The Instigator
phantom
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
thett3
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Capital punishment should be abolished in the United States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,326 times Debate No: 22058
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (5)

 

phantom

Pro

I am a bored man.

Please only accept if you have won 10 or more debates.

Too the voters! Please only vote on arguments! Do not vote on sources, conduct or grammar. If one paricipant performs poorly in those catagories that will take away from his arguments, but do not give either side those points. In accepting this debate my opponent is required to agree with this rule.



Resolved: Capital punishment should be abolished in the United States

I will be affirming the resolution.



Burden of Proof:

BoP is shared.



Definitions:

Capital Punishment- a punishment in which the person who committed the offense is put to death by the state. [1]



Structure:

1st round: Acceptance.

2nd, and 3rd round: Arguments and rebuttal.

4th round: No more arguments, just rebuttal and closing up.



Terms:

1. A forfeit results in the loss of the debate.

2. If needed to save space because of the character limit, participants may post their sources in a separate link or in the comments section.

If there are any questions please feel free to leave a comment or pm me.



Sources:


[1] http://en.wiktionary.org.........
thett3

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
phantom

Pro

First I would like to say it is a pleasure to be debating thett3 once again on this topic. Judging from our last debate I'm sure this will be worthwhile.



My arguments:


Short Overview:


I will be using three basic contentions to support my case.

The first will show the unnecessary and major risk that will always exist with the death penalty, but does not exist with life imprisonment.
The second will show the physchological societal shaping of ones personality and character traits brought about by events in ones life that leads to the fact that certain persons are not at fault for the way they turn out and thus imposing the harshest penalty against them is unjust and we must bend our efforts towards reforming these persons rather than terminating them.
The third will show that capital punishment is inefficient in accomplishing the goals of the state, in that there are three main purposes for the state in taking action against law-breakers and capital punishment only performs two of those, while with life imprisonment we have the possibility of accomplishing all three.




C.1 As long as the death penalty is in use, there is always the risk of killing innocents.


Everyone should agree on the fact that every risk of note existing in our form of punishment aught to be diminished if possible. What about the utmost risk? The risk of the state killing innocent inhabitants of its own jurisdiction? Sadly this still exists through the use of capital punishment. Every time we send someone to their execution there is the possibility that we are sending an innocent man too his death. Why on earth should we allow these risks to take place when there is no need? For there is indeed not much need. Life imprisonment is effective and never includes the chance of killing an innocent man. Those sentenced to life imprisonment have the chance to be proven innocent before they die.

Despite what advocates of the death penalty say, innocents being executed are not at all a rare accurance as evidence shows.

Well over eighty people in the past quarter century have been condemned but then released before execution. [1]

This source shows detailed accounts of eleven innocents being executed. [2]

One researcher says he has found at least 74 cases in which wrongful executions have most likely taken place. [2]

69 inmates on death row have been released since 1973 (Source is from 1997 so it would be allot higher now).[3] This clearly shows the risks of the DP. Risks which are completely unnecessary and should be gotten rid of immediately. These men were lucky to escape with their lives.


I should add that there have, undoubtedly, been cases in which innocent people have been executed but have not been proved innocent afterwards. After being executed there is not much need for someone to try too prove the innocence of someone who is already dead. So there are undoubtedly instances in the past where we have executed an innocent man but did not know so, and still do not know.

With life imprisonment there is zero chance of killing an innocent man.

It is a horrible thing for an innocent person to be killed at the hands of the state. It is also completely unnecessary.





C.2 Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development theory





[9]




This theory clearly shows that the way people turn out is based much on their life events. Thus it is not entirely their fault but corrupt society's. Rather than just executing criminals we should realize that one, they are not solely at fault, and two, we have the possibility of reforming them. Now obviously the death penalty is reserved for only the most extreme crimes, and I think it is logical to believe those people who commit these crimes are just products of our corrupt society. This theory demonstrates my argument. Imposing our harshest punishment against those who are not entirely at fault is clearly unjust.


Many people are dealt with less harshly due to mental disorders. This follows the same lines.





C.3 Those executed cannot be be reformed, or rehabilitated. Capital punishment does not achieve maximum purpose.

Why do we take action against law breakers?
    • Punishment

    • Segregation

    • Rehabilitation
The ideal form of state action against criminals is one that accomplishes all purposes. This is an obvious fact. Thus whatever accomplishes all three purposes most effectively we must consider superior. With the use of life imprisonment we have the chance of accomplishing all three of these. However with the use of capital punishment the third is impossible, unless they are reformed before they are executed. But it is much more likely they would be reformed if they have their whole life to be reformed. Thus it is safe to conclude life imprisonment is superior too capital punishment. The death penalty deprives criminals of a second chance which SHOULD be given to them. The question is, why would we be using a form of punishment that only accomplishes two of its three main purposes, when there is another option that may accomplish all three?


Though it's not completely necessary, here are a few examples.

Two murderers, Van Houten and Krenwinkel, were sentenced to life imprisonment, but latter expressed remorse at their actions.[7] If they had been sentenced to death they would never have had the chance to repent.

