Archive for December, 2010

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Lincoln Douglas January 2011 Topic

December 13, 2010

What is meant by “juvenile”:

Person below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible (18 in

most countries). Source: Compact Oxford English Dictionary

Definition of “violence”:

Using physical force: using physical force to injure somebody or damage something.

Definition of “felonies”:

An offense, as murder or burglary, of graver character than those called misdemeanors, especially those commonly punished in the US by imprisonment by more than one year. Source: Random House Dictionary

What is meant by the “criminal justice system”:

A series of organizations involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and jailing those involved in crimes – including law enforcement, attorneys, judges, courts of law, prisons. From Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon:  Dictionary.com

ARTICLES to  READ!!

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PUblic Forum – January 2011 Topic

December 13, 2010

What is plea bargaining?

From Princeton: (criminal law) a negotiation in which the defendant agrees to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor agrees to drop a more serious charge; “his admission was part of a plea bargain with the prosecutor”; “plea bargaining helps to stop the courts becoming congested”

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=plea%20bargain

What is meant by the “criminal justice system?”

From Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon:  “A series of organizations involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and jailing those involved in crimes – including law enforcement, attorneys, judges, courts of law, prisons. Dictionary.com

What does “undermine” mean?

Definition of undermine from Princeton: sabotage: destroy property or hinder normal operations.

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=undermine


What does the Constitution say about plea bargaining?

Nothing. Read the 5th & 6th Amendments to see what it says about criminal trials.


ARTICLES to  READ!!

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Selections from the Forensics Files

December 8, 2010

Affirmative Overview

The first thing the affirmative must understand is that this resolution places on the affirmative a significant and formidable burden of proof. Not only must the affirmative prove that violent juvenile offenders must be tried as adults, but that they must be punished as adults. The affirmative could try to argue that ‘as’ does not mean the same thing as ‘with.’ In other words, the affirmative could attempt to argue that juveniles can be punished as adults without being housed with adults until they are adults. This would mean that a juvenile would stay in a

juvenile facility until they are 18 or the designated age of transfer. This may be problematic because negatives will argue that ‘as’ means ‘identically to,’ or that that the affirmative must defend punishing juveniles with adults. This small example is meant to show just how difficult affirming could be. If the affirmative must defend housing 14 year old criminals with adult, lifelong criminals, or sentencing juveniles to death, this will be difficult for the affirmative to win.

The first affirmative case, as do all our cases, defends the value of morality defined by the Encarta World English Dictionary as “Standard of conduct that are generally accepted as right or proper.” The case argues that this is the proper value because of the inclusion of the word ‘ought’ in the resolution which the same source defines as “be morally right.” So this would mean the question of the resolution is a moral one. This case argues the criterion that must be met to achieve morality is protecting individual rights. The case quotes Ayn Rand to

support this where she writes, “The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force.” The thesis of this case is that affirming protects individual rights. The first point in this case is that juvenile crime is the greatest threat society faces today meaning juvenile crime is currently the biggest threat to individual rights in

the United States. The second point in this case is that the juvenile justice system is replete with many problematic shortcomings meaning it fails to protect the individual rights of people in society or the accused juvenile. The last point in this case argues that affirming can be done with some flexibility that ensures public safety where juveniles will remain in the juvenile system until they are adults so affirming protects the rights of the juveniles and society.

The second affirmative case we offer also defends the value of morality for the same reasons as the first affirmative case but argues the criterion necessary to achieve morality is effective deterrence of criminal behavior. This is because it ensures justice for the victim and the criminal actor by properly punishing the criminal. This is because to be effective deterrence criminals must be punished harshly enough to deter future criminal action. Deterrence is also best for society because effective deterrence functions to discourage those tempted by criminal action from acting criminally. This protects the general public because it means there will be less crime. The thesis of this case is that affirming is the best way to deter crime. The first point in this case argues that affirming will help deter future criminal behavior because affirming sends a strong message to juveniles that they will face harsh punishments if they commit crimes. The second point argues an automatic system of transfer would be an effective deterrent because in the affirmative world, juveniles will face automatic transfer to adult courts for violent offenses. In most states, transfer is optional meaning juveniles may believe they will escape transfer to the juvenile system but this will not be the case in the affirmative world. The last point in this case argues that the argument that juveniles cannot be deterred is flawed because empirical evidence demonstrates that juveniles know right from wrong and seek to avoid punishment.

