rhetoric to make it sound reasonable, e.g. if twelve randomly selected people unanimously agree that a law is so egregiously unjust a person shouldn't be convicted for breaking it, it probably is unjust.
Added:
Not necessarily direct empirical evidence. Maybe: (1) Polls about opinions on particular issues by people who've been called to jury duty before or among particular juries and (2) examples of *nullification* rather than just of unjust convictions.
Added:
--> @Tejretics
Like I get your point about "right places," but there isn't much evidence out there to support that, partly because there isn't much empirical evidence period.
I probably would have structured my case that way had I not wanted to include the Dworkin evidence, which I find really intriguing.
Instigator
#105
Added:
--> @bsh1
I also don't think your three points were that separable. I think they were one point.
And your case should've really had some explanation of why juries are likely to nullify in the right places, I think. Those were holes in Thett's case and in yours, in my view. I might be wrong, but it seems that way.
So I guess the way I'd structure this case is:
(1) Harms: that unjust laws exist (with examples and explanations of why they're unjust + analytical warrants re: why they're likely to exist) + that alternative solutions (e.g. lobbying) have failed to fix them
(2) Solvency: that jury nullification helps end or mitigate these injustices in some unique way (here, I'd say (a) jurors are likely to nullify in cases where unjust laws exist, (b) jurors are a unique check on governmental oppression, and (c) possibly about how the fact that twelve randomly selected people think a law is so overwhelmingly unjust that they should nullify, especially given the pressures to not nullify, probably means that the law is unjust in actuality, i.e. justice is defined by people or something of the sort -- I'm not so sure about (c)).
(3) Impact: The first level is obviously why securing justice is important; in addition, I'd add the law as integrity bit here, and say that blind legalism is nonsense and that the reasoning behind laws is the metric for upholding laws. So everything you said under (1). I think, broadly, the "law as integrity" bit doesn't function as offense but as defense (i.e. preemption), or as a *component* of this case that doesn't affirm independently, but I agree that it's useful to include.
So these three things would be one independent contention.
And then perhaps another independent contention about long-term political change (e.g. why jury nullification allows for lobbying to function more effectively, why it incentivizes/pressures governments to change laws, etc.).
Added:
Over 100 comments. Nice.
Added:
My failure to extend my case was an unintentional mistake on my part; I was rushing to get my speech up and forgot it was the last round. Won't do that again, lol. Also had no idea that speech was 19,000 characters...that's nuts.
Instigator
#102
Added:
--> @Tejretics
Thanks for the vote!
Instigator
#101
Added:
--> @whiteflame
Thanks for the vote
Instigator
#100
Added:
--> @whiteflame
Thanks!
Instigator
#99
Added:
I will get a vote up on this as soon as possible, plan to read through it over the weekend.
#98
Added:
Ugh I'll have to postpone my vote to Sunday.
#97
Added:
I'll vote on this today, guys. I've started maintaining a list of debates to vote on and this stands at #1, I've already started flowing.
#96
#3
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: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zYgdLhLOBbe18hvhz_1leW9KqvmMLV1zJ9BqIe5-MJQ/edit?usp=sharing
#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:
RFD in Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BPC5a56HqsG68mIk_9bDdaV8h5YA8XPR_vN1AArGZ18/edit?usp=sharing
#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