The Instigator
eastcoastsamuel
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
4saken
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points

Capital Punishment

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
4saken
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/28/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,698 times Debate No: 33029
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

eastcoastsamuel

Con

The topic of this debate will center around capital punishment in the United States and whether it should remain as a punishment in the legal system. Capital punishment, or the "death penalty", is a form of punishment in which the convicted person is executed for his/her crimes. This debate will discuss its merits, with each party offering a perspective on the topic at hand. I will take the negation, against capital punishment, arguing against it on an economic level, a moral level and a societal level. My opponent, 4saken, will then proceed to argue for it. The first round will consist of opening arguments, with subsequent rounds focusing on rebuttals and "repairs" of opening arguments. The last round will be devoted to closing arguments, where no new arguments can be presented, with both sides presenting the reasons as to how/why they felt they won the round and weighing the arguments/points made throughout the round.

With these standards aside, let's begin this round.

Contention 1: Economy
It sounds counterintuitive that the death penalty actually costs more than life in prison. But studies have shown that this is actually true. A study focusing on the death penalty in California [1] has found that the death penalty has cost over four thousand dollars since 1978. However, by commuting those on death row to life without parole, California would save 170 million dollars per year, for a total of 5 billion over twelve years. On the federal level [2], the cost of the death penalty is over six-hundred thousand dollars, eight times that of a case where the death penalty was not pursued. Similar results [3] can be found in a number of other states across the Union, including Texas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee, among many others. Since the death penalty is a financial deadweight, it must be disgarded.

Contention 2: Society
Sub-point A: Race
The death penalty is unfairly placed on minorities, in particular African-Americans and Latinos. In the current death row population, African-Americans and Latinos outnumber whites, 54% to 43% [4]. According to a study done by the United States General Accounting Office, "(i)n 82% of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e., those who murdered whites were found more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks." Most damning of all is that, since 1976, cases involving black defendants and white victims were nearly thirteen times higher, compared to cases involving white defendants and black victims [5]. Minorities are clearly applied the death penalty at a much higher rate than the majority of America. Because of this terrible example of racism, the death penalty should be disgarded.

Sub-point B: Mental Illness and Disability
Since 1983, over five-dozen mentally retarded people were executed for crime in the United States [6]. With the hundreds of people executed in the United States, dozens of them, possibly hundreds, had some form of mental illness [7]. People with mental illnesses and disabilities, who need care rather than punishment and have trouble figuring right from wrong, should not be executed for any crimes they commit. Yet, over three-dozen states still allow for mentally ill and disabled people to be executed for any crimes committed [8]. It is illogical to allow a system that punishes those with mental troubles.

Contention 3: Morals
The biggest arguments dealing with the death penalty center around morality and whether or not it is morally right to execute those who kill. For the negation, I argue that it is a moral injustice to have the death penalty, period, no matter the crime. We are taught at a young age that should we be bullied or misjudged or otherwise wronged, we should take retaliation against those who wrong us. Yet, when we get to an adult age and when we talk about crime, we forget this and use retaliation against those who kill. People often state in defense of the penalty that it discourages violence and that it is just because of this. Yet this is the same reasoning that Timothy McVeigh used when he bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma city, killing 168 people [9]. We, as a society, call people like McVeigh and more recently, the Tsarnaev brothers, cowards and terrible people, and yet when we do the exact same thing, with the exact same reasoning, we do not call ourselves the same. Every time we execute, in the name of justice, in the same of retaliation, we become Timothy McVeigh and the Tsarnaevs. We become just like the criminals we subdue and execute. We become like them--which is not what society should be in any way. We must stop this, and the only way to do so is to eliminate the death penalty from the United States.

For these reasons, I strongly urge a vote in the negation of the resolution.

I wish my opponent the best of luck and I look forward to a productive and thoughtful debate!

Sources:
[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://www.uscourts.gov...
[3] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[4] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[5] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[6] http://www.deathpenalty.org...
[7] http://www.amnesty.org...
[8] http://news.ufl.edu...
[9] http://www.trutv.com...
4saken

Pro

I thank my opponent for restarting this debate. I will begin with my opening arguments.


1/ Death Penalty is Just

What is "just"? According to the Oxford dictinary, "just" mean "morally right and fair" [1].

