Mar 8, 2008

sample affirmative cases for the hate crime enhancement resolution

Intrepid reader okiedebater has offered up some shell cases for consideration and critique. They're blockquoted; my comments follow each one. As always, your thoughts are appreciated.

(Part II, the negative cases, here.)
Affirmative #1:
V: Justice
Cr: Equal Treatment under the Law ("all men are created equal" and 14th Amendment relates to "in the United States")

C1: Hate crimes are inadequately defined
-no consensus (shown by differing laws between states, federal gov't...)
-would be either too broad or too narrow (either all crimes will qualify, or there will be many unprotected minorities)
-they are vague (leaving a loophole for prosecutorial abuse, shown in C3)

C2: Motive can't be proven sufficiently to support hate crime enhancements
-even if the defendant showed prejudice in the past, that doesn't mean the actual crime was motivated by prejudice
-even if the criminal yelled derogatory words during the crime, even that doesn't necessarily indicate prejudice, just anger

C3: Hate crime enhancements are used unjustly
-as a result of the difficult burden of proof in C2, prosecutors don't always use HCE, even when applicable, thereby violating my Cr. of Equal Treatment
-HCE are used disproportionately against minorities, indicated that they may have become a tool for prejudiced people, rather than a deterrent
I like this case because it has a clear standard for justice that is both universal--equal treatment under the law isn't just an American concept--but also strongly linked to Constitutional rights. Contention 1 can be easily demonstrated, and would be sufficient to affirm.

I see some potential problems, though:
1. C2 can be rebutted by noting that the law requires proof of intent beyond a reasonable doubt, which means that enhancements aren't going to be applied arbitrarily or without warrant.
2. C3 requires access to specific empirical evidence. (As luck would have it, you can find a starting point on this blog.)
3. Is there a higher standard of justice? For example, even an oppressive law can be applied equally. Also, define "equal."
Affirmative #2
V: Justice
Cr: John Locke (government is established to protect the rights of its citizens)

C1: Hate crime enhancements are unnecessary
-regular punishment is sufficient to protect the rights of citizens because punishment, even without HCE, increases to reflect the severity of the crime

C2: Hate crime enhancements are ineffective
-they have not shown any significant deterrent effect
-they are even used to disproportionately to prosecute minorities (which they are apparently made to protect)

C3: Hate crime enhancements are used unjustly
-they are not always applied, even when they are applicable
-they do increase the amount of punishment in an unjust way (Even if a hate crime is worse, does it merit doubling punishment? Also, could we really determine how MUCH worse a hate crime is?)
Some interesting issues here.

1. If we're using Locke, we have to make C3 our strongest point, showing how HCEs give the government arbitrary power, which is anathema to Locke.

2. C1 and C2 could be combined.

3. Subpoint 2 under C2 should go under C3 instead. Subpoint 1 isn't intuitively resolutional--ineffective things aren't unjust, just ineffective. The Aff would have to show that the government is somehow failing in its obligation to protect citizens--which wouldn't square with C1, which purports that our current system is already working. Then what's the harm of C3? Hmm... Gotta square these away.

As an aside, all Affirmatives should look into the evidence that HCEs disproportionately target minorities, since they're drawn up in ways that protect race (or gender, etc.) as a category. The "HCEs protect minorities" argument was quite popular at the last tournament I judged, but could have been defeated quite easily.


okie debater said...

Thank you so much for the critiques! They will really be helpful for revisions!

PALD said...

Ok on the 1st Aff.

I like this case. I actually hit one that was extremely similar at CFL's.
1. Like Jim said, define equal. It's going to be hard to find a good definition and your opponent couldnail you on that.
And define how much equality. My opponent advocated all crimes deserve equal punishment and he said we should differentiate between murder.
2. I would say change it to HCE are subjective. I ran this and its pretty effective. Say laws are trying to minimize subjectivity and since HCE rwquire a judge to make a decision regarding feelings then it leaves the rights of both defendant and the victim up in the air. Also its appropriate to use some degree of intent: ie. I did intend to beat someone and I actually did beat them. It doesn't matter if it was racially motivated or not because I intended to and did beat them.

That's all I have for now.
Really like the case though.

okie debater said...

I'm starting to wonder if, with the 1st Aff, it'd even be possible to agree that hate crimes are indeed worse than non-hate crimes, but that all the flaws in the system of HCE (broad definitions, unjust application...) prevents it from being just, even if it was proportional. The Neg would then argue that the system would just require some revision, and that it would therefore be just. Then the Aff response would be to bring up the definition of "are" (yes, I did define "are" as “To exist in actuality…To take place; occur” (from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)).
Is it possible as the Affirmative to concede that hate crimes are worse, and do deserve worse punishment, but the system for increasing that punishment is what is unjust?

PALD said...

you probably could pull that on some opponents although I really wouldn't recommend it.
But the problem with that argument is the neg can just say we are debating about the concept of HCE not the application. If they run that and the judge buys it (which some actually will believe it or not)then you've conceded a major point.
But if you really do want to run that, I would write really good blocks on why we need to look at the effects of the application of HCE. (ie its set in a real like ex. or whatever)

Anonymous said...

For the second case, what would be a good way to say "government is established to protect the rights of its citizens" except more in the form of a value criterion (1-3 words).

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous, it's the Social Contract criterion.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the reply Jim.

Teopb said...

I am also running a subpoint on motive in the aff case and was wondering if anyone had found some good evidence for the standpoint that motives are impossible to know.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably just being thick, but could someone please explain why motive being hard to prove relates to equal protection under the law? At first I thought it was that it would give the judge too much power, but that kinda applies to the negative realm also?
I don't know, I'm just confused ^^;;

Anonymous said...

One way it could relate is that motive is the difference between a hate crime and a regular crime. Motive is much more heavily weighed in a hate crime. What you are supposed to be arguing is that motive is an unstable factor because it cannot be proved. Thus, you are not treating hate criminals equally under the law as you would treat other felons, by using such a subjective criteria to determine your punishment.