Watson and Atkins, two other murderers, became Christian Fundamentalists after being given a life sentence.[7]

With the use of the death penalty the State is not accomplishing what it is supposed too.


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and await his response.


Sources:



[1] http://www.the-slammer.org............
[2] http://www.justicedenied.org............
[3] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org............
[4] http://www.debate.org......
[5] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org............
[6] http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org............
[7] http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu.........
[8] http://www.vincenter.org.........
[9] http://www.electrical-res.com......
thett3

Con

Thanks for the debate Phantom. I'll refute your case in the next round.

==Case==

Framework

Observation 1:
The primary purpose of punishment prima facieis retribution; rehabilitation is a secondary concern. Crimes are, after all, acts of aggression against victims where as rehabilitation is an act of restoration towards the criminal; it must thus be regarded as fundamentally unjust to put the benefits of the criminal (IE rehabilitation) above the benefits to the victim (IE compensation and retribution). As Michael Moore put it: “We are justified in punishing because and only because offenders deserve it.” Retribution needs to be valued above restoration.

Observation 2: Consider only the effects that the implementation of Capital punishment has on the deserving--victims and law abiding citizens (civil socety).

Observation 3: Abolish means to do away with entirely. If there's one forseeable case in which Capital Punishment in needed, you negate.

Observation 4: Ignore all objections the CP that address issues with the current system (can be reformed).

C1: Capital Punishment deters crime

Methodology:
We need to apply ceteris paribus when looking at the Death Penalty. We can't compare Texas to New York, or New Jersey to Louisiana for obvious reasons; consider only the relationships between crime and capital punishment in specific places.

Empirics
: Westley Lowe observed that between 1991 and 1999 there was a 700% increase in the number of executions, along with a drop of 33% in the murder rate. More specifically, in Texas the resumption of executions in 1982 resulted in a 60% drop in the murder rate; within Texas, the Houston area (Harris county, where the polunsky execution unit is housed) the area with the most aggressive death penalty prosecuters reside, experienced a 72% decrease in the murder rate between '91-99[1]. This is significant, because it shows not only that nationwide murder decreased but as we get into areas that aggressively impost capital punishment (Texas executes more people than any other state, and Harris county more than any other county) the results are even more substantial! I could bring in more empirical evidence for this, but I don't think it's needed.

Academics: Lowes findings on deterrence have been held true in at least three major academic studies, namely:



    • Studies from Emory University stating that each execution prevents between three and eighteen murders. [2]

    • A 2006 study from the University of Houston, stating that the Illinois moratorium on the Death Penalty led to 150 additional homicides [3]

    • A University of Colorado at Denver study showing that for each execution five muders were prevented.[4].


Logic: Of course, not all of the observed decrease in the murder rate is the result of Capital punishment, but there can be little doubt that a just society and "tough on crime" laws discourage criminal behavior. A study from the Criminal Justice Statistics Center found that a decrease in violent crime resulted from harsher penalties[5] (specifically defined as "Increase in, higher probability of, and longer duration of incarceration.").

The result is you negate since the lives of vicious murderers can't outweigh the lives of innocent civilians.

C2: Recidivism

Capital Punishment carries with it one incredible advantage, and that is that no executed murderer has ever harmed another individual again. As a matter of fact, of Death Row inmates held in 2009 over 5% committed their capital crime while in prison or on escape, and an amazing 2/3rds were previously convicted of a felony[6]. The last time Capital Punishment was abolished in the United States (1972), dozens of inmates were given sentences of life imprisonment and were later paroled, many of whom killed again, over 25 known victims are the result of these post-furman cases, along with dozens more from escaped or paroled murderers[7]. Two things must be drawn from this: 1. Laws change, parole boards change, rulings change, and people forget the past. The only way to forever ensure that a a murderer doesn't strike again is to kill him. 2. An immediate abolition (as the resolution calls for) would lead to more disasters. To use Texas as an example, life without parole was not implement until late 2005, so all inmates who committed their crimes before then (the vast majority) would be eligible for Parole and one day released[8]. Affirmation leads to deaths by historical precedents.

Even behind bars criminals manage to strike again. For example, Clarence Ray Allen, serving a sentence of life imprisonment without parole (the likely alternative) still managed to cause the deaths of still more people: he got a paroled inmate he knew to kill one who testified against him, along with 2 completely innocent bystanders[9]. In an uncharacteristic act of justice and logic, the state of California executed this filth in 2006. He will never harm anyone again.

C3: Justice.

Refer back to my framework, we can only justifiably punish people because they deserve it, to deny this is absolute insanity! I will lay out two hypothetical (although not unrealistic) scenarios where the Death Penalty should surely be implemented. I have little doubt that my opponent will accuse me of making an "appeal to emotion" but since Justice is an emotional construct, theres little use in such an objection.

One:

How should our society respond to evil?

Imagine a pedophile. He has fantasies about little girls, and constantly stalks them on the internet and in person. Constantly. Finally one day he snaps, and kidnaps an innocent little child, around age 6 or 7, takes her into a secluded area, pulls off her clothes, and brutally rapes her as she screams in vain for mercy and help. Finally, because he's a sick and twisted animal, he smashes her head with a rock and runs away.

