LD – N/D ’15 – Jury Nullification

Neg thoughts:

First contention: JN can be as harmful as it is helpful in certain situations – See my previous post (Dec. 1st). As such, the harm is significant enough to reject JN.

Second contention: JN is irrelevant because juries are essentially irrelevant. The vast majority of people in jail are there because of plea bargains and never see a jury. If the use of juries is so rare, they don’t particularly matter and JN becomes an academic question.

Set up the second contention by asking the Aff, in CX, how many people in jail or prison had jury trials. (Chances are they won’t have any idea.)

The articles you need to make the second contention work are below. I’ve been thinking about this one for a while; we did a PF topic on plea bargaining back in 2011. The first article gave me some clues about where to look for the numbers I needed. The next two are prison population figures. The final one contains the plea bargain numbers, a few paragraphs in.

The ‘broken’ criminal justice system

Incarceration numbers – The Sentencing Project News

Mass Incarceration – The Whole Pie 2015 – Prison Policy Initiative

Rakoff – Why Innocent People Plead Guilty – plea bargain stats – NY Review of Books

I don’t have any LDers to use this, and it might be different enough to trip up even a good affirmative if no one is expecting such an argument this late in the topic’s life span.

If anyone has come across this already, let me know. I’d really like to think that someone else thought of this one, too. Surely I can’t be the only one who made the plea bargain – jury nullification connection.

Advertisements

FX/NX/PF – Extemp Files update

The Extemp Files were just updated, through Thursday’s articles.

Added for this update (in part for my NXer) is an Elections folder. While I usually find such things to be too transient, this election cycle has had an entertainment element I haven’t seen before that makes it worth following.

PF: For the Education topic (December ’15), check the Education folder. This last update adds several more articles about testing. Articles addressing Common Core or the NCLB rewrite may also discuss testing.

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 12,000 articles since July. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option. While this blog has some of the best articles posted, there may be others that you feel are worth having.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy.

Topics – PF Jan ’16, LD Jan/Feb ’16

The first of each month is the announcement date for topics that change the following month, so the new PF topic for January, and the new LD topic for January/February have just been posted. (You can always find any announced topics at the NSDA (NFL) Current Topics page. For LD and PF there are also the topic possibilities that could show up later in the season.)

2016 January PF Topic Area: Russia
Resolved: On balance, economic sanctions are reducing the threat Russia poses to Western interests.

The post previous to this one is about updating the Dropbox-based Extemp Files. See that post for where to look for relevant sanctions articles.

2016 January/February LD Topic:
Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.

The Extemp Files don’t contain my Gun Issues folder; I’ll add that to Dropbox and post a link later.

Current topic recap:

Cross-Examination Policy Debate  2015-2016 Topic
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance.

2015 December PF Topic Area: Educational Testing
Resolved: On balance, standardized testing is beneficial to K-12 education in the United States.

2015 November/December LD Topic
Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, jury nullification ought to be used in the face of perceived injustice.

FX/NX/PF – Extemp Files update

The Extemp Files were just updated, through the end of November (yesterday’s articles).

PF: For the Education topic (December ’15), check the Education folder. This last update adds several more articles about testing. I haven’t had time to pull relevant articles from the backfiles yet, because I’ve been busy writing test questions (for a college textbook) for the educational-industrial complex. Oh, the irony…

For the Russian Sanctions topic (January ’16), check the Russia folder. There may be an overlap with the Ukraine and US Foreign Policy folder, and there are probably some ‘sanctions work’ articles in the Iran folder. (With some irony, Russia just imposed sanctions on Turkey.) Also check the FX postings (search for Russia) to see what I’ve posted on the blog (let’s burn cheese!) previously. With the test question writing ending soon, I should have time over the holiday/semester break to check the Russia backfiles for sanction-related articles.

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 10,000 articles since July. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option. While this blog has some of the best articles posted, there may be others that you feel are worth having.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy.

LD – N/D ’15 Jury Nullification

Judging several rounds  of LD last month have left me with mixed feelings on the topic, not the least of which is that jury nullification seems to be an evenly two-edged sword, with examples that cut for both the Aff and Neg with equal power. The strongest cases I heard were Aff, though it still seems that Neg should be able to match them.

As promised to one of the debaters, note the following two articles. If, historically, one of the reasons against jury nullification is the way it was used to acquit whites of offenses against blacks during the 1950s and 1960s, then the question becomes one of lingering racism, and how that affects the use of jury nullification. I heard one Aff claim that racism isn’t as much of a problem as it was then, so that jury nullification is more likely to be used in a positive way rather than in a negative way. The neg had no rebuttal to that point – thus the following two articles. The first is about racial attitudes in general across the country, the second has to do with the use of race in selecting juries, and how that impacts trial outcomes. Collectively they should help show the continuing danger inherent in jury nullification.

The troubling reason why whites in some states may show more hidden racial bias

Thompson – How America Tolerates Racism in Jury Selection