The Instigator
TheHitchslap
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
hereiam2005
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points

Capital Punishment Ought to be Eliminated

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
TheHitchslap
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/6/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,863 times Debate No: 33302
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (31)
Votes (11)

 

TheHitchslap

Pro

My position is that CP ought to be eliminated as a form of punishment from the judicial system.

I shall have BoP as the US does have the death penalty, my opponent shall justify it's useage. I shall try to make a case for it's removal.

My opponent:
Round 1) acceptance & arguments
2) arguments/rebuttals
3) arguments/rebuttals
4) rhetorical statement of choosing.

Me:
Round 1) terms and conditions
2) arguments/rebuttals
3) arguments/rebuttals
4) conclusion

May be done through political, legal, medical, or economic arguments.
No semantics.
No plagurism (due to us having this debate before)

Failure to adhere to the rules results in an automatic loss.
Goodluck to my opponent!
hereiam2005

Con


First of all I would like to thank TheHitchslap for accepting me as an opponent while I am still a rookie. Let us just forget, for the duration of this debate, that I am against CP and let us have a civil debate.



My opponent's position as of my understanding is for a complete abolishment of Capital Punishment (CP) from the judicial system.


Therefore it is logical that my position should, at first, be "There are situations that CP is needed and justified."



If CP is completely abolished, then what should we do to one perpetrated particular heinous crimes, who showed clear willingness to do the same crimes again if ever released? Such as that of serial killers? Carl Eugene Watts is a prime example.




  • On May 23, 1982, Watts was arrested for breaking into the home of two young women in Houston, and attempting to kill them. [...] authorities suspected him of being responsible for the murders of at least 10 women and girls [...] Prosecutors in Texas did not feel they had enough evidence to convict Watts of murder, so in 1982 they arranged a plea bargain. If Watts gave full details and confessions to his crimes, they would give him immunity from the murder charges and he would, instead, face just a charge of burglary with intent to murder. This charge carried a 60-year sentence. He agreed with the deal and promptly confessed in detail to 12 murders in Texas. [...]

  • Watts was sentenced to the agreed 60 years. However, shortly after he began serving time, the Texas Court of Appeals ruled that he had not been informed that the bathtub and water he attempted to drown Lori Lister in was considered a deadly weapon. The ruling reclassified him as a nonviolent felon, making him eligible for early release. [...] At the time, Texas law allowed nonviolent felons to have three days deducted from their sentences for every one day served as long as they were well behaved. Watts was a model prisoner, and had enough time deducted from his sentence that he could have been released as early as May 9, 2006.

  • Later he was sentenced to life imprisonment - but died later of prostate cancer on September 21, 2007. He served 25 years in prison.

  • Watts personally claimed to have killed 40 women, and implied there were more than 80 victims in total. Police still consider Watts a suspect in 90 unsolved murders.

  • He [Watts] had made it clear he would kill again if he ever got out of prison



http://murderpedia.org...


http://en.wikipedia.org...



For such cases, death penalty will:



  • Put an end to the suffering of the victims' friends and families. His existence will no longer plague their memories.

  • Some people are beyond redemption. Watts made it clear he would repeat the crime if he is ever released. If, for example, there is another such serial killer with the same intention without any such indication?

  • Some people enjoy life in prison. In Watts' case, he was a model prisoner. For them, life in prison is not suffering. In such cases, a life sentence served neither as deterrence nor as punishment. That is not to say, that death sentence should be handed out to every such person. But to those who deserve it according to the law, death sentence is certainly justified. If not for the justice, it is for the memory of the victims, and for a society that believes in justice.

  • Prison can be broken. Prisoners can escape. Those with life sentence will have nothing else prohibits their crime. Furthermore, this put the witnesses, jury, judge and prosecutors at unnecessary risk. Prisoners on death row have less time to escape, thus less chance to escape.

  • It send the right message - that justice is blind, swift and just.





Debate Round No. 1
TheHitchslap

Pro

Welcome to the club rookie!

Framework:

Observation 1: The primary purpose of punishment is NOT for retribution, otherwise chaos would ensue in a lawless society; it is to deter crime by preventing and punishing undesirable acts we as a society agree on. Part of prevention is rehabilitation to ensure a reduction in the likelihood of another crime occurring. While rehabilitation may restore the criminal in question, it is heavily established in the feild of criminology that capital punishment (CP) does not have a deterrence effect.[1] So in my oppoents plea with regards to Carl Eugene Watts, I say Life Without Parole (LWOP).

Observation 2: Death penalty is ineffective as a tool for gaining pleas. Espescially if the person is innocent they have nothing to confess to. Furthermore, it systemically weakens the due process of law.[2] Also of note: the Law Review a legal peer-reviwed journal dealing with criminal scholar matters noted that LWOP as a threat against murderers was statistically more successful in reaching a plea deal instead of the CP. [2]

Observation 3: To make only 1 case in which capital punishment is needed as a negation is also a hasty conclusion. Just because one instance in which capital punishment is desirable has occurred due to tempers flaring in the legal system (which happens all the time = appeal to emotion), the impact of capital punishment must be considered before conclusion, especially through precedence.

Observation 4: The legal system ought not to be retributive, but unstead rehabilitative.

My Case:

C1: Capital Punishment Doesn't Deter Crime

The statistics show that the majority of criminals are mentally ill when going to prison for capital offenses. They cannot possibly understand what they were doing in the heat of the moment, as the urge to kill is far superior than the consequences of said killing. In fact, almost all criminologists agree that CP does not deter crime. [3] Even worse, due to state by state comparisons [3], criminologists often suggest that CP mayhave a strong co-relation to increases in violence [4] as the state justifies the use of killing, the people will as well. It is, afterall, their court ..