In order to have justice, any crime will be punished proportional to how serious they are. That is also exactly how the laws in every country all over the world works. Someone committing a petty crime can get away with just a fine. If his crime is more serious, he could be put into jail. Therefore, when a man commits the most atrocious acts, he should receive the highest penalty: the death punishment.

This a quote of Robert Macy, District Attorney of Oklahoma City, about one of his case: "In 1991, a young mother was rendered helpless and made to watch as her baby was executed. The mother was then mutilated and killed. The killer should not lie in some prison with three meals a day, clean sheets, cable TV, family visits and endless appeals. For justice to prevail, some killers just need to die." [2]

What is described above is just one single case. There are many other criminals who committed more horrifying murders, and they should receive their retribution. It is not "eye for an eye". It is not revenge. It's a punishment for someone who deserves it. It is right and it is fair. So it is justice.


2/ Death Penalty deters crimes

Punishment makes people less likely to violate the laws and more severe punishment will deter crimes better. In a paper written by Dudley Sharp, he had shown that the criminals fear the death penalty much more than life without parole: "The most conclusive evidence that criminals fear the death penalty more than life without parole is provided by convicted capital murderers and their attorneys. 99.9% of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life, not death, in the punishment phase of their trial". He also concluded that "which we fear the most deters the most" [3].

In one of his research in 1975, Professor Isaac Ehrlich of the University of Buffalo estimated that each execution deterred about seven or eight homicides [4]. Additional research of Professor Stephen K. Layson of the University of North Carolina has reconfirmed Professor Ehrlich's results [5].

There are also newer studies confirming the deterrence effect of death penalty. Seventeen out of twenty four studies carried out from 1996 to 2010 claim that the death penalty does deter crime [6].

For example, Professors Hashem Dezhbakhsh of Emory University and Joanna Shepherd of Clemson University, after analysing the panel data covering the fifty states from 1960 to 2000, found out that the murder rate increases when the death penalty is abolished and decreases when it is reinstated [7].

The following figure is taken from their study:


As you can see, the homicide rate increases when the number of execution decreases, and vice-versa.

In another study, Joana Shepherd found out that the death penalty "deters murders previously believed to be undeterrable: crimes of passion and murders by intimates" [8].



[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[1] http://prodpquotes.info...
[3] "Death Penalty and Sentencing Information In the United States" (1997), Dudley Sharp
[4] "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death," (1975), Isaac Ehrlich
[5] "Homicide and Deterrence: A Reexamination of the United States Time-Series Evidence," (1985), Stephen K. Layson
[6] http://www.cjlf.org...
[7] "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a 'Judicial Experiment'", Hashem Dezhbakhsh and Joanna Shepherd (2003)
[8] "Murders of Passion, Execution Delays, and the Deterrence of Capital Punishment", Joanna Shepherd (2003)
Debate Round No. 1
eastcoastsamuel

Con

eastcoastsamuel forfeited this round.
4saken

Pro

I would like to present my rebuttals to Con's arguments:


1/ Economy

Con said that the death penalty has cost 4 billion dollars since 1978 (actually he wrote "four thousand" but I assume that it's a typo) so on average it will cost around 130 million per year. Then he said changing to life without parole (LWOP) it will save 170 million per year. I'm sorry, how does that work? Unless LWOP makes money instead of costs money.

I would like to show the cost comparison between death penalty and LWOP [1]

Cost of Life Without Parole: Cases Equivalent To Death Penalty Cases
- $34,200/year for 50 years, at a 2% annual cost increase
- $75,000 for trial & appeals
Total: $3.01 million

Cost of Death Penalty Cases
- $60,000/year for 6 years, at a 2% annual cost increase
- $1.5 million for trial & appeals
Total: $1.88 million

We can see that LWOP costs more than death penalty per case despite having lower trial cost.

