The Instigator
MyDinosaurHands
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
KingDebater369
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,899 times Debate No: 55365
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (38)
Votes (6)

 

MyDinosaurHands

Pro

Resolution:
The Death Penalty should remain a sentencing option in the United States.

First Round will be for Acceptance. If there are any questions, please ask them before joining.
KingDebater369

Con

**I thank my opponent for starting this debate. I think the Death Penalty should not be used**

I accept. Good Luck!
Debate Round No. 1
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

Thanks for accepting King.

Anyone who is aware of my presence on this site is likely to have seen my numerous debates on the Death Penalty. In all of them before now, I have been Con. Some nagging doubts lead me to do further research. After having done so, I could no longer support the Death Penalty. Without further ado, why I changed my mind:


PRICE
One of my big talking points has always been the amount of money it costs to pursue the Death Penalty compared to the costs of pursuing life without parole. I always used statistics from the state of California, without considering the big picture. In California, executions are quite expensive, $184M more (than life without parole) per executed prisoner[1]. So I always used that one without considering that the price for California may be abnormal. Well it turns out that the Death Penalty is generally a lot cheaper than that. Some examples:

Kansas. A research study of prices for capital punishment in the state of Kansas revealed some pretty small numbers. The cost of having a Death Penalty trial is a little under $.5M, and the cost of death row housing is roughly $50,000[2]. I admit that these prices are higher than life without parole circumstances, but this is to put things in perspective when you look at the California statistic.

Maryland. In Maryland, Death Penalty cases cost $3M[2]. The study focused on 162 Death Penalty cases, and the study concludes that they amounted to an extra $186M spent[2]. Again, this is about perspective. Look at California. It takes one of their cases to almost equal 162 of Maryland's cases.

Nevada, Clark County. Here the extra price is very low. There are 80 Death Penalty cases pending there, and they are estimated to cost $15M total. Clark County would have to execute slews of people before they ever racked up the expense that California does with one person.

Indiana. Here the median Death Penalty case costs $.45M[2]. Far less than that of California.

North Carolina. "The most comprehensive death penalty study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million more per execution than the a non-death penalty murder case with a sentence of life imprisonment ."[2]

I hope I have made my point. The monstrous numbers we see in California are not truly representative of the average Death Penalty cost. As these states have shown, you can administer the Death Penalty without creating a black hole for money. As I will show next, this price is worth it, as it has the ability to save lives.


DETERRENCE
In all of my previous debates, I have claimed that there is no existing data that the Death Penalty prevents further death. I have also used some statistics to claim that the Death Penalty actually incurs more crime. I will now refute both of those ideas.

First I will present my affirming statistic, and then I will refute the negating statistic.

A 26 year study has revealed that for every year someone is executed, there are 74 less murders the following year[3]. If you're saying it could be a coincidence, here's my answer:
"It is possible that this correlated relationship could be mere coincidence, so we did a regression analysis on the 26-year relationship. The association was significant at the .00005 level, which meant the odds against the pattern being simply a random happening are about 18,000 to one."[3]
The 18,000 to 1 statistic is very important. It shows that this statistic is extremely reliable, and has shown itself to repeat constantly over the 26 years the study was done.

So what statistic rises up in opposition of this?

A statistic that claims that states with the Death Penalty have on average, a higher murder rate than states without[4]. While I do not deny this fact, I deny the idea that there is a direct correlation here that supports Con. Why?

Consistency. First, let's examine the trends for my affirming statistic and this statistic. In the affirming stat, there is a .00005 association in the regression analysis. What does analysis regression mean? Basically it just means, 'how close the dots were to the line that represents the average'.
(Note: just example of analysis regression, not actually related to affirming statistic)

So in this study, all those dots were extremely close to 74 in every incidence of execution, hence the long odds that this could be mere coincidence.

Now, look at the statistic that attempts to negate deterrence.

We can see that in 1991, there was only a 7% difference between murder rates. Then look at its highest point, 46%, in 2005. Finally, examine the most recent available year, 2012, 18% difference. The reason I bring your attention to this is because we need to decide which study we can trust more. Do you want a study that has barely wavered in its findings over 26 years, or one that has seen a 39% difference in its findings in less time? Which is more likely to be a coincidence?