C2: CP is Harmful to the Victims

First, the death of the perpetrator will not: unrape the victim, unmurder the victim, make the accused somehow no longer treasonous, etc... It does nothing to take away the harm caused by the accused, and in fact creates more harm as a result. This is through copious amounts of appeals in the legal system, reliving the event by watching the killer die, and not getting enough support from the community because the focus is more centered on the trial. [5]

C3: Death of Innocent People(s)

CP has been known to take the lives of those who actually did not committ a crime. A severe disadvantage as the accused's death brings upon guilt to the judge, jury, and attorneys for killing an innocent person. At least with LWOP the person has an opportunity to repent and rehabilitate themselves. No guilt for a terrible trial, as an appeal or resoritive justice may be applied. A person may get their name cleared.

C4: Expensive

Due to the sheer level of appeals, the CP route is far more expensive than that of LWOP.

C5: CP Has a Lower Standard to Death

According to a report by the medical journal The Lancet CP has a lower standard of killing. In fact, putting down a dog has higher medical standards than killing a human, which is placed in horiffic pain.

C6: Unjust Removal of Private Property

If in theory, you own yourself (because otherwise your a slave which is illegal now) then who is the state to kill you? It was not responsbile for your creation unlike that of other properties, making your life truly unique, however, the systemic removal of that property -- your life -- ought to be out of the jurisdiction of the state because the presedence it sets is incredibly dangerous; it is a step towards tyranny.

C7: The State May Run Into Legal Trouble

The state of New York and Massassatcheusis found that the death penalty is conflicting with the protection of the people from creul and unusual punishment. Furthermore, as one laywer noted the following:

"For 15 years, Stanley Faulder’s Canadian family had no idea that he had been sentenced to death in the state of Texas. According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, an international treaty that the United States has ratified, Texas authorities should have informed Faulder at the time of his 1977 arrest that he had the right to seek assistance from the Canadian consulate, and should have notified the Canadian government of Faulder’s situation if he had requested that they do so. Sandra Babcock, an attorney with the Texas Resource Center who took Faulder’s case in 1992, filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Faulder’s rights had been violated under the Vienna Convention. Although U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright intervened on Faulder’s behalf, and although the Supreme Court initially granted Faulder an indefinite stay, the Court then dissolved the stay and Faulder was executed in 1999. [...] 1999 the Inter-American Court on Human Rights ruled that a state is in violation of international law if it executes a person whose rights have not been upheld under the Vienna Convention." [6]

In summary, the fact that CP exists and the violations of international law States violate in an effort to kill a person, may indicate a terrible political agenda; that the state may systemically kill political prisoners at it's convienence while ignoring international law, and constitutional law.

Rebuttals:

Watts may not enjoy prison, they are known to be violent physically, mentally, and sexually. Furthermore, Watts had an I.Q of 75, indicating he was mentally retarded. He was sent to a mental home in 1969 as a result of a sexual assault, where the psych ward deemed him retarded. Should the state execute the mentally inefficent? NO. He also had anti-social personality disorder. (I personally also suffer from this) Enabling the deaths of the mentally ill is a state sanctioned eugenics movement, and is also incredibly dangerous, as it unfairly kills those with mental deficcencies which shoul be in the care of their proper medical personell.

My opponent makes an appeal to the people (a fallacy) to justify the systemic murders brought fourth by the state on the basis of enjoying prison. However, prison is NOT fun to be in. http://www.youtube.com... watch?v=AE-t0gDM2Wk (see video) Violence in prisons is rampant, and furthermore those who do not want to go to prison are already intimidated by the thought of going never mind actually being killed for it as well. Which in prison there is no guarentee you'll even live to see the end of your sentence.

Finally, my opponent makes a slippery slope by saying that someone could escape then try to kill lawyers, or judges. The reality is even if it WAS likely that they have taken a calculated risk to getting into this feild. They knew the risks and do it anyways. This is why officers are present in courts. They are well guarded.


Justice is blind alright, with the death of innocent people it must be. The resolution falls, CP is NOT justified. It ought to be abolished.

Over to you my friend!

http://www.indiaresists.com...
http://x77.xanga.com...
http://hill-kleerup.org...

[1]http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2]http://journals2.scholarsportal.info.proxy.library.brocku.ca...;
[3]http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[4]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...;
[5]http://www.aclu-il.org...;
[6]http://www.mvfhr.org...;

hereiam2005

Con

Rebutting Observations

"Observation 1: The primary purpose of punishment is NOT for retribution" and "Observation 4: The legal system ought not to be retributive, but unstead [sic] rehabilitative" This is not self evident, and should itself be a subject of another debate. Nevertheless, there are cases where rehabilitation is impossible. Such individuals, if ever released, due to the ineffectiveness of the law, or if ever escaped, would poses disproportionally high risk to society at large.

Note that the source used is an activist organization. The particular research in question was funded by the Death Penalty Mobilization Fund, which mission is to "abolish the death penalty". The Sheilah's Fund is one part of three that comprise the DPMF. [1] As such, one must call into question the neutrality of the claims made by such study.

[1] http://bit.ly...

"Observation 2: ineffective for gaining pleas" This too, is a subject of constant debate. Since my opponent's reference requires a login and unavailable, I cannot discuss his claim. However, in [2], the author claimed the death penalty as a powerful tool in plea bargaining, and the factor hindering its use is not the ineffectiveness of the penalty per se, but the ethics and/or resources consideration required by the prosecutor unique to this type of punishment.

[2] http://bit.ly...