One more thing that we should take notice of is the plea bargain. The death penalty affects the willingness of defendants to plead guilty and receive a life sentence. In his study, Scheidegger said that "repeal of the death penalty would likely result in fewer pleas to life or long sentences, requiring that prosecutors either take more cases to trial at a substantial financial cost or accept bargains to lesser sentences at a substantial cost to public safety". He concluded that "The widespread assumption that repeal of the death penalty would produce an immediate and dramatic savings in trial costs is not justified on the information currently available". [2]


2/ Society

a/ Racism

From Con's own source: [3]
- In the current death row population, there are 41.93% is black, 43.17% is white.
- Of the defendants executed in the U.S. since 1976, 35% is black, 53% is white.
How is this racism?

Regarding Con's other arguments, if there is racism in the prosecution and trial, then we should fix the system, not the punishment.

b/ Mental Illness and Disability

Con said "It is illogical to allow a system that punishes those with mental troubles". If it is wrong to punish mentally ill people, then it is wrong with any kind of punishment. If putting them to death is not okay, then is putting them to jail for life is okay? The problem here lies with the system, I fail to see how it is the death penalty's fault.


3/ Morality

Con's arguments are confusing. I find it difficult to understand this part "We are taught at a young age that should we be bullied or misjudged or otherwise wronged, we should take retaliation against those who wrong us. Yet, when we get to an adult age and when we talk about crime, we forget this and use retaliation against those who kill."

Then Con used the case of Timothy McVeigh to justify his argument, but I can't see how it is relevant to the debate. What McVeigh is illegal killing, the death penalty is legal killing. If someone begins to lock up people illegally, is it hypocrisy if we condemn him? Or should we stop putting criminals in jails as well?


[1] http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
[2] "The Death Penalty and Plea Bargaining to Life Sentences" (2009), Kent Scheidegger
[3] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
Debate Round No. 2
eastcoastsamuel

Con

I would like to apologize to my opponent for my abandoning the previous round. I lost track of time and ended up accidentally forfeiting. It was a honest mistake, and won't happen again. I hope my opponent can accept this and we can continue as normal.

First, I will address my opponent's contentions and then return to my own.

My opponent's contentions are as followed: a.) that the death penalty is "just" and b.) that the death penalty helps deter crime. I will address these contentions in this order.

Rebuttal to "The death penalty is just"
I object in several ways to my opponent's contention here. My opponent mentions that punishment should be distributed based on the level of the crime--this, the negation does not object to. The notion, however, that the death penalty is the ultimate penalty is objectionable. Let's examine the death penalty closely. The death penalty involves a prisoner waiting a number of years on death row, only to face a painless, quick death. Life in prison without parole, however, involves spending the rest of your life behind bars, with no chance of leaving. And yet my opponent states that the former is the more severe punishment? This seems rather odd. My opponent is also under the assumption that all prisoners get to have a massive amount of amenities, which is nothing more than a myth [1]. If my opponent truly wants justice to be served, then life in prison without parole should be implemented, rather than the death penalty.

Rebuttal to "The death penalty deters crime"
This is a heavily debated claim, which can serve as the topic for a whole other debate. At minimum, the information is inconclusive, and at maximum, this claim is wrong. The National Research Council of the National Academies found in a review [2] of more than three decades of research that the evidence to date for whether or not the death penalty deters crime is inconclusive, with the committee deciding that such studies should not be quoted in discussions about the effectiveness of the death penalty on homicide levels. According to another study [3] published by the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, eighty-eight percent of the nation's leading criminologists believe that the death penalty does not deter crime, with seventy-five percent of respondents agreeing that debates on the death penalty distract legislators from dealing with real problems on crime. Examination [4] of the United States Census over several years has found that states without the death penalty have actually lower rates of homicide than states with the penalty, with some years having a difference of over forty percent in homicide rates. Clearly, the claim that the death penalty deters the crime is inaccurate, or at minimum cannot be weighed in this debate.

I will now address my own contentions.

My opponent's rebuttals to my first contention are unsatisfactory. The first quote my opponent cites is out of date, with the annual rates cited from a Time magazine article from 1994. It is illogical to weigh such a statistic from a date that is nearly twenty years ago, and this should not be weighed in the round. The second quote my opponent cites from is even more out of date, as the author hinges his research on a source from 1993 which featured statistics from 1988. To try and use statistics from 1988 in a debate in 2013 is simply illogical! You cannot look to this when it comes time to judge.

