Resolved: In the United States, plea bargaining in exchange for testimony is unjust.Essentially, this resolution pits Superman's values against each other. After all, Superman fights for "Truth, Justice, and the
Why do we encourage felons to rat on each other? Because we want to know the truth. The truth is our instrument to attain justice, in some cases, or to find closure, in others. Yet this resolution wants us to focus on...
For reasons expressed elsewhere, plea bargaining in exchange for testimony can advance or hinder the search for justice. It partly becomes a matter of perspective: victims will have quite different justice criteria than the state.
The American Way
The resolution gives us a uniquely American context. As Richard Lippke writes in "Retributivism and Plea Bargaining," in Criminal Justice Ethics, Summer 2006:
Prosecutors in the United States have considerably more discretion in reaching plea bargaining agreements than their counterparts in some European countries. In particular, United States prosecutors can levy or drop charges against defendants with relatively little scrutiny by the courts. This gives them enormous leverage in negotiating pleas, leverage that it seems clear some of them abuse in various ways. Though agreements reached by United States prosecutors might have to be approved by a judge, judicial scrutiny of plea agreements is often perfunctory.The American context also includes unique legal rights and moral attitudes. If something is unjust "in the United States," it runs contrary to American ideals--but where are those found? In the Constitution alone? In the bulk of federal law? In competing state ordinances? In popular perception? Both sides have a burden to define "justice" so that Superman would find it worth fighting for.*
*(From the Neg's perspective, as long as he's willing to de-prioritize the fight for truth.)