One interesting approach the affirmative could take is to emphasize the benefits of affirming for the juvenile justice system. Christine Chamberlin explains in ““NOT KIDS ANYMORE: A NEED FOR PUNISHMENT AND DETERRENCE IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM,” published in the Boston College Law Review where she writes, “Massachusetts’ legislative waiver and youthful offender statutes not only focus more on punishment and deterrence but also more effectively retain the original goal of the juvenile justice system—rehabilitation.240 Admittedly, legislative transfer of juveniles to adult court does not permit those juveniles to be rehabilitated within the juvenile system. The legislative waiver provision, however, is limited to older juveniles charged with murder who are not as amenable to rehabilitation and who deplete the juvenile justice system’s scarce resources that could be used more effectively to rehabilitate amenable youthful offenders or juvenile delinquents.241 Allowing the juvenile justice system to focus on the most amenable juveniles

should hopefully prevent additional adult criminal activity in the long run.” Basically, this approach would emphasize how affirming better helps non violent juveniles who are more easily rehabilitated but would be endangered by being housed with violent juveniles who take greater resources to rehabilitate.

Negative Overview

The negative has a significant advantage on this topic. As previously mentioned, the negative need only disprove one clause in the resolution to win. Even more advantageously, there is no shortage of arguments against either of these clauses. Against the idea of trying juveniles as adults are arguments that adult courts do not address the needs of the offender. The juvenile system can do so because judges can act as a parent by proxy to counsel these teens in a fashion that they do not receive at home. Against the idea of punishing them as adults, there are compelling arguments that this leads to imprisoned juveniles getting abused, committing suicide, and becoming better criminals. Beyond all of this, negatives can argue that the juvenile justice

system solves. If the juvenile justice system solves, then the negative disproves both clauses of the resolution.

The first negative case we offer defends the value of morality for the same reasons as the affirmative cases but argues the way to achieve morality is through the criterion of ensuring the rehabilitation of criminals. This is because rehabilitation recognizes the humanity of the criminal actor by working to help him or her reform and potentially lead a productive life. It also functions to better protect society because when criminals are reformed, they will no longer commit criminal actions so, rehabilitation is the most moral option because it recognizes and respects the value of the lives of all parties involved in the criminal action.

The thesis of this case is that negating ensures rehabilitation. The first point in this case is that juvenile facilities have better rehabilitation services because rehabilitation is the primary goal of these institutions and so these institutions are better trained at rehabilitating and working with juvenile actors. The second point in this case argues that juveniles incarcerated in juvenile facilities are more likely to believe the staff cares about them as youths in juvenile facilities have attested to. The second negative we offer defends the value of morality for the same reasons as the rest of the cases and defends the criterion of effective criminal deterrence for the same reasons as the second affirmative case. The thesis of this case is that affirming does not deter.

The first reason for this is because treating juveniles as adults has proven to have no deterrent effect, because, “six large-scale studies have found higher recidivism rates among juveniles convicted for violent offenses in criminal court when compared with similar offenders tried in juvenile court.” The second reason for this is because even when juveniles are aware that they could be tried as adults these laws have little to no deterrent effect and cites a study of a law in New York that was widely publicized that automatically transferred juveniles to adult court that still did not deter. Another approach the negative could take is to argue that there simply is no justification for getting tough on juvenile offenders. All kinds of statistics demonstrate that there is no menacing juvenile crime wave. In fact, most studies show juvenile crime has decreased though most recent years. This can be used to refute the many people who have been predicting the coming super predator of juvenile crime. Affirmatives may try to answer that this wave was stopped by get tough policies, but these get tough policies started after the trend was already a decline in juvenile crime. Additionally, most of these policies are not strictly affirming, so the negative could turn this argument to show that there is no reason to affirm. Finally, there are interesting arguments that getting tough on crime leads to racist implications where minorities are disproportionately punished. This could be developed into a very compelling case.

And now for the cases!

