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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:34 am 
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I saw this as an early case option brooded about on Facebook so I think it might be a place to start. Juries can either acquit or condemn the defendant, but they can also say that the defendant was guilty of breaking the law, but that that law was a bad idea anyway and therefore let the defendant go free (as a technicality here, does anyone with information on the issue know if juries declare the defendant in this case "guilty, but acquitted" or do they simply declare the defendant "not guilty" and sort of ignore the fact that the defendant broke the law?).

In most instances however, the courts aren't informed of this ability. See this video for explanation. The case would require judges to inform the jury of this "option."

It almost gets into the LD idea of should the letter of the law be valued over the spirit of the law. I like the idea.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:22 pm 
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I'm not sure if this is really topical or significant. How is this a reform to the system? Are juries technically separate from the court system or are they part of it? And what possible advantages would this case have? Nullification is something that should only ever happen in very extreme circumstances, increasing it could easily be turned into a DA.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:45 pm 
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atshelton wrote:
I'm not sure if this is really topical or significant. How is this a reform to the system? Are juries technically separate from the court system or are they part of it? And what possible advantages would this case have? Nullification is something that should only ever happen in very extreme circumstances, increasing it could easily be turned into a DA.


-Jury instructions are an integral part of the court system (can literally cause mistrial and acquittals if not issued correctly) and exist in civil and criminal courts (thus a system wide--systemic--change if nullification is mandated as included in jury instructions)
-The jurors are separate, but the institution of the jury is not
-Advantages largely deal with nullification as a solution to poor legislation; for CJS year I used this as a CP to mens rea, overcriminalization, etc.
-I see a possible core outline like this:

J1: Bad Laws
a. Politically motivated (laws created for political motivation; lead into drug war if you want)
b. Lack mens rea requirement (e.g. shipping requirements leading to jailed innocents)
c. Cultural change (culture changes making criminal actions no longer culturally criminal; e.g. growing weed)
J2: No Legislative Solution
a. Congress too busy
b. Congress too partisan
c. No widespread exposure of certain bad laws
J3: Nullification Solves
a. Already exists
b. Rooted in common law
c. Power to people!

-Sure, the case will have DAs, but it's not ridiculous by a long shot.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:06 am 
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I think this case could have some serious topicality issues. Quite simply, is it a significant reform to the Federal Court System? It doesn't seem to be making a reform to the system it would simple enforce "education," for lack of a better word, about what is already in the system. It simple doesn't significantly alter, change, or reform the structure of the system.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:00 pm 
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Quote:
I think this case could have some serious topicality issues. Quite simply, is it a significant reform to the Federal Court System? It doesn't seem to be making a reform to the system it would simple enforce "education," for lack of a better word, about what is already in the system.

Right, but the education would itself become part of the system once you institute it. Adding something to a system counts as reforming it.

Especially if you add something that significantly EFFECTS the rest of the system, as this case does. One could argue the effects of the reform also significantly alter the criminal court system, as they change the ways juries will rule and how they look at cases.

Quote:
It simple doesn't significantly alter, change, or reform the structure of the system.

What even IS a "structure of a system"?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:22 am 
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Cyberknight wrote:
Right, but the education would itself become part of the system once you institute it. Adding something to a system counts as reforming it.

I see your point but don't quite agree that that is a reform, or it is adding something new to the system. Here are two definitions of reform form Merriam Webster (I know lame resource but I didn't have time to look for something fancy):
Quote:
1 (a) to put or change into an improved form or condition (b) to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses
2 to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action

If you look at definition 1a you see it says reform is to put or change into an improved form or condition. This is not a significance change to the form or condition of the Federal Courts System. For example the jury will still have the same options, sentencing procedures will not alter, the federal court will still resolve disputes the same ways, hear the same cases, pass the same judgements. Nothing changes. Going even further definition 1b mentions reform as amending by changing form. Essentially (from what I understand) this case will merely inform juries of an already existent part of the federal court system all procedures will happen the same way we're only informing uninformed juries. No change in form. Plus this definition says by a better method of action. All this case does is acknowledge a supposedly good option or method that should be rare anyhow. It's NOT taking a "better method or course of action."

In answer to your question about what a structural reform is, I was thinking of an actual change to court procedures instead of simply informing of current options in court procedures (does that make sense or just sound like I'm saying the same thing all over again :?: ).

I'd also be curious how this is enforced. When does the jury get informed? How often to they get informed? How are they informed?

Does this have any advocates?

Last thing. If WE know about this option and it was posted on facebook how much of the jury actually doesn't know they have this option? Just curious.

Again good arguments Cyberknight it will simply take a while to convince me this is topical ;) .

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:43 am 
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Seabass00 wrote:
I'd also be curious how this is enforced. When does the jury get informed? How often to they get informed? How are they informed?

The judge is supposed to inform the jury about how relevant laws guid its deliberations (see the American Bar Association on "Instructions to the Jury").

Seabass00 wrote:
Last thing. If WE know about this option and it was posted on facebook how much of the jury actually doesn't know they have this option? Just curious.
I'd be curious to know if you knew about the option before this thread. It's not something that is known by most of the general public, and generally I consider those in this forum to be much more on the up-and-up on these issues than the average Joe.

In regards to topicality. I would urge you to re-check the youtube video mentioned in the OP. Some individuals are sifted out of a jury if they know about this option. You can be accused of perjury if you know about jury nullification and got past the attorneys who pick the jurors.

I think you would consider Miranda Rights under the bounds of our Criminal Justice Resolution from 4 years back. How is this different? In fact, I see this as exactly the same issue. Miranda Rights are something you have whether or not they are said, but they were made mandatory to use by police officers because it can render evidence useless if criminals aren't informed. If criminals are informed of all their rights, then why aren't juries?

On Neg., I would think that such a law could result in a lot more hung juries. Any thoughts on that issue?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:23 pm 
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Seabass00 wrote:
If you look at definition 1a you see it says reform is to put or change into an improved form or condition. This is not a significance change to the form or condition of the Federal Courts System.

Here's the thing though. Even if adding something new itself doesn't change the form or condition of the system, the EFFECTS of the reform certainly do. The current CONDITION of the court system is that there's injustice, and this reform fixes that.

Quote:
Going even further definition 1b mentions reform as amending by changing form. Essentially (from what I understand) this case will merely inform juries of an already existent part of the federal court system all procedures will happen the same way we're only informing uninformed juries. No change in form.

I agree that this doesn't change the FORM of the court system, but again, it DOES change the CONDITION.

Quote:
Plus this definition says by a better method of action. All this case does is acknowledge a supposedly good option or method that should be rare anyhow. It's NOT taking a "better method or course of action."

Yes, but the point of the case is to ENCOURAGE jury nullification, and INCREASE it's usage, which, you could argue, is a better method of action that the status quo. So the case actually upholds your second definition perfectly.

Quote:
In answer to your question about what a structural reform is, I was thinking of an actual change to court procedures instead of simply informing of current options in court procedures (does that make sense or just sound like I'm saying the same thing all over again :?: ).

Fair enough. But thankfully the resolution does not contain the word "structure," so cases do not have to deal with the actual structure of the court system this year necessarily.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:32 am 
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I see and appreciate bought of your opinions. It is an interesting case that deserves attention and like any case has it's weak points. I'll be interested to see how this plays out in a debate round.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:29 pm 
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My brother ran this case in CJS year. It was dreadful because of Solvency. While there are a lot of related studies (see Drew's post) it's really hard to prove in a debate round that anything will actually change.

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