The Instigator
henrib736
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Luna90
Con (against)
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0 Points

Capital Punishment is not Immoral and Should be Used

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/21/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,099 times Debate No: 25755
Debate Rounds (3)
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henrib736

Pro

Hi, good luck in this debate. It will last three rounds and the time to argue is 72 hours. The voting period is three days.
This is my first debate, so my argument might be a little weak.

Capital Punishment is not immoral should be used because:

1. It will strike fear in criminals, therefore they will be hesitant about committing the crimes they would have committed before being informed about capital punishment.

2. The only person at fault for the cause of capital punishment is the criminal. The criminal knew before, during, and after committing the crime, so it was his or her decision to risk being sentenced to capital punishment.
Luna90

Con

I'm new at this as well. I also have to represent this side next week for my school's debate team. Good luck on the debate!

Capital punishment should not be able to be used due to these reasons:

1) There have been cases in the past where an innocent person has been executed when assumed guilty. These people never committed those crimes and should not have been killed on an incorrect judgement. [1]

2) If we are punishing them for killing someone, how are we better when we kill them?

3) There have been multiple cases where a death penalty has been given to an accomplice and not given to the man or woman who actually "pulled the trigger". [2] If you truly believe that the death penalty is the best answer, then why isn't it being used on the ones who did the actual killing?

4) For those who have been cruel and malicious to others and resulted to murder, why should they get off easy? By killing them, you are giving them the easy way out by not having to deal with the guilt or jail.

As for your points, I believe that you have valid ideas in there, but that there are definitely some problems.

For your first argument:
"It will strike fear in criminals, therefore they will be hesitant about committing the crimes they would have committed before being informed about capital punishment."

While in some cases it can prove to be an effective buffer, there are many more where it occurs anyway. If you go to http://www.cor.state.pa.us... and click on Execution list, you will be shown a list of all the people sentenced to execution as of September 1, 2012. You will find that 53 people on there have been given more than one death sentence, one of which has 12.

In response to your second argument:
"The only person at fault for the cause of capital punishment is the criminal. The criminal knew before, during, and after committing the crime, so it was his or her decision to risk being sentenced to capital punishment."

If you look at points one and three, you will see my response to that reasoning.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com... (While they were not killed in this instance, this story just shows how easy it is to make a mistake that will unfairly end someone's life.)
[2] http://articles.latimes.com...
[2] http://www.deseretnews.com...
Debate Round No. 1
henrib736

Pro

Rebuttal:
1) "There have been cases in the past where an innocent person has been executed when assumed guilty. These people never committed those crimes and should not have been killed on an incorrect judgement."

It is true that innocent people are sometimes sentenced to death, but it is also true that innocent people are sentenced to 30 years in prison or more. What is worse? Dying then and there or spending 30 years of your life in prison and being unable to start over when released in your 50's? [1] We will never get to a point when 100% of the convicted people are guilty. There will always be some innocent people convicted for crimes they did not do.

2) "If we are punishing them for killing someone, how are we better when we kill them?"

If the criminal murdered someone, why should not they deserve the same degree of punishment as the damage they inflicted on their victims? Why should we give them another chance to rethink their lives in prison?

3) "If you truly believe that the death penalty is the best answer, then why isn't it being used on the ones who did the actual killing?"

Even though the accomplice did not "pull the trigger", he or she is still at the same level of fault as the ones who did the actual killing. Without the accomplice's help, the murderer would not be successful.

4) "For those who have been cruel and malicious to others and resulted to murder, why should they get off easy? By killing them, you are giving them the easy way out by not having to deal with the guilt or jail."

Ask yourself this. Which is more important? The criminal feeling "guilt" (a criminal that kills people on a regular basis cannot possibly be moral enough to feel guilt) in a prison for some time, or the safety of the people after the murderer is once again released? The answer to this question is obvious.

Sources:
[1] http://www.deseretnews.com...
Luna90

Con

1) "It is true that innocent people are sometimes sentenced to death, but it is also true that innocent people are sentenced to 30 years in prison or more. What is worse? Dying then and there or spending 30 years of your life in prison and being unable to start over when released in your 50's? [1] We will never get to a point when 100% of the convicted people are guilty. There will always be some innocent people convicted for crimes they did not do."

You will find that if you read the article from http://www.deseretnews.com... (the source you provided) that Cornelius Dupree Jr. was given a good amount of money to last him a lifetime due to the error made. There is also the fact that if he chose to work again that he is over 10 years away from the average retirement age and due to the exoneration will be able to live his life happily and without any charges affecting his opportunities.[1] As for the concept of dying instead of spending the 30 years in jail, think about this quote:
"Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all." [2]
While this does not directly speak about this situation, if you think about the meaning, it can be applied. Would you rather die for a crime never committed, or serve time in jail until exonerated and be able to live the rest of your life freely?