Variables. Further, when you examine overall crime rates in different states, you can see they are affected by a lot more variables than just whether or not there is a Death Penalty in place.

3 of the 4 states with the lowest homicide rate in America do not implement the Death Penalty[5]. Now of course supporters of banning the Death Penalty would jump at this correlative statistic and say that clearly they are more peaceful without a Death Penalty. However, there are several variables one should consider.

First, all four of those states (and this is gonna sound bad but bare with me) have very low black populations. The highest being 4%[6]. Why is that significant? Because violent crimes are 7x more likely to be committed by a black person than a white person, and areas with higher levels of black people and Hispanic people have higher violent crime rates[7][8]. So race is one thing to consider when you look at overall state murder rates.

Second, the weather. It has been well established that the hotter it is, the more crime there will be[9]. And, we can see moderate correlation between hot states, high murder rate states, and Death Penalty states. Note that down in the South, where it is hotter, we can see more dark red, and even one (that'd be Louisiana) brown.



Now I know weather and race are just two of many variables that factor into occurrences of murder. The point I'm making here is that a state's murder rate is based off of very large variables, and to assume that having a Death Penalty somehow should create or fix problems with murder rates is silly. This statistic provides very weak correlation, furthering the thought that we should side with my affirming statistic.

Uniformity. One thing to note is that the affirming statistic is true almost 100% of the time, this being evidence by the .00005 association. But with the negating statistic, there are many states that violate their insinuation that non-Death Penalty states are safer places. I encourage you to follow the link and see for yourself, but just for example, Michigan has the fourth highest murder rate in the US, yet they're not a Death Penalty state[5]. The state with the lower murder rate, New Hampshire, actually allows the Death Penalty[5]. If you put these states and their statistics on a line of regression, I highly doubt you'd get a number like .00005.


CONCLUSION
I have shown that the $184M price the opposition often shows next to the Death Penalty is ultimately misleading and unrepresentative of the normal costs of the Death Penalty. The costs are usually far less expensive than those seen in California.

I hope I have shown all of you that the affirming statistic is far more reliable than the negating statistic. The affirming statistic represents a very 'cause-effect' relationship between executions and less murders, with a deviation from the average 74 fewer murders per execution of only .0005%. The statistic that attempts to negate Death Penalty deterrence is a very correlative, most likely coincidental statistic. The conclusions drawn from this stat by the opposition is drastically reduced in validity thanks to the lack of consistency in the trend itself, the many variables that can make a state more dangerous than another without the help of the Death Penalty, and the lack of uniformity in results on a state by state basis.

Looking at the cost and the deterrent capabilities, I hope the voters can see that the extra money is worth it, because lives will be saved. Thank you for reading.


Sources:
[1] http://www.deathpenalty.org...
[2] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[3] http://deathpenalty.procon.org...
[4] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[5] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[6] http://www.us-places.com...
[7] http://www.amren.com...
[8] http://colorofcrime.com...
[9] http://www.beartoothnbc.com...
KingDebater369

Con

I thank my opponent for instigating this topic. I'm an avid LD debater, and this resolution is similar to an LD debate topic. I will only present my arguments in this round. I'll leave the rebuttals for next round.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I negate the resolution Resolved: The Death Penalty should remain a sentencing option in the United States.

Contention 1: Innocent People have been convicted

Sub point A:
Professor Earl F. Martin concludes,"The final infirmity in the capital punishment system to be addressed herein that undermines that system's retributive legitimacy is the plight of the innocent accused. The danger of executing an innocent person has been a source of concern for at least a century and a half in the United States. n165 At various points in that history, critics and proponents of the death penalty have debated the possibility of this event, but for most of this time the debate remained on a hypothetical level due to a lack of reliable information on the subject. n166 However, this changed dramatically in 1987 with the publication of a law review article by Professors Bedau and Radelet that claimed, with great support, that between the years 1900 and 1986, 139 people had been wrongly convicted of a capital crime and twenty-three had been executed. n167 These findings have subsequently been updated by Bedau and Radelet n168 and others, n169 and the totality of these efforts have established with [*208] certainty that innocent people have been executed in the past and they will continue to be executed in the future."" [1]

