Should State Governments Enlist Citizens to Enforce Laws?

Texas recently passed a new law named SB 8, or the Texas Heartbeat Act. This law is rather unique in its format in that it allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who aids and abets an abortion procedure on a fetus with cardiac activity other than the patient. The wording of this law and its encouragement of citizens directly becoming involved in enforcement has sparked debates.

Those who argue that state governments should enlist citizens to enforce laws argue that all people have a compelling interest in ensuring that the laws of society are upheld. Therefore, they argue, it is reasonable for the government to give citizens the power to enforce said laws. Additionally, they may argue that just because the government does not have the resources or will to enforce a certain law doesn’t mean the perpetrator should go unpunished—instead citizens should have the ability to intervene. 

Those who argue that state governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws argue that doing so will lead to fractures in society. They contend that granting citizens law enforcement authority will incentivize vigilante actions and break down healthy bonds that are needed for communities to flourish. Additionally, they may argue that while citizens can play a small role in enforcing laws when the police are not immediately there through “citizen arrests,” the government must be the primary entity that executes the law. 

 So, what do you think? Should State Governments Enlist Citizens to Enforce Laws? Students can answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in between! 

 Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following: 

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner 

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers 

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors 

-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner 

-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly 

Current Standings:
Yes: 22%
No: 78%
  • Patrick from Massachusetts

    Of course citizens should be allowed to enforce laws! They do so all the time, especially in civil cases. That being said, if states are to go out of their way to enlist the help of citizens in their law enforcement, they must do so reservedly and with specific instructions.

    Firstly, citizens should only enforce a law if someone violates their rights or direct interests. For instance, if Jimmy Fallon commits libel against Oprah Winfrey, I shouldn’t be able to sue on Oprah’s behalf. Critically, however, some concerns are shared by society as a whole. There are some crimes (arson, vandalism of public property, etc.) that society has a vested interest in preventing. Even stopping littering is a public interest, and if a member of the public sees someone littering, they should be able to do something about it.

    To be clear, citizens enforcing laws is not necessarily the same as vigilante justice. Far from it. Barring extreme circumstances, citizens should only be encouraged to enforce laws by taking the offender to court. Furthermore, the standard of proof ought to be the same as in any other trial: if a member of the public can’t provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt (or, in civil cases, the preponderance of the evidence), then the accused should walk free.

    Further, states should refrain from providing their citizens with too much of an incentive — one that will cause them to quit their day jobs and scour the streets for criminals. Texas’ abortion law offers citizens $10,000 if they can prove someone has had an abortion — that seems a bit much! The idea here is that citizens should enforce the law because their interests as members of society have been infringed, not because they can make a quick buck.

    Law enforcement such as local police should obviously be the primary line of defense against criminal activities. And no one who doesn’t want to enforce a law should be made to do so. But if society’s interests are violated, then members of society should be able to do something about it.

    [read less]

    Of course citizens should be allowed to enforce laws! They do so all the time, especially in civil cases. That being said, if states are to go out of …

    [read more]
    0
  • Maleah from North Carolina

    I think that State Governments should enlist citizens to enforce laws because police officers can sometimes not know how to handle it. They could make the situation worse, or fatal. There have been many accounts where police officers have handled a mental health situation completely wrong or they have done something completely unjust and havent been held accountable. Chris Craven is a man who was dealing with a mental health crisis. He was threatening suicide and assualted one of the family members, so they decided to call 911. Minutes later he was found dead due to 15 shots by a swarm of police officers. The police had no idea how to respond to a situation regarding a mental health crisis, nor did they take the time to learn it or for it to be taught to them by the police force. Breonna Taylor was a young woman who had her house broken into by police officers. They assumed she was one of the criminals they were catching, so they decided to bombard the house. Breonnas boyfriend had a license to carry a gun, and brought it with him. Breonna was then shot multiple times after the police had seen her and she never got justice. In both of those situations, if there were a citizen who was allowed to help, then maybe those people would still be alive today. There have been many cases where police officers or even civilians have brutally harmed someone and all people could do was call the police. Even though it is effective, sometimes the police don’t come quick enough, and the situation got worse, or the person had died. If state governments would allow citizens to enforce laws it’ll allow these types of situations to run a little smoother, and may even save someone’s life.

    [read less]

    I think that State Governments should enlist citizens to enforce laws because police officers can sometimes not know how to handle it. They could make…

    [read more]
    0
  • Jay from Kentucky

    State governments should enlist citizens to enforce laws. By doing so, states would lower crime rates and increase political involvement in their populations. Between the two, decreased crime rates are the more direct result of the change. At the moment, the closest general practice to citizens enforcing laws is citizen arrests which former US attorney Michael Moore claims “[promote] good law enforcement.” Citizen arrests already save time, money, and energy, and more could be saved by implementing further citizen law enforcement policies. Simply giving citizens the power to enforce the law dissuades illegal behavior. Any criminal act would become significantly harder due to omnipresent law enforcement, making just the implementation of the policy worthwhile regardless of the number of citizens who enforce the law. One could argue that a majority of crime takes place in remote areas where citizens couldn’t intervene, but this is simply false. According to pewresearch.org, the occurrence of property crimes and theft have decreased considerably since 1993, yet they are still substantially more common than any other type of crime. Comparatively, in 2019 more heinous, harder to monitor crimes such as rape and murder comprised 2% of national crime with variations of theft accounting for 90%, and a majority of theft occurs in broad daylight, making citizen law enforcement particularly dissuasive toward the 90% of criminals committing these types of crimes. Additionally, it’s not ridiculous to believe that if citizens participated in law enforcement they would also more actively participate in politics. As it stands, only 66% of eligible voters actually vote (census.gov), leaving considerable room for improvement. Areas with low voter turnout are generally rural areas (usnews.com), and due to the higher gun per capita ratios in these states, the populations of these low-voter-turnout states would probably partake the most in civil law enforcement, leading to more political involvement in these states as citizens become more active in the laws they abide by. The greatest rebuttal to this argument is that most citizens can’t be trusted to execute law enforcement properly, and citizens would abuse/misuse their ability to enforce laws. I acknowledge this assertion; however, I think proper regulations would ensure this doesn’t happen. There could be punishments for citizens who incorrectly enforce the law, and punishments could lead to education programs that would help our country familiarize itself with its laws and our government as a whole. Overall, the incorporation of civil law enforcement by states would aid in decreasing crime rates and increasing American citizens’ political involvement.

    [read less]

    State governments should enlist citizens to enforce laws. By doing so, states would lower crime rates and increase political involvement in their popu…

    [read more]
    0
  • Emily from Kentucky

    The recent passing of the Texas Heartbeat Law has raised some controversial questions. Should the government use the help of other citizens to enforce laws? Should citizens have a limited role in law enforcement? I believe the government should enlist citizens to enforce laws. This allows people to hold their peers accountable for their actions. Citizens contemplating whether or not to commit a crime such as abortion would think twice before acting because they know if they go through with it, they could face a lawsuit. Some people argue that allowing citizens to enforce laws will lead to vigilante groups, but maybe that’s what this country needs. They would provide the service needed at all times. A service that law enforcement officers do not have the resources to provide 24/7. Less people would get away with crimes committed, and America would be an overall safer place to live.

    [read less]

    The recent passing of the Texas Heartbeat Law has raised some controversial questions. Should the government use the help of other citizens to enforce…

    [read more]
    0
  • perry from North Carolina

    Texas recently passed the Texas Heartbeat act. The Texas Heartbeat act allows private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone who contributes to an abortion procedure other than the patient. States should enlist citizens to enforce laws that are necessary for society to be upheld, resulting in a stronger American society.
    Adam J. Macleod from the National Review states that, “citizens enforcing laws is not unprecedented in the United States due to the fact that private distinctions and the doctrine prohibiting third-party enforcement of rights keep courts in their place.” By stating this Macleod establishes the fact that citizens enforcing laws helps to keep the court from having too much power. Macleod argues that, “private rights do not belong to the public, but they are infringed upon, while public wrongs such as crimes and misdemeanors are recognized for violating public rights.” This point conveys that private rights do not belong to the public, so doing a private wrong is unpunishable. If we allow private wrongs to go unpunished, then how will our society be able to strive?
    A journal done by Judge J Edward Lumbard states that citizens in the United States must recognize that their job in society is to,“protect society against lawbreakers.” Judge Lumbard says this to bring awareness to citizens that by protecting each other, we can protect the country. There have been many actions taken to keep our justice system in check. Criminal justice scholars Michael Hallett and Dennis Palumbo explain how citizens creating interest groups can contribute to influencing state legislatures, explaining how simple groups can have impacts on how laws are carried out, persuading citizens to get more involved in the community. Interest groups are a civil way for citizens to carry out laws, which will make it more difficult for the government to take away that right.
    If the government takes away a citizen’s right to enforce laws, they are taking away a constitutional right, which would be going against what our country is about. By making it a country-wide right to enlist citizens to enforce laws, it lifts the standards of our society. Making this right apply to all citizens helps to maintain the wellbeing of our society by stopping acts that go against our justice system that our law enforcement may not see. If we can come together and make citizens enforce laws, our society will be stronger for generations to come.