2) "If the criminal murdered someone, why should not they deserve the same degree of punishment as the damage they inflicted on their victims? Why should we give them another chance to rethink their lives in prison?"

Guilt can be one of the most powerful emotions. It can cause change or self-inflicted torture, but it only occurs and grows with time. If you just sentence someone to death, they will never have the opportunity to experience guilt. Should they not repent for or at least regret it their crimes? Or should they just be killed, still believing it was right.
"Every guilty person is his own hangman." -Lucius Annaeus Seneca (http://www.brainyquote.com...)
Many murders are also committed by someone who is high or drunk. They do not know the extent of what they are doing until later on. If you go to http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov... and read table 2, you will see that a very large percentage of homicides are committed while under the influence of drugs.

3) "Even though the accomplice did not "pull the trigger", he or she is still at the same level of fault as the ones who did the actual killing. Without the accomplice's help, the murderer would not be successful."

If they are at the same level of fault, then why does one get killed and the other does not. And in the case of the article I presented previously [3], why does the other get parole?

4) "Ask yourself this. Which is more important? The criminal feeling "guilt" (a criminal that kills people on a regular basis cannot possibly be moral enough to feel guilt) in a prison for some time, or the safety of the people after the murderer is once again released? The answer to this question is obvious."

Many who have killed do feel regret or remorse. Serial killers are the main exception to this because they are typically sane and not under any outside influences. There are a small number of serial killers who are diagnosed with a mental disorder.[4] What I said in response to number two also applies to your statement.

[1] http://lifeinc.today.com...
&
http://money.cnn.com...
[2] http://www.phrases.org.uk...
[3] http://articles.latimes.com...
[4] http://forensicpsych.umwblogs.org...
Debate Round No. 2
henrib736

Pro

1) "Many murders are also committed by someone who is high or drunk. They do not know the extent of what they are doing until later on."

Who's fault is it that the murderer was under the influence? They are still to blame for the murder whether or not they did it while high or drunk. Should we blame the alcohol instead?

2) "If they are at the same level of fault, then why does one get killed and the other does not. And in the case of the article I presented previously [3], why does the other get parole?"

So we should not punish the accomplice just because of the fact that the one who "pulled the trigger" has not been caught yet? Ok, so we should just not punish the helping hands of a murderer because it's not "fair" because the real murderer hasn't been caught even though they are at the same fault? The accomplices did cause the murder. They deserve the same punishment.

3) "Guilt can be one of the most powerful emotions. It can cause change or self-inflicted torture, but it only occurs and grows with time."

What is the point of self inflicted torture on the criminal? Do we get anything beneficial from a criminal feeling guilt? No. Why do we need to feed them and provide shelter just so they can feel guilt? Nothing good for us will come out of a criminal feeling guilt. Does guilt for them make up for the permanent damage they did to their victims?
Luna90

Con

1) "Who's fault is it that the murderer was under the influence? They are still to blame for the murder whether or not they did it while high or drunk. Should we blame the alcohol instead?"

No, they did put themselves under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so you can put them in court for that. But that was done when they were thinking clearly. They do not have control over themselves when high or drunk.

2) "So we should not punish the accomplice just because of the fact that the one who "pulled the trigger" has not been caught yet? Ok, so we should just not punish the helping hands of a murderer because it's not "fair" because the real murderer hasn't been caught even though they are at the same fault? The accomplices did cause the murder. They deserve the same punishment."

You will find that in the article I provided previously [1], the one who committed the murder was given a life sentence and later parole. Therefore, the real murderer was caught and given a less severe punishment while the one who didn't do it was killed.

3) "What is the point of self inflicted torture on the criminal? Do we get anything beneficial from a criminal feeling guilt? No. Why do we need to feed them and provide shelter just so they can feel guilt? Nothing good for us will come out of a criminal feeling guilt. Does guilt for them make up for the permanent damage they did to their victims?"

Nothing will ever make up for what occurred to the victims, so making them suffer for their actions, is the only way to make them feel pain over what occurred.

Closing/ Summarization:

In the end the death penalty does not accomplish anything. It does not give closure [2], nor does it rid the world of evil. It is similar to a hydra, when you cut one head off, two grow back.. Innocent people are killed for a crime that they didn't commit, and those who could not control what they are doing are killed as well. The ones who feel remorse and regret are not given a second chance either, even if they would change. They are just sent to be killed.

[1] http://articles.latimes.com...
[2] http://abcnews.go.com...
Debate Round No. 3
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