Observation 1:
In the society we live in today, the media, a powerful influential factor in a trial, may generate negative public opinion, which causes the jury to convict an innocent person without thinking the consequences through properly. If a team of lawyers is not competent an innocent defendant may be found culpable for a crime that he has not committed. Innocents who deserve freedom will actually lose their lives as long as people are fallible and the death penalty is an option. People will always be fallible; therefore our only option is to abolish the death penalty to so as not to undermine the core value of government, which is the protection of its innocent citizenry. The death penalty is unjust, and does not give people what
they are due.

Subpoint B:
"Three decades after sentencing guidelines were approved by the Court in Gregg, the death penalty is still being unpredictably applied to a small number of defendants. There remains a lack of uniformity in the capital punishment system. Some of the most heinous murders do not result in death sentences, while less heinous crimes are punished by death. Ineffective guidelines and constraints in the capital sentencing process can result in decision-makers falling back on their prejudices about who are the worst kind of criminals or who are the more sympathetic victims. Many factors other than the gravity of the crime or the culpability of the offender appear to affect death sentences, including geography, race, gender, and access to adequate counsel." [2]

Observation 1:
Furthermore, In the trial system we have today, a criminal is tried by a group of his peers, these nine laymen determine if a criminal is guilty or not guilty, and the judge sentences convicts accordingly. However, there have been many cases in which arbitrariness was used, which meaning that the judge was biased, and the sentence convicting the criminal may not have been what the criminal deserved.

Contention 2: The money spent on capital punishment could be better spent

Sub Point A:
"On a grander moral scale, preventing murders is only one way in which the state protects the lives of its citizens. It does so also through public health policies, environmental protection, workplace safety regulation, and the like. If the dollars spent on an execution that would prevent eighteen murders could be spent to prevent an equal number of people from dying in workplace accidents or from AIDS without violating any categorical moral prohibition, why should a threshold deontologist agree that any catastrophic threshold permitting violation of such a moral prohibition has been met? Given the costliness of the administration of capital punishment, n112 it seems unlikely that a deontologist would ever properly conclude that the marginal deterrence afforded by executions so far outweighed other possible savings of lives with the same dollars so as to cross some catastrophic threshold. " [3]

Observation 1:
Spending money on taking lives away, is an unintelligent way to spend money when the same money can be used for policies that would actually help the public and society move forward. Using this money to support public health policies, workplace safety, environmental protection, etc., would make the U.S. itself a better country. If weigh the situation, the deterrence that we get for using capital punishment is not equal to the amount of gains we can have if the money was better spent.

Contention 3: Proportionality of the crime

Sub Point A:
'But there is good reason to think that capital punishment - at least as imposed in our contemporary society - routinely and inevitably runs afoul of retributivism's bedrock proportionality constraint. n46 It is rarely the case that execution as a form of suffering can confidently be viewed as disproportionate to the harms inflicted on the victims of capital murders. n47 Rather, the strongest argument for such disproportionality lies in the reduced culpability of most convicted capital offenders; this is an argument that remains powerful even today, after the Supreme Court has recently declared that mentally retarded and juvenile offenders may no longer be executed for their crimes. n48 Though capital defendants have usually committed (or participated in) heinous murders, they very frequently are extremely intellectually limited, are suffering from some form of mental illness, are in the powerful grip of a drug or alcohol addiction, are survivors of childhood abuse, or are the victims of some sort of societal deprivation (be it poverty, racism, poor education, inadequate health care, or some noxious combination of the above). n49 In such circumstances, it is difficult [*767] to say that these defendants deserve all of the blame for their terrible acts; if their families or societies share responsibility - even in some small measure - for the tragic results, then the extreme punishment of death should be considered undeserved." [5]

Observation 1:
Here we can see that most of the crimes that are being committed that receive the death penalty are being done by extremely intellectually limited, are suffering from some form of mental illness, are in the powerful grip of a drug or alcohol addiction, are survivors of childhood abuse, or are the victims of some sort of societal deprivation etc. Due to this factor, it is not fair in order to give these people a crime as cruel as the Death Penalty. The DEFINITELY receive a harsh punishment, HOWEVER, they should not receive something as cruel as the Death Penalty.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I once again want to thank my opponent for starting this debate. Next Round will be reubttals. Good Luck!