    [read less]

    Texas recently passed the Texas Heartbeat act. The Texas Heartbeat act allows private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone who contributes to an a…

    [read more]
    0
  • sydney from Kentucky

    Citizens have been calling in crimes they witness to the police for a long time and a significant number of suburban neighborhoods already have the “See Something, Say Something” local rule. People will always disagree, but communities with different viewpoints can create more diversity and allow for people to develop better understanding of each and the other viewpoint. Now with this law, citizens can be more involved with their local police. This allows citizens to make peaceful and nonviolent arrests, but if it becomes violent, then the police should be called. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the defence of “citizen arrest” was used to justify the shooting of a black man. Killing the offender is not a part of citizen arrests, and should not be arguable due to the fact that it is not an arrest, but manslaughter. No unnecessary harm should come to the offender, but should the arrester need self defence, then that can be followed while still keeping the no unnecessary harm policy.

    [read less]

    Citizens have been calling in crimes they witness to the police for a long time and a significant number of suburban neighborhoods already have the …

    [read more]
    0
  • Mackenzie from Kentucky

    Yes, state governments should enlist citizens to enforce laws. The government makes laws for a reason, the safety of our citizens. Therefore, why should we allow someone right next to us to break these laws that establish our state? We must enforce the laws of our government upon everyone, even our closest neighbors. It isn’t a betrayal of a friend to protect their safety by enforcing the law. The laws were made for us, so we must abide by them out of respect.

    [read less]

    Yes, state governments should enlist citizens to enforce laws. The government makes laws for a reason, the safety of our citizens. Therefore, why shou…

    [read more]
    0
  • sara from Arizona

    I think the government should enlist citizens to enforce a law but to an extent. In the Article It says we should have the right to intervene, and I completely agree. Everyone should have their own opinion and right to say what they want about the law and whether they are going to follow it or not. Some laws are very reasonable to follow, and we know to follow them or get a punishment but then there are those laws that are like oh nope I am not doing that, and I know everyone has come a crossed and law and thought that. I am on both sides with this topic because at the same time think they enforce laws, but I think the same time they should it is a difficult decision, the government should just enforce them and if they do not want to follow that is on the people who do not follow the law. Overall, the question is powerful and my opinion on the question is there.

    [read less]

    I think the government should enlist citizens to enforce a law but to an extent. In the Article It says we should have the right to intervene, and I c…

    [read more]
    0
  • Hunter from Alabama

    Put quite simply, we should not tell citizens to spy on their friends or fellow citizens looking for illegal behavior. However, if a citizen notices the action of another citizen that could result in danger to others they should, as a moral human being, tell someone with authority about these individuals. This question ultimately comes down to what counts as “harm to another.” There are obvious cases such as murder, rape and other violent acts, but abortion is a controversial topic to but it mildly. If we are to believe that abortion in the taking and ending of life then it makes perfect sense to report the action as illegal. However, if abortion is viewed as a right than it makes little to no sense why people should report such behavior. Considering how the law is worded, that is that abortion is the taking of life, than it becomes clear that citizens should report on there fellow citizens simply on the basis that we all must obey the law until it is changed or amended.

    [read less]

    Put quite simply, we should not tell citizens to spy on their friends or fellow citizens looking for illegal behavior. However, if a citizen notices t…

    [read more]
    0
  • Justus from Pennsylvania

    Wouldn’t it be a rough equivalent of deputizing citizens? Sheriffs have the power (most sheriffs anyways) to deputize any law abiding citizen they see fit to help them enforce the law.

    [read less]

    Wouldn’t it be a rough equivalent of deputizing citizens? Sheriffs have the power (most sheriffs anyways) to deputize any law abiding citizen they see…

    [read more]
    0
  • Killian from Kentucky

    I will not belabor my point here, American civilians cannot be trusted to help carry out the law, especially now. If you do believe this, clearly you are in incredible shape, as the mental gymnastics required to do so are incredible.
    First, you must forget about the sweeping wave of police brutality in our nation. (Source) Over the past twenty years, the United States has become increasingly more nationalistic, and the police have become more militarized. This nationalism and fervent, near blind support of police officers, accompanied by historic heights in gun sales (Source) would spell disaster for any civilian units. Another problem with this is an issue of body cams. It is already hard enough to get state employed officers to wear body cameras, with only half of all police wearing them (and even fewer actually turned on), so expecting civilians to wear them at all times just in case a crime happens near them is absurd. (Source) It would be even worse now because of all of the discourse over people’s choices and how the government shouldn’t be able to interfere with them, therefore accountability is completely out of the picture.
    And in case you had any faith left in the American public’s ability to fight crime in this way, all you have to do is to think of exactly what people will be trying to apprehend criminals, and personally, I don’t want to think about it, because it isn’t a comforting thought. These would be the same gun-bearing rootin tootin people who stormed the United States Capitol building. The people who set up an actual, honest to God gallows in front of the Capitol, the people who literally said that they wanted to capture and execute real elected officials, (Source) these are the people you trust to act fair and justly when apprehending civilians? If they were willing to say and do those things on national and international news, then imagine what they would do if they were not only not held accountable for their actions, but were fully protected by law, because I sure don’t want to. The Constitution cannot be factored into this problem much, only in the fact that the tenth amendment gives states the right to decide what to do in these situations, as law enforcement of the police variety is not mentioned.

    [read less]

    I will not belabor my point here, American civilians cannot be trusted to help carry out the law, especially now. If you do believe this, clearly you …

    [read more]
    0
  • Stockton from North Carolina

    The Texas state government should not be able to enlist citizens to enforce the laws of the state because citizens may have lack of knowledge or a difference of opinion about a certain law. Citizens are already asked to uphold the law and call police when they see someone else breaking the law, they should not be able to act as police and enforce the laws they see being broken. In the world we are in today people have many different opinions about politics and many people can not agree what is breaking the law and what is not. As someone who is trying to make a citizen’s arrest they can be putting themselves in danger or they can make the wrong arrest for the wrong reasons and end up getting filed for a lawsuit. (cnn.com)

    In some instances there are citizens who think someone is doing something wrong but in reality they are doing nothing wrong and are abiding by the law. In Georgia there was a young man named Ahmuad Arbery who was shot and killed by citizens while Arbery was jogging in a neighborhood. Two white men stated that they thought Arbury was about to steal because he resembled a suspect in a series of local break-ins. They pursued him in their pickup truck, confronted Arbery, and ended up shooting and killing him. There was thought to be some racially motivated action but attorneys for the two men who killed Arbery deny that it was about race. There was no reason for those men to be there at that time and attempt to arrest a man for minding his own business. This should not have happened and would not have happened if it was illegal to do this. (nytimes.com)

    With regard to others attempting to make citizen arrests, they may simply have different viewpoints and try to intervene because of their opinion. For example, there could be some kids riding bikes in a neighborhood without their helmet. One of their neighbors could disagree, believe it to be unsafe and might try to arrest them or their parents. This action would go against the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution that protects the rights of the people from unreasonable searches and seizures. This Amendment protects people’s right to privacy and unlawful arrests. The citizens’ intervention also violates The First Amendment that protects people’s freedom of freedom of expression in personal opinions. (law.cornell.edu)

    This Texas law is dangerous because it could be interpreted by citizens that they have certain rights against other people by matter of their opinion. If this law is adopted by our country we could become a Nation of people dangerously policing each other. We don’t want situations like Ahmuad Arbery’s where people take violent action on their opinion which violates the rights of all the people under our Constitution.

    Fausset, Richard. “What We Know about the Shooting Death of Ahmaud Arbery.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 Apr. 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/article/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-georgia.html.
    Prabhu, Maya T. “Georgia House Unanimously Passes Overhaul of State’s Citizen’s Arrest Law.” Ajc, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8 Mar. 2021, http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-house-unanimously-passes-overhaul-of-states-citizens-arrest-law/PO3WPQTTEFCYVJ73ZQSZHTFTEE/.
    Willingham, AJ. “Citizen’s Arrest Laws Aren’t Cut and Dry. Here’s What You Need to Know.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 May 2020, http://www.cnn.com/2020/05/12/us/citizens-arrest-what-is-explained-trnd/index.html.
    MacLeod, Adam J. “No, the Texas Abortion Law’s Enforcement Mechanism Isn’t Unprecedented.” National Review, National Review, 9 Sept. 2021, http://www.nationalreview.com/2021/09/no-the-texas-abortion-laws-enforcement-mechanism-isnt-unprecedented/.
    Press, Associated. “Supreme Court Votes 5-4 to Leave Texas Abortion Law in Place.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 2 Sept. 2021, http://www.foxnews.com/us/supreme-court-votes-5-4-to-leave-texas-abortion-law-in-place.
    LII Staff. “Copyright and Attribution.” Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, 10 May 2017, http://www.law.cornell.edu/lii/terms/copyright_and_attribution.

