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

plea bargaining cartoon

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

Unbelievable – plea bargaining again. This topic, in one form or another, has been used an absurd amount of times. There’s so much to talk about; why can’t they come up with something? I don’t believe the world of moral philosophy has run out of interesting dilemmas to be discussed and debated, but apparently whoever comes up with these topics has. Anyway, we’re stuck with what we’re stuck with, so let’s do what we have to do.

Definitions

Plea Bargaining – This is a process in which the defendant pleads guilty in order to receive something in return. fake id,Usually, they get their charge reduced, sentence diminished, or something similar. The actual terms of the agreement are largely irrelevant to the debate, so don’t focus on those.

Ought – This means “should” and is the focal point of your case. You must explain how we determine what we should do in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Retributive Justice – Plea bargaining allows people to get away with being charge for less than what they actually did.fast Fake ID, Naturally, this means that the punishment no longer fits the actual crime. According to the principles of retributive justice, this should not be permitted as people should be punished according to the crimes they’ve committed.

2. Social Contract Theory – Plea bargaining is an affront to the legitimacy of the social contract. The ideas of reciprocity and tacit consent to be governed are thrown out the window because rights claims no longer matter since people can violate those claims and circumvent the punishments outlined in the social contract through a plea bargain. The practice should be abolished to preserve a legitimate social contract.

3. Categorical Imperative – The three maxims apply pretty well here. You can definitely argue that plea bargaining shouldn’t be universalizable, that it treats people as means rather than ends in and of themselves, and that it doesn’t strive toward an end in the kingdom of ends. Therefore, it should be abolished.

Negative

1. Veil of Ignorance – Imagine a world where you’ve been charged with a very serious crime. Would you want the option to plea bargain? Even if it meant everybody else was allowed to do the same? Certainly! Under Rawls’s thought experiment, how to get a fake id,if you were to strip away all your defining characteristics that contribute to your bias, and determine social policy accordingly, you’d be in favor of a world with plea bargaining. So it shouldn’t be abolished.

2. Virtue Ethics – Aristotelean virtue ethics seeks to find the proper course of action by trying to find the median between two extremes. The two extremes here are letting criminals go free, or always giving them the harshest penalty possible. Neither of those seem great, so a proper course of action would be the middle ground of allowing plea bargaining.

3. Utilitarianism – If you want to be gross and run a practical case, you can argue that plea bargaining is in the best interests of everyone. Without it, the U.S. justice system would not be able to handle all the cases that need to be prosecuted.Scannable Fake ID, There would be a significant backlog that would cause our system to come to a grinding halt, and that’s bad for everyone. Sure, plea bargaining might allow some people to get off with a lighter punishment, but overall it’s better for everyone.

Resolved: Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid to foreign countries is unjust.

Resolved: Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid to foreign countries is unjust.

Finally! A good topic! This is a topic with lots of clash and room to come up with creative positions without allowing  a lot room for abusive stances. Oh snap! Let’s get deep on this one.

Definitions

1. Political Conditions – A political condition is any demand by a particular state which must be fulfilled as a prerequisite contingency for further action. To put it simply, it’s whatever the government says you must do to receive the aid.

2. Humanitarian Aid – This is assistance to help the citizens of a country. This can be in the form of money, supplies, food, and even military aid. Yes, military aid can classify as humanitarian aid if used for humanitarian purposes.

3. Unjust – This is the most important part of the resolution, and you will define it through your value structure. You must define what it means for something to be just or unjust and then explain why the resolution should be affirmed or negated based upon that definition.

Affirmative

1. People as a Means to an End – Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid is using people as a bargaining chip. The action has two immoral effects. First, it places an absolute monetary value on human life. That, in itself, is an offense to justice which demands that the only thing which matches human life in value is human life itself. Second, it uses people as a means to get political gain. Using people as a means to an end is a violation of the inherent dignity which they are due, and therefore, a violation of justice.

2. Utility – On utilitarian grounds, it doesn’t make much sense to demand political conditions before providing humanitarian aid. Often times, such negotiations break down, and even more often, the actions taken to meet the conditions are reversed after the aid is received.

