The Instigator
NickBean
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Cody_Franklin
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Capital Punishment Is Justice Best Served Swiftly

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Cody_Franklin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,241 times Debate No: 10259
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

NickBean

Pro

Definition of Capital Punishment: Capital punishment is the death sentence awarded for capital offences like crimes involving planned murder, multiple murders, repeated crimes, rape and murder etc where in the criminal provisions consider such persons as a gross danger to the existence of the society and provide death punishment.

Contention: Capital Punishment is a moral and just punishment in the cases mentioned in the above definition. I would also argue that the current method of execution is vastly inefficient and costly.

Reasons:

- Morality: I don't think anyone here will disagree that humans have an essential right to life. This belief is rooted in our very laws governing murder. Now the logic follows that when one person violates that right, they should be punished. Said person also loses his rights upon showing his negligence for the victims. It is completely reasonable to draw upon these facts the conclusion that someone who shows such disregard for human life shall face the same punishment. To do otherwise would be immoral, given the said violator showed clear understanding of his actions and intent for the crime.

- Retribution: The punishment offers a large amount of comfort to friends and relatives of the victim.

- Deterrence: Capital Punishment also functions as a deterrent in society against violent crimes. This can be shown by the very low figures in violent crime rates among countries that almost always carry out on the death penalty, such as Singapore. In crimes where the violators have a large amount of fore thought before the action, capital punishment acts as a great deterrent.

- Cost: Keeping inmates alive is extremely costly and we spend huge amounts of money each year on convicts in prison for life. Swift and efficient executions could drastically reduce these expenditures.

I eagerly await a response.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Cody Franklin, Resident Fascist. Pleased to meet you, Pro.

I'd like to welcome my opponent to debate.org, and I hope that you guys get a kick out of the debate, despite this topic being a bit on the overused side.

I'll accept Pro's definition of capital punishment, with the addendum that, for the sake of convenience, it can simply be referred to from now on as the death penalty; furthermore, we will be examining its use in the United States.

As far as my opponent's contention is concerned, I'd like to make one little observation: his argument about the current method of execution being "inefficient and costly" is irrelevant, as we are here to debate the justice/morality of the death penalty, not to debate the merits of the methods employed.

Now then, on to the good stuff!

1. Morality

I will agree, for the sake of this debate, that humans have a "right" to life, though my personal beliefs may state otherwise.

a. Pro's argument here is based purely upon the reasoning that two wrongs make a right, which we know to be a logical fallacy. While Pro may champion the death penalty as a proportional punishment, murdering a murderer makes as much sense as the government breaking into a thief's house to steal his possessions.

b. The death penalty takes away the opportunity for the criminal to confront the harms of the crime committed. Instead of allowing room for contrition, repentance, and redemption, our justice system tosses such criminals to the side for the sake of convenience, branding them quickly as being beyond hope. The purpose of the justice system is not to punish, but to correct, and to rehabilitate. The death penalty in no way helps to meet this goal. While Pro may argue that some criminals simply cannot be rehabilitated, that is not an adequate justification for condemning some to death who may have had the capacity to repent of their crimes.

2. Retribution

a. The punishment offers vengeance to friends and relatives of the victim. While providing for the victim's loved ones is an important function of the justice system, satisfying their lust for revenge is certainly not a priority in our courts. If my girlfriend were raped, I would probably want the man castrated, beaten, and burned alive, but the function of the courts is to be impartial, not to cater to the emotional distress of the victim (or the victim's loved ones).

b. Even under a retributive paradigm, crimes are seen, according to Gordon Bazemore in "Communities, Victims, and Offender Reintegration", as an act against the state or the law, as opposed to an offense against the victim, meaning that the victim's interests are peripheral to the process, at best.

3. Deterrence

a. [http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...] [http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...] Take a look at these statistics; the bars, decimals, and percentages clearly show that states with the death penalty have a significantly higher rate of violent crimes than states without the death penalty; simply put, capital punishment does not deter crime.

b. [http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...] 88% of criminologists further agree that the death penalty does not deter crime, with the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology concluding that "There is overwhelming consensus among America's top criminologists that the empirical research conducted on the deterrence question fails to support the threat or use of the death penalty."

c. While Pro argues that "In crimes where the violators have a large amount of fore thought before the action, capital punishment acts as a great deterrent", there is no warrant for his argument, first of all, but also understand that, if a murderer commits a crime, especially with malice aforethought, he is well-aware of the penalties, and simply does not care. With death penalty awaiting, criminals can often adopt a "go-for-broke" mentality, knowing that their punishment will be quick and painless, without having to give decades of thought to the impacts of their crime(s).

