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[CHALLENGE] Ban On Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole

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Makko Oko
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[CHALLENGE] Ban On Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole

Postby Makko Oko » Fri Apr 12, 2024 10:46 am

I am challenging Ban On Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole for being in willful contradiction of current standing statute GAR#299 and a violation of the house of cards rule.

I believe the author here made an honest mistake because they directly tried to bypass GA rule by incorporating text that says:

The provision in section 4 of GA 299 "Legal Competence" which allows member nations to "set reasonable thresholds of maturity [or] mental capability for people to hold any other rights or responsibilities within their jurisdictions" does not contradict this proposal. It is not a right or responsibility to be subject to life imprisonment without parole; it would be the opposite of a right and, because being so subject would be a thing done to a person rather than something that person must do, not a responsibility.

This is an admittance to the potential of contradiction and is as such willful. I find that what this says is wrong wholly because the actual statute mentions "criminal responsibility", and that in itself can dictate a sentence. If you are declared to be tried as an adult then you can be sentenced to life, but if you are tried as a juvenile then you may not be able to be sentenced to life. It should be noted that if you are tried as an adult then legally, this resolution would not apply because you would not be considered a juvenile in the eyes of the court.
That clause attempts to promulgate an agenda within a good-form resolution. It also violates the House of Cards rule as should that be repealed, you now have a pointless part of the resolution and one that should not have been embedded to begin with.

No operative proposal clause may depend on a previous resolution in a way that would make the clause nonsensical or inoperative if that previous resolution were repealed.
- House of Cards rule

Children have undeveloped brains which are not yet capable of adequately comprehending the long term effects of their actions, they cannot internalise the extremely long-term impacts of crime.

If you are tried as an adult, you are not considered a child. This resolution accomplishes nothing except for preventing the dictatorships from sentencing juveniles to life.

No member nation may sentence a person to a life sentence without parole, or possibility thereof, for crimes committed while that person is under the age of majority.

This violates GAR#299 the most for contradicting the right for nations to determine criminal responsibility. There is no precedent permitting a resolution to set out and establish a violation wholly or in part to try and prevent a challenge. If this challenge fails, you are setting dangerous precedent for whats allowed.

In the scope of previous rulings, we see here on contradiction that proposals "must have regard to other, existing international laws", and I concede to the point that they did reference underlying international law, however, GAR#299 granted nations the right to "hold any other rights or responsibilities" as long as how it was held was "reasonable" which was left undefined, as long as they met section 2 which did not specifically restrict criminal responsibilities of minors and due to the wording involved, cannot be restricted per the ruling I cited. Finally we have a ruling on House of Cards that states bluntly "No part of a proposal's argument, whether it be GA or SC, should rely on something that could later be repealed and therefore be made irrelevant.". The author did exactly that here.

One can argue its relevance but that same ruling stated "You can comment on a nation's violation/keeping of WA law, but not exactly what those laws/resolutions are." and they did comment on what they are, hence the problem. "if this proposal became a resolution and WA #30 were later repealed, then part of the argument would be citing laws that don't exist rendering that part of the argument null. Thusly, it is a house-of-cards violation. All resolutions and repeals must be able to stand on their own." This was the point I was making.

"If a resolution, whether it be from the SC or the GA, grants a right and says that the World Assembly or any other government can't infringe on that right, then the World Assembly can't write an other resolution that infringes on that right. It doesn't matter if it says "citizens" or "nations" or "players" (though, this type of resolution is likely to only come from the GA, so it's likely to say 'citizens') -- the intent and will of the resolution is clear.*" It may not say you cannot infringe on it but given the precedent on contradiction I cited, one shall assume that it cannot be infringed.

I rest my case.
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Republics of the Solar Union
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Postby Republics of the Solar Union » Fri Apr 12, 2024 11:09 am

I just read it and it's not a good resolution in my opinion. Here's what pops immediately into my mind.

Children have undeveloped brains which are not yet capable of adequately comprehending the long term effects of their actions, they cannot internalise the extremely long-term impacts of crime.