VOTE CON!!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sources:
[1] Professor Earl F. Martin, "MASKING THE EVIL OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT," Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, Winter, 2002, Lexis

[2] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

[3] Carol S. Steiker, "THE ETHICS AND EMPIRICS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: No, Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty," Stanford Law Review, December, 2005, Lexis

[4] Carol S. Steiker, "THE ETHICS AND EMPIRICS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: No, Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty," Stanford Law Review, December, 2005, Lexis

[5] Carol S. Steiker, "THE ETHICS AND EMPIRICS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: No, Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty," Stanford Law Review, December, 2005, Lexis
Debate Round No. 2
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

REBUTTAL, EXECUTION OF INNOCENTS
My opponent brings the fallibility of man into play, citing the fact that innocents have most likely been wrongfully executed. He also cites courtroom bias as affecting the sentencing process.

I feel that the answer to this is pretty clear cut. We should of course work to reform the system to lessen the amount of innocents that face execution, but at the end of the day, we need to look at this from a big picture perspective. What is worse, the death of one innocent, or the deaths of 74? Now I am not suggesting that the government pick innocents off the streets and execute them to prevent crime, I'm merely pointing out the overall good this punishment does. Of course we do not wish the innocent to be executed, but even when the mistake is made, it is very likely that mistake will prevent the deaths of many.

My opponent claims it is the job of the government to protect the citizenry, and if this is the case, the Death Penalty is the way forward. It is not a pretty solution, but it is a better alternative when the other option is allowing the indirect deaths of 74 because we didn't want to be directly responsible for the death of one innocent.

The execution of innocents is an unfortunate side-effect of the implementation of the Death Penalty, but it is in the interests of the greater good of the society that uses the Death Penalty.


REBUTTAL, MONEY COULD BE BETTER SPENT
The speaker from my opponent's source does not tell us how many lives could be saved by taking the Death Penalty money and putting it elsewhere, probably because there is no evidence to support how many lives, nor is their much money (relatively) to be funneled back to other state services. This is continuing with my point that the Death Penalty is really not as expensive as it is often represented as. The price that the Death Penalty usually amounts to is like a grain of sand on a beach in comparison to the state's spending.

For instance, in Maryland, each Death Penalty case costs $3M (previously cited). The state of Maryland will be spending over $8B this year[1]. So if you took the money from a Death Penalty case and put it back into the state's budget, you would be adding less than a percent to their available spending money. Far, far less than a percent. And that's not even taking to account that a life without parole case in Maryland is $1.1M (previously cited).

I know the above is one example, but it merely there to demonstrate my point. Unless you're a state like California, you're unlikely to see that big of a jump in spending money if you were to abolish your Death Penalty. You could probably get more spending money (without indirectly causing the deaths of many innocents) by reforming your state spending in other areas, such as simple efficiency.


REBUTTAL, PROPORTIONALITY
Most of my opponent's case seems to be centered around the fact that many mentally ill or otherwise disaffected individuals have been executed.

First, I'd like to lessen some of the hype my opponent has placed on the condition of those sentenced. In the arena of the mentally ill, only 4% of men ever executed were mentally ill[2][3]. And since according to my opponent's source the Supreme Court has outlawed the execution of the mentally ill, we no longer need to worry about that.

Frankly, this case my opponent is making is only partially valid for the question at hand. If the resolution was, "The Death Penalty needs reform", then he would have a great point. Because that's all this argument of unfair executions warrants--a need for reform. If we have people who are addicted to substances, I agree, if they're not responsible for their actions thanks to the drug addiction, why should we hold them accountable? Instead we should check them into some kind of facility that specializes in drug addiction recovery.

But the point is, you can do this without abolishing the Death Penalty. Deciding to abolish the Death Penalty over convictions of those you consider not responsible for their actions is like deciding to sell your house because you don't like the front door. Just change the front door! Keep the house!