Sample Affirmative #2

I affirm the resolution, “Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.” Affirming achieves the value of morality defined by Encarta® World English Dictionary as “standards of conduct that are generally accepted as right or proper.” This is the correct value for the round because of the inclusion of the word ‘ought’ in the resolution which the same source defines as, “be morally right: indicates that somebody has a duty or obligation to do something or that it is morally right to do something.” So the question of the resolution is how to morally treat juvenile offenders

charged with violent felonies. The primary moral purpose of the US criminal justice system ought to be to deter crime. This is for several reasons. One is that deterrence ensures justice for the victim because it means the criminal is punished and punished harshly enough to achieve retribution for the crime for the crime victim. Deterrence also is just for the criminal because criminals, especially violent criminals which is the subject of the resolution, have declared they are unwilling to deal with society peacefully and are willing to use force. Hence, deterrence would ensure their punishment was properly harsh. This is because for deterrence to be effective, criminals must be punished harshly enough to deter future criminal action. So, deterrence is also just for the criminal because it sends a strong message to the individual criminal that his or her actions will be punished harshly and so the criminal is more likely to reform his or her life after such a punishment. Deterrence is also best for society because effective deterrence functions to discourage those tempted by criminal action from acting criminally. This protects the general public because it means there will be less crime. It also means more people are likely to choose protective, moral lifestyles which will be a benefit to society. This is because in a world where crime is deterred, crime no longer is an attractive option because of the harsh sentencing involved. Hence, the criterion to achieve morality in the context of the criminal justice system is the effective deterrence of criminal behavior. The debater who best demonstrates the deterrence of crime should win the round.

Before I continue please allow me to define key words in the resolution from the Encarta World English Dictionary:

Juvenile relating to young people: relating to, intended for, or suitable for young people

Violent using physical force: using physical force to injure somebody or damage something

Felony serious crime: a serious crime such as murder that is punished more severely than a misdemeanor

This means we are not talking about non violent juveniles and I do not defend trying non violent juveniles as adults.

The thesis of my case is that affirming is the best way to deter crime.

A. Affirming will help to deter future criminal behavior.

Christine Chamberlin, “NOT KIDS ANYMORE: A NEED FOR PUNISHMENT AND DETERRENCE IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM,” Boston College Law Review , Volume: 42, Issue:2, March 2001

Second, in addition to providing more focus on punishment, Massachusetts’ legislative waiver and youthful offender statutes also expand the focus of the juvenile justice system to provide greater deterrence.226 The increased focus on punishment through legislative waiver also provides deterrence because of the possibility that a juvenile will receive an adult sentence of life in prison for the crime of murder. Additionally, the possible blended juvenile and adult sentences or extended juvenile sentence should deter older juveniles from committing crimes that would qualify them as youthful offenders.

This means affirming sends a strong message to juveniles that they will face harsh punishments if they commit crimes and so is more likely to deter criminal behavior and so you should affirm.

B. An automatic system of transfer would be an effective deterrent.

Christine Chamberlin, “NOT KIDS ANYMORE: A NEED FOR PUNISHMENT AND DETERRENCE IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM,” Boston College Law Review , Volume: 42, Issue:2, March 2001

In addition to the deterrence provided by greater punishment of certain juveniles, Massachusetts’ legislative waiver statute also provides deterrence because it automatically waives jurisdiction for certain juveniles, thereby thrusting them into the center of a full-scale adult criminal prosecution.227 Legislative waiver sends a clear message that any juvenile between the ages of fourteen and seventeen who is accused of committing murder will be tried as an adult.228 In addition, the statute’s deterrent effect is heightened by the swiftness with which legislative waiver is imposed. Contrary to judicial waiver, legislative waiver is automatic.229 Waiver of juvenile court jurisdiction requires a transfer hearing that can take up to a year to complete, during which time

witnesses may relocate and evidence may be compromised, making it extremely difficult to prosecute the case.230

In addition to providing faster transfers to adult court, legislative waiver also deters by providing clear standards for transfer as opposed to prosecutorial waiver, which gives prosecutors complete discretion to proceed in juvenile or adult court.231 Prosecutorial waiver thus “invites arbitrary, [*PG417]capricious transfer decisions on the part of the prosecutor”—whereas legislative waivers are applied systematically and predictably.232 This means that affirming sends a strong message that juveniles will not escape harsh punishment because in the affirmative world, juveniles will face automatic transfer to adult courts for violent offenses. In most states, transfer is optional meaning juveniles may believe they will escape transfer to the juvenile system. So, any negative arguments that transferring does not deter must be specific to an automatic system of transfer of their arguments do not refute my position. Hence, affirming deters future criminal action and so this is enough to affirm.

