The Instigator
JacobPearson
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points
The Contender
CraigJL
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points

Death Penalty

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
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: 5/20/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,095 times Debate No: 11849
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (8)

 

JacobPearson

Con

I am against capital punishment, regardless of the logical, economical, or practical arguments that support it. After countless debates I've concluded that, actually, capital punishment is wholly unnecessary. My primary concern is that once life is ended the death cannot be reversed, thus the issue of miscarriages of justice is evoked. I also feel that the government should not be involved in the killing of its citizens, regardless of the crime they have committed - two wrongs do not make a right.

The argument that capital punishment would only be used for cases where the defendant's guilt was 100% assured is self-defeatist because very few such cases exist, which would mean the death penalty would rarely be used. If that were the case, it would be futile to have a death penalty other than for the sake of retribution, for neither does it act as a deterrent, considering the amount of people that the USA imprisons and the crime rates there, and that they still have the death penalty in most states.

So the reality is that there is seldom a trial where a juror could suggest that there was no doubt whatsoever as to a defendant's guilt. British law recognises this hence the jury may convict where there is no reasonable doubt. This means there could still be some doubt, albeit irrational rather than reasonable. But even irrationality alone can sometimes have its own case.
CraigJL

Pro

I deem the death penalty to be necessary. Morally, it is senseless that a serial killer would not face death as a punishment for their multiple crimes. Again, I could go into the devastational effects on the families of the victims, which harms many more people than it would the family of a serial killer, but you would argue I would be creating more pain by killing the killer. I cannot understand why a family would continue to support said killer, however it may happen. You have discounted economics and all other sensible retort I may have had, so it would be pointless me highlighting the economic benefits of the death penalty. You may personally be opposed to the death penalty, but, as is apparent in the Unite States, the people evidently want the death penalty, else they would proposition the banishment in their own state. Regardless if it actually deters crime or not, "the majority" want the death penalty:

http://www.gallup.com...

The above is only one example of a poll, and there are more to be found should you require .

I concede that the Government has too many powers as it stands, however if they are to maintain any degree of PERCEPTION of justice, it would be a wise move to include the death penalty. Regardless of its effectiveness, it still puts the public mind at ease. All too commonly, we read comments in newspapers referencing the death penalty and the revival of it.

To put my position bluntly, I will use an example. If most of the penitentiaries in the United States followed the model of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, with his demeaning treatment prisoners through making them wear pink underwear and handcuffs, feeding them on pittance per day, and letting them sizzle in 100 degree heat in the desert of Arizona, I would be opposed to the death penalty. However, this is NOT the case, most especially here in Britain. Some prisons are palatial. If the "Arpaio model" was adopted, I would deem that apt and just punishment, considering their life would be in more misery than if they were dead. That is certainly punishment in the true sense of the word.

For as long as Britain continues to send prisoners to tax-funded 5* hotels, I deem the death penalty a worthy inclusion to the system.
Debate Round No. 1
JacobPearson

Con

I'd like to ask why my opponent sees it as "morally senseless that a serial killer would not face death as a punishment for their multiple crimes"? Surely, if one of these crimes was murder, which many argue is sufficient enough to carry the death penalty, then what is the death penalty itself if it is not murder? Self defence? Obviously we can see that it is not. The death penalty is a form of pre-meditated murder and if you disagree with murder strongly enough to support another form of it, you must see the inaccuracies in your argument.

On the subject of economic arguments, a US researcher documented these five points...
"1) Death penalty trials run longer and involve more costs to the economy than non-death penalty prosecutions;
2) The lengthy appeals process incurred by death penalty sentences involves an average of seven years legal expenses charged to the public;
3) The costs of housing Death Row inmates is prohibitively more expensive than housing the non-condemned prison population;
4) There is no demonstrable proof that the death penalty reduces violent crime and thereby lessens the economic impact of crime;
5) The only way that the death penalty could be made economically feasible would be to revamp the American system of jurisprudence and the philosophical system of justice upon which it is based."

The fact that the "majority" of the people want the death penalty or not is irrelevant - and my opponent's Gallup poll was based on a US audience whilst he based the remainder of his argument on the UK. When it comes down to it we must look at this as an issue of natural rights that every man is born with. So let's say this...
(1) All human beings have natural rights, predating any man made constitutions, which are;
(a) inviolable
(b) universal
(2) One of which is the right to life
(3) Given 1a and 2, the death penalty is morally wrong, and, concomitantly, unjust.
The "majority" should not have the power to vote away another person's natural rights.