Some jurisdictions assign certain children enough maturity before the age of majority to make certain medical or legal decisions. Would a mature child to put it be also protected under this, if they have a developed enough brain to make these medical or legal decisions, they can definitely understand the long term effects of their actions. Yet nowhere in this resolution is that pointed out or an exception made.

It is broadly unjust to imprison people who have genuinely repented for their crimes and are extremely unlikely to commit them again.


There is no definition of genuine repent here, and this allows horrible criminals to escape with extremely good social engineering or cruel dictatorships to imprison people that do not meed an absurd criteria of genuine repent, this is open to extreme abuse.

Also going on the side this resolution is taking, how is life imprisonment with parole better than without, effectively life imprisonment with parole would isolate a juvenile for many many years and release them into the world unprepared, not having the same natural mental experiences to fully transform into a capable adult, they would likely go down the route of rogue crime, and it would end up causing much more harm in the long term than life imprisonment with parole. If the authorities imprison them again for their new crimes, I don't see how that's different then an effective life imprisonment without parole.
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Postby Fachumonn » Fri Apr 12, 2024 11:51 am

Republics of the Solar Union wrote:I just read it and it's not a good resolution in my opinion.


OOC: This is a challenge thread, your comment should probably be in the actual thread itself. This is more for discussing the legality of it if that makes sense :)
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Bisofeyr
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Postby Bisofeyr » Fri Apr 12, 2024 11:54 am

I find these arguments unconvincing. The text referenced at the beginning of this challenge is nonoperative, so it cannot run afoul of the "House of Cards" rule. Preambulatory clauses are permitted to reference prior resolutions, per [2017] GAS 12. That preambulatory clause, to me, is unnecessary and detracts from the proposal, but that does not make it illegal. If GA 299 were repealed, no part of this proposal would become inactive or nonsensical.

I may be missing something, but you claim that this does contradict GA 299 because it is "contradicting the right for nations to determine criminal responsibility" - what specific clause in the proposal contradicts which specific clause in GA 299, because I do not see from the text of this challenge, the target proposal, and GA 299 what this could be referencing.

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Makko Oko
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Postby Makko Oko » Fri Apr 12, 2024 12:09 pm

Bisofeyr wrote:I find these arguments unconvincing. The text referenced at the beginning of this challenge is nonoperative, so it cannot run afoul of the "House of Cards" rule. Preambulatory clauses are permitted to reference prior resolutions, per [2017] GAS 12. That preambulatory clause, to me, is unnecessary and detracts from the proposal, but that does not make it illegal. If GA 299 were repealed, no part of this proposal would become inactive or nonsensical.

I may be missing something, but you claim that this does contradict GA 299 because it is "contradicting the right for nations to determine criminal responsibility" - what specific clause in the proposal contradicts which specific clause in GA 299, because I do not see from the text of this challenge, the target proposal, and GA 299 what this could be referencing.


Section 4 of GAR#299 is what is being violated, and what the proposed resolution actually cited
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Bisofeyr
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Postby Bisofeyr » Fri Apr 12, 2024 12:16 pm

Makko Oko wrote:
Bisofeyr wrote:I find these arguments unconvincing. The text referenced at the beginning of this challenge is nonoperative, so it cannot run afoul of the "House of Cards" rule. Preambulatory clauses are permitted to reference prior resolutions, per [2017] GAS 12. That preambulatory clause, to me, is unnecessary and detracts from the proposal, but that does not make it illegal. If GA 299 were repealed, no part of this proposal would become inactive or nonsensical.

I may be missing something, but you claim that this does contradict GA 299 because it is "contradicting the right for nations to determine criminal responsibility" - what specific clause in the proposal contradicts which specific clause in GA 299, because I do not see from the text of this challenge, the target proposal, and GA 299 what this could be referencing.


Section 4 of GAR#299 is what is being violated, and what the proposed resolution actually cited

Section 4 of GA 299 allows nations to decide the threshold of majority for many things, and also to let those thresholds be different. One of those things is criminal responsibility. This does not contradict because it does not say anything which would disallow nations to set that threshold of majority for criminal responsibility, but rather says that "whatever the threshold that nations decide it, individuals under that threshold may not be given life sentences." I don't see a contradiction there.