If you look at the numbers of those who are saved by the Death Penalty's implementation, we can view these executions as necessary. Perhaps it wouldn't be 100% 'right' to execute a poor person because they killed someone, but if it reduced murders, and the fall guy is a murderer, how can you say that it is an overall wrong thing to do? For everyone of these men executed, 74 are saved.


CONCLUSION
In the end, it comes down to the greater good. Even if the justice system fails in some way, executing someone you don't think deserved it, think about what the 74 who are saved deserve. This is not about what the criminals deserve, it is about what the public deserves.


Thanks for reading.

Sources:
[1] http://dbm.maryland.gov...
[2] http://www.deathpenalty.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
KingDebater369

Con

Thank you pro. In this round I will rebut to pro's case. In the next round, I will defend my case from pro's rebuttals and give my conclusions. (I think pro will defend his case from my rebuttals next round, and present conclusions as well.)
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Price:
Though the money used for the Death Penalty may not be SUPER HIGH as my opponent states, the money used for the Death Penalty can be used for other things (like I said in my case last round). Now my opponent states that this money, if used for the Death Penalty will help detter crime. Crime is not effectively deterred with the moeny used(I will prove that detterence fails next), so there is no point in wasting it. It can be used for different programs and funds which will actually have been of use.

Deterrence:
The death penalty fails to deter for a couple of reasons.

1. The Idea of Deterrence rests upon a flawed premise that murederous actors think rationally:

"Notwithstanding that the research rests at the point of failing to establish a relative deterrent effect from capital punishment, this result has not ended the debate in all circles. Instead, it has simply shifted the argument from one of research results to one of intuition, with death penalty proponents claiming that there are obviously some individuals who will decide not to kill another, despite contemplating to do so, because if they are caught and convicted, they may very well be executed. n110 The abolitionists respond by reminding the proponents that this intuition thus far suffers from a severe lack of proof, n111 and by pointing out its implausibility. Specifically, the abolitionists argue that this intuition is unbelievable because it would apply only to a type of person who thinks rationally and who would commit a capital crime knowing that the punishment is long-term imprisonment, but who would not commit the crime knowing that the punishment is death." [1]

2. The Death Penalty does not deter more effectively than long term confinement:

“Even though there have been research efforts that have claimed a significant deterrent effect from capital punishment, n103 the weight of the [*197] considered opinion holds that the death penalty offers no statistically significant deterrent benefit beyond that offered by long-term confinement. n104 In support of this statement is a 1996 survey of the leading criminologists in the country, where approximately 80% of the experts believed, on the basis of the literature and research in criminology, that the death penalty does not have significant deterrent effects. n105 More precisely, 92.6% of the criminologists surveyed disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposition that the death penalty in the United States has been a stronger deterrent to homicide than the threat or use of long-term sentences.” [2]

3. The deterrence theory can justify execution of the innocent [is that what we want??]:

"It is an old move in the debate between consequentialists and deontologists for the latter to point out that the former would find nothing morally wrong with punishing an innocent person under circumstances in which it was clear that the benefits to society would outweigh the costs. n76 Sunstein and Vermeule's argument runs into a version of this dilemma, because nothing in their argument requires that executions be "just" or "deserved." According to Sunstein and Vermeule, even if executions are considered the moral equivalents of murders themselves, then the government would still be obligated to conduct them if it could be shown that by doing so it prevented more murders than it committed. n77 Sunstein and Vermeule take comfort in the assertion that there could not possibly be deterrence from executions if it was likely that innocent people would be executed (because the guilty would realize they would go unpunished and not be deterred). n78 I have explained above why I think this assertion is too insouciant and why even a substantially error-prone system might plausibly offer marginal deterrence. n79 Sunstein and Vermeule, perhaps correctly, dismiss concerns about deliberate decisions to hold show trials and execute the innocent as "too lurid" and improbable to be worthy of serious discussion. n80 But they cannot so easily dismiss the less lurid but far more probable concerns about the justice of maintaining a capital punishment system in which there is a substantial risk that innocents will routinely be executed. This possibility leaves Sunstein and Vermeule in the implausible [*776] position of maintaining that the likelihood of wrongful execution of the innocent simply has no moral salience whatsoever, as long as the deterrent effect of capital punishment continues to hold. " [3]