4. Cost

a. To put it plainly, ethical justifications cannot be based on economic gains. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are not determiners of justice and morality.

b. Even from the law enforcement perspective, the death penalty is used sparingly, as it is considered to be "the least efficient use of taxpayers' money" [http://deathpenaltyinfo.org...].

c. [http://deathpenaltyinfo.org...] Scroll down, if you will, to "Financial Facts". Let me just copy a couple of fun facts for you.

i) "The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life. Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state's executions. (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005)."

ii) "The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level. (Duke University, May 1993)."

iii) "In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992)."

While these are merely copied facts, the point they represent is far more significant – Pro makes a huge, unwarranted claim that our expenditures for LIP (life in prison) inmates could be reduced by using the death penalty more in sentencing; clearly, the facts prove him wrong once again.

5. One Other Thing

a. Though I've stated it a couple of times throughout my refutations, none of Pro's arguments actually have warrants; read through again, and you will find neither evidence nor (legitimate) logic. At this point, his case doesn't really have anything to stand on.

Hopefully I can get Pro to concede defeat before the end of the debate, because I don't think that this topic really needs to go four rounds. ;) Good luck in Round 2 though, Pro!
Debate Round No. 1
NickBean

Pro

Thank You for the warm welcome, nice to meet you as well Con.

Sorry if the subject matter is a bit repetitive on the site already, I wanted to start with a nice well known issue for my first go.

The notes about inefficiency are indeed irrelevant for the most part, and even though I hold those assertions to be correct there will be no further mentioning of them in my arguments.

Now that someone has indeed accepted the debate, I can reveal the statistical support for my arguments.

Without further adieu,

1. Morality

a. Con's assertion that the original argument I posted was " based purely upon the reasoning that two wrongs make a right" is wholly incorrect. This might be true had we established that capital punishment is wrong, the very reason for this entire debate. The point I was making was that once a murderer chooses to violate another person's right to life, he immediately forfeits his own rights due to the negligence to others rights. Therefore, when a court sentences a man to death it is not murder for the man has no guaranteed right to live. The courts action is not another wrong at all.

b. As for the analogy used by Con, "While Pro may champion the death penalty as a proportional punishment, murdering a murderer makes as much sense as the government breaking into a thief's house to steal his possessions." I would advise him not to compare human lives to material things.

c. Con argues that criminals should undergo rehabilitation, as opposed to the death penalty. Any criminal that would ever be sentenced to death by today's standards would ever have a chance at rehabilitation. We are talking about first degree murderers, most often with aggravating circumstances at that. As discussed earlier in this post, these people have given up their right to life the moment they knowingly took the right of someone else. They do not deserve opportunities.

2. Retribution

a. While obviously not the priority of the courts, the comfort it adds to the victims family and friends is a strong bonus of capital punishment and it should be noted.

3. Deterrence

a. http://www.benbest.com...

This chart vividly illustrates a clear correlation between the homicide rate and execution rate, more executions mean less murders. Data was collected from the Bureau of Criminal of Criminal Justice.

b. http://www.cbsnews.com...

Here we have a showcase of a study from professors at the University of Colorado that came to the conclusions that for every execution, five murders are prevented. These results were found even as the professors admitted themselves to be against the death penalty.

c. The statistics Con displays in section a of his deterrence argument hold that murder rates are higher among states with the death penalty than those without. This data supports the pro argument because it could be that those states reverted to the death penalty when faced with the large murder rates.

This is far from over Mr. Con, good luck.
Cody_Franklin

Con

As far as the inefficiency notes are concerned, we both agree that they are essentially irrelevant; as such, they will play no part in the debate.

One thing before we begin: notice my opponent's slimy tactic here. "Now that someone has indeed accepted the debate, I can reveal the statistical support for my arguments". My opponent has clearly adopted a strategy based in deception and omission. Conduct point to Con.

Now then, on to the good stuff! (And I appreciate my opponent's conformity to my numbering/lettering format)

1. Morality

a. The assertion underlying my opponent is making is that murdering another man is a forfeiture of the right to life on the spot; if this were the case, then any law abiding citizen would have the authority to take the murderer's life, as he would have forfeited that right. Remember that, according to the Fifth Amendment, no one can be deprived of life (among other rights) without due process first; this means that a man doesn't automatically "forfeit" his rights. On top of that, my opponent still fails to prove the legitimacy of the status quo; a court may decide on the death penalty, but that is hardly adequate justification. Responding to murder with a second murder is hardly moral; again, two wrongs do not make a right, regardless of the legality.

b. On my analogy, Pro argues that I shouldn't compare human life to material things. A couple of arguments here:

i) First of all, I'd like to direct you to Pro's 4th argument, *WHICH HE DROPS*: he argues here that the death penalty is justified because it is saving money that would otherwise be used for life imprisonment; if anyone is trying to put a dollar value on human life, it would be Pro.

ii) Pro also mistakes my intentions here. I am simply saying that, while "proportional", so to speak, murdering a murderer makes as much sense as stealing a thief's possessions. Proportionality =/= Justification.

c. Pro's response validates my point completely. Both Pro and our "justice" system would condemn these men to death without providing a chance for contrition, repentance, or redemption. Pro is making an entirely unwarranted generalization about murderers which presupposes a mental capacity inadequate for rehabilitation. The cynical mindset of the justice system is what needs to be put to death.