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The Ice States
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Postby The Ice States » Fri Apr 12, 2024 12:26 pm

Thanks for raising this! I don't think this would be illegal -- House of Cards applies only to an operative clause, not a preambulatory clause; likewise Honest Mistake applies only to repeals, which the challenged proposal is not. The Moderator precedent you cite as to HoC was overturned in 2017; see here.

There is a stronger argument that it directly contradicts #299; is there a further argument or counterargument on this point? Otherwise, I would not hear this challenge.
Last edited by The Ice States on Fri Apr 12, 2024 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Makko Oko
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Postby Makko Oko » Fri Apr 12, 2024 1:07 pm

The Ice States wrote:Thanks for raising this! I don't think this would be illegal -- House of Cards applies only to an operative clause, not a preambulatory clause; likewise Honest Mistake applies only to repeals, which the challenged proposal is not. The Moderator precedent you cite as to HoC was overturned in 2017; see here.

There is a stronger argument that it directly contradicts #299; is there a further argument or counterargument on this point? Otherwise, I would not hear this challenge.


But the precedent for contradictions was not overturned? At this time I have no further argument
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Postby ImperialRussia » Fri Apr 12, 2024 1:17 pm

How about the prominent court case for each ruling on what context these Juveniles treatment should be as to be humane to other governments in nation-states.

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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:31 pm

I am recused and therefore can be as partial as I would like.

Makko Oko wrote:I am challenging Ban On Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole for being in willful contradiction of current standing statute GAR#299 and a violation of the house of cards rule.

I believe the author here made an honest mistake because they directly tried to bypass GA rule by incorporating text that says

I don't think you know this but you shouldn't start your challenges by making irrelevant dead-on-arrival claims. Making them reduces the credibility of the claims that follow. Contradiction has nothing to do with wilfulness and the relationship between wilfulness and whether the proposal is contradictory is non-existent. The honest mistake rule applies only to repeals. The target is not a repeal.

Statements such as "That clause attempts to promulgate an agenda within a good-form resolution" and "This resolution accomplishes nothing except for preventing the dictatorships from sentencing juveniles to life" are also irrelevant. The rules do not care what the proposal does except in the narrow way that such a doing violates one of the rules. Irrelevant commentary of this sort is both confusing and indicates a misunderstanding of what the rules do, which also reduces credibility. See also viewtopic.php?p=40039291#p40039291; viewtopic.php?f=9&t=401599 § 1(b).

Onto the merits.



The first action is a house of cards one and it is immediately dismissible. The moderator precedent cited below, (2009) 2 IAM 1, was probably found in my GenSec catalogue's "Selected moderator rulings" sheet; I say this because, let's be honest, nobody knows where these ancient moderator precedents are anymore. It's notable that the signal there is "R" (overruled). This is pretty clear from two things. First is the superseding ruling [2017] GAS 12 which establishes that "reliance [cannot arise] from reference in a prefatory introduction". Second is the rule itself in its current form, which the challenger cites in full while ignoring the second word in it, "operative": only operative proposal clauses are stopped from depending on past resolutions; prefatory clauses such as this one are exempt.

The only relevant action is contradiction and the only issue is whether the quoted clause "No member nation may sentence a person to a life sentence without parole, or possibility thereof, for crimes committed while that person is under the age of majority" violates GA 299 s 4. viewtopic.php?p=21186344#p21186344. The explanation for why it does not violate GA 299 is in the proposal:

The provision in section 4 of GA 299 "Legal Competence" which allows member nations to "set reasonable thresholds of maturity [or] mental capability for people to hold any other rights or responsibilities within their jurisdictions" does not contradict this proposal. It is not a right or responsibility to be subject to life imprisonment without parole; it would be the opposite of a right and, because being so subject would be a thing done to a person rather than something that person must do, not a responsibility.