4.The Death Penalty is not a good form of crime control:

"The death penalty is not a viable form of crime control. When police chiefs were asked to rank the factors that, in their judgement, reduce the rate of violent crime, they mentioned curbing drug use and putting more officers on the street, longer sentences and gun control. They ranked the death penalty as least effective.1 Politicians who preach the desirability of executions as a method of crime control deceive the public and mask their own failure to identify and confront the true causes of crime." [4]
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Thanks everyone for reading. VOTE CON!
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Sources:


[1] Professor Earl F. Martin, “MASKING THE EVIL OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT,” Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, Winter, 2002, Lexis

[2] Professor Earl F. Martin, “MASKING THE EVIL OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT,” Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, Winter, 2002, Lexis

[3] Carol S. Steiker, “THE ETHICS AND EMPIRICS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: No, Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty,” Stanford Law Review, December, 2005, Lexis

[4]
American Civil Liberties Union, “The Case Against the Death Penalty,” ACLU, 12/31/1997, http://www.aclu.org...;
Debate Round No. 3
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

REBUTTAL, PRICE
Since my opponent's argument here is essentially for us to wait til he proves deterrence to be false, I don't have much to say here. It appears he concedes my case about misrepresnted costs.


REBUTTAL, DETERRENCE
Part A:
Someone besides my opponent argues that anyone thinking rationally, who is calculating the possible losses in committing a murder, will not receive extra deterrence from the possibility of death. The person says that it is unbelievable that someone would be ok with the life sentence but not the death penalty.

Well I'd like to say first off, that I think there could be people who think that way. They know the risk, and they know that the risk isn't death. So if they were kinda on the fence about going through with the murder, and thinking about the worst case scenario, knowing that they won't die even if they do get caught could be what gives them the proper push, especially if they really want that person dead.

But outside that line of thought, consider a scenario where a person is not acting in the spur of the moment without any thought, but nor are they planning the manner out in a detailed manner like a hitman. The possible negative consequences of their actions may not be at the forefront of their thought process at that moment, but since they aren't acting completely in the spur of the moment, a significant thought could pull them out of their planning.

It'd be like driving down the road zoned out versus driving down the road reading all the billboards you pass. In the latter, you'll be seeing everything. In the former, you might only see a bright neon green billboard that caught your attention out of the corner of your eye.

The Death Penalty can be that bright green neon billboard. It is clearly a bigger deal to be killed than it is to be a prisoner forever, and so it stands to reason that the possibility of execution would be more likely to intrude upon the thoughts of a semi-thinking possible murderer than the idea of life without parole would.

Part B:
The person talking for my opponent merely lists what other people think. Experts, admittedly, but experts have been wrong before. For thousands of years, early scientists presumed the universe revolved around the Earth. But most of us accept by now that that isn't the case. Same with the thought about the Earth being flat.

Just because there's a minority of experts who agree with me doesn't mean I'm wrong. The minority, historically, can be right just as often as the majority.

And let's pretend that this is a credible argument. So there's no proven deterrence. While there is no proven deterrence, that doesn't mean deterrence isn't real. And as I have shown, and my opponent has conceded, money taken from the state to give to the Death Penalty is unlikely to be of any amount significant enough to have saved lives. That being the case, wouldn't it be better to act under the assumption that the 74 per execution figure is correct, with the alternative being risking the deaths of numerous innocents?


REBUTTAL, EXECUTION OF INNOCENTS
The person who does the talking for my opponent does a lot of meandering and finally gets to the point towards the end, where he says that with a system that routinely executes innocents, we cannot justify deterrence.

The use of the word 'routinely' is horribly incorrect. Only 2.8% of executions have been (supposedly) of innocents[1][2]. This is hardly routine, and, as I have already said, these can be taken on as a necessary evil when considering the 74 number.


REBUTTAL, POLICE CHIEFS
Again, this is an example of what people think. It does not actually give support for why they think it. I would apply the same rebuttal that I did to criminologists to police chiefs.