    [read less]

    The Texas state government should not be able to enlist citizens to enforce the laws of the state because citizens may have lack of knowledge or a dif…

    [read more]
    0
  • Peter from Kentucky

    The U.S. State Governments should not enforce citizens to enlist in laws. I believe there is a clear distinction between enforcing laws and reporting laws. States have police forces for a reason. Placing the responsibility on citizens to enforce laws is not reasonable: what experience, training, and means do most citizens have for this kind of enforcement. I believe that with this Texas heartbeat law, citizens have every right and responsibility to report situations where the law is broken, just like with any other crime. However, I do not believe that they should be given the responsibility of enforcing it. Now, this idea of “enforcement” does seem a little vague, because it is difficult to define what this enforcement would look like. Would the police still intervene? What kind of punishments would citizens be able to extoll on other, law-breaking citizens. For instance, Adam Macleod of the National Review argues that the “Supreme Court’s own precedents already authorize private persons to assert the rights of third parties in abortion lawsuits”. But if this heartbeat law in Texas asserts that unborn babies, after a heartbeat is detected, are not legally allowed to be aborted, does this mean that a lawsuit against those that carried out this abortion is the correct response, or would something more punishing be the requirement of the law? It is all very indescriptive, and Justice Roberts describes it as “not only unusual, but unprecedented”. These “vigilante citizens” could be harmful to communities, as their power to enforce laws could just create legal messes and create more problems and ill-feelings between citizens. And again, we have the police to enforce the laws. If some citizen observes or has proof of a violation of this Texas heartbeat law, then I believe that they should take it to the authorities and let them enforce the law, because it is their job, and they would enact much of the same enforcement that citizens might be able to do, but more efficiently and effectively.

    [read less]

    The U.S. State Governments should not enforce citizens to enlist in laws. I believe there is a clear distinction between enforcing laws and reporting …

    [read more]
    0
  • Artem from Illinois

    Though the participation of the public in government is a fundamental principle of republicanism, some tasks are better left to the state. Many countries have historically tried to enlist the help of private citizens to enforce laws. One of the most glaring examples is perhaps the KGB, which relied heavily on whistleblowers and informants to point them in the direction of “criminals.” These informants, aided by the fact that the Soviet government rarely questioned the sources of their reports, quickly became corrupted and used their position of power to imprison innocent community members out of jealousy or resentment. Though the United States is of course nowhere near that level of tyranny, human nature suggests that the basic lessons learned from the KGB experiences can be applied even to modern American society. The kind of person to volunteer to enforce laws for the government is not always a selfless altruist: often they are instead an untrained, potentially rogue, vigilante seeking to act for their own benefit or out of personal bias. This has been reflected in numerous cases where innocent passersby became victims of Neighborhood Watch programs and other citizen law enforcements, such as the baseless harassment of suspected Boston Marathon bombers and presumed California wildfires arsonist (https://www.pcmag.com/news/neighborhood-watch-goes-rogue-the-trouble-with-nextdoor-and-citizen), as well as the widely publicized racial profiling of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery. When citizens are given this kind of power, many unfortunately resort to disproportional actions driven by revenge or racism. Enlisting private citizens to help, therefore, increases polarization and breeds distrust within the community. Professional law enforcement, as a trained third party, has the primary authority in enforcing laws. Private wrongs that infringe on private rights, including libel, injury, and other civil lawsuit cases, warrant legal action by the individuals whose rights are being violated. However, public wrongs, like crimes and misdemeanors, violate public rights, and only the public, acting through its elected executive officials, may prosecute such criminal actions. In abortion cases in particular, where the suing party is not the victim and has no relation to the victim, private citizens do not deserve the right to pursue legal action. This separation of public and private wrongs, a time-honored tradition in American law, prevents mob rule and discriminatory vigilante action. There are, of course, cases where citizens can help uphold the law – whistleblowing action about public fraud, for example, ensures the state can gather evidence against wrongdoers within it. Citizen’s arrests, as long as they use proportional force and have no alternatives, are also justified as the police cannot be everywhere at once. However, law enforcement, prosecutors, and other officials are there for a reason, and they should be the primary entity behind executing laws. The distinction between private wrongs and public wrongs prevents activists from using the courts to rewrite laws and ensures that the people whose rights are actually at stake in any litigation are involved in the proceedings as parties. It is, therefore, extremely important to maintain it.

    [read less]

    Though the participation of the public in government is a fundamental principle of republicanism, some tasks are better left to the state. Many countr…

    [read more]
    0
  • Maria from Kentucky

    No, state governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. While the thought of citizens helping maintain laws and peace is appealing, it would divide the country even further than it already is. We, as a society, need balance. If you were in a school setting, and the teacher decided it was a classmate’s job to judge another student’s speech, this would probably make the students feel uncomfortable. No, it would be better for the teacher, the authority, to grade the student’s speech. It is the same with laws and citizens. Without police regulating these laws, the country will fall into chaos as it is up to the citizens to enforce laws. If neighbors were to enforce laws with neighbors, it would not encourage neighborly affection. Good relations are critical in American society. It would be better for society as a whole if citizens were not on each other about rules. Not to mention, there will always be Karens who nobody will want to listen to. Do we really want to trust them to require others to follow rules? No, there would be turmoil before the blink of an eye.

    [read less]

    No, state governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. While the thought of citizens helping maintain laws and peace is appealing, it would…

    [read more]
    0
  • Noah from Kentucky

    If state governments enlisted citizens to enforce the laws, then what would the purpose of our current law enforcement be? Whether it is through the branches of government or police departments, not all citizens should have the privilege of enforcing the laws appropriately. It requires extensive training and knowledge of the law to be able to enforce it appropriately. When I think of citizens enforcing laws, I think of a school or company receiving a complaint from a parent or customer that requests their situation be resolved. In fact, the majority of crimes solved by the police department come from the calls and complaints of the citizens themselves.

    However, there is a major difference between notifying the police of a crime compared to being given the permission to handle the situation. Citizens should be able to call the police in case of an emergency or in response to nearby violence. Despite these privileges though, they must become certified and trained in law management to appropriately apply it to society’s needs and a legal, moral guide to success.

    [read less]

    If state governments enlisted citizens to enforce the laws, then what would the purpose of our current law enforcement be? Whether it is through the b…

    [read more]
    0
  • Coulter from Alabama

    The idea of state governments enlisting citizens to enforce laws is a double-edged sword. On one end of the spectrum, this would encourage citizens to follow the law at all times not just when there is a cop around, however on the other hand it would create an severly distrustful environment. The book 1984 by George Orwell predicts what would happen if the government had complete control over every action and aspect of our lives. In this book there is the idea of the “Big Brother” an entity that oversees the entirety of the population and watches their every move. While this is an extreme example it is rarely seen in history that a person gains power with the intent of relinquishing it, so it is possible that as one thing leads to another we could be living in a totalitarian state in a relatively short amount of time. In 1984’s dystopian society citizens are encouraged to report any suspecious behavior to the Thought Police. This is very similar to SB 8 which has recently been passed in Texas as a way to police abortion. The idea and concept of this law are great in theory; in practice they lead to a dystopian and totalitarian country. SB 8 should be repealed to protect our current way of life.

    [read less]

    The idea of state governments enlisting citizens to enforce laws is a double-edged sword. On one end of the spectrum, this would encourage citizens to…

    [read more]
    0
  • Anna from North Carolina

    The question whether or not State Government should give citizens the right to enforce laws in the community is a debated topic that has been in discussion for quite some time now. Based on the exact laws and recent social issues in the communities of the State of Georgia, there are many reasons why citizens should not be enlisted the right to enforce laws in societies.

    In Atlanta, Georgia on February 23, 2020, two men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael pursued unarmed 25 year old Ahmaud Abery in a on foot chase without law enforcement involvement. As a result of this chase Abery was killed and his community was devastated. Gregory and Travis McMichael were not held accountable due to the Georgia State Law which allowed citizen involvement with citizen arrest. According to the 2010 Georgia Code on Criminal Procedure, “A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.” According to the New York Times Article on the case, the reason why the white men shot and killed Abery was because they thought he was a burglar. A man who was a part of a tight family and loving community was killed and taken away from all of his loved ones just because Gregory and Travis McMichael thought he was a burglar. The word and term “thought” can be used so broadly. Anyone anywhere at any time can say that they thought something about another person and it could totally be unfactual. Gregory and Travis McMichael were without penalty or suspicion of murder up until a video was published on the internet and social media a month after Arbery’s death. With the help of people all over the United States including celebrities and even some civil rights activists, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation decided to look further into the case based on evidence that was found in the video. According to the New York Times Article, “The video showed racial slurs being used against Mr. Abery after shots were being fired”. This case and crisis eventually led to the State of Georgia repealing their state law that would allow citizens to help out in criminal affairs in their communities.
    The Law of Citizen Arrest is a very broad term. The law can be interpreted in many different ways. Some people may view the idea of citizen arrest as a way to actually become law enforcement. The law enforcement is given a job to protect the cities and towns that we all live in and if all of these people are trying to arrest and detain different “criminals” or even innocent people, it all causes chaos. There will be no organization in the communities and it even puts the citizens lives at risk when they are taking action and matters into their own hands. Citizens may think that they will be helping the community by going after someone but in the end they may just end up getting injured, hurt or even killed.