The seminal decisions relating to GA 68 "National Economic Freedoms" ([2018] GAS 4) and GA 17 "WA General Fund" ([2024] GAS 2) should be applied analogously. The latter directly contemplates a preamble clause commenting on and invoking an exception in a blocker with substantial deference to the challenged proposal. At ¶ 2, "proposals that invoke exceptions in blockers will not be closely interrogated as to whether they meet the factual conditions of those exceptions provided there is something in the preamble which at all relates to that exception". This also implies that challenger's implicitly proposed decision rule (that "resolution [cannot] set out and establish a violation [???] wholly or in part to try and prevent a challenge") must be rejected.

The standard of review for proposals in contradiction cases when they discuss how they are non-contradictory is highly deferential ("will not be closely interrogated"). This should be taken into consideration alongside "the broad principle from many precedents is that [the Secretariat defers] to authors' fact claims about the real world". [2024] GAS 2 ¶ 3. Unless the challenged proposal's discussion is outside the scope of "common sense", [2018] GAS 4, such that it is clearly unreasonable such discussion should be deferred to.

Even if the preamble's interpretation were clearly unreasonable or precedents were to be overruled to disallow these kinds of clauses, the minimalist action would be to treat them as having no effect rather than removing proposals that include them. Removing them would be an excessive and immoderate remedy. The question then falls on whether GA 299 s 4's blocker includes sentencing restrictions.

The blocker in full is... "Acknowledges the right of member nations to set reasonable thresholds of maturity and/or mental capability for people to hold any other rights or responsibilities within their jurisdictions (including but not limited to, whatever is legal there in terms of political matters, criminal responsibility, sexual matters, access to and operation of weapons or vehicles or other devices, participation in hazardous activities, use of drugs, and gambling), and that in these cases a single government can assign different thresholds for different rights or responsibilities".

They do not. Criminal responsibility is not the same as a sentencing guideline. Children can be held criminally responsible both before and after this proposal; for the blocker to be triggered in this section a complete immunity from criminal responsibility would have to be granted and that is not what is being done here.
Last edited by Imperium Anglorum on Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby The Ice States » Fri Apr 12, 2024 7:04 pm

Makko Oko wrote:
The Ice States wrote:Thanks for raising this! I don't think this would be illegal -- House of Cards applies only to an operative clause, not a preambulatory clause; likewise Honest Mistake applies only to repeals, which the challenged proposal is not. The Moderator precedent you cite as to HoC was overturned in 2017; see here.

There is a stronger argument that it directly contradicts #299; is there a further argument or counterargument on this point? Otherwise, I would not hear this challenge.


But the precedent for contradictions was not overturned? At this time I have no further argument

I am not aware of it having been. I think the strongest argument for contradiction is that the resolution establishes a right to parole if the offender is underage. Unless I'm missing something the preamble does not address this matter either; it was raised in 2021, incidentally by the challenged proposal's author, in a repeal here. In that thread, Bears Armed (author of #299) argued that a provision such as re-assessing a life sentence upon reaching the age of majority was legal, and Bananaistan (then Gensec) seemed to agree. That said, I don't think there was an actual argument raised along these lines -- do any parties have a view on this?
Last edited by The Ice States on Fri Apr 12, 2024 7:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Partisan Italy » Sat Apr 13, 2024 5:07 am

The Ice States wrote:
Makko Oko wrote:
But the precedent for contradictions was not overturned? At this time I have no further argument

I am not aware of it having been. I think the strongest argument for contradiction is that the resolution establishes a right to parole if the offender is underage. Unless I'm missing something the preamble does not address this matter either; it was raised in 2021, incidentally by the challenged proposal's author, in a repeal here. In that thread, Bears Armed (author of #299) argued that a provision such as re-assessing a life sentence upon reaching the age of majority was legal, and Bananaistan (then Gensec) seemed to agree. That said, I don't think there was an actual argument raised along these lines -- do any parties have a view on this?