"Observation 3: a hasty conclusion." I present my case for all crimes of the same level - mass and systematic murderer who showed no remorse or compassion, serious crimes committed during war time, or crimes against humanity on the level with that of the Nazis or Pol Pot. The case presented served only as an example. Furthermore, I framed my debate around the forgoing cases, in which the benefits of CP arguably far outweigh its negatives. CP may serves an important function as the ultimate justice to address such crimes against humanity.

Rebutting Cases

"Case 1: CP Doesn't Deter Crime." This argument is debatable and by no means conclusive. In the oft-cited Ehrlich paper, the ratio of CP versus lives saved is about 1 to 8[3]. One paper claims that pardons, commutations, and exonerations cause murders to increase[4]. Another paper indicates that even murders of passion, among the most irrational of lethal acts, can be deterred [5]. All are published in respected peer reviewed journals.

[3] http://bit.ly...
[4] http://bit.ly...
[5] http://bit.ly...

"Case 2: CP is Harmful to the Victims." This is subjective. The reference made by my opponent is a poster with subjective claims without substantial proof. Some victims' families and friends may indeed wants to put the past behind. But most would like to see justice served, especially in a mass murder case. And being constantly reminded that the perpetrator shows no remorse, is alive and well, and may escape and murder more people, does not help.

"Case 3: Death of Innocent People(s)" This is an indication of the failure of the prosecution system, not that of the CP itself. Furthermore, within my framework, most such crimes can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, such as the case of Watts, or of Anders Breivik. Additionally, as forensic technology matured, the chance of wrongful conviction has lowered; all the while the various Supreme Court decisions put even more restrictions on CP [8]

[8] http://bit.ly...

"Case 4: Expensive" - My position is not against reducing the number of, or the qualification for death sentences, which will directly reduce cost.

"Case 5: CP Low Standard" - Are you referring to one particular form of CP? It can be argued that lethal injection is painless. Modern anesthesia is perfectly capable of render a person fully unconscious for the duration of the administration of the drugs. After all, anesthesia has been used for decades for medical operations, which can be far more painful than CP if the anesthetic agent is ineffective.

"Case 6: Unjust" If one consider oneself a property, then is it not permissible to take other's properties? Is the act of taking another's property, just as tyrannous as the same act done by the state? The existence of such act, if not swiftly and equally punished by the state, cannot guarantee an equal and fair society. The state, in such situation, is reasonably and logically expected to remove such property from the perpetrator of the crime, return the same to the original owner, and may in addition impose further punitive remedies against the perpetrator. Without such justice, the strong can just takes from the weak, and chaos will ensure.

"Case 7: The State May Run Into Legal Trouble" In Gregg v. Georgia [8], the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to reaffirm the constitutionality of CP. The fact that States may ignore international law is another matter altogether, and State's political agenda does not fit into the framework of this debate.

Rebutting Rebuttals

"Watts may not enjoy prison" I make this case with Watts only as an example. You and I are both unqualified to dictate weather he may or may not enjoy prison - a forensic mental health professionals is. The fact that one person may not enjoy prison life does not precludes the fact that some other people may do.

One has two reasons to believe Watts may enjoy prison. One is the fact that he was better as a prisoner than as a free man in society - he is a model prisoner, while he committed multiple murder with impunity as a free man. The second indication is the fact that Watts made it clear that he would kill again if ever released. One can think of no other reason for making such statement other than that he wished to remain in prison.

In Atkins v. Virginia [9], an IQ of 59 was deemed "mildly mentally retarded" by a clinical psychologist. Thus in the case of Watts, with an IQ of 75, cannot be deemed mentally retarded by the same standard. In [10], one can see that an IQ of 75 would be at the first 25 percentile of the population, while an IQ of 59 would be at around a few first percentiles. He was perfectly capable of making bargains with law enforcement, which indicates at least a certain level of intelligent thought.

[9] http://bit.ly...
[10] http://bit.ly...

"Punishment of the mentally ill" Anti-social personality disorder, characterized by "a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others" and "impoverished moral sense or conscience", [11] is definitively not a valid legal defense against CP. If anything, it can only serve as a justification for further incarceration.

[11] http://bit.ly...

My opponent, in framing CP as "the systemic murder brought forth by the state", attempted to make a false equivalent of CP and murder. Murder, by definition, is the "unlawful killing of another human". CP, on the other hand, is lawful, since it is administered after trial(s) by jury and successful conviction(s).

Safety concerns to judges, jury, prosecutors and witnesses against revenge is real. Judges and prosecutors can have better protection, but jury and witnesses will likely cannot. Additionally, my framework is around particular heinous crimes. Such cases may put them in even more danger in case of an escape or early release.

With all my opponent's arguments addressed, my former arguments still stands.

Argument:
Without CP, we would be incapable to properly punish an individual in proportional to his crime. Watts confessed in detail the killing of 12 woman, personally claimed to have killed 40 women, and implied there were more than 80 victims in total. He served an actual 25 years in prison, before died of natural cause. In comparison, Christopher Williams, a Montana medical marijuana provider is facing 82 to 85 years behind bars[13]. Patricia Spottedcrow, an Oklahoma mother of four got a 12-year prison sentence for a $31 pot sale [13].

For a system where the severity such a lesser crimes is near or equal to a that of a serial murderer, where is the balance of justice? How can people trust in the law?

[13] http://bit.ly...
Debate Round No. 2
TheHitchslap

Pro

Opponents Fallacies:
Argument from Ignorance:

- Claims that an ongoing debate is to be held to conclude what the current justice system is (retributive or restorative) and then make an argument. He justifies this as "not self-evident". I noted that there is in fact rehabilitative efforts in the judicial system, for instance prisoners get their GED. I showed not the way the judicial system operates but what it ought to be due to the flaw of lex talionis.

