The Instigator
desegouts
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
the-mad-ones
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

Death Penalty

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Con Tied Pro
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 855 times Debate No: 3562
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (5)

 

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.
the-mad-ones

Pro

The purpose of punishment can be argued with regards to scope. Considering that discussion of the purpose is not the focus of this discussion, I will simply discuss an alternative possibility here:
It can be argued that the purpose of any entity is to continue existing/growing/proliferating in an efficient a manner as possible. Entities would include societies, governments, people, etc. Under this assumption, the purpose of any particular policy or action by an entity would be directly related to the entity's purpose. So with this in mind, we could argue that the purpose of a sentence (including the punishment in that sentence) is to allow society within the US to continue existing in an efficient a manner as possible.
The POTENTIAL results of a sentence/punishment could be deterrence from future crimes, and the imposition of 'responsibility' (although the implication here is that a capital crime is 'wrong' rather than 'wrong for society', which is another argument altogether'), but the PURPOSE is to protect society, in an efficient a manner as possible.
The death penalty does focus on protecting society by permanently removing supposedly guilty parties from the equation, which my opponent seems to agree to in his 'The death penalty does address the first point' statement.
My opponent also argues that 'Often, these are people who may have had no real desire to live in the first place'. This statement is outside of the scope of this argument, since there is no proof one way or another that criminals have less desire to live. This is solely an assumption, and a weak one at that, considering that it is unlikely (due to simple probabilities) that my opponent knows enough murderers to make such an assumption, based on intuition or otherwise.
This is also true of my opponent's second point, 'Those people that are willing to commit a heinous crime are not afraid to die'. This is also an assumption, and also a weak one. If these criminals were not afraid to die, then the system would not be so costly with regards to the current appeals process in place for convicted murderers. It often takes years before these people are actually killed, due primarily to the fact that they appeal their sentences so ardently. My opponent fails to address this fact, but instead chooses to once again use faulty intuition and a lack of proof to state that murderers are not afraid to die.
I agree with my opponent in that it is a shame when an innocent person is convicted and punished for a crime that person did not commit. However,
1) This is true of any punishment, not just the death penalty. If a person is incarcerated his/her entire life, dying in prison, then the effect of the life sentence is the same or similar to a death penalty (depending on one's beliefs).
2) There is no way to adequately assign a value to a human life. It is costly to society, in a sense to lose an innocent human life...BUT it could be just as (if not more) costly to risk keeping not-so-innocent humans alive. As these not-so-innocents have already shown a propensity to inflict harm and death upon innocents within the society. This puts a direct risk upon society, an entity whose main purpose is to continue existing in as protected and efficient manner as possible. Since it is difficult to accurately calculate the chances of an innocent being convicted and killed versus the chances of a non-innocent inflicting further damage on society, I will consider it a wash.

In order to determine whether the death penalty is worthwhile, it needs to be compared to something, which my opponent fails to do. So assuming a life sentence is the only comparable punishment, we need to determine whether that is more efficient and less costly than the death penalty (since both have the effect of 'protecting' society). Since my opponent instigated this argument, and my position only needs to prove that the death penalty could be equally effective as comparable sentences (or better), I will leave this part up to him to prove.
Debate Round No. 1
desegouts

Con

desegouts forfeited this round.
the-mad-ones

Pro

My argument stands the same.
My opponent has not refuted any of my points.
---------------------------------------------
Debate Round No. 2
desegouts

Con

desegouts forfeited this round.
the-mad-ones

Pro

My argument stands the same.
My opponent has not refuted any of my points.
---------------------------------------------
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by cooljpk 8 years ago
cooljpk
i believe that the death penalty is not only a mercy killing to thoes that will live in isolation. a way to save hundreds of thousands of taxpayers money in prolonging their life but most importantly gives the needed closer to friends and family to the victims.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Arnaud 8 years ago
Arnaud
desegoutsthe-mad-onesTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by artC 8 years ago
artC
desegoutsthe-mad-onesTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by the-mad-ones 8 years ago
the-mad-ones
desegoutsthe-mad-onesTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by cooljpk 8 years ago
cooljpk
desegoutsthe-mad-onesTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by ChevySdyme99 8 years ago
ChevySdyme99
desegoutsthe-mad-onesTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03