Now, of course prisoners need to lose some of their rights, because otherwise the preservation of rights in generally would be severally at risk. But we should aim to minimise the amount of naturally prescribed rights that they lose to achieve the most just form of punishment. And the removal of their life is entirely unjustified when punishing them for removing a life.

The proper purpose of law is the practical realisation of the natural right to self-defence, implemented by an authority and so becoming the right to a collective defence. It's not about retribution. It's not about an eye for an eye. It's not even about "justice". It's just about the right to collective defence. Prospective killing of criminals is not part of the right to collective defence.

Perhaps we would do better with the "Arpaio model"; perhaps we would do better with more rehabilitative justice, as I increasingly believe. I certainly do not think that prisoners should be living in lavish, taxpayer funded prisons. In fact, I believe in privatising the operation and building of prisoners and making them work to pay for it themselves. But that is not the argument here.

All in all, I do not believe in giving the government, or any organisation, the right to remove peoples' lives without their consent. If a prisoner facing life in prison wishes to end their life then by all means they should be allowed to commit suicide or be euthanised. But the death penalty is not the answer, no matter how brutal the crime.
CraigJL

Pro

The "majority" count for a lot, actually. The instigator claims it is irrelevant, whereas the whole judicial system is based on majority decision, in the form of a jury. It is the public perception of justice that needs to be tackled, however I am willing to concede, that, with certain strict stipulations, the rehabilitative model can be combined with an "Arpaio model" of sorts. That is to say, cost will be at a minimum, inmates will something productive/produce something to be SOLD for a profit (thus covering the prison's fees for educating them), with the inmates working long day, doing hard manual labour.

I truly believe this combines the aspect of punishment the public require, along with the rehabilitation that education and routine of work will provide for the inmate, whilst also benefiting society at large by their contribution of products.

However, there are, as the instigator has mentioned, certain individuals by which rehabilitation would be ineffective. I put to the instigator: What do we do with those by which rehabilitation will be ineffective?

I hope that adds line thought to the death penalty aspect. I believe we have reached a consensus that the death penalty can be morally opposable, and I am willing to concede to the points listed above about human rights. There is still the aspect of "Murderer takes away other human rights, so his should be diminished." I understand that point has been answered, but it still does not sit well. I believe it is morally opposable that someone convicted of a financial crime receives a longer sentence than one that has commited a social crime, but what kind of rehabilitation should be made available to people such as Rupert Murdoch, technically a criminal, yet obviously of sound mind?
Debate Round No. 2
JacobPearson

Con

Yes, the whole system is based on majority decision, whether the judicial system through jury of the legislative system by parliament or congress, however we do not operate under a mob rule. The idea that the majority can vote on everything was defeated with the creation of the modern republic state, notably the USA. The majority cannot vote on the issue of natural, inviolable and universal rights, such as the right to life. Yes, a murderer has violated someone's right to life, but this does not justify the removal of their right to life. To argue this is only to presume that man's right to life is entirely subjective - a scary thought.

My opponent is entirely correct in saying that a mix of retributive/rehabilitative justice can be good. A system whereby we teach criminals the skills to use when they are released back into society, or whereby we allow them to compensate their victims or their victim's family, can work.

To answer my opponent's question, "what do we do with those by which rehabilitation will be ineffective?" The obvious answer here if we absolutely cannot rehabilitate them in any way would be to lock them up for a very long time indeed. I do not think that giving the government (an institution with a monopoly on the legal system and the death penalty if there were one) the power to kill its citizens is an inherently wise move. As I said in my opening statement, the argument that capital punishment would only be used for cases where the defendant's guilt was 100% assured is self-defeatist because very few such cases exist, which would mean the death penalty would rarely be used. There is always the high chance of judicial mistakes, and when we are discussing the life of an individual human being, this is too risky. I have already pointed out the moral flaws in removing the life of someone to punish them for removing the life of another.

I don't necessarily see social crimes as inherently worse than financial crimes, although this depends how you would define the two. I believe the 'social "crime"' of peaceful drug dealing or taking warrants no sentence at all, whist the 'financial crime' of fraud is evil and wrong. The only things which should exist as 'crimes' are actions which deny a man his rights.
CraigJL

Pro

CraigJL forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by JacobPearson 6 years ago
JacobPearson
Now we just need some chappies to vote...
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Like_a_Boss 4 years ago
Like_a_Boss
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:42 
Vote Placed by idkmybffbill 6 years ago
idkmybffbill
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Grape 6 years ago
Grape
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 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 SukiWater 6 years ago
SukiWater
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Sam_Lowry 6 years ago
Sam_Lowry
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 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 GeoLaureate8 6 years ago
GeoLaureate8
JacobPearsonCraigJLTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10