3. Self Determination – Humanitarian aid is in itself unjust because in interrupts a nation’s ability to be self-determinate. When adding political conditions to that dynamic, it becomes an even greater violation on a nation’s self determination.

Negative

1. Where’s the Injustice? – Injustice requires a violation of human rights. It requires that somebody not get what they deserve. A nation has no obligation to provide humanitarian aid to anyone. So, to ask for political conditions for that aid cannot be unjust because it is no morally worse than the default. Not providing humanitarian aid is not unjust, so how can asking for a little something in return be unjust?

2. Virtue Ethics – Virtue ethics dictates that this is actually the middle course of action. A nation could just provide humanitarian with no conditions, or refuse to provide it at all. The middle course of action is to negotiate the humanitarian aid conditions so that both parties benefit. Not to mention, political conditions can also be used to ensure the aid is used for its intended purpose.

3. Utility – Humanitarian aid without conditions is uselss. In places where the aid is most relevant, oppressive regimes often utilize the “aid” for their own ends rather than for humanitarian purposes. Utilitarianism dictates that political conditions be assigned as contingencies for humanitarian aid because it ensures the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

There you go. Good luck!

Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system.

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Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system.

I love when they recycle old topics. And by that I mean, wtf are they doing recycling old topics? Come up with something more relevant! Alas, like the many topics before this one, we’re stuck with what we’ve got, so let’s talk about it.

Parts of Speech and Definitions

Nouns – 

Rehabilitation – This is the approach to justice which focuses on helping criminals see the error of their ways and once again making them productive members of society

Retribution – This is the approach to justice which focuses on punishing criminals for the wrongs they have committed

U.S. Criminal Justice System – We know what this is; it doesn’t really need a definition.

Verbs –

Ought to be valued – This is the crux of your case. You must develop a framework which addresses how we determine what a criminal justice system ought to value. Based upon that framework, you need to explain why the U.S. criminal justice system ought to value rehabilitation of retribution

Potential Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Societal Welfare – A society is better off with a greater number of productive members. Prisoners do not do society any good. Therefore, there should be a focus on rehabilitating criminals and releasing them back into society for the sake of making society better as a whole. The recidivism rate is so high anyway that simple punish only creates more problems.

2. Violence Breeds Violence – The punishment environments, particularly for violent criminals, in the United States are terrible places where once must become increasingly adept at criminal activity in order to simply survive. The culture within prison systems is not one which encourages proper and just behavior, but rather one which encourages prisoners to become more immersed in a criminal culture. A focus on punishment only exacerbates this and creates increasingly violent criminals as opposed to solving our problems.

3. Rehabilitation is More Economical – We spend a great deal taxpayer money on punishment systems in the United States, at almost unsustainable levels. The problem is that we really don’t have anything to show for it. All this expenditure on punishment hasn’t resulted in a significant decrease in crime. Rehabilitation costs much less, and if properly executed, it addresses the upstream causes of crime, resulting in a tangible decrease.

Negative

1. Governmental Legitimacy – As per the social contract, a government can only be legitimate if it properly enacts punishments for violations of the social contract. If focusing on rehabilitation, the government must inevitably become more lax on punishment. Therefore, we sacrifice true retributive justice in some vain hope of rehabilitating someone who has already proven himself to have disregarded the social contract.

2. Retributive Justice – True retributive justice actually demands that there be no focus on rehabilitation. Criminals violate the social, and therefore, they give up any corresponding rights to those obligations which they violated. They don’t deserve to be rehabilitated and integrated back into society because they had their chance to be a part of that society and chose to disregard its rules.

3. Retribution Accomplishes Rehabilitation’s Goals Better – Plato explains that the only true deterrence to a crime is the threat of punishment, and Hobbes agrees. The reason criminals continue to commit crimes is not because they think it’s OK but because they don’t fear the punishment associated with it. If the justice systems focuses on punishment, this deterrent mechanism of fear becomes much more active.

That should help you get started. Good luck!