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One of the hottest topics and most common applications for this year’s resolution is the idea of search warrants. Are they good? Are they bad? Whose side do they even support? They are common questions indeed. We will explore these questions and more in this brief.
In Stoa Lincoln-Douglas Release #11: “Public Safety” (AFF) (10/15/2018) by Drew Magness, he makes the argument:
Individual privacy says that criminals can keep anyone from going onto their property and prove their wrongdoing. Most civilized criminal justice systems have recognized this idea as a barrier to public safety and removed it for the sake of truth-seeking.
Without search warrants, law enforcement offers would be crippled in their ability to keep you safe. We’d be unable to stop criminals from viciously breaking the law again and again. Truth-seeking allows our police officers to stop the bad guys. Yet, privacy lets them walk free as we’ll see in contention 2.
Essentially, the argument being made is that search warrants are a violation of individual privacy, thus they are a perfect example of truth-seeking being valued above individual privacy. After all, they do allow the government to go into someone’s house and search their stuff. But is that really all they are? If it is, why do we even force police to go through the painstaking process of meeting all the requirements for getting one–if all we wanted to do was give them the ability to violate privacy whenever they wanted?
This brief will, for the most part, focus around one main idea: search warrants are, and have always been, a means by which privacy is protected, not violated. They still allow for police to do their jobs, but they have always been first and foremost a protection of privacy. We will explore the history of search warrants and examine some legal terms and court cases to determine what the purpose of search warrants actually is, and in doing so I hope to give you some proverbial ammunition against these Affirmative arguments.
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