The Instigator
tvellalott
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Con (against)
Winning
22 Points

Certain convicted sex offenders should be executed

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
J.Kenyon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/8/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,448 times Debate No: 13108
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (47)
Votes (6)

 

tvellalott

Pro

My argument will be that certain types of convicted sex offenders should be executed, rather than imprisoned. By convicted, I mean beyond a shadow of a doubt. A great body of evidence should be presented against them to try and minimise or even completely prevent wrongful execution.
By certain types I mainly mean, but am not restricted to:
Paedophiles & child pornographers
Violent serial rapists
Serial killers of a sexual nature.

I don't want to argue semantics.

My opponent should argue against all execution, not a variation or extension of my own contention.
My opponent should accept the terms of the debate in round one. If you want to ask any questions, please use the messages window.
My opening argument will be made in Round 2

Good luck.
J.Kenyon

Con

Thanks PRO, and good luck to you too!

I intend to argue that certain violent criminals, rapists, pedophiles, etc. should be punished by a life sentence to a hard labor facility with no opportunity for parole. This is neither a variation nor an extension of PRO's position, and does not, in my view, constitute cruel or unusual punishment. In the next round, I will bring forth arguments both supporting my position and attacking my opponent's.
Debate Round No. 1
tvellalott

Pro

Capital punishment is a complex and serious subject.
There are many cases where the death penalty can be all but proven to have been the wrong choice (Stanley 'Tookie' Williams [1]). This is the reason why I have targetted a very specific type of criminal in my contention. By specifying sex offenders in particular, I hope to reduce the strength of some of the arguments against execution and strengthen the arguments for it.
With that, I present my opening arguments, which I will mention briefly here and expand upon in further rounds:

==============================================
ARGUMENT ONE: MORALITY: Should the State be allowed to take a life?
==============================================
The Government is given many powers by the people. We allow them to tax us and decide how to spend said tax, to train and use an army to fight wars and to make and enforce the laws that hold our society together. The death penalty is a natural extension of this. In cases where the the crimes of the offender are so heinous, such as a murderous psychopath, that science[2] and good logic tell us that the criminal is obviously morally bankrupt, the punishment should fit the crime.

=================================
ARGUMENT 2: RETRIBUTION: The chance to reform
=================================
The reason I have chosen the perpetrators of the sex crime(that is, crime inflicted upon unwilling and often helpless victims) as the target of this debate because often they show no remorse for their crimes and reoffend. [3] How much happier would the victims of 'Mr. Baldys' crimes and their families be knowing that he would never, ever be able to reoffend.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://findarticles.com...
[3] http://www.theage.com.au...
J.Kenyon

Con

Thanks, PRO, for instigating the debate challenge. I intend to argue for restorative justice in contrast to my opponent's retributionist stance. Retributive "justice," if it can be called justice at all, is cruel, inhumane, and ineffective. Rather than dividing my essay into separate parts, I intend to address my my opponent's claims within my constructive case.

1.) The death penalty represents a perversion of justice. According to restorative justice theory, a criminal forfeits his rights to the same extent as the rights that he violated. In exacting punishment, the victim is entitled to receive full compensation for their loss, inconvenience, and suffering. But no more. The punishment must fit the crime. There is no justification for murdering a criminal purely for revenge; taking his life cannot restore the damage he has done.

1a. - Additionally, capital punishment is applied inconsistently. Studies show that minorities who commit the same crime as their white counterparts are far more likely to receive a death sentence.[1] Blacks were even more likely to receive the death penalty if their crime involved a white victim. The problem is compounded for poor defendants who can't afford decent legal representation.

1b. - It is impossible to discount the possibility that innocent people will be executed. At the height of the Salem Witch Trials, Increase Mather famously wrote "it were better that ten suspected Witches should escape, than that one innocent Person should be Condemned."[2] The death penalty is singular not only in its harshness but in its permanence. Simply put, it is not for man to take what he has not the capacity to restore. An innocent man condemned to life imprisonment can always be freed should new evidence emerge vindicating him.

