The Instigator
thett3
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
petersaysstuff
Con (against)
Losing
13 Points

Resolved: The United States should retain Capital Punishment for murder.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/29/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,429 times Debate No: 17267
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (5)

 

thett3

Pro

First round: We both present our cases, no rebuttals.
Second, third, and fourth round we make rebuttals. Cross Examination is permitted.


=Case=

"A murderer deserves death penalty because he has trespassed against the whole society by killing one of its members."-unknown.

Seeing as I agree with the above quote, I strongly affirm this resolution. I offer the following contentions in support:

C1. Capital Punishment saves innocent lives.

SPA: Capital Punishment keeps a killer from striking again.

There have been many instances in our justice system where a murderer has reoffended, in fact a study from the U.S. Department of Justice finds that of prisoners released in 1994, 1.2% of those convicted of homicide were arrested for another homicide within three years of their release.[1].

There are also many specific examples, such as Kenneth Mcduff. In 1966 a Texas jury ruled for him to die in the electric chair for his brutal murder of two boys and a girl. However his sentence was commuted to Life Imprisonment when the Supreme Court struck down the Death Penalty. Mcduff was later released, and ended up killing at least 9 more people. Thankfully, he was executed by lethal injection in 1998[2]. He will never kill again. Had he been executed the first time at least 9 innocent lives would've been saved.

Another example is the recently executed Lee Andrew Taylor. While serving a life sentence for his brutal beating and murder of an elderly couple Taylor fatally stabbed another inmate after a "racial tension" incident occurred[3]. Thankfully, he was executed by Texas in 2011, never to kill again.

Yet another example comes from Clarence Ray Allen. Allen was serving a sentence of life without parole for murder, when he conspired with his fellow inmate Billy Hamilton to kill the witnesses for his crime. When paroled, Hamilton tracked down the witnesses and killed one of them, along with two other people[4]. Allen was, thankfully, sentenced to die for this new crime, and executed by the state of California in 2006.

These are only some of many examples of murderers who later murdered again. In many cases, anything less than the Death Penalty simply isn't good enough. The recidivism rate for an executed murderer is 0%.

SPB: Capital Punishment has a deterrent effect.

Many different studies provide many different results, some examples:
  • Studies from Emory University stating that each execution prevents between three and eighteen murders. [5]
  • A 2006 study from the University of Houston, stating that the Illinois moratorium on the Death Penalty led to 150 additional homicides [5]
  • A University of Colorado at Denver study showing that for each execution five muders were prevented.[6].

These are just some of many studies showing the deterrent effect. As Researcher Karl Spence from of Texas A&M University states (speaking about the moratorium on Capital Punishment from 1972-1976):

"While some death penalty abolitionists try to face down the results of their disastrous experiment and still argue to the contrary, the...[data] concludes that a substantial deterrent effect has been observed...In six months, more Americans are murdered than have killed by execution in this entire century...Until we begin to fight crime in earnest by using the death penalty, every person who dies at a criminal's hands is a victim of our inaction."

Observation: While the argument that an innocent could be executed is a very compelling one, the murders committed by prior offenders and the deterrent effect of Capital Punishment outweighs this small risk.

C2. The Death Penalty is a better punishment than Life without Parole.

SPA: Life without parole does not always mean life.

If the Death Penalty is abolished, the next thing to go will be life without parole. Already some European countries like Norway, Greece and Spain have abolished it [7]. There is already a movement to abolish life without parole in the United States for juveniles and even for adult offenders! [8][9]. While no one can truly know if these movements will gain traction, the evidence in Europe speaks for itself, sentences for murder in Europe are much lighter than those in the United States.

The law can also change, take for example the tragic case of Pamela Moss: "In 1962, James Moore raped and strangled 14-year-old Pamela Moss. Her parents decided to spare Moore the death penalty on the condition that he be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Later on, thanks to a change in sentencing laws in 1982, James Moore is eligible for parole every two years"[10]

Laws change, Governors change, sentencing changes, and people forget the past. The only way to truly know if a murderer will not ever be released is to execute them.

SPB: Prisoners view the Death Penalty as a harsher punishment than Life without parole.

One argument against the Death Penalty is that it does not force criminals to truly pay for their crime. While at first this seems to be a compelling argument, the evidence speaks against it. Criminals have the right to waive the appeals on their death sentence, very very few do. Executions in 2011: 23 so far, 1 waived appeals. Executions in 2010: 46, 1 waiver. Executions in 2009: 52 executions, 2 waivers. Executions in 2008: 37 Executions, 3 waivers.[11]. Nearly 96% of those executed in the past four years have fought to escape their sentence.

C3. Capital Punishment is not unconstitutional.

There isn't much to be said on this point, so I'll make it brief. The Supreme court has upheld the constitutionality of Capital Punishment many times in the past, most recently in Bazes v. Rees.[12] Also, usage of the Death Penalty is contemplated in the 5th Amendment of the U.S. constitution when it states: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury..."[13].


Well, that's all I have to say for now. Good luck to my future Opponent, and I urge a Pro vote!

