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That we should abolish trial by jury

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4 points
zmontgozmontgo (PRO)
We should abolish trial by jury for multiple reasons. The most prominent is that, although they are there for the idea of complete fairness, people are easily manipulated. They can bring in someone who looks dirty and looks like he has been living under a bridge, and they are less likely to think that they are trustworthy, and therefore are more likely to vote against them. A more fair method would be proving they are guilty by data and statistics, setting it up for the computer or a larger group of people (not a jury, subject to the mistakes the person says because they are nervous, or the skillful speech of the attorney) who will look at the evidence and vote what they think, perhaps online. As stated, they are subject to the other jury's talk, the attorney's speeches, and even the judge. Cold, hard facts will get the truth, and that is far better than a guaranteed bias group.
Return To Top | Posted:
2018-09-18 01:43:04
| Speak Round
realdon_762realdon_762 (CON)
Thanks to zmontgo for accepting the challenge and I look forward to a spirited debate. For the purposes of this debate, I will assume that "we" is referring to the United States government. 

Trial by jury should NOT be abolished, for the following reasons: 

1. A jury trial is a constitutional right in the United States. Abolishing trial by jury would require a constitutional amendment, which would disrupt the U.S. legal and political system and abrogate a right that our forefathers wisely included as part of the fundamental canon of liberties. 

2. A jury trial allows citizens, rather than government officials, to provide an independent check on the actions of prosecutors and police. No matter how unbiased most judges try to be, it will always be difficult for a judge to "bite the hand that feeds them." The original understanding of the jury system included its role as trier of law, i.e. allowed the jury to not only find the facts, but also to acquit the defendant if the law was considered to be unjust or a violation of citizens' rights, or if the punishment would be disproportionate. 

3. The jury system, especially in politically controversial cases, is substantially less subject to bias or political pressure. In many parts of the world, judges are elected. An unpopular verdict could cost a judge their seat, whereas citizen juries under anonymity are able to render a verdict based on the facts. An unjust verdict of conviction can always be overturned by a judge, if the jury itself is subject to bias or pressure. However, the jury provides an extra layer of protection and prevents scenarios where judges are convicting defendants in order to avoid being pegged as "soft on crime" in the next election. 

Also, my opponent's (vague) counterplan is either not feasible or is simply a minor reform, not an abolition, of the jury system. 

If my opponent is arguing that trial by computer be developed to replace the jury system, this is not feasible. The resolution states that the jury system should be abolished - and the presumption is that "abolished" means "abolished immediately" unless otherwise specified. Therefore, my opponent is really arguing that the jury trial system should be abolished, and replaced with trial by judge, until this system of computer trials is invented, and my arguments pointing out the problems with a judge trial apply. Also, creating a computerized system of trials would only judge the facts, not the law, and thus would not provide the independent check on government action that the jury system creates. This system could also be abused; the programming could be biased, and on a different note - would you really trust a computer to make a life or death decision? Is this vague proposal of a future technology really better than a time-tested system which has protected the liberties of free people for centuries? 

My opponent's proposal of a "larger group of people" who would "look at the evidence and vote what they think" is called a jury. By definition, a jury is a "body of persons legally selected and sworn to inquire into any matter of fact and to give their verdict according to the evidence." (Merriam-Webster). If my opponent is simply proposing that a jury be presented with written evidence and legal instructions, rather than being physically present for a trial, then my opponent also negates the resolution, and has conceded the debate by not presenting an argument for ABOLISHING the system of jury trials. 

Also, my opponent notes the possible of pressure from a biased judge, which is interesting because ABOLISHING the jury system, which my opponent is supposed to be arguing for, would place that judge not only in the position of applying pressure, but would allow the judge to totally control the verdict. 

For these reasons, I urge a CON ballot and affirm that the jury system should NOT be abolished. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-09-18 04:05:17
| Speak Round

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Previous Judgments

2018-09-28 07:23:25
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: realdon_762
PRO started off strong by saying that we should abolish Juries for lots of reasons but then only really gave us one. His point was that Juries could be easily swayed and are not qualified.
This was a strong point and I wish they had elaborated it further.
Instead they spent the rest of the round proposing an alternate plan, which CON easily dismissed in their round.

But it was a good point.
CON made several arguments.
I discounted the constitutional argument since amendments to the original constitution have already been made. This in and of itself is not a major point.
I buy that a judge could be biased but I don't automatically buy that this beats the fact that a jury of citizens is unqualified to judge.
PRO saves it and ultimately wins the debate for me by elaborating on this point with his third argument, that judges could be unfairly placed in a compromising position by outside influencers. This is much harder to do when an entire jury needs to be manipulated.

I think PRO could still have won this had they made a better argument in their final round but unfortunately they forfeited instead.
Clear win to PRO.

PRO: Spend WAY more time building your scoring points. In this case I think you had the right idea, but you didn't strengthen your case enough.
You could have given some examples of cases that were decided by clearly unqualified or openly biased juries. You actually didn't even mention the unqualified aspect of a jury which would have been a really strong point, especially when coupled with the difficulty of actually assembling one in the first place.
Your counter policy wasn't a crazy move strategically, but for this judge, the computer model just had too many flaws in it that you didn't address. CON exposed this and easily defeated it. I think it was the wrong counter model.
Finally, don't forfeit.

CON: I was very pleased with your round. It was clear and well laid out.
Although I didn't buy the constitution argument, I agree with your decision to make it. I appreciated the fact that you didn't dwell on it, and it would have sucked up some of PROs next round. Good move.

I don't think this single round debate gave me enough to pick holes in from you, it was a very solid round. All the more impressive since i thought you had the weaker position going into this.

Well done.
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