My opponent's rebuttals to my second contention ignore a number of items addressed. It ignores the United States General Accounting Office source, which quotes that in eighty-two percent of the studies reviewed, the race of the victim influenced the final verdict. It also ignores the statistic which states that black defendants who kill whites are sentenced to death thirteen times higher than those with white defendants and black victims. My opponent then goes on to state that the system should be fixed, and not the punishment. Again, this ignores the statistics quoted, which places an emphasis on the death penalty and not the court of law. It is the idea of the death penalty that results in such a high ratio of those executed. My opponent's act of ignoring the majority of the statistics cited makes his rebuttal unsatisfactory.

My opponent follows with rebuttals to my mental illness and disability sub-point, mentioning that the mentally ill should not be punished whatsoever. But again, this ignores the statistics which place an emphasis on the death penalty, rather than the system of law as a whole. The fact that over three-dozen states allow for mentally ill people to be executed--which, according to my opponent, is the highest punishment in the land--should be condemned by both my opponent and myself. But we also must address this from a practical matter. In a court of law, should the mental illness of a criminal not be addressed, under my opponent's world, there would be a slimmer chance for possible appeal, and a higher chance that the criminal could die before being exonerated. Under the negation's world, however, with life in prison, the criminal has a higher chance of being exonerated because he has more time for proper appeals.

My opponent's rebuttals to my third contention are that it is hard to understand, which I will take the time now to clarify. I would like to apologize to my opponent for not being unclear in places--hopefully I can clarify my points here. I used the "We are taught at a young age" part as a lead-in to my main point, that it is irrational to justify the death penalty on a moral level and that is bizarre to teach our children this logic and then go against it in such a way. I was not referring to the punishment system as a whole--simply that we are taught as kids that if someone breaks a toy, we should not break one of their toys back, which is analogous to the death penalty. I used Timothy McVeigh for the sake of an analogy--that he justified the bombing of the Murrah building as justice, to deter the government from committing more crimes against the populace--an argument that my opponent himself used as a major contention. By executing criminals under the premise of justice and to deter crime, we are in fact using the same logic that McVeigh used. Yet, we condemn McVeigh and praise ourselves under the veil of justice. This is hypocrisy. My opponent then proceeds to attack a straw-man with his last two questions, which is fallacious and should not be weighed in this round. My opponent's rebuttal here is unsatisfactory.

In conclusion, my opponent's rebuttals are unsatisfactory and do not properly address the contentions I have raised previously. My opponent's contentions are also unsatisfactory, basing themselves off of inaccurate data and a common myth about prisoner treatment. I strongly urge a ballot in negation of the resolution from the judge. Thank you.

Sources:
[1] http://www.corrections.com...
[2] http://www.nap.edu...
[3] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[4] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
4saken

Pro

My arguments


1/ Death Penalty is Just

Con has agreed with me that the most atrocious criminals should receive the most severe punishment. I thank him for his understanding.

There is only one difference between his point of view and mine. He thinks that the most severe punishment is LWOP, not the death penalty. However, the fact is “99.9% of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life, not death, in the punishment phase of their trial” [1] So there is no doubt that the death penalty is the most severe punishment.

If Con’s assumption about LWOP is true, then it means that we deny the convicts a painless death and instead we torment them for the rest of their life. It is torture. It is a cruel and unusual punishment. It is immoral and unconstitutional. Therefore it can not be used as a replacement for the death penalty.


2/ Death Penalty deters crimes

a/ The report of The National Research Council

In Round 1, I have said that seventeen out of twenty four studies from 1996 to 2010 claim that the death penalty does deter crime. [2] Why should one review is enough to outweigh seventeen? What makes it more reliable than the others?

b/ 88% of the nation's criminologists believe that the death penalty does not deter crime

Bertrand Russell has said: “It is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.” [3]

There is a fallacy called “Appeal to Authority”. It has the following form:
- Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
- Person A makes claim C about subject S.
- Therefore, C is true.

This sort of reasoning can become fallacious in some situations. One is “there is a significant amount of legitimate dispute among the experts within a subject”, and one is “Appeal to an Unidentified Authority”. Since there are many studies which prove the opposite and the mentioned criminologists are not named, “Appeal to Authority” can not be applied in this situation. [4]

c/ States without the death penalty have lower rates of homicide than states with the penalty

Let’s imagine a situation like this:
- State A has a homicide rate of 10, after the death penalty is instated it decreases to 9.
- State B has a homicide rate of 3, after the death penalty is abolished it increases to 4.