    Overall, law enforcement has a job to protect their societies and cities, we need to let them do their job! A simple phone call to the police to inform of suspicious activity or sightings of a wanted man is all that is necessary. Law enforcement is very capable of taking action and there is no need to put the citizens or the falsely accused at risk.

    [read less]

    The question whether or not State Government should give citizens the right to enforce laws in the community is a debated topic that has been in discu…

    [read more]
    0
  • Caroline from North Carolina

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws because it will incentivize vigilante actions caused by bias such as race, sex, ethnicity, etc. Citizens attempting to enforce laws that they aren’t fully educated in could do more harm than good. Although citizen’s arrest does exist, allowing citizens to actually be in charge of enforcing laws would take it to a whole new level.
    Allowing citizens to enforce laws will most likely incentivize vigilante actions, for example the case of Ahmaud Arbery’s death. Summarizing the case, Arbery was an african american male who was chased and shot to death by three white men because they thought he was a criminal because of his skin color. Civilians’ bias towards things like race, sex, or ethnicity can get in the way of good judgement of what is actually against the law and what is not. For example, inAmerica many African Americans are convicted or harmed because of things they didn’t do. “African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016), and the great majority of more than 1800 additional innocent defendants who were framed and convicted of crimes in 15 large-scale scandals and later cleared in ‘group exonerations’ (Gross).” This article shows thorough data and examples that even law enforcement officers sometimes carry out their jobs in biased ways as well. If law enforcement officers already have this problem imagine how out of hand it would get if you gave the citizens the power to do the same thing.
    All citizens are entitled to their opinions on laws, however not all citizens are educated enough to act on laws they have opinions on. Take the Texas abortion law for example, this law gives the people in Texas “the exclusive power to sue people who perform or procure abortions abortions” (Macleod). The Supreme Court choosing not to stop this law is a recipe for disaster. One again, giving the citizens the power to do this can do more harm than good because you cannot force people to always tell the truth and you cannot expect citizens to know every last detail about everything. This law would allow a citizen who has a very strong opinion against abortion to wrongfully accuse someone who they believe had or performed an abortion even without all of the facts. “Although there is disagreement about the frequency of wrongful accusations and convictions, a recent study estimated that wrongful convictions occur in 6% of criminal convictions leading to imprisonment.” (Brooks, Greenberg) This quote states that out of all the wrongful convictions that happen in a year, only 6% end up actually having to be imprisoned. This all goes back to the statement that if law enforcement officers already have an issue with bias and wrongful convictions, giving this power to the people would take this issue to a whole new level.

    Sources:

    Gross, S. R. (Ed.). (2017, March 7). National Registry of Exonerations. Race and Wrongful Convictions. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Race_and_Wrongful_Convictions.pdf.
    Samantha K Brooks, N. G. (2020, August 17). Psychological impact of being wrongfully accused of criminal offences: A systematic literature review – samantha K brooks, Neil Greenberg, 2021. SAGE Journals. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0025802420949069.

    [read less]

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws because it will incentivize vigilante actions caused by bias such as race, sex, ethnicity…

    [read more]
    0
  • Casey from North Carolina

    State governments should not be able to enlist citizens to help with enforcing laws. Although certain programs such as tip hotlines can be useful in helping prevent crime from occurring, enforcing laws should be carried out strictly by law enforcement. Allowing untrained civilians to put themselves in dangerous situations in which they might not even be sure if a crime has occurred can put the lives of both the enlisted citizens and those being accused of a crime at risk. Not only is it dangerous but it is unconstitutional considering that a private citizen can only prosecute another person if a crime has been committed directly towards them, otherwise it is up to the state and elected officials to prosecute. Allowing state governments to enlist citizens to enforce laws would be dangerous to all parties involved and go against constitutional values.
    Some states such as Georgia have laws known as citizens arrest laws which allow citizens to “physically detain another in order to arrest them” (Cornell). These laws have caused some citizens to take up vigilantism, meaning numerous untrained citizens are attempting to physically detain those they believe are breaking the law. This has caused death in previous occurrences. In February of 2020 a man named Ahmaud Arbery was “shot to death while running near Brunswick after being chased by three men who claimed they believed he was a burglar” (Prabhu). Law enforcement can be a very dangerous job and if it is not carried out correctly it can cause harm or death to those attempting a citizen’s arrest. On the other hand, if someone is not trained for a situation in which they are supposed to enforce the law, they can misinterpret the situation and cause harm or death to those they are trying to detain. Enlisting citizens to help enforce the law could cause unnecessary harm or death all because carrying out the law would be put in the hands of those not trained to do so.
    Also, from a legal standpoint, using citizens to enforce laws can be considered unconstitutional depending on the circumstances. For instance, In Texas, a law was passed called the Texas Heartbeat Act, which allowed any citizen to privately file a civil lawsuit against anyone assisting someone in getting an abortion. The constitutionality of this act has been disputed, the supreme court voted to keep the law which ended in a close decision. “The court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers and others that sought to block enforcement of the law” (Fox News).This was surprising considering six of the nine justices were appointed by republican presidents, according to the U.S. supreme court government website. According to the constitution, a private citizen can only prosecute another person when a crime is committed directly towards the plaintiff which is called a civil case. However, “Unlike civil cases, criminal cases are not pursued by an individual. Rather, it is prosecuted by an attorney who works for the government. In state cases, the prosecutor is generally a District Attorney” (Ahmad). According to this, a person cannot privately prosecute someone who assists someone with getting an abortion, since they are not the direct victim of the crime. The only people who can prosecute anyone who violates this law is the Texas legal system and the elected officials put in place to enforce the law.
    While using citizens through tips and hotlines can be useful for law enforcement to help prevent crimes, citizens should not become the forefront for enforcing laws. If states enlist untrained citizens to help carry out the law, it could cause harm and death to both the enforcer and the accused. Doing so could also cause disputes as to whether or not these enlistments are constitutional causing more civil unrest within the country. Because of these factors, it is apparent that state governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws.

    Citations:

    “Citizen’s Arrest.” Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School , 6 June 2021, http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/citizen%27s_arrest.

    “Current Members.” Home – Supreme Court of the United States, The Supreme Court of the United States , http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx.

    “Who Prosecutes Criminal Cases?” Ahmad Law Firm, LLC, 4 June 2019, http://www.ahmadlawfirm.com/blog/2019/june/who-prosecutes-a-criminal-case-.

    Press, Associated. “Supreme Court Votes 5-4 to Leave Texas Abortion Law in Place.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 2 Sept. 2021, http://www.foxnews.com/us/supreme-court-votes-5-4-to-leave-texas-abortion-law-in-place.

    Prabhu, Maya T. “Georgia House Unanimously Passes Overhaul of State’s Citizen’s Arrest Law.” Ajc, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8 Mar. 2021, http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-house-unanimously-passes-overhaul-of-states-citizens-arrest-law/PO3WPQTTEFCYVJ73ZQSZHTFTEE/.

    [read less]

    State governments should not be able to enlist citizens to help with enforcing laws. Although certain programs such as tip hotlines can be useful in h…

    [read more]
    0
  • Hudson from North Carolina

    Recently, several states have enforced a law that allows regular citizens to file civil lawsuits against people who they think or know are committing a crime. To me, this law should not be enforced because it is radical and unjust and handling crimes should be left in the hands of those who went through years of training to do just that.
    For citizens to be able to arrest people for thinking they are doing wrong is radical and unjust in my eyes. In Texas, it is legal for a regular citizen to file a civil lawsuit on a person who has acted upon an abortion. Also, if they are correct in their assumption, they are rewarded $10,000.(Tavernise) I believe citizens arresting fellow citizens will lead to many complications such as citizens wanting to make arrests just so they can receive a reward and not to support the cause of banning abortion in Texas. There are many requirements that people have to follow in order to make a legal arrest as a citizen, ¨Any arrest they carry out must meet the same constitutional standards as an arrest by the law enforcement officers themselves.¨(Findlaw) For a person to know all the requirements to make a legal arrest is very slim, and if a person acts upon making an arrest and fails to meet those requirements, they could face serious consequences.
    All crimes and punishments should be left in the hands of police officers. People who think they are doing the right thing oftentimes make a mistake, two men in Georgia were charged with murder because they thought they were doing the right thing. ¨They were purportedly seeking to make a citizen’s arrest of an unarmed jogger they believed was involved in a burglary, but ended up shooting and killing their suspect instead.¨(Board) If a cop were in these two men’s place, they would have done what they were taught to do in training, not make irrational decisions that lead to trouble. These two men thought they could do what cops do but what they did led them to be charged with murder and are facing federal charges.
    In my eyes, this law should not exist. If there is a reward for making an arrest as a citizen, people will begin to take advantage of that reward and make arrests just for money. Also, making arrests should be left in the hands of law enforcement officers, not just any person that feels like someone is doing wrong.

