Contribute

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One Response to Contribute

  1. Kevin says:

    I’ve got a case idea! I recently discovered that the case that you are
    about to read about was enacted in August of 2011. So basically the case is already slowly happening. The evidence stating this is in the end.

    DNA testing has been a major factor in changing the criminal justice system. It has provided scientific proof that our system convicts and sentences innocent people — and that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events. Most importantly, DNA testing has opened a window into wrongful convictions so that we may study the causes and propose remedies that may minimize the chances that more innocent people are convicted.

    DNA has changed the criminal justice system forever – but the system has not changed enough. And it’s because we believe this is a problem that must be remedied that we stand:

    Resolved: The United States Federal Government should significantly reform its criminal justice system.

    Before we dive any further into the issue, let me share with you our case structure since it plays a key role in measuring the round. We are presenting a comparative advantage case. Very simply, we take a look at the status quo, and show how we can improve it. in this case structure, it is not necessary to completely solve a problem. All that is needed is to present an improvement in policy, as it is a justification for change and calls for an affirmative ballot.

    To start this debate round, I would like to present…

    Observation 1, Definitions.

    DNA – Deoxyribonucleic acid, a self-replicating material present in all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes.
    http://www.google.com/

    DNA testing is completely accurate, unless the person convicted has a monozygotic twin.

    Death Row – A row of prison cells for prisoners awaiting execution.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/

    Exoneration – To clear or absolve from blame or a criminal charge.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/

    Observation 2, The Facts

    1. Innocence unknown
    Death penalty Information center, 2011 (annually updated), “Have Innocent Inmates Ever Been Executed”
    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-and-death-penalty
    The Death Penalty Information Center is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center was founded in 1990 and prepares in-depth reports, issues press releases, conducts briefings for journalists, and serves as a resource to those working on this issue. The Center is widely quoted and consulted by all those concerned with the death penalty.

    There is no way to tell how many of the over 1,200 people executed since 1976 may have been innocent. Courts do not generally entertain claims of innocence once the defendant is dead. Defense attorneys move on to other cases where clients’ lives can still be saved.

    According to…

    Wendy Cole, Maggie Sieger, & Amanda Bower, May 2001, “When evidence lies”, Time Magazine US
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,999906-3,00.html
    Time is the world’s largest weekly news magazine, and has a domestic audience of 20 million and a global audience of 25 million.

    Which raises a more troubling question. How many other Gilchrists are there? In Oklahoma City, Chief Berry has ordered a wholesale review of the serology/DNA lab. And while Governor Keating insists that no one has been executed who shouldn’t have been, Pointer and the local defense-lawyers association plan to re-examine the cases of the 11 executed inmates. “Nobody cares about the dead,” he says. “The state is not going to spend money to find out that they executed someone who might have been innocent.”

    2. Innocents denied access to DNA
    Innocence project, 2011, “Access to DNA Testing”
    http://www.innocenceproject.org/about/Mission-Statement.php
    The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices.

    Even in many of the states that grant access to DNA testing, the laws are limited in scope and substance. Motions for testing are often denied, even when a DNA test would undoubtedly confirm guilt or prove innocence and an inmate offers to pay for testing.

    Observation 3, The Harm

    1. Innocent serving time
    Innocence project, 2011, “Mission Statement”
    http://www.innocenceproject.org/about/Mission-Statement.php
    The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices.

    The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, 280 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release.

    Judge, because innocent people are being put in prison, there are serious ramifications.
    Let’s take a look.

    This article was written by…

    Leslie Scott, spring 2010, “It Never, Never Ends: The Psychological Impact of Wrongful Conviction,” American University Washington College of Law
    Criminal Law Brief, 5 Crim. L. Brief 10
    Leslie Scott is a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law and the University of Michigan; participated in the Disability Rights Law Clinic; interned at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia; clerks for the Senior Judges of the D.C. Court of Appeals.