- Claims that "ineffectiveness of CP as a tool for negotiations is a subject of constant debate". It is not, I noted two sources that showed that statistically it is less successful in getting a plea deal than that of LWOP. The abstract was pretty clear: the legal experts themselves have indirectly shown that using CP as a threat to make the process easier is untrue. And spending your life in prison is scary enough as is, thus CP does not have a deterrence effect.
Source: [1][2]

Causation
Fallacy:
- Claims in Ehrlich paper the CP CAUSES less murders and the other two papers claim it CAUSES a reduction in deaths. It does not, because correlation is not causation. The paper failed to eliminate other factors as a cause to deterrence in crime, such as socioeconomic levels, or abortions, or weapons access, etc... Furthermore, those studies claim that the state can predict who will and will not commit a crime if the rate of deaths by a person were to continue. But human behaviour is far too complex for that to possibly be correct and is putting the cart before the horse. Finally, the papers in which claim a deterrence effect were made in 1975! Finally, I shall ask my opponent, why is it then that 80% of criminologists believe that CP has no deterrence? And that 50% of law enforcement officials believe the same thing? [2] There is in fact a strong correlation between CP states and more capital crimes versus that of non-CP states and less crime. In fact, internationally, we see the same thing. The argument stands, and CP falls in deterrence. There simply is none.
Source: [2]

Non-sequitor:
- Claims that because Watts claimed he would kill again if released from jail, he therefore enjoyed prison life. This does not make any sense, if anything it should be the opposite. As because Watts was unable to fulfil the desire to kill in prison, he would NOT have been happy to be there. Furthermore, enjoying prison life or not and wanting to kill again or not simply do not follow. You may or may not enjoy prison, and still want to kill. Thus this argument is a fallacy.

Tu quoque Fallacy:
- Claims I am acting inconsistently when arguing for the riddance of CP, because in practice the people smoking marijuana and their penalties are not proportionate, and it ought to be (according to my opponent). It is my position that it ought to be removed. Marijuana legalization is irrelevant here.

Rebuttals:
- The source used is indeed from an activist organization called deathpenaltyinfo.org which employs the critical method of researching in the social sciences, not the positivist approach. No such claims of neutrality are ever claimed on the website, and therefore this argument is invalid, it is still a valid source. Just because it has a differing method does not make it invalid by default. It does have peer-reviewed journal articles on the site.

-(Escape or released prisoners are threats) Well, it wouldn't matter in this case. Prisoners is just as likely to escape if given CP or not when they're alive. LWOP does not allow one out at any given point and time. This argument furthers mine because when prisoners are given the CP and if my opponent claims they have a deterrence effect wouldn't prisoners want to escape more than when they're given LWOP?

- Hitler committed suicide for fear of imprisonment. He couldn't have possibly have known CP would be used in Nuremburg, and furthermore, killing Pol Pot would make him a communist martyr. His arguments here only further my point that CP is unwanted He also never refutes the hasty conclusion it's self by giving a larger research with a bigger sample being used. He dropped this point.

- Empirically, yes CP does actually harm the victims and the person carrying out the executions. Even worse lets take a situation in which an innocent man is killed. What happens to the Judge? The jury? The DA? Nothing. It legitimizes the idea that these people are above the law when they kill someone who was wrongly convicted, weakening the rule of law. Jurors in these cases are called “death juries” because if they all support CP. In other words, the jury is already set up in a bias way (again weakens due process of law) and furthers my point that when an innocent dies, it is in fact the fault of the people in the system.
Source: [3]

- my opponent claims with forensic evidence, that the truly innocent and truly guilty will be dealt with. This is false, sometimes CSI's make mistakes or falsifies evidence. For example: [4] As a result in the article, over 34,000 cases are compromised due to poor forensics. Thank goodness Massachusetts doesn't have CP; how many would have unjustly died? This has also happened in San Francisco, North Carolina, and even the FBI (reported by Dr. Frederic Whitehurst)

- My opponents concedes that CP IS more expensive

- Lethal injection:[5]
Note: thought to be the LEAST painful method of killing someone.

-I agree that the person trying to take said properties should be punished in accordance with the law, however, when property is damaged or taken by another person, the accused isn't forced to surrender his property to the victim as repayment, he is forced to repair said damages or go to jail. This is my position as well. I'm not saying that crime shouldn't be punished, but that the punishments are unfair here, the state has no right to take away your property.

-Anti-Social personality disorder: it is used as a defence, as a plea of insanity, and it can be treated
source: [6]

-Systemic murder: again, if the person is innocent, then it violates the rule of law, and makes the point that our officials who are suppose to represent us are above the law. If the person was innocent, then it was unlawful to kill that person, yet you will never see a judge or jury or DA tried for murder.

-Finally, it's called witness protection, and juries are anonymous. Their info is always kept secret.

-The states political agenda is relevant, it means that the state can kill whomever it pleases in direct violation of laws and regulations, (Texas managed to upset Canada by killing him) again showing that these people are above the law, which they should not be. States rights are trumped by the Federal government. (All agreements for state soverignty is non-enforced)

- Finally, it is not proportionate. You would have to believe for the raping of someone, killing of someone, or even committing only an act of treason, that the person should undergo risk of being strangled, crushed, suffocated, shot, decapitated, burried alive, burned, and tortured by the state as a result. All of which happened with hangings, gas chambers, electirc chairs, and lethal injections. See here: https://www.commondreams.org...;

Driving the Point Home:
- To justify CP you have to believe that 1) in some instances killing people is okay, and 2) that the State will get all cases 100% correct.(Since 1970, 145 people were released due to innocence) It cannot guarentee 100% accuracy, but at least under LWOP, that person has many more years to prove their innocence. Unlike that of CP. It traumatizes the people watching, and the victims, and furthermore, indirectly makes judges, DA's and jurors above the law when killing someone innocent. The US is the only developed country in the world still using this barbaric practice. Expensive, tyrannical, barbaric, fundamentally flawed, and even illegal with nothing to show for it in terms of results, CP should be abolished, I have met my BOP


Over to my opponent!