    [read less]

    Recently, several states have enforced a law that allows regular citizens to file civil lawsuits against people who they think or know are committing …

    [read more]
    0
  • Johan from North Carolina

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. There are two reasons why citizens should not enforce laws. The first reason is that there are citizens out in this society who are prejudiced against others. Another reason is that many ordinary citizens have a lack of knowledge of the law.
    Firstly, there are citizens in this society who are prejudiced against others, either by their race, their political stance, or their gender. An example of citizens who utilizes citizen’s arrest for their racist judgment against people is the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. It has been stated that “Arbery, a 25-year old Black man, was shot to death while running near Brunswick after being chased by three men who claimed they believed he was a burglar” (Prabhu). This incident conveys the concept that racial prejudice can lead to false citizen arrests, which can become dangerous and fatal. Another citizen’s arrest incident that dealt with racial prejudice was the fake accusation of kidnapping for Peter Mutabazi. Mutabazi was an African and a foster father for his white, adopted child. One day, a woman saw Mutabazi’s foster son crying in the street and she later reported the incident to the cops by stating “that a strange person, a Black man, was with a child who was crying and that she suspected [he] was kidnapping him” (Maher and Reilly). This incident and the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery demonstrate that enlisting citizens to enforce laws would be a bad idea since people’s prejudice can lead to many people being accused of something they did not do.
    Another problem with enlisting citizens to enforce laws is that many citizens have a lack of knowledge about the law. In 2019, the ABA constructed a survey called the Survey of Civics Literacy, which questioned American citizens if they know the basic principles of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. According to the article “ABA Survey of Civic Literacy: The Findings,” the results reveal that “only 5 percent of respondents answered all 15 civic questions correctly.” The Annenberg Public Policy Center has established an annual survey to calculate how many Americans know the United States Constitution, the First Amendment, and the three branches of government. According to the article “Americans Are Poorly Informed about Basic Constitutional Provisions,” states that in 2017, “more than a third of those surveyed can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.” Both of these surveys showcase that most Americans have a lack of knowledge of the law, which can be a catastrophe if citizens were able to enforce laws because they would not know if an individual committed a crime or not. Law enforcement should be the ones enforcing the law since they are trained, compared to ordinary citizens.
    With all things considered, state governments should not enlist citizens to enforce the law because citizens are prejudiced against others, and many citizens do not have sufficient knowledge to understand the law. Citizens who are prejudiced against others would abuse their law enforcement powers to falsely accuse people they hate. Also, citizens with little knowledge about the law would not know if an individual committed a crime or not, which would lead to many false accusations.

    [read less]

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. There are two reasons why citizens should not enforce laws. The first reason is that the…

    [read more]
    0
  • Natalie from Kentucky

    States should not issue citizens to enforce laws. It is not a definite way to catch people breaking the law. People could think that someone is breaking the law and then try to arrest them when the victim wasn’t in the wrong at all. This will cause much chaos and eruption throughout cities. An example clearing supporting my claim was the death of Arbery. He was shot to death due to three men thinking he was a burglar. This shows that our country is not ready to put all of this power into the citizens’ hands while being ready for repercussions.

    [read less]

    States should not issue citizens to enforce laws. It is not a definite way to catch people breaking the law. People could think that someone is breaki…

    [read more]
    0
  • Ives from North Carolina

    Texas state government recently passed an anti-abortion law that allows citizens to enforce laws and sue any person that is involved in facilitating an abortion. Senate Bill 8 (SB8) allows the citizens of Texas to sue any person that is who helps provide or assists in an abortion, and I believe that this is wrong. State government should not enlist citizens to enforce laws, because it could result in complete chaos and is not practical, putting law enforcement into the hands of all citizens. It will also be an invasion of an individual’s privacy.
    State government allowing individual citizens to enforce laws by themselves is an extreme and risky idea because it would create complete and utter chaos if citizens are enforcing laws. The investigation into who, what, when and where an abortion happens may never hold up in court as trained police and law enforcement will not be investigating. All this does is give more power and money to attorneys if any cases do hold up in court and could jam the court system with possible false claims. State officers have to go to take many law education courses and training sessions, and go through many background checks to become a police officer and learn procedures to investigate (DPS). Citizens of Texas should not have the same powers as state officers to enforce law, if they have no education on the job. In Atlanta, Ahmuad Arbary was shot by a couple of men who believed that he was stealing something (Prabhu). This proves that people with no law enforcement background should not take actions into their own hands. They may not understand the full story. When a state allows this against private businesses and individuals, private citizens can also make these an organized effort just for personal gain.
    Furthermore, letting citizens enforce laws could lead to invasion of privacy and health advice. In Texas, this law it allows anyone who drive a woman to a clinic to get an abortion and anyone who sues a person would be entitled to $10,000 in court costs. (Weber). Doctors may not give women their full opinion on what they think is best if they are worried that they may be sued. This could entice people in Texas to go through people’s medical history to see if they had an abortion and who was involved in the abortion. This is a violation of the fourth amendment in the Constitution of the United States. This amendment identifies that, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures (Maddison).” This law and laws giving citizens this kind of power to enforce laws can violate privacy and the 4th amendment.
    Bills created like the Texas Senate Bill 8 seem to be created to get around current laws or create shortcuts. Allowing states to put power into the hands of citizens to sue individuals that do not hurt them directly, is wrong. In the United States there are privacy laws to protect us and everything that comes with allowing this is a slippery slope to keeping privacy and allowing court cases that are not needed. This allows citizens to get involved where they should not have a right. It is important that everyone mind their own business and let the trained law enforcement handle and follow the constitution, leaving laws to the courts.

    Maddison , J. (1787, September 17). The constitution of the United States. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript
    Prabhu, M. T. (2021, March 8). Georgia House unanimously passes overhaul of State’s Citizen’s arrest law. ajc. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-house-unanimously-passes-overhaul-of-states-citizens-arrest-law/PO3WPQTTEFCYVJ73ZQSZHTFTEE/.
    “Texas SB8: 2021-2022: 87TH LEGISLATURE.” LegiScan, Texas State Government , 6 May 2021, legiscan.com/TX/text/SB8/id/2395961.
    Texas State Department of Public Safety. (n.d.). Age/basic requirements for Trooper. Age/Basic Requirements for Trooper | Department of Public Safety. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/training-operations-tod/agebasic-requirements-trooper
    Weber, P. J. (2021, September 2). Supreme Court votes 5-4 to leave Texas abortion law in place. Fox News. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.foxnews.com/us/supreme-court-votes-5-4-to-leave-texas-abortion-law-in-place.

    [read less]

    Texas state government recently passed an anti-abortion law that allows citizens to enforce laws and sue any person that is involved in facilitating a…

    [read more]
    0
  • Hannah from North Carolina

    I do not think that governments should enlist their citizens to enforce laws. I think the idea of everyday citizens being able to enforce laws against other citizens is dangerous and isn’t a very good way to go about bringing justice. The reason I believe this is dangerous is because if people don’t go about this the right way they could end up harming themselves or others. If you are personally seeing someone do an unlawful act and you try to act upon it instead of just calling the police, the person you are trying to stop could end up harming you. It could also harm others because if you suspect that someone is doing something wrong you don’t know that for a fact. So if you act upon that in a way that could be harmful to the other person instead of letting the police deal with the situation, you could end up harming them and even getting yourself into trouble if what you suspected didn’t even happen. This happened in Georgia when a man, Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed by Gregory and Thomas McMichel. (The Boston Globe, 2020) The men suspected that he had been involved in a burglary and from that they followed him and instead of notifying the police decided to act upon it themselves and ended up killing Ahmaud Arbery. When this happened they didn’t initially charge the two men with the murder because it was done under citenzes arrest. Many times citizens arrest “are prone to misinterpretation” (The Boston Globe, 2020) just like in this case. This can cause problems because this confusion “makes cold-blooded murder more difficult to prosecute.” (The Boston Globe, 2020) From this misunderstanding and these men thinking they were prosecuting the right person they ended up killing an innocent man.