    “John Wilson, professor of psychology at Cleveland State University, studies the psychological impact of wrongful imprisonment. When asked how the prison experience differs for the wrongfully convicted from that of true criminals, Wilson explained: The person who’s incarcerated for an act that they did, they know they did it. There’s no doubt in their mind that they committed a crime for which they’re serving a sentence. . . . People who are wrongfully convicted and innocent know they’re not criminals. They know they’re different when they enter the prison system. They are not criminal personalities. They’re not sociopathic or psychopathic individuals. Usually they’re normal people who by circumstance ended up in a very horrific system of injustice by the criminal justice system itself. So they know they’re different, and in my experience that makes it even more difficult for them to endure the traumas and the stresses of imprisonment. . . . They’re not a criminal mentality, they’re not antisocial, they’re not against society, they don’t calculate to hurt people. . . . Looking at the spectrum of traumatization to their psyche — the many ways in which these injuries permeate their being — I believe that the injuries from a wrongful conviction and incarceration are permanent. I think they’re permanent scars. And even though counseling and psychotherapy and treatments are helpful, I don’t think you can undo the permanent damage to the soul of the person, to their sense of self, to their sense of dignity. There is no way that money or even being exonerated gives a person back what they lost. . . . And one of the real existential dilemmas every day for a person is they know that when they go to their grave, this experience is going to be right here, in the forefront of their mind, even though they try to push it away and get on with their normal life afterwards.”
    Judge, Not only are lives being destroyed when innocent people go to prison, but the United States is also losing money.

    According to…

    Scott Maxwell, April 2010, “Will Florida lawmakers help imprisoned innocents?”, Orlando Sentinel
    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-04-03/news/os-scott-maxwell-innocence-040410-20100403_1_haridopolos-wrongful-convictions-innocence
    Columnist at Orlando sentinel.

    It’s an idea that’s overdue, since Florida has an alarming number of wrongful convictions — something that is not only morally intolerable, but that also wastes taxpayer money and allows the guilty to roam free.

    The Death penalty Information center in 2011 reads…

    Death penalty Information center, 2011 (annually updated), “Costs of the death penalty”
    http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty
    The Death Penalty Information Center is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center was founded in 1990 and prepares in-depth reports, issues press releases, conducts briefings for journalists, and serves as a resource to those working on this issue. The Center is widely quoted and consulted by all those concerned with the death penalty.

    “The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate. With California’s current death row population of 670, that accounts for $63.3 million annually.”

    Observation 4, The Plan

    Agent: The Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices.
    Enforcement: Department of justice.
    Mandate 1: Judges who are sentencing federal prisoners to life in prison with or without parole or death row must take a DNA sample from the accused if requested from the accused. This will extend the court system.
    Mandate 2: Results of DNA testing shall be admissible in court.
    Mandate 3: If the results of the accused DNA is a match the accused may request only one more DNA test IF another source of evidence shows innocence of the accused or there was an error in the original DNA test.
    Mandate 4: Clear DNA backlog. Due to the DNA backlog we cannot further test current DNA samples, clearing this backlog would grant us access to doing so.
    Funding: $50 Million annually. Our funding will come from the taxpayers in the US. Each taxpayer will be charged $0.14 to clear the backlog and $0.22 to provide DNA tests, a total of $0.36.
    Timeline: 5 years. This will give time to hire people in charge of DNA tests and to clear the backlog. During this 5 years taxpayers will be charged.

    Observation 5, advantages

    1. Innocence proven
    Inter Press Service (IPS), Sep 21, 2006, “DNA Tests Prove Justice Has Failed”
    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34817
    IPS is an international communication institution with a global news agency at its core, raising the voices of the South and civil society on issues of development, globalization, human rights and the environment.

    There are other stories of executions conducted too fast, trials completed too quickly and mistakes too easily made. And yet, the state-sanctioned killings continue. Now, DNA testing is helping to prove that innocent people continue to be killed or placed on death row. It proves that the U.S. judicial system is flawed; it sends innocent people to jail and, worse, puts them to death.

    2. Money saved.
    Death penalty Information center, 2011 (annually updated), “Costs of the death penalty”
    http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty
    The Death Penalty Information Center is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center was founded in 1990 and prepares in-depth reports, issues press releases, conducts briefings for journalists, and serves as a resource to those working on this issue. The Center is widely quoted and consulted by all those concerned with the death penalty.

    “The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is [cost] $90,000 per year per inmate. With California’s current death row population of 670, that accounts for $63.3 million annually.”

    Judge, we are wasting money and innocent lives in the current system, yet we have the capability to change this. William J. Brenna once said “Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent.” -Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., 1994

    Thank You.

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