Sources: http://www.debate.org...

hereiam2005

Con

Observation:
First, my opponent seems to unable to understand the framework set forth at round 1 of this debate both by himself and me. As such, I will restate them for illustration purpose:

My opponent claimed burden of proof.
My opponent is for the (total) elimination of CP
My statement is "There are situations that CP is needed and justified."
Thus, even if there is one situation where CP is needed and justified, my opponent fails.

My opponent himself claimed burden of proof. Further, he himself made the claim which is an opinion he has taken for a fact, as he repeatedly did throughout the debate. Thus the burden of proof rest on him. Any attempt to shift the burden of proof on me is qualified as Argument from Ignorance.
I framed my case around only in the event of crimes against humanity, or "high crimes", such as that of mass murders, genocides, war crimes etc, not for CP as currently being used in the US. Thus, argument that can be used only against CP in general will be straw man fallacy.
Addressing my opponent claim to fallacies:
Claim of argument from Ignorance:
As the from my previous observation, my opponent has BoP. Thus, it is valid for me to contest his opinion asserted as claim. In fact, the contrary is often claimed - that the US criminal law system is far more retributive than its European peers [quote].
http://nyti.ms...
http://herit.ag...
Further - he did not address my claim as "there are instance where rehabilitation is impossible". His argument is a sufficient proof that "there is in fact rehabilitative efforts in the judicial system”, which is neither a counter to my claim nor a proof that " what it [ the legal system] ought to be". His claim to lex talionis is false : not all murder leads to CP, and CP is justified - i.e. done by the court of law, under the constitution. Further, I limited my case to In such cases, lex talionis is false.
Straw man fallacy: my opponent tried to misconstrue my argument, as I never claim inconsistence - I merely claim the law can never adequately address the crime proportionately with its punishment without CP - CP serves an important function as the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime. In fact, 10 to 20 years sentences is common in the US code.
http://www.law.cornell.edu...
With regards to CP as plea bargaining tool and the deterrence effect of CP:
I have never claimed a causation, I simply declared his claim(s) as being disputed, which is has been proven true in round 2 simply by the existence of the many (cited) papers disputing the claim, all of which are published in respected journals. Since his whole reasoning depends on the validity of his claim as undisputed fact, my simple proof is sufficient to discredit his argument. This is my reply to both his assertion of the plea bargaining power of CP and the deterrence of CP.
Further, plea bargaining is not relevance in the case of the high crimes, in which the interest to further justice for past victims and to protect potential victims is far more than the monetary interest - the prime reason for plea bargaining. Further, in high crimes, the prosecutors are not interested in plea bargaining in the first place.
Source: a list of 24 published papers from 1996 to 2010 on the deterrence effect of CP. I guess this is fair since my opponent did something similar in round 2. Of which, 17 found conclusive evidences for the deterrence effect of CP, 2 against, and 5 non conclusive.
http://sharetext.org...
With regards to Watts:
When a person make a public statement against himself, that will clearly and substantially reduce his chance of obtaining an early release, one is logically to expect that he wants the opposite. Which is a long long life in prison.
Addressing my opponent rebuttals:
The validity of his source, and its claims versus his claims:
My opponent contested neither the fact that his source is from an activist organization, nor the fact that the funding of the research is from an organization for the elimination of CP.
After reading the survey, I have a strong reason to believe that the wording of the research was altered to fit the ideological goal of the funding organization.
On question 12, 71% of the surveyed answer yes to the question "executing people who commit murder deters others from committing murder", thus rejected my opponent's own claim of quote "that 80% of criminologists believe that CP has no deterrence".
On question 8: 61% says there is support for the deterrent effects of CP - some says evidence is weak, but most agree there is support.
On question 11, CP tend to increase murder rate, 63.8% disagree, and 17.4% "Strongly disagree", directly refuting the brutalization claim quote "criminologists often suggest that CP may have a strong co-relation to increases in violence [4] as the state justifies the use of killing, the people will as well" of my opponent.
Possibility of escape:
People on death row averages 10 to 15 years in prison according to DPIC, with far higher security. A LWOP prisoner, naturally, serves far more; the average is 40 years, according to ncadp.org. A living person is far more likely to escape and commit more crimes than a dead one.
Both sources are against CP.
http://bit.ly...
http://bit.ly...
Hitler and Pol Pot:
I address the crime - not the character. What did the criminal did was irrelevant. Why Claiming making Pol Pot a communist martyr is as ridiculous as claiming killing Watts would make a mass murderer a martyr. The killing of Saddam Hussein did not make him a martyr. His trial and execution is public. Even the killing of Osama Bin Laden, while not before a court of law and a jury, brought justice to the deceases and tremendous satisfaction to the public.
Further, turning a person into martyr should never be a factor in our criminal system.
With regards to wrongful conviction:
My opponent does not contest the fact that forensic evidence is improving, and it is getting harder to administer CP due to Supreme Court. His evident indicates the failure of the prosecution system - not that of CP.
In fact, in Herrera v. Collins, the Supreme Court ruled that it is perfectly legal to execute an actual innocent person.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Crime and punishment:
My opponent said: "when property is damaged or taken by [the accused], [he] isn't forced to surrender his property to the victim as repayment" : I have no idea based on which system of law my opponent takes this from, but in US law system, if one person destroy another person's property, the victim is awarded damage from the convict's property. If the crime is serious, and the convict shows insufficient remorse, the court will award further remedies called punitive damages. One prime example is the case of Jammie Thomas-Rasset vs RIAA, in which US Supreme Court ordered the accused to pay 222,000$ damage for the download of 24 songs, which would have cost around 0.99 USD each. My opponent can refer to the US Civil Code to find it chock-full of such examples.
http://www.law.cornell.edu...
http://bit.ly...
Insanity defense
The insanity plea is used in the U.S Criminal Justice System in less than 1% of all criminal cases. Only some mental insanity is qualified as a mitigating factor, not all, and it is not a legal defense. The fact that a person enjoy killing - which is a kind of insanity - is neither a legal defense nor a mitigating factor.
http://bit.ly...
Systemic murder and Execution of Innocent
In Herrera v. Collins, the Supreme Court ruled that it is perfectly legal to execute an actual innocent person.
http://bit.ly...
Political agenda
The state's political agenda is irrelevant; all laws can be misused. The fact that international law trump federal law, and the state chose to ignore it, is not at all relevance to the usage of CP. My opponent claim that "the state can kill whomever it pleases" is wrong - there is a trial by jury and conviction.
Debate Round No. 3
TheHitchslap