So we have a state without the death penalty has lower rates of homicide than a state with the penalty, even though the deterrence effect is obvious. Therefore, this source doesn’t disprove my point.

Because the homicide rates vary drastically from state to state regardless of whether the death penalty is implemented or not, we can only know whether the death penalty deters crimes or not if we compare the homicide rates in the same state when it has and has not the capital punishment. In Round 1, I have already shown that “the murder rate increases when the death penalty is abolished and decreases when it is reinstated” [5]



Rebuttals

1/ Economy

Instead of addressing my points, Con tried to attack my sources. He just said it is out of date and disregarded everything. I would like Con to elaborate why the cost calculation now is different. What I have shown is the death penalty may have higher cost at start but over time LWOP will cost more. Since the cost increases over time, LWOP will become more and more expensive. If it costed more than the death penalty in 1994, it will cost much more now.

Scheidegger’s study was released in 2009. He said that because it is very expensive and time consuming to collect raw data so he used “one existing data set which, although somewhat dated, contains the necessary information for an estimate of the effect of the death penalty on plea bargaining in murder cases”. [6] He also reviewed other newer studies before he reached the results.

In Round 2, I pointed out a contradiction in Con's argument. He had no answer. Because he dropped the arguments, he has conceded this point. So even if I don't prove that LWOP is more expensive, I have successfully refute this point.


2/ Society

Con said I ignored “the statistics which place an emphasis on the death penalty, rather than the system of law as a whole”. But it doesn't matter where the data emphasis, the fact is, the system is at fault, if there is any fault, not the penalty. I would like Con to explain why “It is the idea of the death penalty that results in such a high ratio of those executed”. People do not show up in the death row on their own, they are there because they are sentenced to be there. Blame the judge, not the executioner. If the system is racist and sends black people to death, it's the system's fault. If the system sends mentally ill people to death, it's the system's fault. The penalty itself has nothing to do with it.

I have proved above that even if there is racism in the system, it is not the death penalty's fault. Now I will prove that there is actually no racism at all. According to Dudley Sharp, 47% murderers are black and 37% are white, the ratio of white-to-black victims in the aggravated circumstances are from 4-to-1 to 8-to-1, and the ratio of black robbers/white victims versus white robbers/black victims is 21-to-1. [7] The results that Con has cited is the consequences of this, not racism.

Con said that someone sentenced to LWOP will have more chance to of being exonerated than someone sentenced to death because he has more time for appeals. It is not true. After a sentence is made, you have a limited time to declare your intention to appeal. The number of times you can appeal is also limited. [8] In fact, convicts sentenced to death actually have better chance to get out of prison. [9] Therefore, Con’s assumption is incorrect.


3/ Morality

Con has clarified his arguments, I thank him for that. However, his analogy is inaccurate. Yes, “if someone breaks a toy, we should not break one of their toys back”, but we do not encourage the victims’ families to kill the culprits themselves for revenge either. And while “we should not break one of their toys back”, we are supposed to report to the adults, who have the responsibility to punish the troublemaker. Therefore, there is nothing wrong if we ask the government to punish those criminals.

The analogy of Timothy McVeigh is also wrong. Criminals can use whatever excuses to justify their action. McVeigh claimed that he did it in the name of justice, but he has no right to do so, while the government has a function of carrying out justice. It is not “we are in fact using the same logic that McVeigh used”, it is McVeigh who used our logic in a twisted way.

Con accused me of using the straw man fallacy. Please elaborate why it is a fallacy. It is simply an analogy. Why is it hypocrisy to kill the criminals who kill people but it is not hypocrisy to lock up the criminals who lock up people? It proves that there is no problem even if we do what the criminals do.



[1] "Death Penalty and Sentencing Information In the United States" (1997), Dudley Sharp
[2] http://www.cjlf.org...
[3] http://www.goodreads.com...
[4] http://www.nizkor.org...
[5] "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a 'Judicial Experiment'", Hashem Dezhbakhsh and Joanna Shepherd (2003)
[6] http://www.cjlf.org...
[7] http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
[8] http://crime.about.com...
[9] http://blogs.berkeley.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
eastcoastsamuel

Con

For this round, I will again address my opponent's contentions and then proceed to my own. Let's begin.