    This goes into my next point being that I don’t think this is a very good way to go about bringing justice. People can really get caught up in this and believe anytime they suspect someone of disobeying the law that they need to act upon it. I think that we should just let the law enforcement do their job because that’s what they are trained to do, that’s their job not a citizen’s job. I don’t think any of us believe that when someone has a brain tumor that we as ordinary people are going to attempt to remove it because we haven’t learned the proper skills to do that. If we tried doing that we’d probably end up killing that person instead of getting rid of the tumor. Instead we call the doctor and they remove it because that’s their job that’s what they were trained to do. They’ve learned the proper information and have learned the skills to perform this task so we let them do it. Just as we let the doctors do, we should let the police do. We should let them take care of the things they have learned and prepared to take care of. Law enforcement and the officers were set in place for a reason. (Lumbard, 1965)

    From all of this I want to conclude with the fact that I don’t see a problem with telling someone that they are doing wrong or that it’s wrong to act upon someone who is harassing you for personal defense reasons. I’m saying that I think it’s wrong for us to act upon things that we suspect have happened or acting upon someone in a dangerous situation when you had the opportunity to call the police. I believe that the government should just allow law enforcement to bring justice, not letting citizens enforce the laws set in place for our country.

    Citations
    Lumbard , E. (1965, March). The citizens role in law enforcement . Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=5281&context=jclc.

    The Editorial Board (Ed.). (2020, May 12). Citizens should not be emboldened to make arrests. The Boston Globe . Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/05/13/opinion/citizens-should-not-be-emboldened-make-arrests/?outputType=amp.

    [read less]

    I do not think that governments should enlist their citizens to enforce laws. I think the idea of everyday citizens being able to enforce laws against…

    [read more]
    0
  • Spencer from North Carolina

    Spencer West

    TTV

    I don’t think that citizens should be able to enforce laws on other people because the police were formed to enforce laws over citizens. There are two main reasons why I think it should not be a rule. One, if citizens can enforce laws on other people citizens could enforce the law on another citizen just because they are biased. Also, citizens do not have the training that a normal law enforcer would have so they could be injured trying to enforce another citizen.
    First an example from the Georgia house decision, a black man was just running down the road when three potentially biased white men ran him down thinking he robbed someone and shot him dead (Prabhu). This shows how citizens being able to enforce the law is a problem. Someone died because the law allowed citizens to take action in something they knew nothing about. Communication is one of the problems with this law and it is one of the problems in this situation. The man was probably shot because of the three men being biased and the situation could have been handled if there had been communication between the four people. That is why cops are better for enforcing the law, cops always try to communicate with a suspect before using force (Gremel).
    Secondly, sometimes a citizen may be in the right to arrest another citizen suspected of committing a crime. However, the citizen may not know how to approach the situation in a safe way. In a citizen’s arrest you have to make sure you are very careful and you know who and what you are dealing with. As an example a man tried to enforce the law on an alleged criminal but the situation goes horribly wrong when the citizen tries to restrain the offender. The criminal escapes the citizens grasp and chases the innocent civilian with a bat. The man falls and gets struck with the bat 4 times in the head by the criminal. This shows how dangerous it is for everyday citizens to enforce the law on others. We need to leave the enforcement of the law to the police and other law enforcement that have training and know how to deal with many dangerous situations for the safety of our citizens (Riley).
    Enforcing the law on our community is a very important and difficult responsibility. This responsibility should be handled by professional law enforcement for the safety of others and to protect citizens from other biased citizens. It is always important to have citizens help each other out to make our community a better place but I feel that putting others at risk because of lack of training or a potentially biased citizen is unnecessary.

    Sources

    Gremel , R. P. (n.d.). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology . When Can A Policeman Use His Gun . Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3737&context=jclc.

    Mailonline, E. R. F. (2018, December 13). ‘Citizen’s arrest’ goes horribly wrong as Good Samaritan is brutally beaten with a baseball bat. Daily Mail Online. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6491383/Citizens-arrest-goes-horribly-wrong-Good-Samaritan-brutally-beaten-baseball-bat.html.

    Prabhu, M. T. (2021, March 8). Georgia house unanimously passes overhaul of state’s citizen’s Arrest law. ajc. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-house-unanimously-passes-overhaul-of-states-citizens-arrest-law/PO3WPQTTEFCYVJ73ZQSZHTFTEE/.

    [read less]

    Spencer West

    TTV

    I don’t think that citizens should be able to enforce laws on other people because the police were formed to enforce laws over…

    [read more]
    0
  • Nathan from Kentucky

    The Executive branch of the United States government is faced with difficulties from its citizens every day. There is a constant barrage of crime that flows through the U.S. like a flash flood. Local and federal law enforcement alike are wearing down their resources in order to maintain this deluge of constitutional violation. The question at hand focuses on whether or not citizens within the United States should be able to stop or prevent these crimes from occuring. The government relies on its people enough as it is to regulate themselves to keep order. The government should not enlist its citizens to enforce laws because the average American citizen is not trained in law enforcement of any type and will be extremely unprepared and untrained.

    According to Josiah Bates of Time magazine, the rate of violent crimes in the U.S. has raised at an alarming rate; “A new report from the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) presents data showing that murders have risen 16% in many major American cities over the first 6 months of 2021, as part of what is being widely viewed as a new wave of crime and violence across the U.S.”. The government enlisting its people to enforce laws is the perfect equivalent of asking these people to put their lives at risk at a constant rate. Statistically, crime as a whole has been on a steady decrease, while violent crimes such as murder and homicide are on the incline. “While overall crime is decreasing in D.C., the murder rate is going up. From 2019 to 2020, homicides increased by 18%…”( World Population Review). This would not only put citizens’ lives in danger, but it would also provide more leniency for criminals to commit crimes. With more citizens being able to contribute to stop these crimes, real government officials will be less common creating a gap in which offenders will waste no time in penetrating to get what they want. This creates a large problem for not only the government, but for the United States as a whole. With escalating crime rates, the United States will most likely fall into a chaotic-frenzy, destroying the economy in one fell swoop. In closing, if the United States were to have a citizen-run Executive branch-like program, the United States would jeopardize the well-being of its people and its economy, crumbling the government all together, making it nearly impossible for the United States to return to its former self.

    Works Cited
    https://time.com/6086558/us-homicides-violent-crime-rates/
    https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/crime-rate-by-state

    [read less]

    The Executive branch of the United States government is faced with difficulties from its citizens every day. There is a constant barrage of crime that…

    [read more]
    0
  • Sophia from Kentucky

    Why would one enforce the law if they do not agree with it or the government ratified it first? When I see this question and the statements regarding the Texas Heartbeat Ban I recognize the similarity between now and the French Revolution. During that revolution, the citizens were allowed to report to the leaders that their neighbors, friends, and even family members to be executed by the guillotine. They did not always report them for the reason the leaders allowed them this freedom; sometimes it was jealous and very greedy that the people would ensure that others would be executed for their own benefit. Same as then, Texas is allowing people to submit an anonymous report of someone suspected of abortion. A person in Texas can rape or impregnate a woman then sue her if she attempts to have an abortion for a bounty of $10,000 or so.
    Again, why would the people enforce the law when the government made it? This question also asks whether or not people can be their own judge and jury or even law enforcer. We all are normal citizens that are united in this standing. Not every person in the United States of America is a part of the law enforcement, lawmaking, or government. The government allowed the states to make their own laws, why can’t the states also enforce them without the aid of their working-class citizens? This is a problem for the state governments, not for the people. We should stand united, not fight or betray one another.

    [read less]

    Why would one enforce the law if they do not agree with it or the government ratified it first? When I see this question and the statements regarding …

    [read more]
    0
  • Derrick from Kentucky

    No, states should not enlist citizens to enforce laws.
    Although almost everyone wants people to follow certain rules/laws that they feel strongly about, this is more a question of: Do we trust everyday people with that kind of power.
    I strongly believe that if we gave enlisting citizens that kind of power that it will be abused. It will all also depend on how a particular person feels on a certain subject, for instance masks. If person A the enlisted citizen has a strong opinion on a mask mandate and feels that everyone should wear a mask no matter what, then they could possibly treat others too harshly who either were not following the rule or were taking their mask off for a second.
    Now that is just a far fetched example, it is possible that the power would not be abused. But it is still highly probable that the power of enforcing laws will be abused.

    [read less]

    No, states should not enlist citizens to enforce laws.
    Although almost everyone wants people to follow certain rules/laws that they feel strongly ab…

    [read more]
    0
  • Daniel from Kentucky

    I think if the government allowed citizens to enforce laws, there would be no order. If some random person would want to enforce a law and say, “I think stealing should be legal.” then what good would that do for society? Also, what good would it do if a person wants to enforce a law without that much knowledge on that topic? There’s a reason why we have politics who make decisions in the government and why we have people who specifically go to college who study government because it’s their passion to make society better. In conclusion, we should leave the work of enforcing laws to those who work for and study the government. Not those who might not have any knowledge of a certain topic and wants to enforce a law.