Thanks for reading. Vote Pro.

To my opponent: In your last round you said you were defending your case from my rebuttals, and that in your next round you'd respond to my new arguments. You did not respond to/conceded a few of the arguments from my previous round, and I believe it would be a cheap shot of you to respond to them in the next round, leaving me not even one opportunity to defend against the counter-rebuttal. I bring this to everyone's attention only so people are extra aware of the fairness of how my opponent responds in the final round.

Sources:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.clarkprosecutor.org...
KingDebater369

Con

My opponent says that we should look at the big picture, saying that the death of one innocent will save more lives. If I were to tell you (I"m addressing my opponent and anyone who is reading this) that I found evidence that you were guilty of murder, and I was going to kill you... but it's all ok because your death would prevent 74 others. Now how does that sound??

My opponent tries to stay that the money is worth it because It deters. I have already proven why the Death Penalty doesn't deter, and because it doesn't deter, it is a complete waste of money, and that is why it could be better spent for other services that could fund other programs.

Honestly though, most of the people that actually commit crimes are intoxicated or aren't thinking in their right mind when they commit a murder. Most of the time when people commit a murder they are not thinking of the consequences, and I have once again already proven why the Death Penalty doesn't deter.

**I"m sorry that this argument was very very poor, but I have been busy lately. I enjoyed this debate very much.**
Debate Round No. 4
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
@TN05
Mostly kind words, thank you!
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
*sigh*...
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
RFD:
Pro's opening: Alright, where do I begin here... Pro's opening round is a bit odd, to say the least. He opens up by noting his previous opposition to the death penalty, but explaining that upon further research he decided to rethink his stance and now supports it. In effect, Pro's entire argument is a rebuttal of himself. What this effectively does is prevent his opponent from utilizing his old arguments, but it also means his case is somewhat crippled as he is only focusing on arguments he previously made for it, rather than creating new points or having a more varied focus. His first argument revolves around cost " while he notes that he previously argued that the costs for a death penalty case in California are extremely high, he now notes that, in other states, the costs are much lower. This alone would be a fairly weak argument if Pro didn't go into why you would want to pay for it - his first main argument or deterrence is that, in a 26-year study, years where people are executed due to the death penalty result in a drop in total murders. Most importantly, he asserts the margin of error (18,000 to 1 odds) in this study is so small as to make it very reliable. Pro then argues that, although states with the death penalty have a higher murder rate, this is due to alternative factors like demographics and weather. Overall, I find this to be a fairly convincing argument, and I'm surprised he didn't elaborate further by noting other demographic trends such as urban areas having higher murder rates than rural areas. The case as a whole is short, but makes good points overall.
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
Con's opening: Con's first portion of his case mainly focuses on human bias. opens his case with a fairly basic anti-death penalty claim " that innocent people are sometimes executed. He states over 20 innocent people were executed between 1900 and 1986 and that media could sway the jury to convict an innocent person. The first claim is reasonable, but the last claim is utterly bizarre " judges usually order jurors not to listen to or read reports about the case outside the court. He also argues that judges can be biased in sentencing. His next argument is fairly interesting " he asserts that the money spent towards executing people is less efficient than money spent towards, say, reducing workplace accidents or improving public health, and that thus even if there is a deterrent effect, it might be less than could be accomplished through other means. Finally Con argues those executed due to the death penalty are often being punished disproportionately to their crime or mental status, and that some blame could also go to the families that raised them. The latter is frankly odd, given that under the law, individuals are responsible for their own actions " not people who didn't commit the crime.
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
Pro's rebuttal: To begin his case, Pro cedes that innocent people have been executed " however, he argues that the death of 1 innocent person might not be statistically bad if it prevents 74 murders (like he cited in his first round), and that there are ways to reduce innocent executions. I find this argument really weak; Pro should have spent more time proposing ways to decrease innocent executions and less time justifying innocent executions. Next Pro rebuts the cost argument by noting that Con never state how many people could be saved by funneling death penalty money to other programs, and that the cost of death penalty cases is insignificant in comparison to the overall budget, and the money could be made up by basic government reform to boost efficiency. This is a really good argument " a bit optimistic of the ability to reform government, but a solid point. Pro effectively flips Con's mental health argument by establishing only 4% of all executed men were mentally ill and the Supreme Court has banned execution of mental ill people. Based on all that, Pro argues Con's case proves the need for reform, but not an overall ban. Overall this was a very strong rebuttal that covered all of Con's points.