C. The argument that juveniles cannot be deterred is flawed.

Christine Chamberlin, “NOT KIDS ANYMORE: A NEED FOR PUNISHMENT AND DETERRENCE IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM,” Boston College Law Review , Volume: 42, Issue:2, March 2001

Although more severe punishments and swifter, automatic transfer to adult court under certain circumstances would seem to provide deterrence, some have argued that juvenile offenders cannot be deterred because they do not conduct a cost-benefit analysis before committing a crime, but rather, act based on emotion and/or peer pressure.233 This argument fails, however, because in many cases, juveniles know that the crime they have

committed is wrongful and are thus presumably capable of being deterred.234 For example, in 1989, nine-year-old Cameron Kocher used a rifle to shoot and kill sevenyear- old Jessica Carr.235 Even at age nine, however, Cameron knew that his actions were wrong because he tried to hide the spent cartridge.236 If juveniles who commit murder when they are as young as nine years old try to conceal their actions, juveniles between the ages of fourteen and seventeen are likely to be aware of the seriousness of the crimes they commit and are capable of being deterred. This means that arguments that juveniles cannot be be deterred because they do not understand right from wrong are flawed as we have empirical evidence that juveniles do understand right

from wrong because they try to hide what they do understanding that their actions were wrong. Juveniles can be deterred and this is enough to affirm.

Sample Negative Case #1

I negate the resolution, “Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.” Negating achieves the value of morality defined by Encarta® World English Dictionary as “standards of conduct that are generally accepted as right or proper.” This is the correct value for the round because of the inclusion of the word ‘ought’ in the resolution which the same source defines as, “be morally right: indicates that somebody has a duty or obligation to do something or that it is morally right to do something.” So the question of the resolution is how to morally treat juvenile offenders

charged with violent felonies. Morally, we should seek to rehabilitate individuals who have committed criminal actions. This is for many reasons. The first is that it recognizes the fundamental humanity of the criminal actor and so does not write the criminal actor off in the way that retributive punishment does. It recognizes the humanity of the criminal actor by working to help him or her reform and potentially lead a productive life. It also functions to better protect society because when criminals are reformed, they will no longer commit criminal actions and so will no longer endanger the public. Rehabilitation also serves to achieve justice

for the victim because it is a form of punishment and the criminal actor is imprisoned while receiving treatment meaning the value of the life and property of the victim is recognized. So, rehabilitation is the most moral option because it recognizes and respects the value of the lives of all parties involved in the criminal action. So, the criterion for the round must be ensuring the rehabilitation of criminals.

The thesis of my case is that negating ensures rehabilitation.

A. Juveniles in juvenile facilities have better access to rehabilitation services.

Richard E. Redding, “Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrence to Delinquency?” National Criminal Justice Reference System, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, June 2010 Some studies indicate that prison incarceration “does not seem to be responsible for the

criminogenic effect of adult court processing” (Fagan, Kupchik, and Liberman, 2003:66).

One reason for the increased recidivism of these offenders, however, might be the reduced opportunities for meaningful rehabilitation in adult prison. Forst, Fagan, and Vivona’s 1989 study, for example, found that youth in juvenile facilities gave higher marks than youth in adult facilities to the available treatment and case management services. Youth in juvenile detention described these services as helpful in providing counseling, enabling them to obtain needed services, encouraging participation in programs, teaching the consequences of rule breaking, and deepening their understanding of their problems. Similarly, in a recent study comparing the experiences of youths in adult versus juvenile correctional facilities in a large Northeastern State, all of whom had been tried in adult criminal court, Kupchik (2007) found that youths in juvenile facilities reported far more positive, mentoring-style staff-inmate interactions than did the youths in adult facilities.

This means that negating provides a better chance at rehabilitating juveniles who have committed criminal actions because rehabilitation is the primary goal of these institutions and so these institutions are better trained at rehabilitating and working with juvenile actors.

B. Juveniles incarcerated in juvenile facilities are more likely to believe the staff cares about them.

Richard E. Redding, “Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrence to Delinquency?” National Criminal Justice Reference System, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, June 2010

Bishop and Frazier’s recent Florida study (2000) vividly portrays the differences between juvenile and adult correctional facilities. They found that the juvenile correctional institutions were treatment-oriented and adhered to therapeutic models of rehabilitation (Bishop and Frazier, 2000:255). “Compared to the criminal justice system, the juvenile system seems to be more reintegrative in practice and effect” (Bishop and Frazier, 2000:265). Youths in juvenile facilities had positive feelings about the staff, who they felt cared about them and taught them appropriate behaviors. Most of the juveniles incarcerated in juvenile facilities felt confident that they would not reoffend, often crediting the staff with helping them make this positive change. Conversely, only a third of the juveniles in adult prisons said that they would not reoffend.