My opponent, as a support of his first contention, quotes a statistic that 99.9 percent of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life. My opponent proceeds to state that this puts death penalty as the most severe punishment. This statistic, similar to several statistics discussed previously, is from over fifteen years ago, making it clearly out-of-date. Not only that, but the study quoted is extremely biased, stating that "(t)he death penalty debate in the U.S. is dominated by the fraudulent voice of the anti-death penalty movement. The culture of lies and deceit so dominates that movement that many of the falsehoods are now wrongly accepted as fact, by both advocates and opponents of capital punishment." An out-of-date and biased source should not be used in this debate to advance. My opponent proceeds to state that LWOP is cruel and unusual, immoral and unconstitutional, which is purely subjective opinion and again should not be weighed.

My opponent's second contention is backed by my opponent in two ways. First, he discussed the National Research council report by stating that seventeen of twenty-four studies claim that the death penalty deters crime. This completely ignores the source I provided. As I provided, the National Research Council reviewed over three decades of research, which includes the studies my opponent states, and found that evidence does not point to this claim. One review in this case does outweigh seventeen studies because the review includes those seventeen studies along with dozens of others and concludes that there isn't enough evidence. My rebuttal still stands.

My opponent attacks my second rebuttal of his second contention with an argument of authority, stating that the eighty-eight percent of criminologists is such an argument. Yet, my opponent does that exact same thing with the aforementioned "99.9 of lawyers and murderers argue for life and not death" source. My opponent cannot simply ask the judge to ignore all of the negation's source in favor of his, when he does very similar things. A key flaw in my opponent's source as well is that while it proves correlation, it does not prove causation--in essence, it does not show that the death penalty actually results in the determent of crime. Until evidence surfaces that shows that the death penalty actually deters crime, rather than nothing more than a correlation, this cannot be weighed.

Now I will address my own contentions and my opponent's rebuttals.

As previously discussed, my opponent's sources are dated from periods as far back as twenty years ago. My opponent has asked that I must prove that the cost calculation is now different, and that the death penalty may have a higher cost, but ultimately that LWOP will cost more over time. Putting aside the notion that, again, this is an assumption based on outdated analysis, it should be noted that in my opponent's own source [1] there is a note which states that the organizers of the page should "present value" all the costs of both a life sentence and death penalty, and that if they do so, a life sentence is actually less expensive than the death penalty. My opponent's largest source to back his financial claims is flawed according to itself. My opponent then proceeds to state that because Scheidegger's study was released in 2009 and that because it is expensive and time consuming to collect raw data, he can use a source that he admits is somewhat dated. Even if the study was released recently and even if it would be cumbersome to research, that does not excuse the fact that the source uses information from twenty-five years ago. My opponent's rebuttals ultimately fail.

My societal point is rebutted with again my opponent's claim that the system is at fault and not the punishment. As previously mentioned, this ignores statistics which place specific emphasis on the death penalty, which my opponent brushes over by saying it doesn't matter. My opponent also misunderstands part of a previous statement, where I stated that the idea of the death penalty causes so many executions. I wish to clarify that I meant that the death penalty influences the mindset of the juror to vote one way or the other, which is backed by the emphasis of the death penalty on the statistics. I apologize to my opponent for this misunderstanding.

My opponent attempts to rebut my contentions dealing with race by quoting several sources. First, he quotes from Dudley Sharp, a source which finds that the results that I have quoted are the consequences of the system and not actual racism. The article my opponent quotes is again out-of-date, having been written nearly fifteen years ago and quoting studies from over twenty years ago. The source states that it rebuts several sources which claim the opposite, which it actually does not and simply states that the ratios and percentages are off, which are ineffective rebuttals. My opponent's sources which he states shows that people on death row actually have more time to appeal than people with life are again incorrect. He quotes an about.com article which has no citation as to where it gathers evidence and talks about the appeal process in general, and not the appeal process with life in prisoners, and he quotes a Berkeley blog article which in turn depends upon an article from the San Francisco Chronicle which does not quote a single statistic or source of analysis. These sources are flawed, and again my opponent's rebuttals fail.