Pro

My opponent is correct in asserting that I have BOP, but misguided as to how this works.
First, because I noted in round 1 that the US kept CP, that I had to show an instance of it being unjust to fulfill my BOP for the complete abolishion of it. My opponent fails to understand it has to be more than just one instance of it being justified, he has to refute all of my cases.

Claims Framework:
None was actually noted. In fact you only mentioned Pol Pot and Hitler, if you were actually doing it in the frame work of world leaders, why not Stalin, Mao, Melosivic, Hussein, and Mousilini while your at it? I know why! Because you are lieing. At NO point did you ever frame it around crimes against humanities. You instead framed it around Carl Eugene Watts! In fact I noted that it was in the US in general in the first round which is why I justified having BOP. Thus, the claim of my appealing to ignorance is non-existant.

"I showed not the way the judicial system operates but what it ought to be" - I noted this at the begining of round 3 so my so-called claim that the US is unequivocally rehabilitative is nonsense. In fact I agree with my opponent on this. But is that legal system effective? I do not think so, which is why I brought it up!

Regarding Rehabilitation: I also agree with him here. I never argued against the fact that some may never be rehabilitated because I agree, but this view is far too simplistic! Is that reason enough to kill someone? My position is no, and it is also that because I know some won't be rehabilitated that I advocated for LWOP. Otherwise, my position would have been hypocritical. My opponent really does not introduce any compelling arguments here...it's more of a summary of my position.

CP/Justification: First, as I have shown I think a case can be made that CP is unconstitutional under the notion that it is cruel punishment, as earlier shown with the botched executions. I also shown that it damages the people killing the killers, the judges compelling these people to death, and the family victims who have to relive the events when the barriage of appeals come in, coupled with watching a man die. As noted with the Lancet report, our way of enforcing CP and the procedures have lower standards than putting down an animal. And even worse, should a judge kill someone innocent, that judge will NOT be tried for murder -- again as I noted this implies that he is in fact above the law. Weakening the very rule of law Western society cherishes so much. These are unjustifiable. And while not all murder leads to CP, it can, and so can treason (Adam Gadahn anyone?) and rape. CP cannot be used as the ultimate punishment, because it simply is unlogical, it sends the message "lets kill the guy who killed because we hate killing". The argument simply does not follow. And good, however, if that is the case, whats the use in CP anymore?

Deterrence/Plea Bargaining: YOU never claimed causation, but the sources you used sure did, and I explained why they are nonsense. They have to account for all factors and isolate them to truly see the impact of CP on crime. Turns out this is not possible, so we're stuck with correlation, and that shows there is less crime than those with CP. Because correaltion does not imply causation, the sources used are weak and should be disregarded. I not only showed that crime increased in those states with CP but explained why they increased. And plea bargins are important in high crimes, it means the difference between a diminished due process or not. Everyone is suppose to be equal above the law, and intimidating someone who may not be charged with a crime for good reason and threatening him with CP is not only ineffective (as noted in my previous sources) but fails to uphold the Rule of Law for everyone.
Sources: http://users.nber.org...(BEPress).pdf
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
http://www.ncmoratorium.org...
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...


*Note: Unlike my opponent I give a reason as to why his studies are to be disregarded; correlation is not causation, and claiming "saved lives" as a result is false, because it relies on ceteris paribus to justify the count of "saved lives" but this is assuming the same pattern of human behavior continues. This is technically impossible, as human's are unpredictable as previously noted, and relies on the rate of killings, which is subject to flucuations. He never explains why my studies should be disregarded for his.
What deterrence?

Eugene Watts:
The man had an intelligence bordering on mentally retarded. Him and logic go together like fish and bicycles. He didn't want a long life in prison; he couldn't get his killing fix.

Source/Research:
The source never claimed to actually be unbiased. In fact it's just a differing method of research as I showed earlier. This is the critical method, and is just as valid as the positivist approach. This is like saying Noam Chomsky's examination of the news is invalid because he is an anarchist and will make his research through that lens. You can be the most bias person in the world, and be an excellent researcher, so I fail to see your point.