This means that juvenile detention centers have proven more effective at rehabilitating juvenile offenders as compared to an adult system that does not focus on rehabilitation and does not, and cannot specialize in juvenile treatment. For these reasons we must negate the resolution.

Sample Negative Case #2

I negate the resolution, “Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.” Negating achieves the value of morality defined by Encarta® World English Dictionary as “standards of conduct that are generally accepted as right or proper.” This is the correct value for the round because of the inclusion of the word ‘ought’ in the resolution which the same source defines as, “be morally right: indicates that somebody has a duty or obligation to do something or that it is morally right to do something.” So the question of the resolution is how to morally treat juvenile offenders

charged with violent felonies. The primary moral purpose of the US criminal justice system ought to be to deter crime. This is for several reasons. One is that deterrence ensures justice for the victim because it means the criminal is punished and punished harshly enough to achieve retribution for the crime for the crime victim.

Deterrence also is just for the criminal because criminals, especially violent criminals which is the subject of the resolution, have declared they are unwilling to deal with society peacefully and are willing to use force. Hence, deterrence would ensure their punishment was properly harsh. This is because for deterrence to be effective, criminals must be punished harshly enough to deter future criminal action. So, deterrence is also just for the criminal because it sends a strong message to the individual criminal that his or her actions will be punished harshly and so the criminal is more likely to reform his or her life after such a punishment. Deterrence is also best for society because effective deterrence functions to discourage those tempted by criminal action from acting criminally. This protects the general public because it means there will be less crime. It also means more people are likely to choose protective, moral lifestyles which will be a benefit to society. This is because in a world where crime is deterred, crime no longer is an attractive option because of the harsh sentencing involved. Hence, the criterion to achieve morality in the context of the criminal justice system is the effective deterrence of criminal behavior. The debater who best demonstrates the deterrence of crime should win the round.

The thesis of my case is that affirming does not deter.

A. Treating juveniles as adults has proven to have no deterrent effect.

Richard E. Redding, “Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrence to Delinquency?” National Criminal Justice Reference System, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, June 2010

In terms of specific deterrence—in other words, whether trying and sentencing juvenile offenders as adults decreases the likelihood that they will reoffend—six large-scale studies have found higher recidivism rates among juveniles convicted for violent offenses in criminal court when compared with similar offenders tried in juvenile court. With respect to general deterrence—whether transfer laws deter any would-be juvenile offenders—the picture is less clear. The studies on this issue have produced somewhat conflicting findings; however, the bulk of the empirical evidence suggests that transfer laws have little or no general deterrent effect.

This means that after years of transferring juveniles to the adult system, it has proven that it does not deter.

B. Even when juveniles are aware that they could be tried as adults these laws have little to no deterrent effect.

Richard E. Redding, “Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrence to Delinquency?” National Criminal Justice Reference System, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, June 2010

In comparison, between 1982 and 1986, the arrest rates for similarly aged juveniles decreased in the neighboring States of Montana and Wyoming (which retained transfer procedures similar to those Idaho had before 1981). In a similar time-series analysis comparing juvenile arrest rates between 1974 and 1984 in New York and Philadelphia, Singer and McDowall (1988) found that a 1978 New York State law that automatically

sent violent juvenile offenders to criminal court (by lowering the ages for criminal court jurisdiction to 13 for murder and 14 for assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, and rape) had no deterrent effect on violent juvenile crime. The law was applied widely and publicized extensively in the media.2 Although limited, evidence available at the time suggested that juvenile offenders in New York were aware of the law (Singer and McDowall, 1988).

This means that even when harsh punishments are well known in advance, they do not function to deter juveniles from committing criminal actions and so affirming cannot achieve morality. Thus we must negate.

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Topic Research Assignment

December 6, 2010

Online Research Day:

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Read through the information provided below for your type of debate. Begin your case construction with any of the evidence you need for your case.


Remember to follow your outline:

Follow these outlines even if your sources do not. Always remember to cut and paste WHERE you got the information and its DATE of publication (ex. The New York Times, October 10, 2010).

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Policy Debate


Go to Open Evidence and research/cut cards on Disadvantages or other arguments you feel need improvement.

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Public Forum Debate


February 2011

Resolved: Wikileaks is a threat to United States national security.

Click HERE for PF Resources!

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Lincoln Douglas Debate


2011 January/February Topic

Resolved:

In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.

Click HERE for LD Resources!