My opponent proceeds to mention that my analogies are flawed for my morality argument. My opponent mentions that there is nothing wrong if we ask the government to punish criminals, which I again agree with. Those who did commit the highest crimes should be punished. But the government is in essence just breaking one of the toys back, which solves for nothing and simply makes the government look exactly like the child. Going into my analogy of Timothy McVeigh, my opponent states that criminals use any excuses to carry out actions and the government has the function of justice. My opponent still places himself under the subjective opinion that the death penalty is the highest form of justice. McVeigh and the government are using the same logic--that in order to stop someone from hitting you, you must hit back--which we must look at as outsiders, not players on the stage. McVeigh is condemned as a murderer, and yet we using the same logic from a different vantage point allow us to view ourselves as justice. We have to view the actions from an outside perspective, and we will see that using the same logic and doing the same actions is ineffective and does not work. My opponent then asks why I stated his last statement was a straw-man fallacy, which I will clarify here. My opponent's analogy is a straw-man as it attacks something that is only superficially similar to the statement I made. I stated that the death penalty was wrong because we are using the same logic and same actions as murderers, which my opponent attempted to rebut by saying that we should no longer punish criminals. This is only superficially similar to my statement, but my opponent still attempted to rebut this, meaning that this is a straw-man and therefore fallacious. I hope I have clarified this statement.

I strongly urge a ballot for the negation and Con.

Sources:
[1] http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
4saken

Pro

A-1) Death Penalty is Just

Con continued to attack my source, he said my source is out of date and dismissed everything. Since he made the "outdated" claim many times, I will address it once and for all. Outdated means old and no longer valid. If you want to claim something is outdated you must show why it is invalid first. Con made a baseless claim "it is outdated" first and then concluded "it is invalid". This kind or reasoning is false.

Then Con accused Dudley Sharp of being biased. But does the quote Con cited proves that Sharp is indeed biased, or was he simply stating the conclusion he got from his research? It could mean either way. Until Con has concrete evidence, I would like him to stop such baseless accusation.

Con claimed that my arguments is subjective, and dismissed them entirely. This claim of his is totally baseless too. I said that denying someone a painless death and making him suffer something worse than death is torture. Therefore if LWOP is worse than death like Con said, it is "cruel and unusual, immoral and unconstitutional". There is nothing wrong with this line of reasoning. If Con thinks it is subjective, please elaborate why. Otherwise his claim is invalid.


A-2) Death Penalty deters crimes

a/ The report of The National Research Council

Con claimed that because the National Research Council also reviewed the studies I cited, so it alone can outweigh seventeen. It is false. The National Research Council made a standard and they judged that those studies don't meet their standard. However, is their standard completely right and their judgment absolute? Obviously not, they are just one among many. It is illogical to think that one single review can deny all other studies like that.

b/ 88% of the nation's criminologists believe that the death penalty does not deter crime

Con accused me of committing the fallacy too, but it is not true.

- From my source, we have a fact that 99.9% of the convicted capital murderers argue for life, not death. From that fact, I have a logical deduction that criminals fear death most. There is no fallacy.

- From his source, we have a fact that 88% of the criminologists asked in a survey believe that the death penalty does not deter crime. From that fact, Con deduced that the death penalty does not deter crime, which I have proven to be fallacious in Round 3.

Con ignored my point entirely and attempted to discredit it by claiming that I did the same thing. In short, he committed another fallacy. [1]

c/ States without the death penalty have lower rates of homicide than states with the penalty

Con has dropped the argument, it means that he has conceded this point.

d/ Correlation & Causation

Con presented a new argument: He said my sources only shows correlation, not causation, and discarded them. However, while correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, dismissing correlation entirely as if it does not suggest causation is wrong as well. Also, multiple independent correlations can point reliably to a causation, and is a reasonable line of argument. [2]

Con demanded the evidence to prove causation. But the fact is: It's impossible to prove causation directly. We can only infer causation using statistics. It is not perfect but that's all what we got. The studies I cited above use statistics to get the conclusion that the death penalty deters crime. That conclusion is not the absolute truth, but it is as close as it can.