    [read less]

    I think if the government allowed citizens to enforce laws, there would be no order. If some random person would want to enforce a law and say, “I thi…

    [read more]
    0
  • Leah from Kentucky

    No, citizens should not have the power to enforce or exercise law enforcement. Texas recently gave citizens the power to file lawsuits against those who provide aid to those receiving an abortion effectively giving citizens the power to exercise the law. Citizens who are not trained in law enforcement have no right to practice law enforcement without proper training. For example, in Lexington, Kentucky, the police academy is 30 weeks of training in the areas of defensive tactics, patrol operations, law, and firearm use including more. (https://www.lexingtonky.gov/police-training-academy)Average citizens should not be able to use these law enforcement tactics when they have undergone no training or study of the law. Instead, they should call law enforcement to assist with the issue of either an emergency or non-emergency line. It does not make sense to allow a 16-year-old to drive a car, a dangerous piece of machinery when they have not undergone the test or hours of training to do so. Therefore, why would we give citizens the power to do what takes weeks of training including mental and physical training? If we give citizens the power to exercise the law then we give citizens the right to rampage which leads to injuries and death among citizens. For example, the January 6th attacks are a great exhibition of what happens when citizens gain the power to override law enforcement. Thousands of citizens stormed the capital while harming law enforcement officers and other citizens. This killed five people along with four police officer suicides in the aftermath. Putting too much power into the hands of the people puts law enforcement at greater risk of harm and undermines law enforcement power. Secondly, this puts the citizen arrestor at greater legal harm. It is not just as simple as arresting a citizen or holding them until police arrive. Most likely the person being arrested will become combative and try to escape. For example, say I choose to make an arrest on the suspicion of a felony but this person has not actually committed a felony that puts me the arrestor at risk for charges like false imprisonment. (https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/legal-trouble-citizens-arrests.html)
    I would also then be risking my own life to make a citizen’s arrest when I could call law enforcement with the proper training to diffuse the situation and carry out justice correctly. Any person could become physically combative at any time with the power to injure or kill someone along with many other people. Most likely a person who does not want to be caught in a crime will try to pull away and escape. Arguably, this would make the situation worse with a criminal fleeing. Overall, allowing citizens to make arrests undermine law enforcement, causes destruction and rampage, while also putting the arrester at risk for legal and physical harm. Why should we give citizens the power to put themselves and others at risk for harm or legal ramifications?

    [read less]

    No, citizens should not have the power to enforce or exercise law enforcement. Texas recently gave citizens the power to file lawsuits against those w…

    [read more]
    0
  • Belle from Kentucky

    No, the government should absolutely not enlist citizens to enforce laws. Government officials are trained and prepared to manage law enforcement. Allowing citizens to enforce laws is similar to the tattle-tales of elementary school; people will no doubt abuse their power, especially on petty crimes and use this jurisdiction to spy on and punish others that they do not get along with. A huge concern with allowing citizens to hold such a corruptible authority is one of race. There is no doubt that many people will use their power as an excuse to push a racist agenda. It is disgusting that this is even a conversation, but there is already a problem with white people attempting to report minorities for “crimes” that are really just normal actions, like having a barbeque in a public area (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/22/us/white-woman-black-people-oakland-bbq-trnd/index.html). Additionally, allowing citizens to report their neighbors will create a sense of hostility and tension in communities and infringe on private rights. Take SB 8 for example- citizens’ private rights do not infringe on others’ private rights. “Public wrongs — what we call crimes and misdemeanors — violate public rights, which is to say, rights belonging to the people as a whole. Private rights do not belong to the public, and public rights belong to no individual person” (https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/09/no-the-texas-abortion-laws-enforcement-mechanism-isnt-unprecedented/). If Woman A has an abortion, her neighbor is not affected in any way by her decision. While the neighbor might not agree with Woman A’s decision for religious or moral reasons, it has in no way infringed on his private rights. The neighbor may also be ignorant of the reason for the abortion, such as for the safety of the mother, a child conceived through sexual assault. For the government to incentivize citizens’ reports or lawsuits on their neighbors is to violate the private rights, protected by the constitution, of every human being. Amendment 14 protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,” which is applicable to the private rights of humans. If someone violates a law, it is the government’s responsibility to handle it accordingly; it should never be a citizen’s responsibility.

    [read less]

    No, the government should absolutely not enlist citizens to enforce laws. Government officials are trained and prepared to manage law enforcement. All…

    [read more]
    0
  • Riley from Kentucky

    I don’t think that citizens should be able to enforce laws. People will end up abusing this power because we see this happen every time something is granted to the people. This abuse of power is evident in the event of one receiving a stimulus check (not going to work and living off of that), child support (parents using that money for personal needs and not for children), and many more. By granting citizens the right to enforce laws, more chances for revenge or evil can come out of it. For example, if someone doesn’t like another person and they are able to say they “suspect” that one person of committing a crime. Then this will lead to a whole investigation of potentially nothing or someone could be wrongly accused of something just because someone else doesn’t like them. This can be compared to a woman who lies and claims that a man sexually assaulted her. The level of these crimes are different, but in the end it can turn into a huge ordeal and leave a bad mark on both people’s records. Enforcing law should be left to the police and citizens should stay out of it. This could potentially also put citizens at risk because they don’t know how to properly protect themselves in these situations.

    [read less]

    I don’t think that citizens should be able to enforce laws. People will end up abusing this power because we see this happen every time something is…

    [read more]
    0
  • Zoie from Arizona

    The government should not enlist the citizens to enforce the law. If the government enlisted the citizens to enforce the law this could lead to fractures in society. These fractures could lead to the breakdown of healthy bonds that are key for the communities to flourish. The citizens that would enforce the law could also lead to incentivized vigilante actions and wrongful citizen arrests. Some also have concerns that the citizens’ arrests are being used to justify racial profiling. Recently there was wrongful enforcement of the law, and a 25-year-old man was shot and killed. A 25-year-old black man was killed after being chased by 3 men claiming that Arbery was a burglar. The 3 men were tried for murder, but their charges were eventually dropped since the prosecutors declined to charge. Giving this kind of power to people or citizens can lead to bigger issues.

    [read less]

    The government should not enlist the citizens to enforce the law. If the government enlisted the citizens to enforce the law this could lead to fractu…

    [read more]
    0
  • Will from Virginia

    When the government was formed, it was formed by the people for the people. The value of citizen participation in the United States government has not been lost. However, there is a fine but very distinct line between the average citizen and the executive branch. It is the executive branches job to enforce laws the same way it is the legislative branches job to make laws. Now, I am not saying that citizens should ignore wrongdoing and unlawfulness that they see. I am merely asserting that it is not the citizens job to enforce punishment on said offense. It is there job ot report and to try and stop crimes but not to enforce the law in all situations. Some situations call for average citizens to “enforce'” the law (like an old lady being mugged and someone stepping in).

    [read less]

    When the government was formed, it was formed by the people for the people. The value of citizen participation in the United States government has not…

    [read more]
    0
  • Lillian from Virginia

    I do not think the government should enlist citizens to enforce laws. Sure, someone should and has the duty to stand up for themselves in defense or to help others that are in harm’s way, but I don’t think we should recruit people off the street to enforce laws without proper training. Virginia law states that police officers in training must complete 840 hours of basic training and 100 hours of field training, in the military, basic combat training lasts about 18 weeks, plus time for field training. Those hours of learning are crucial to teach these citizens how to fight, to defuse situations, but most importantly teaches them mental strength. Without these skills, police officers and the military would be weak, ineffective, problem-causing, and would act harshly toward others because of weak mental stability. This would cause chaos in our society and would heighten violence. Enforcing laws isn’t a job for everyone, and can be mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. If not taught the proper way to cope, these people recruited for enforcing laws can face fatigue and unhappiness. The government definitely should not enlist citizens to enforce laws without proper training. 

    [read less]

    I do not think the government should enlist citizens to enforce laws. Sure, someone should and has the duty to stand up for themselves in defense or t…

    [read more]
    0
  • David from Virginia

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws? No, State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. For one police officers have training that allows them to be ready for situations involving criminals and a normal civilian does not have this training. Because civilians lack the training they would easily put themselves in harm’s way or others in harm’s way just for trying to uphold the law. This would also lead to miss accusations or wrongful detainment because most citizens do not fully understand how some laws work. This would also lead to much more violence and civil unrest in the country than there already is and it causes some people to distrust all of the people around them. This would also be hard to monitor who is doing what and if they should be doing that, as the citizens would most likely not have body cams on so no one would know what happened at a scene of a crime or supposed crime.

    [read less]

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws? No, State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. For one police officer…

    [read more]
    0
  • sirenia from Arizona

    If citizens would enforce law then there would be chaos and there would be no control. Citizens should not take action unless it is for self defense other than that it is not acceptable.