2.) The death penalty is costly, ineffective, and largely counterproductive. It's a little known fact that, due to the lengthy appeals process, sentencing a criminal to die actually costs more than sentencing him to life without parole. The average cost difference is $90,000 per inmate per year.[3] In Maryland, they found that the costs exceeded $37 million per execution.[4]

2a. - Taking revenge on a criminal does nothing to ease the suffering of victims or their families. Kathy Dillon lost her father, a police detective, to a shootout. Ten years later, her boyfriend of four years was murdered as well. Kathy writes: "Executing the man who murdered my father would not have brought me peace. Whereas some advocates of capital punishment claim that an execution brings 'closure' to surviving loved ones, most of us feel that there is no closure. I'll always miss my father; an execution would never change that."

Ms. Dillon continues: "Far from bringing closure, a capital prosecution may do the opposite. After a death sentence is handed down, the legal proceedings drag on for years with the outcome left uncertain at best. The emotional wounds of victims' family members are opened again and again."[5]

2b. - Given this cost, it's difficult to justify the death penalty when it has no proven deterrent effect. States that allow the death penalty average 7.9 murders per year for every 100,000 people while abolitionist states average only 5.1.[6] In states where the death penalty has been reinstated after having previously been abolished, murder rates have either remained stable or actually increased.[7]

2c. - In fact, there is good reason to believe that applying the death penalty to sex offenders would have the opposite of a deterrent effect. A wise criminal, knowing that he would be sentenced to death anyway, would have a backwards incentive to murder his victim as well so as to lessen the likelihood of his being identified and prosecuted.

2d. - Executions are needlessly inhumane. If it serves no purpose, either moral or practical, what reason, then, is there for the continuance of such a barbaric practice?

3) Penal labor is a superior alternative to the death penalty. It has several advantages, both morally and practically. Hard labor forces the criminal to repay the damages done to society, thus fulfilling the demands of my value criterion: restorative justice. As I pointed out earlier, imprisonment is also less costly than execution. Finally, a lifetime of hard labor forces the criminal to live with his guilt throughout the course of a harsh sentence with no chance of parole.

The resolution is negated.

-- References --

1. Baldus, David C., George Woodworth, David Zuckerman, Neil Alan Weiner, and Barbara Broffitt. "Racial Discrimination and the Death Penalty in the Post-Furman Era: An Empirical and Legal Overview, with Recent Findings from Philadelphia." 83 (1998) : Cornell L. Rev. 1638

2. "Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men." (1693).

3. http://www.ccfaj.org...

4. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

5. http://www.mvfr.org...

6. Uniform Crime Reports, annually, 1990 et seq.

7. Cochran, Chamlin and Seth. "Deterrence, or Brutalization?" in Criminology (1994).
Debate Round No. 2
tvellalott

Pro

I thank my opponent for his well-written and well researched argument. The format of your argument will make it easy for me to form my rebuttals without hefty quotes and I appreciate that.

1.) Here my opponent suggests that by executing a dangerous criminal, the state is exacting ‘revenge' upon them. I disagree. If the victim were to shoot the perpetrator in the head, that would be revenge. By removing the criminal from society, preventing any risk of him reoffending, the state is exacting real justice.

1a. - This is a strong point and after the research I have done, I cannot contest it. It is a sad reality. According to a FBI report [1], "Contrary to popular belief, serial killers span all racial groups. There are white, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian serial killers. The racial diversification of serial killers generally mirrors that of the overall U.S. population."
This suggests to me that the problem is inherent in our legal system and the state of the country.
However, my contention does not include inner-city African Americans involved in gang-crime, of whom a majority of the prison population is made up of.

1b. – Of course it impossible to prevent wrongful execution, however where the state has a huge body of forensic evidence, we can be certain of the guilt of certain criminals.

2.) This is very true. Prior to my instigating this debate, I didn't realise this fact. However, the increased cost does little to dissolve my argument, as under my contention only certain individuals would be executed.

2a. - I disagree. Take for example [2] the families of victims of the "Double Diamond Killer". They were overjoyed to hear the killer was going to be executed. I would suggest that if the victims or their families were opposed to the death sentence, the lighter life-sentence without parole could be applied.

2b. - I disagree. Look at the rate of homicide between 1900-2006 [3] and the rate of execution between the same period of time [4]. Now look at an overlay of the two [5]. The correlation is clear. There is also this: "The most striking protection of innocent life has been seen in Texas, which executes more murderers than any other state. According to JFA (Justice for All) [6], the Texas murder rate in 1991 was 15.3 per 100,000. By 1999, it had fallen to 6.1 -- a drop of 60 percent. Within Texas, the most aggressive death penalty prosecutions are in Harris County (the Houston area). Since the resumption of executions in 1982, the annual number of Harris County murders has plummeted from 701 to 241 -- a 72 percent decrease."

