Final: The US should adopt a program of comprehensive penal reform

The stage was set for the traditional Cannon River Showdown with Bayley and Raffi facing Carleton ET. I was personally disappointed that no one made even one “penal” joke, but beyond that the round was an excellent way to finish the tournament.

Bayley and Raffi got Gov and said the United States should abolish the death penalty. This would preserve justice by not executing innocent people, save death row inmates from the psychological damages of being falsely accused, and the savings from not doing executions could be used to improve inhumane conditions within prisons in the United States.

Carleton came back with a counterplan saying the USFG would expedite the appeals process for lawyer incompetency and offer more funds for public defenders, both of these things jointly solving for innocent people being executed. They had two key points of offense. First was a compelling political DA saying that Republicans forced to vote for the plan would no longer have compromise as an option in the future being that they were perceived as soft on crime, which means no minimum wage, sequestration solving, etc. The second was an observation on case saying that the death penalty has a huge deterrent effect where every person executed means five less murders are committed. They said that if the judges valued the preservation of innocent life, they had to enforce the death penalty to prevent future murders.

Bayley and Raffi had responses to everything: they permed the CP; said that if things like sequestration or the minimum wage are that important, Republicans will pass them anyway, while noting that Republicans like Paul Ryan have been much softer on the death penalty in recent years; the deterrent effect was unwarranted as people who commit murder are not rational actors and don’t operate under the same decision calculus we do where deterrence works; and finally that the counterplan never actually solves for wrongful executions. Both Graham from Carleton and Bayley gave probably the best rebuttal speeches I’ve ever seen personally, so it was a real nail-biter.

In the end, on a 2-1 decision, Bayley and Raffi came out on top! Much rejoicing was had by all to see that their work preserved the St. Olaf debate dynasty, the team having won every single state tournament we’ve attended since our inception three years ago.

2013 State Champions!

2013 State Champions!


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