    [read less]

    If citizens would enforce law then there would be chaos and there would be no control. Citizens should not take action unless it is for self defense o…

    [read more]
    0
  • Olivia from Virginia

    Citizens should not be enlisted to enforce laws. Law enforcement exists for this reason and requires training to properly do their jobs. Encouraging citizens to be distrustful of their neighbors and look for illegal activity is not a great idea when the country is currently so divided. People could easily end up getting hurt as a result of citizens enforcing the law as they think it should be or be motivated by hate and bigotry. Additionally, citizens enforcing laws would create thousands of lawsuits that the judicial system is simply not designed to handle. The logistical nightmare would strain court resources and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Overall, citizens should not be called on to enforce laws by states and leave it to the professionals due to the legal issues and potential damage that could come from such a decision.

    [read less]

    Citizens should not be enlisted to enforce laws. Law enforcement exists for this reason and requires training to properly do their jobs. Encouraging c…

    [read more]
    0
  • Damian from Arizona

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws due to the opinions and lack of knowledge citizens have. Firstly, in a time where many topics regarding racial, political, and gender opinions can be controversial, it is unsafe to allow citizens to, for example, conduct a citizen’s arrest. One instance occurred in Brunswick, Georgia when Ahmaud Arbery, a black man, was fatally shot because he was believed to be committing a crime. The possibility of racial prejudice or other controversial opinions driving one’s actions can be very dangerous and has proved to be fatal. In addition, many citizens lack knowledge of the law. Although certain actions are clearly illegal to most individuals, some laws and crimes are hard to understand or easily misinterpreted. Law enforcement and other officials are trained to handle numerous situations when enforcing the law, but the vast majority of citizens are not. This can lead to confusion between citizens regarding what is a crime, and whether an individual can be detained and/or arrested for it. In conclusion, citizens do not have sufficient knowledge of the law and pose to many controversial opinions proving that state governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws.

    [read less]

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws due to the opinions and lack of knowledge citizens have. Firstly, in a time where many to…

    [read more]
    0
  • Steven from Arizona

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. Furthermore, state officials should have law enforcement enforce the laws. For example, the Texas heartbeat law. This law is giving the power to the citizens to enforce this abortion law and it can lead to a damaging abuse of the law. This can also lead to here-say evidence being used to incriminate and that can cause a lot of discontent toward the justice system. On the other hand, if a law is restricted that only citizens must enforce it then it should not be a law. Law is the overview of rules upon the nation in which all citizens must abide by. Elaborately, if a citizen must enforce the law it can lead to many not caring to report the law that is being broken. Furthermore, if a citizen’s family member is breaking the new Texas abortion law that is being passed, that citizen is not going to report the abortion. Citizens are not going to enforce every law upon what law enforcement should be already doing. All in all, citizens should not enforce laws when law enforcement should and if the law is in such a law that citizens must enforce then the law should not be a law.

    [read less]

    State governments should not enlist citizens to enforce laws. Furthermore, state officials should have law enforcement enforce the laws. For example, …

    [read more]
    0
  • Tannner from Arizona

    Should state governments give citizens a law to enforce laws? In my opinion, I’m leaning towards the no side of the argument. The reasons why I’m against the Texas Heartbeat Law is that you would give too much power to the people which could use it for evil purposes. In the article: Should state governments enlist citizens to enforce laws on the website thinkthevote.com, the reason why some people are against the law is that it will add more fractures to the society, meaning that some of them will be vigilantes and take the law to their own hands. To back it up, they say that only government has the right to execute the laws. For the people who want it, will say that if law enforcement isn’t around, then the perpetrator must be punished by the public hands. To restate my claim, I feel that we as the public should not be able to enforce the laws without consent and reason of what the supposed perpetrator crime would be.

    [read less]

    Should state governments give citizens a law to enforce laws? In my opinion, I’m leaning towards the no side of the argument. The reasons why I’m …

    [read more]
    0
  • Daniel from Arizona

    No, state governments shouldn’t enlist citizens to enforce laws. Many citizens think that doing this would help stop crime and help them out, but it truly doesn’t. “They contend that granting citizens law enforcement authority will incentivize vigilante actions and break down healthy bonds that are needed for communities to flourish.” Giving citizens law rights would bring more chaos than there already is. Another reason is the Government already has a lot of work to do and doesn’t need citizens trying to throw in their two cents. “Additionally, they may argue that just because the government does not have the resources or will to enforce a certain law doesn’t mean the perpetrator should go unpunished—instead citizens should have the ability to intervene.” Citizens intervening in Government matters would put a stop in the flow of Government. Government should stay the same and keep the citizens in their place.

    [read less]

    No, state governments shouldn’t enlist citizens to enforce laws. Many citizens think that doing this would help stop crime and help them out, but it…

    [read more]
    0
  • ben from Arizona

    Citizens should not be able to enforce the law as there is a profession made to do so and it can cause a fracture in society. The job of a police officer is to uphold the law in their state. If we wanted citizens to do so, there would be a lack of reason for the police to exist. In addition to that it could severely change society in a bad way. People would be going out of their way looking for crime and being borderline vigilantes. The lack of resources to enforce laws is a compelling argument on why citizens should be allowed to enforce laws, but if you want to enforce laws, just become a cop. There should be no need for civilians to be doing so. They can call the police if they see something. In general, it’s not necessary as law enforcement exists and has existed for years and could very well cause an overuse of the ability destroying societies which can lead to chaos.

    [read less]

    Citizens should not be able to enforce the law as there is a profession made to do so and it can cause a fracture in society. The job of a police offi…

    [read more]
    0
  • aidan from Arizona

    Should State Governments Enlist Citizens to Enforce Laws?

    The government is there for a reason, they should not allow or enlist citizens to enforce laws. Not all citizens of states are bad or dumb, but giving all citizens the right to enforce laws would make for a very clumsy state with many different laws some that may combat each other. They could possibly think they have a great idea make it a law and it will be there forever, a bad law. granting citizens law enforcement authority will incentivize vigilante actions and break down healthy bonds that are needed for communities to flourish. (thinkthevote.com) People will stop following the laws completely and do their thing, in their eyes seeing that what they are doing is right. This could also lead to split states or split communities of people who will go odd and do their own thing and of people who will follow the communities’ laws. No, I don’t believe in giving citizens the right to enforce laws I think it will make things clumsy and it is the governments right to make laws in the first place, no one else’s even though those laws might not be the greatest, it could be much worse when letting the citizens enforce laws.

    [read less]

    Should State Governments Enlist Citizens to Enforce Laws?

    The government is there for a reason, they should not allow or enlist citizens to enforc…

    [read more]
    0
  • Amanda from Indiana

    Matters of belief or scientific stance on abortion aside, this is an issue of citizen responsibility versus encouraging vigiliantism. There is a nuanced no-man’s-land of the actual measure of justice involved in reporting a crime as a good citizen, versus getting heftily rewarded to do so. Citizens are already expected to assist with the upholding of the law, and extra, monetary bonuses for doing so will quickly get out of hand. Rewards would include the state-sanctioned incentive (and written advantages) of the whistleblowers to sue, afforded in the new Texas abortion law, which “places a [minimum $10,000] bounty on people who provide or aid abortions, inviting random strangers to sue them” (NPR.org – “What The Texas Abortion Ban Does — And What It Means For Other States”). This incentive inspires attempts by those actually interested in the money, rather than any “justice” or “moral obligation,” to excessively nose into the private health lives of women to find any assistants they are connected with, as well as make more false or exaggerated accusations in at attempt to win that bounty from a system that currently threatens little risk to the vigilante, while the health provider targeted faces legal fees (and no possible victory bounty, themselves, for fending off a false accusation) every time. And after that–what is the precedent made for future laws? That citizens should expect rewards from calling out crime, or else not bother monitoring for them in their communities? Even false accusations of sexual assault result in compensation for the unfairly accused; why would the cards be so stacked against people who obtain or provide abortions, walking away with an empty hand even in defending themselves, if not to explicitly encourage assaults against them? The fact that is an organization, Texas Right to Life, who has provided easy access for whistleblowing is even worse–it is evident encroach of a (preliminarily religious) outsider organization into a matter of state law, assisting enforcement of that law, and expecting state funds to reward those who work through it.

    [read less]

    Matters of belief or scientific stance on abortion aside, this is an issue of citizen responsibility versus encouraging vigiliantism. There is a nuanc…

    [read more]
    0
  • Carissa-Anne from New York

    Society is crazy. People are unpredictable. By giving them a job of “upholding the law” you are opening a door to basically what happens in the purge movies. The power will go to peoples heads and it will be even harder to contain individuals after they gain a belief that others HAVE to listen to them.

    [read less]

    Society is crazy. People are unpredictable. By giving them a job of “upholding the law” you are opening a door to basically what happens in the pu…

    [read more]
    0