2c. - This is purely speculative. Please provide evidence.

2d. - I believe that the process used to execute a majority of death row inmates is TOO humane. The lethal injection [7] is completely pain-free. Too good for some criminals.

3) Because of the time between arrest and execution, there is ample time for the criminal to consider the options that led to death row, with the added knowledge that they are going to die for their crimes. You might consider this immoral, but I don't.

[1] http://www.fbi.gov...
[2] http://www.jamaicaobserver.com...
[3] http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
[4] http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
[5] http://www.wesleylowe.com...
[6] http://www.jfa.net...
[7] http://people.howstuffworks.com...
J.Kenyon

Con

Right away, I can spot several problems with my opponent's arguments. First, he has failed to define justice, while claiming that executing a sex offender fulfills its demands. This is highly problematic. "Justice" is not some meaningless word tossed about for dramatic effect, the idea of justice is very real and very important; it is the concept that addresses the moral aspects of the discussion. Second, he has conceded that there are numerous exceptions to the rule; that in many instances the death penalty would not be appropriate. This ultimately trivializes his entire position and the advantages he claims from it. Finally, PRO has conceded contention 1A and failed to adequately address 2C.

1.) PRO's response contains several flaws. Life imprisonment without parole also removes a criminal from society and prevents recidivism. My opponent claims that the death penalty should only be used in in instances where the victim's family consents to the execution and overwhelming evidence renders the conviction a 100% certainty. This would necessarily reduce the number of executions to such a negligible amount that his conception of "justice" would rarely, if ever, be fulfilled. Moreover, as I stated earlier, PRO has not even *defined* justice. Even if we set my restorative stance aside and take on a retributionist viewpoint, the death penalty still can't be justified for sexual offenses. A criminal only forfeits his rights to the same extent that he violates others; the death penalty could only be justified in homicide cases.

1a. - Conceded by PRO.

1b. - As I pointed out earlier, this trivializes PRO's entire position. Moreover, I repeat that it is *impossible* to be 100% sure that you are not executing an innocent man. Since 1973, 138 death row inmates have been exonerated.[1] These are the lucky ones. In that same time frame, at least 39 people have been wrongfully executed.[2]

2.) Even if the the increased cost is small, it is still a negative effect. Moreover, the impact is proportional to the number of executions. If my opponent claims that he really doesn't want that many executions after all, it would reduce the cost issue to the same extent that it would eliminate the advantages he claims for his case, thus undermining his own position.

2a. - The consensus opinion is that the death penalty puts greater emotional strain on the families of victims. Even if the family of the double diamond killer were glad that he was finally executed, that doesn't do away with the pain they went through during the prolonged prosecution. If we limit the number of executions to only the instances where the victim's family consent, that would necessarily reduce the number of sentences to such an extent that it would seriously weaken PRO's entire case.

2b. - The graph my opponent presents utterly fails to support his case. It completely ignores the fact that tremendous advances have taken place in forensics field since 1900! At the start of the graph, police didn't even use *fingerprinting* let alone DNA evidence. Moreover, for the first six decades, the murder rate is shown actually shown *decreasing* along with the number of executions.

Even if we grant the statistics legitimately support PRO's case (they don't), it's important to realize that in Texas, the death penalty is applied FAR more often than any other state, which my opponent has indicated that he does not favor. Texas executes FOUR TIMES more prisoners than any other state in the Union.[3] This would seem to negate PRO's response to the cost issue in C2. Additionally, less evidence is required to secure a death sentence, and prisoners spend far less time on death row, increasing the odds that an innocent person will be wrongfully executed, thus negating PRO's response to the problem in C1b.[4]

2c. - This is not at all speculative. People respond to incentives; this is a praxeological fact. Simply because no experiments have been done (due to obvious moral constraints) does not refute the logic of my contention. PRO has not adequately addressed this point.

2d. - I fail to see how executing someone could possibly be considered too humane. If PRO believes the lethal injection to be "too good" for some criminals, he needs to propose some alternative plan to be evaluated.

