The Instigator
desegouts
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
kelly123
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points

Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,181 times Debate No: 3561
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (10)

 

desegouts

Con

The death penalty is designed to be a punishment for heinous crimes and represents somewhat of an "eye for an eye" approach to sentencing. In theory, this seems fair at the outset but if we really address the goal of punishment, I maintain that the death penalty is not effective in reaching this goal and instead represents one of the greatest potential injustices that could occur.

The goals of punishment are primarily a) to impose some responsibilty for someone's actions upon them (the criminal) and b) to deter future similar action from that person and from other members of society.

The death penalty does address the first point. The person who presumably killed multiple people will then bear the responsibility of dying for their actions. But, do they really pay a price? Often, these are people who may have had no real desire to live in the first place.

More important is the second point. Those people that are willing to commit a heinous crime are not afraid to die. Killing them really does not cause them to suffer nearly as much as a lifetime in prison might. Thus, the idea of a death penalty for their actions is probably not enough to deter people that commit heinous crimes from committing heinous crimes.

This brings me to the greatest injustice that could possibly happen because of the death penalty: the execution of an innocent person. The sole reason the death penalty should not exist is because there is the possibility we may be executing an innocent person. Juries have absolutely made this mistake before. The execution of even one innocent person, no matter how many people were guilty that were executed, would represent the greatest tragedy we could have our government bestow upon its own people. People are not infallible enough to be making such judgments upon other human beings. And, I think if you have ever done jury duty, you will immediately doubt how well trained our jurors are to be making such life and death decisions.

In summation, the death penalty is fair in terms of retribution, but it does not deter capital offenses and it is far too risky because of the potential for human error.
kelly123

Pro

Society has always used punishment to discourage would-be criminals from unlawful action. Since society has the highest interest in preventing murder, it should use the strongest punishment available to deter murder, and that is the death penalty. If murderers are sentenced to death and executed, potential murderers will think twice before killing for fear of losing their own life.
For years, criminologists analyzed murder rates to see if they fluctuated with the likelihood of convicted murderers being executed, but the results were inconclusive. Then in 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis which produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed, 7 lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder. Similar results have been produced by disciples of Ehrlich in follow-up studies.

Moreover, even if some studies regarding deterrence are inconclusive, that is only because the death penalty is rarely used and takes years before an execution is actually carried out. Punishments which are swift and sure are the best deterrent. The fact that some states or countries which do not use the death penalty have lower murder rates than jurisdictions which do is not evidence of the failure of deterrence. States with high murder rates would have even higher rates if they did not use the death penalty.

Ernest van den Haag, a Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University who has studied the question of deterrence closely, wrote: "Even though statistical demonstrations are not conclusive, and perhaps cannot be, capital punishment is likely to deter more than other punishments because people fear death more than anything else. They fear most death deliberately inflicted by law and scheduled by the courts. Whatever people fear most is likely to deter most. Hence, the threat of the death penalty may deter some murderers who otherwise might not have been deterred. And surely the death penalty is the only penalty that could deter prisoners already serving a life sentence and tempted to kill a guard, or offenders about to be arrested and facing a life sentence. Perhaps they will not be deterred. But they would certainly not be deterred by anything else. We owe all the protection we can give to law enforcers exposed to special risks."

Finally, the death penalty certainly "deters" the murderer who is executed. Strictly speaking, this is a form of incapacitation, similar to the way a robber put in prison is prevented from robbing on the streets. Vicious murderers must be killed to prevent them from murdering again, either in prison, or in society if they should get out. Both as a deterrent and as a form of permanent incapacitation, the death penalty helps to prevent future crimes.
Debate Round No. 1
desegouts

Con

desegouts forfeited this round.
kelly123

Pro

As you can see my oppent has forfieted...So i am going to assume that he has seen the light and decided that he was wrong in this case..I do believe the death penalty is good for the jails and the soicety..I REST MY CASE
Debate Round No. 2
desegouts

Con

desegouts forfeited this round.
kelly123

Pro

kelly123 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by wallyjane 8 years ago
wallyjane
desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by Mickeymouse 8 years ago
Mickeymouse
desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by jordyz 8 years ago
jordyz
desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by JBpixie 8 years ago
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desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by Anonymous 8 years ago
Anonymous
desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by sexyjesse0720 8 years ago
sexyjesse0720
desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by PreacherFred 8 years ago
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desegoutskelly123Tied
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Vote Placed by SportsGuru 8 years ago
SportsGuru
desegoutskelly123Tied
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