Hitler/Pol Pot:
What the criminal did was irrelevant? Well then I guess this argument is over ... oh it isn't? Alright then!
Hitler's legacy still lives on; Neo-nazi's still exist as a result of his death, they had to burn his body and scatter them to prevent people from worshiping him. They had to do the same thing with Bin Laden, and Pol Pot due to their deaths resulting in a martyr like status, I ask my opponent why is Al Qaeda still around as well? Clearly killing these people made them martyrs, this is not absurd. And in our criminal system an excellent example of martyrship would be Charles Manson and his helter skelter campagin should he have been killed due to his cult. So yes actually it can happen in the US legal system.

Wrongful convition:
My opponent is wrong, I noted that CSI's do make mistakes, and in fact in the Mass. state 34,000 prisoners are being released due to a forensic scientist's fraud. Hence wrongful convition may occur even still today; a failure of CP because it does not determine who is innocent or not. And while that case means his couldn't be re-opened, that argument strengthens my argument for the weakening of due process of law NOT yours.

Crime/Punishment:
My opponent is correct, yet isn;t it interesting that the person being sued never loses his house over it? If that is the case, then why should the state have the ability to systemically revoke your life? Which is the most impoertant private property!

Insanity:
My opponent is right, but completely drops the fact that ASPD IS treatable and thus justification that the state shouldn't kill someone with those personality traits.

Innocents:
That was 1) to protect Judges, and 2) see if prisoners have the right to habaeus corpus (or retrial) they ruled that prisoners are not entitled to retrials, furthering my point that CP ought to be abolished

Political Agenda:
My opponent committs a bare assertion fallacy that this is irrelevant. It is not; a violation of international law is an outrage and again implies that the state is above the law, it is disproportinate and therefore unjustified.

My opponent has failed to prevent me from reaching my BOP. I have shown the inefficencies of CP, along with the impacts both physically, psychologically, and legally. It is costly, inefficent, and relies on flawed studies to continue it's use.It harms the people not involved, and the victims even more than LWOP in comparison. It would in fact be wise of the US to abolish CP. Criminologists agree, so to medial personel. Thank you and eliminate CP!

VOTE PRO!!!

Sources: see previous round.
Thank you for a fun debate :D :D :D :D :D :D
hereiam2005

Con

As previously agreed (in the comment section), I will not put fort any further point that have anything to do with the debate topic in this round.

First, I would like to thank my opponent for engaged in such a high spirited debate.

It was truly an interesting debate, so much so that the glaring limit of 8000 characters has never felt so crippling. There are so many points went unaddressed simply because of the character limit. I seriously hope someone would do something regarding that limit in near future.

I think it is good to remind the reader that the purpose of a debate is not to prove a point, but to see both sides of a problem. With that in mind, my opponent essentially agreed with me most of the time. The rest, I would like the reader to judge himself.

So, vote con!
Debate Round No. 4
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by hereiam2005 3 years ago
hereiam2005
@Ragnar,

I was following this guideline:
http://www.debate.org...
I thought it was acceptable - that was the only topic on the matter that I can find. My apologies.

At one point I was something like 5000+ characters over the limit, so I tried all I could to shorten the argument to no avail - either the arguments are broken or I have to shorten the link.

My opponent referred to another debate as source to overcome the limit too - so I guess it is fair.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Just a small point... In future please do not hide your sources through forwarding addresses. It's a few extra words, at the expense of losing respectability to your sources. Sources intentionally take from the character limit, but are of high enough value to the argument to usually be worth it.
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
I enjoy how novice debaters always want to argue with "old guard" judges about the integrity of their ballots, and their first argument is always something to the effect of "if you actually read the debate, you would have seen... etc. etc. etc." w/e I read the debate, and you lost. Others who favor the death penalty disagree, which was reflected in their RFD's. In any case, I don't appreciate you questioning my integrity. If you want me to further explain why you lost, I'll be happy to do so via PM but I'm not going to have "debate hour with YYW" in the comment section. The character limit is too low.

Cheers.
Posted by hereiam2005 3 years ago
hereiam2005
If people actually bothered to read through the whole debate, I actually took pride in myself in using either neutral sources - legal documents, for example, or peer reviewed journal papers, or sources which are actually *against* CP - I did not once used a source that can be remotely perceived as being biased. So it was a little amusing that only a single vote with reliable source goes to me.

Please, I beg people, don't vote without reading at least once, and try to see from both sides - it took us tremendous efforts to put together a case like this, we don't want people to ruin it.
Posted by hereiam2005 3 years ago
hereiam2005
Let me clarify myself - my position defend only *some* kind of Capital Punishment - not *all* kind of CP, as I have stated throughout the debate. There is no need to justify all kind of Capital Punishment. I felt that reducing the number of CP will address Pro's 4th argument - thus the point was moot, and not dropped.

Pro's 5th argument - the cruelty of CP - Again, I have addressed the claim perfectly in my rebuttal: I quote myself: "Modern anesthesia is perfectly capable of render a person fully unconscious for the duration of the administration of the drugs. After all, anesthesia has been used for decades for medical operations, which can be far more painful than CP if the anesthetic agent is ineffective.". The other punishment methods I could not address due to the character limit constraint - however they are medieval punishment method - and have not been used for decade(s). It is thus irrelevant.

Regarding Pro's 7th argument: I felt that speculating on the conspiracy theory involving the state is irrelevant to the discussion of CP. All laws can be misused by the state. Regarding the legality of CP: I quote myself here: in Gregg v. Georgia, CP is constitutional (round 2). In Herrera v. Collins, it is legal to execute an *actual* innocent person (round 3). So, no legal problem for the state.
Posted by hereiam2005 3 years ago
hereiam2005
For example, if some people believe that 1 + 1 = 10 (in fact, it is true for binary), then we can conclude that 1 + 1 > 5 ! but the point of 1 + 1 = 10 is contentious, so no such conclusion can be drawn.
Posted by hereiam2005 3 years ago
hereiam2005
I felt compelled to reply to the RFD made by YYW.