Now, we have two options. We can send him to prison for the rest of his life. We can pay to feed, clothe, protect, entertain, and "rehabilitate" him for the rest of his life. We can look the little girls parents in the eye and say, yeah your innocent child had to die, but her killer gets to live off of your dime because we dont want to "sink to his level". Sorry. What justice is that? The parents will have to deal with the constant nightmare of knowing that somewhere that predator still lives, and can still harm others; he can potentially escape, or they could (God forbid) have to go through to biannual nightmares of his parole hearings because of a change in sentencing laws (as happened in the sickening James Moore rape/murder case[10].). At the very least they know that he will be sitting in his cell watching television and pleasuring himself on the memories of what he did to their beautiful daughter for the rest of his days, all payed for by them and their fellow law abiding tax payers. Wonderful.

Or, we could hang/electrocute/shoot/euthanize/gas him and end it once and for all. It seems that anyone with any moral sense what so ever knows which option is preferable.

Two:

Imagine for this scenario we have a leader of a militant personality cult, convicted of rape and murder. His followers are fanatic and will fight to the death to protect him, and commit suicide on his command. In the Aff world, he's imprisoned and his followers fight to get him out--they kill dozens of gaurds and lesser inmates in the process before they are all shot. In the Neg world, the man is rightfully executed and his followers commit suicide with him This might be a strange scenario, but recall that even one example where CP is needed is enough to negate. Also imagine a war criminal such as Adolf Hitler.

My opponent must prove his system outweighs mine in:

1. Deterrence
2. Justice
3. Recidivism prevention

Along with showing compelling reasons to change the status quo. Before then, the resolution is completely negated. The Death Penalty is a just consequence for those who choose a path of evil.

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

Debate Round No. 2
phantom

Pro

Damn it all. I'm very sorry but I won't be able to finish this debate. Very sorry for the horrible conduct. Vote con.
thett3

Con

Its ok, real life gets in the way sometimes.
Debate Round No. 3
phantom

Pro

Partly my fault too, but yeah thanks for understanding, and sorry again. >.<
thett3

Con

BE INSPIRED

Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DragonX 2 years ago
DragonX
I don't think it should be abolished. The inmates in prison themselves have admitted to becoming worse & not better & become smarter criminals. Also there are more prison inmate than guards. So lets keep that in mind. We're not gonna be 100% accurate on who's innocent or guilty, but a person that has ruthless record should be made an example of because 1 person can lead a war. If capital punishment goes then we're basically giving a felon more opportunies to commit the same crime again. If we use capital punishment then we can lessen our chances at there being crime.
Posted by IrisArts 2 years ago
IrisArts
http://www.debate.org...
please comment on our debate, it's a project at our school and we want to get a high mark.
sorry for advertising on your comment page but we really need the comments.
Posted by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
And we're all refreshed and challenged by your skills based upon spotting minor typos.

Not really, hypocrite.
Posted by thett3 2 years ago
thett3
Daax, fvck off please. No one cares about what you have to say
Posted by Daax 2 years ago
Daax
Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your skills based upon spotting misquoted text. Next time you should use that to your advantage in your debate.
Posted by thett3 2 years ago
thett3
I have no idea what you're talking about.
Posted by vakeelss 2 years ago
vakeelss
Humanity came from humans. Human came from apes. Apes had leaders..judges..
Kings hanged on one go..
Humanity is still dying..
On the other hand .. Capital punishment is not moral.. It is just natural. An excuse for the govt. To show.. "see mom.. I have shortcuts..i can retribute only..who cares to improve..eye for eye in civilized vosion. Like we tortured ants.. Now is narcoanalysis. But we have anti self immolation provision... Really boring topic .. And Govt say we are ready for 2020 as Rise of apes 3.
Posted by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
Ok Mr. grammar nazi :P You do realize its very ironic that you also made a typo lol. You quoted me as saying "my voters" I said "the voters". Tis funny.
Posted by Daax 2 years ago
Daax
Most unintelligent and lacking introduction. "Too my voters!" Yes I am a grammar nazi, "To my voters:"

It wasn't so hard to change those two things in a way that makes your debate/idea/whatever is seem more professional or created by an intelligent being. If you're a man, you should be well aware of proper grammar.
Posted by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
-___-

Well that is annoying. Sorry about that. Don't know how on earth that happened. I'll post them here for your convenience when I find them. I'll also post them in the next round.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by WriterDave 2 years ago
WriterDave
phantomthett3Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Acceding to Pro's request to vote Con and to not vote conduct, spelling or sources.
Vote Placed by Double_R 2 years ago
Double_R
phantomthett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made this one easy.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: FF, I was expecting hell of a fight here but pro conceded.
Vote Placed by OMGJustinBieber 2 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
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Reasons for voting decision: FF. I think Con's done this debate a few times and Pro definitely had his work cut out.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 2 years ago
vmpire321
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded. ): It was looking good...