2. Retribution

a. Pro ignores the main argument that I'm making here. The purpose of the justice system is, ideally, to make an impartial decision - not to satisfy the lust for vengeance possessed by the victim's loved ones. The "bonus" of satisfying the family is hardly adequate reason to support the death penalty.

b. Pull through the Bazemore evidence, discussing how the victim (or the family) is peripheral in the process, so a retributive system of justice can't advocate something based on the level of satisfaction enjoyed by the family.

3. Deterrence

a. Sure, I'll grant my opponent that there's a correlation; however, we all know that correlation doesn't imply causation, especially considering the maelstrom of recent evidence that I provided in Round 1 suggesting the opposite of Pro's claims. My opponent's graph might just come down to this: the decrease in violent crimes in NON-death penalty states could simply outweigh the increase in murder rate in PRO-death penalty states. That would support the data from both of our sources (as executions rise in death penalty states, violent crime rates fall in non-death penalty states), but the argument overall would still go Con.

b. After reading through Pro's evidence, I came upon a most interesting quote regarding these so-called "findings": "'We just don't have enough data to say anything,' said Justin Wolfers, an economist at the Wharton School of Business who last year co-authored a sweeping critique of several studies, and said they were 'flimsy' and appeared in 'second-tier journals.'" Look at the evidence I've provided here. 88% of expert criminologists concur that the death penalty doesn't deter violent crime, despite what these "flimsy" studies might suggest.

c. Pro's response here has nothing to do with my argument, which was that, when faced with the death penalty, would-be murderers often adopt this "go-for-broke" mentality, since they have nothing left to lose, and no opportunities to look for once the death sentence is given. As far as the response he makes, I've already given a situation above that satisfies both his evidence and mine, showing that this argument goes Con. My multiple pieces of long term evidence show us that states with high murder rates didn't just recently "revert" to the death penalty. The trend is clear, and it supports the Con position.

4. Cost

Again, I would just like to point out that Pro has dropped this entire argument. Don't allow him to come and "pick it back up" in later rounds. To briefly recap:

a. Ethical justifications are not based upon economic gains (especially noting my opponent's earlier argument that human life cannot be compared to material goods).

b. Even law enforcement admits that the death penalty is "the least efficient use of taxpayers' money".

c. Refer to all of the statistics I posted in Round 1, all showing that the use of the death penalty is actually far more expensive than the maintenance of a LIP inmate.

5. One Other Thing

a. Once again, we notice that my opponent's logic is flawed, and he draws huge non sequiturs from his misrepresentations of findings concerning the death penalty (findings which, may I remind you, were conveniently and deceptively omitted from his Round 1 arguments). If you want reliability in evidence and reason, you'll vote Con here, too.

In conclusion, Con clearly has the conduct, argument, and source points (Spelling and Grammar hasn't been an issue thus far). You might not think so, Pro, but I would contend that this debate has already been decided. In spite of that, good luck in Round 3. :)
Debate Round No. 2
NickBean

Pro

NickBean forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

It is as I have foreseen; while not an outright concession, we're looking at the next best thing. This is what happens when someone stands up against ABearica. They disappear.

That said, extend the arguments, and I trust that you know which way to vote.
Debate Round No. 3
NickBean

Pro

NickBean forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Like I said: you go up against ABearica, you simply disappear. It's as simple as that.

So, to briefly recap:

1. Due to my opponent's questionable strategy of withholding his sources until Round 2, and also to Pro's forfeits, the conduct point goes Con.

2. Spelling and grammar don't seem to have been much of an issue in this debate, so I would recommend a tie.

3. Con has clearly dominated the arguments, having capitalized on Pro's drops and completely torn down any arguments that he left standing.

4. Con also receives the 2 points for sources, for not only provided a maelstrom of links, but also for managing to poke holes in the credibility of Pro's evidence, and providing a scenario in which Con would ultimately still come out on top.

With 6/7 points going Con, I would again assert, dear Pro, that this debate was over from the beginning. ;)
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I didn't copy your arguments. The fact that mine might be the same of yours is both coincidental, and is something to be expected; ergo, that comment had better not have accusatory undertones.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
I love the topic, but no one takes me up on it. Two people I debated either gave up or could not hold water, and I am currently debating someone on the topic. Many of your arguments I found in the debate were copied from mine ........................
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
You always want to debate the death penalty.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
Everything Con, excluding S/G.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
I want to debate the death penalty !
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I wonder what happened to my opponent. ;)
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I'll have my argument up eventually.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by oceanix 7 years ago
oceanix
NickBeanCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
NickBeanCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
NickBeanCody_FranklinTied
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Total points awarded:06