3.) I do consider capital punishment immoral and I have clearly explained why. Executing someone fails to fulfill the dictates of restorative justice. I reiterate that PRO has not given his own value criterion; his assertion that executions are "not immoral" is wholly arbitrary. A hard labor scheme has all the advantages of the death penalty, without it's disadvantages, plus the additional benefit of working to compensate the victims or their families for the damages done to them.

== CONCLUSION ==

PRO has not given any reason to prefer the death penalty over hard labor. He has not given a value criterion and has largely ignored the moral aspect of the debate. His responses to several key contentions contradict certain aspects of his own case. My points stand that the death penalty promotes racism, places an unnecessary burden on taxpayers, does nothing to deter, and would actually increase the homicide rate if we began executing criminals for sexual offenses.

The resolution is negated.

-- References --

1. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

2. http://www.law.northwestern.edu...

3. http://thedailycougar.com...

4. http://www.orlandoweekly.com...
Debate Round No. 3
tvellalott

Pro

tvellalott forfeited this round.
J.Kenyon

Con

I assume this was unintentional as my opponent has very rarely been known to forfeit a round. I ask the voters to disregard PRO's forfeiture and judge this as if it were a three round debate.

Extend my arguments, vote CON.
Debate Round No. 4
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by takestime 3 years ago
takestime
finish the debate....
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
Nice: 2c. - In fact, there is good reason to believe that applying the death penalty to sex offenders would have the opposite of a deterrent effect. A wise criminal, knowing that he would be sentenced to death anyway, would have a backwards incentive to murder his victim as well so as to lessen the likelihood of his being identified and prosecuted.

As well as the not commensurate to the crime argument.

It's ironic J.Kenyon, a similar incentives argument is made pro death penalty. If there is no punishment above life in prison, there is no way to punish inmates who have life in prison for murdering fellow inmates.

But I've never heard your version - very nice.
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
Vote bombing is fun!
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Alyssa, would you please stop stalking my debates and votebombing me?
Posted by tvellalott 6 years ago
tvellalott
The power supply blew up in my fvcking home computer last night. I'm really sorry JK. All points to you my friend. I shouldn't have put it off for so long.
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
lovelife
First lets compare:

"I agree with insert even though it might have been a joke, sexual offenders should be castrated, have their d1cks cut off that will end the problem forever guaranteed, but too bad that would be considered "cruel and unusual" fvcking hippies lol"

"i thought rape of women was about dominance. Rape on children were about uncontrollable urges. It is like gays they cannot help that they were born liking the same sex. Child molestors cannot control that they like children. So isn't child molestation more about pleasure?"

Never specified what kind of sex offender.
Now I think I'll deal with it.

"i thought rape of women was about dominance."

Typically, also for men, and young people, often its people they veiw as defenseless, but in some cases they like challenge.

" Rape on children were about uncontrollable urges."

Well that tends to be the case of every rapist, murderer/seriel killer etc.

"It is like gays they cannot help that they were born liking the same sex."

They tend to avoid raping the same sex.

"Child molestors cannot control that they like children."

Well depends on the person in question is really a pedo, someone trying to take revenge, or someone that just wants to be in control.

"So isn't child molestation more about pleasure?"

Dominance can be said to be about pleasure, because people tend to want to be dominant, which is especially true of males, which is why most rapists tend to be male. Including child rape <excluding dumb stuff like teachers sleeping with 15+ year old students, even with that included I'd be willing to bet males still make up most kid rape>
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Yeh might wanna post yer argument sometime soon...
Posted by Loserboi 6 years ago
Loserboi
i thought rape of women was about dominance. Rape on children were about uncontrollable urges. It is like gays they cannot help that they were born liking the same sex. Child molestors cannot control that they like children. So isn't child molestation more about pleasure?
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
lovelife
Loserboi, it would not stop the problem. Guys can grab dildos and shove it up places. Its about dominance, not plessure in most cases.
Hell I even heard that you don't have to have full out sex for it to be raped, just molestation is considered rape <thus I have been raped, and am still a virgin. My friends consider it half virgin tho. I didn't know things like that came in half sizes lmao. Well they consider it full virgin in rape cases tho>

Castration does not end the problems, it adds humility and pain to those that should serve life term of working hard and paying the victim, for life.
Posted by tvellalott 6 years ago
tvellalott
Also the fact that it wouldn't stop molesters and child killers.
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Alex
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