I think that the proposal "Ban On Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole" doesn't contradict GAR 299 on Legal Competence, for two reasons:
1) The proposal does not deny the possibility, for a Nation, to determine a threshold for criminal responsibility that is different from the underage threshhold
2) Section 4 of GAR 299 recognize to member nations a right to set reasonable thresholds of maturity, not to set thresholds of maturity that are not reasonable. I think that GAR 299 does not determine the meaning of the word "reasonable", so it is open to the interpretation of the General Assembly to determine what is and what isn't reasonable in every single situation. In the specific situation, I think that the General Assembly has the right to determine the unreasonableness of a threshold if this threshold is used to deny the right to parole to a minor. So the General Assembly, in my opinion, can legally set a reasonableness standard according to which an underage person must always have the right to parole. If a member Nation set, for the right to parole, a threshold of maturity that deny the right to parole to the minor, the WA has the right to consider this threshold as unrisonable, without violating GAR 299. In other words, I think that the World Assembly has the right to determine, without violating GAR 299, that a minor must always have the right to parole and that a national provision that deny this right to a minor is always unreasonable. This is because GAR 299 does not deny the World Assembly the possibility to set standards of reasonableness.

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Postby Barfleur » Sat Apr 13, 2024 11:06 am

In-game, GA#299 empowers nations to set their own ages for majority and criminal liability. This proposal allows people below the age of majority to be tried as adults in every respect save one; it merely removes one authorized sentence that may be imposed upon conviction. A member nation may still decide that the age of criminal responsibility is 16 and the voting age is 18, even should the challenged proposal become law. So I see no contradiction.

For a real life discussion: In New York, the jurisdiction in which I intend to practice criminal law, the age of criminal responsibility varies according to an insanely complicated scheme, but for felonies, it is generally 16. A 13, 14, or 15 year old is accountable for certain serious felonies, and is tried in adult criminal court (as a "juvenile offender") as opposed to in family court (as a "juvenile delinquent"). But being tried as an adult does not equate to receiving the same sentences available to a 16-year-old convicted of the same crime. Compare NY Penal Law section 70.05 with sections 70.00, 70.02, 70.08, and 70.10 for the differences in authorized prison sentences. So being tried "as an adult" has never meant "receiving exactly the same treatment an adult would receive." Furthermore, US states have different ages for which children can be tried as adults, but the US Supreme Court has held that people under 18 at the time of their crime, no matter the circumstances, may not be sentenced to death (Roper v. Simmons), life without parole for a nonhomicide offense (Graham v. Florida), or life without parole for a homicide if that sentence is mandatory (Miller v. Alabama).


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Postby Bisofeyr » Sat Apr 13, 2024 11:15 am

Barfleur wrote:In-game, GA#299 empowers nations to set their own ages for majority and criminal liability. This proposal allows people below the age of majority to be tried as adults in every respect save one; it merely removes one authorized sentence that may be imposed upon conviction. A member nation may still decide that the age of criminal responsibility is 16 and the voting age is 18, even should the challenged proposal become law. So I see no contradiction.

This aligns with my thoughts on the matter.

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Postby Simone Republic » Sat Apr 13, 2024 6:08 pm

The Ice States wrote:
I am not aware of it having been. I think the strongest argument for contradiction is that the resolution establishes a right to parole if the offender is underage. Unless I'm missing something the preamble does not address this matter either; it was raised in 2021, incidentally by the challenged proposal's author, in a repeal here. In that thread, Bears Armed (author of #299) argued that a provision such as re-assessing a life sentence upon reaching the age of majority was legal, and Bananaistan (then Gensec) seemed to agree. That said, I don't think there was an actual argument raised along these lines -- do any parties have a view on this?


I agree with the discussion above from IA and Bears Armed. I also agree with IA's comments above.

The only possibly novel point I can remotely think of is whether preamble clauses can be used to riff on another resolution while explicitly mentioning the GA serial number of the resolution as it's done here? And whether that's countermanding a previous proposal or merely making a statement of opinion (I take the view that it's the latter). Usually preamble clauses only "note" or "applaud" previous resolutions by number to avoid the debate (and also for space saving reasons).

Operative clauses in general I think we don't we do so (so exceptions on quarantines don't mention GA389 for example, and exceptions for national security in court do not explicitly mention GA37).
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