R-1) Economy

As I've said in Round 3, Con dropped the argument, therefore he has conceded this point. Whether he could refute my claim is irrelevant. He has the BOP to prove his claim. If the BOP is not met, then he will lose, even if I can't prove my claim.

He didn't even refute my claim properly. His main "rebuttal" is still the "outdated source" attack. Other than that, he mentioned my question but conveniently forgot to answer it. He mentioned there is someone questioning the cost calculation, but conveniently ignored the answer right after that. It stated that the cost of the death penalty was exaggerated and many cost reductions were ignored, in fact the actual cost of the death penalty is even lower. Therfore his claim that my source contradicts itself is false.

Anyway, Con claimed that the annual cost increase estimated in 1994 (which is 2%) is incorrect. Actually he is right, but not in the way he wants. In 1997 the average cost for one adult inmate in California is roughly $25,000/year [3], in 2008 it is around $50,000/year. [4] The cost increased 100% in ten years. So the actual cost increase is much higher than estimation. Therefore, the cost for LWOP is much more expensive. My argument stands.


R-2) Society

Con insisted that because the statistics emphasis on the death penalty, therefore the death penalty must be the cause, everything else is irrelevant. It is a grave mistake. The statistics that only include information about the death penalty can't prove that. If you want to prove factor X cause result Y, you must compare the situations when with X and when without X. In order to prove his point, at least Con has to show that in non captial punishment cases, the blacks and the whites are equal, the mentally ill people are not punished. Con claimed that "the death penalty influences the mindset of the juror to vote one way or the other", while what is stated in his source is "race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty". They are fundamentally different.

Regarding my second point, one more time, Con ignored my arguments entirely and used his "outdated source" attack. Con also said "The source states that it rebuts several sources which claim the opposite, which it actually does not and simply states that the ratios and percentages are off, which are ineffective rebuttals". This is irrelevant. I used the Sharp's numbers, not his arguments. Even if Sharp's conclusion is wrong, it has nothing to do with mine. What Con has done here is presenting an unrelated issue in order to discredit my source, and discarded my point.

Regarding the appeal process, again, Con attacked my source and ignored my points. In the article of Berkeley blog, Jonathan Simon, a professor of law, explained why convicts sentenced to death actually have better chance to get out of prison. He was explaining the laws. Why does he need statistics or analysis? Again, Con raised completely unrelated issues to discredit my source.


R-3) Morality

Con argued that because we can't punish criminals with exactly what they did, so we can't put murderers to death. However, this deduction is false because those two things are fundamentally different. The former means that the crime preceded the punishment, the punishment is made to be similar to the crime. The latter means the penalty already exists, the criminal just happens to do the same thing. There is nothing wrong if the punishment and the crime happen to be the same, as I've proved with the example that we can lock up criminals who lock up people (which was accused to be a straw man by Con).

Regarding McVeigh, again, Con talked as if McVeigh's logic existed first and we imitated him. It is false. I already said in the previous Round that it is McVeigh who used our logic in a twisted way (which got ignored by Con). Just because someone uses a reasoning in the wrong way, doesn't mean that reasoning is wrong.

Con ignored my point by using the accusation that I made a fallacy. He also ignored my explanation why it is not a fallacy. This is absurd. If you want to accuse someone of something, you have BOP to show that your accusation is right and you must let the other person defend himself. Otherwise, your accusation is invalid.



[1] http://www.fallacyfiles.org...
[2] http://celebrationofreason.com...
[3] http://www.bsa.ca.gov...
[4] http://www.bsa.ca.gov...
Debate Round No. 4
eastcoastsamuel

Con

eastcoastsamuel forfeited this round.
4saken

Pro

I would like to thank Con for this debate.
I look forward to meeting him again in the future.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
eastcoastsamuel4sakenTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited rounds 2 and 5.
Vote Placed by LaL36 3 years ago
LaL36
eastcoastsamuel4sakenTied
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did have some nice arguments but unfortunately forfeited twice and didn't get to address pro's round 4 argument which was in my opinion his strongest. So conduct and arguments for that. But as for sources, pro used a pretty bias source to state facts called Prodeathpenalty. And con just used more sources. So sources to con for that.