Con's rebuttal: Con opens his argument by asserting that even though cost might be low for death penalty trials, it could still be spent better. Unfortunately, all of the rest of Con's arguments are directly quoted from sources. This is, in my opinion, borderline plagiarism " just because it is cited doesn't mean your entire argument can come from someone else's mouth. That said, 'his' argument that murderers don't act rationally and thus won't be deterred is interesting (albeit disproven by Pro's earlier arguments), and he beats Pro handily when it comes to attacking innocent executions. Less convincing are arguments 2 and 4, which are basically appeals to authority. Con basically had a weak rebuttal, considering he wasn't actually rebutting Pro's arguments.
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
Pro's closing: Pro is in a bad spot here " because Con didn't actually rebut him, Pro basically can't do much to rebut him. That said, he does a good job. Pro makes a great argument that, even if someone isn't thinking rationally, they could still be swayed by the maximum penalty for their action being their own death. He notes that, if someone is really not convinced about committing a murder, the existence of the death penalty could convince them not to do it. Pro then effectively calls out Con's arguments on deterrence as basically being appeal to authority and notes that experts can and are often wrong. Pro also argues the execution rate of innocents is fairly low (2.8%) and doesn't justify banning it.
Con's closing: Con has a very poor (and short) final round. I don't really have much to note here other than that he mainly just repeats his earlier points " even disproven ones.
Conclusion: Overall, this really is a clear win for Pro. He had better arguments and rebutted all of his opponent's points, while Con had very weak rebuttals and was borderline plagiarizing. Arguments go to Pro, as do sources and conduct due to Con's borderline plagiarism. S&G is basically even (although Con had poor formatting) so no points are awarded.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Heh heh... at least my RFD matches up with your's for the most part.... that's comforting, I guess...
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Please, please, this isn't a competition... But if it was, I'd totally win >:D
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
And of course, whiteflame just HAS to outshine both me and CJK combined with his RFD :P
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD:

Well, this was certainly an interesting debate, took it in a lot of the classic directions of each argument while putting a unique spin on it. Rather than go through this debate as I normally do (looking at each of the issues in turn) I'm going to relegate that to the last little bit of this RFD and instead analyze the rounds. I'll focus on feedback.

R2:

Pro - It's interesting to know about how your shift in perspective has taken place, Pro, but I'd be careful with this. You spend a good large chunk of this round on a mitigating argument that essentially concedes that there are large costs to the death penalty. All you're really doing here is trying to show that it's not as much as we might think, but that doesn't really help you. If your opponent had wanted, he could have used this entire point as a central tenet of his case, stating that you agree that price is an issue, that you've shown the price of implementing the death penalty to be higher, and then just list off a bunch of possible uses for that money. It wasn't done as effectively as that (and I'll get to the arguments made here later), but you're leaving yourself open here, and wasting space.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
MyDinosaurHandsKingDebater369Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I mostly agree with Whiteflame's RFD, so I don't really see any need to rehash it all out. Con had a lot of missed opportunities, but this is how we learn.
Vote Placed by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
MyDinosaurHandsKingDebater369Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
MyDinosaurHandsKingDebater369Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: This debates arguments point have to go to Pro, as it can be seen that Pro presented well thought out arguments while Con just cut and paste citations. In this way Cons arguments were not easy to follow. I was expecting Con to at least show that the state with the lowest murder rate has not executed anyone since 1976 which would have hurt Pros argument. For S&G points I am giving them as a tie as not much to discern a clear winner. Regarding conduct both opponent were respectful and as such I call this a draw as well. Source points go to Pro, as the sources were extra texts to support the arguments and not just copies of citations.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
MyDinosaurHandsKingDebater369Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by CJKAllstar 2 years ago
CJKAllstar
MyDinosaurHandsKingDebater369Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
MyDinosaurHandsKingDebater369Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.