First, if you actually read through the debate, I rebutted his 1st observation, simply by declaring him of cherry-picking research results to fit his ideological goal. If A is wrong because of B, but the validity of B is contentious, then the burden of proof that A is wrong has definitely not been met.
His 4th observation is an assertion. His argument is "If A is wrong because if A then not B, but B should be right" - but the universal acceptance of B is not guaranteed - other than his assertion, that is.

6th argument was addressed in *detail* in both round 2 and 3 - in fact, I got pro to agree with me on that. I quote myself here :"If one consider oneself a property, then is it not permissible to take other's properties? Is the act of taking another's property, just as tyrannous as the same act done by the state? The existence of such act, if not swiftly and equally punished by the state, cannot guarantee an equal and fair society. The state, in such situation, is reasonably and logically expected to remove such property from the perpetrator of the crime, return the same to the original owner, and may in addition impose further punitive remedies against the perpetrator. Without such justice, the strong can just takes from the weak, and chaos will ensure."
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
CON replies by deflecting PRO"s 1st and 4th observations, but doesn"t actually rebut the claim. CON doesn"t actually address PRO"s 2nd point, but does inadvertently highlight the utility of CP as a bargaining tool for prosecutors, and in response to the 4rd observation doesn"t actually do anything other than attempt evaluate crimes against humanity through an "eye for an eye" framework. The question of whether or not CP actually deters crime is academically contentious, so that point was argued by both sides to a stalemate (in re PRO"s 1st argument). CON"s response to PRO"s second argument was speculative, and while CON"s response to PRO"s third argument accurately distinguished between failure"s of the prosecution system and failures with the punishment, the risk of executing innocents is still imminent. CON"s responses to PRO"s 4th, 5th and 7th arguments weren"t really purposeful -and both should have focused more on the issue of the justice of injustice of CP (i.e. PRO"s 6th argument).
Posted by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
CON asks is CP is abolished, what should be done to those who commit heinous crimes? He lists an example of a serial killer who was sentenced, but due to a legal fluke was released. CON speculates that the serial killer would have killed again if released from prison. CON asserts that CP "ends the suffering" of victims" families, claims that "some are beyond redemption" and lists various problems with prisons/the judicial system which may result in some prisoner"s release which puts society at risk. CP neutralizes that risk. PRO observes (1) that punishment"s primary purpose is not retribution, but deterrence, (2) inherent to CP is the potentiality for executing the innocent, (3) that even if there is one instance where CP may be justified, "the impact of CP must be considered" to balance that. PRO argues that CP does not deter crime, that it is harmful to victims, that it is a threat to judicial integrity because of the risk of executing innocents, that it is expensive, and that there are other inconsistencies which in practice make CP judicially problematic.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Someone please let me know through PM, if cstidham's vote improves.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Contra 3 years ago
Contra
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I have to say, the arguments are pretty even, enough so that I don't think the three point advantage would have merit as it wouldn't reflect how close this debate was. The arguments were good on both sides, but neither side clearly summarized their arguments and evidence in a way that was overly powerful. That said however, Pro's case was structured better, especially in the second to last round. Con's lack of paragraph separation made distinguishing his arguments very difficult.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter Vulpes_Inculta. Aperion's vote was retributive.
Vote Placed by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: In this debate, PRO?s responsibility was to give reasons for why the death penalty should be eliminated, and his strongest points pertained to the pragmatic issues surrounding the death penalty and the separate but equally salient issue of whether or not the state executing one of its subjects is a justifiable thing to do. CON effectively argued to a stalemate the pragmatic issues -but implicitly assumed throughout that capital punishment as such was just. PRO more effectively demonstrated the problems justifying the death penalty, and therefore takes the win in this case. More details in comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: A good debate, with good use of sources by both sides. There are so many issues to resolve the topic doesn't fit well in a single debate. That makes it more difficult for Pro meet the burden of proof. Pro claimed that half of the murderers where mentally ill, yet they were not found not guilty by reason of insanity. Pro argument on that basis is not prima facie. Con's best argument was that having the death penalty is an aid to plea bargaining. Even Pro's sources provided some support for that. Con's use of one example in the openning proves only that there are some cases where the death penalty is appropriate. The sources on other issues were conflicting, but reading them it seemed to me the anti-death-penalty arguments in them were often strained rationalizations. Pro called his opponent a liar, a clear conduct violation. Pro also linked a list of sources, which violates the 8000 character limit. the conduct point goes to Con.
Vote Placed by Vulpes_Inculta 3 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Vote was fine.
Vote Placed by DakotaKrafick 3 years ago
DakotaKrafick
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter Apeiron's retributive vote.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering cstidham's biased vote, until the RFD improves.
Vote Placed by cstidham 3 years ago
cstidham
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I thought pro did a superb job.
Vote Placed by amey 3 years ago
amey
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: the debate between the two is extremely good but i would vote for con since he mad more convincing arguments and did make a single spelling and grammar mistake whereas pro did.
Vote Placed by Apeiron 3 years ago
Apeiron
TheHitchslaphereiam2005Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a hard debate, but I side with Con since this question seemed to go unanswered, "For a system where the severity such a lesser crimes is near or equal to a that of a serial murderer, where is the balance of justice? How can people trust in the law?" At most Con could only cite exceptions to a well reasoned general rule, his whole case therefore becomes a fallacy of accident, and so Con takes arguments. Also, I felt he used more reliable sources and I was edified by them more. Pro's links were either corrupted or largely uninformative since they were cartoons. I stand open to be convinced otherwise on the arguments themselves however since this is outside of my area of expertise.