=Sources=
1. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us...
4. http://www.clarkprosecutor.org...
5. http://www.cbsnews.com...
6. http://www.heritage.org...
7. http://en.wikipedia.org...
8. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
9. http://www.defenestrator.org...
10. http://www.globalpolitician.com...
11. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
12. http://en.wikipedia.org...
13. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...
petersaysstuff

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for offering this challenge and I look forward to debating it.

=Definitions=

Death Penalty: "The punishment of execution, administered to someone convicted of a capital crime."[1]

Capital crime: "A crime that is punishable by death"[2]

I reserve the right to add more definitions later.

=Case=

(I am sorry that point 1 is the same as your SPB, I am NOT refuting SPB yet)

Point 1 Deterrence:

The death penalty is NOT a deterrent. For example, in 1976 there were 0 accounts of the death penalty being issued and the murder rate was 8.8. Now we jump ahead to 1979. There were 2 accounts of the death penalty and the murder rate was 9.7. (These are ratios) Moving ahead to 1990. 23 executions and a 9.4 murder rate and so on and so forth. (ACLU #3)
I could go on but I feel I have made my point regarding deterrence but if need be I will pull more evidence in.

Point 2 Cost:

It is actually more expensive than locking someone up. For example, in California "The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons w here those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate."[4]
The costs of the death penalty system are about $137 million per year whereas a new reform where a maximum life sentence would be issued would cost $11.5 million per year.[4]
This is a huge difference and shows the massive costs associated with the death penalty.

Point 3 Wrong person:

It is entirely possible that one could kill the wrong guy. If this is the case there is nothing you can do. He is dead and cannot be brought back. All that the state can do is say "Whoops, my bad" and give money to the grieving family whereas if the person is in jail and they then see he is innocent, he is still alive and can live the rest of his life.

Point 4 cruel:

The death penalty is flat out cruel for numerous reasons. First off, hanging is still utilized in 3 states and with hanging comes the inherent possibility for mess ups. The drop must be just right or the person has an agonizing death or has their head ripped off. Here a proponent of the death penalty will argue that electrocution is a humane way to kill someone but this is just not the case. For starters it is unknown how long a person is conscious whilst being electrocuted which shows that there is a huge possibility for inhumane treatment.5 Here is a quote regarding the electrocution of John Evans in 1983:

"At 8:30 p.m. the first jolt of 1900 volts of electricity passed through Mr. Evans' body. It lasted thirty seconds. Sparks and flames erupted … from the electrode tied to Mr. Evans' left leg. His body slammed against the straps holding him in the electric chair and his fist clenched permanently. The electrode apparently burst from the strap holding it in place. A large puff of grayish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered Mr. Evans' face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing began pervading the witness room. Two doctors examined Mr. Evans and declared that he was not dead..." (they had to electrocute him three times before he was killed. Humane? I think not)5

Again, a proponent could say that the lethal injection is more humane but the evidence regarding it's humaneness is inconclusive. The US Court of Appeals said this regarding the lethal injection:

"substantial and uncontroverted evidence… that execution by lethal injection poses a serious risk of cruel, protracted death…. Even a slight error in dosage or administration can leave a prisoner conscious but paralyzed while dying, a sentient witness of his or her own asphyxiation."5

There have also been reports of drug users being stabbed randomly because their veins could not be found (due to frequent use of illicit drugs)5

Point 5 Not a punishment:

With life in prison the murders have to live with the guilt of what they have done, they must be forced to live in small areas and prisons are often over crowded and filthy. This thought alone would provide a better deterrent than the death penalty would. Also, the death penalty is essentially an easy way out for killers who have felt like they have martyred for their cause. It is an honor to die for ones cause and we are merely showing that they have done something we deem bad and we will just give them an easy way out.

Point 6 Hypocritical and breeding of revenge:

All the death penalty is doing is showing that if you kill someone we will be mad and kill you. It's essentially this "we kill people who kill people to show other people that killing people is wrong", it makes us look like morons. Also, all the death penalty does is show that we are a society built on revenge. It shows that revenge is okay. On the outside some people would argue that this is a fine message to send but then let's think, what if your neighbor hits you with his car on accident, you see that the state says revenge is okay so you hit him with yours. All this will do is lead to an endless eye for eye cycle.

==I reserve the right to bring in more evidence later==

1: http://www.google.com...
2: http://www.google.com...
3: http://www.aclu.org...
4: http://www.deathpenalty.org...
5: http://www.aclu.org...
Debate Round No. 1
thett3

Pro

Thank you for accepting this. I'm glad to be debating someone as experienced as you on this issue.


=Rebuttal=

P1. Deterrence.

My Opponent contends that the death penalty is NOT a deterrent. (and about the SPB thing, don't worry about it, it's a very common point for both sides.) I disagree completely and the evidence I'm about to show also disagrees.

In 1972, the Supreme Court ordered a Moratorium on the Death Penalty in the United States. That year, there were 18,670 murders. The next year ('73), it had climbed to 19,640 murders, and 20,710 the next ('74). The number of murders went down slightly to 20,510 in '75, still nearly 2000 more than when than 1972. In 1976 the death penalty was reinstated and the number of murders dropped significantly to 18,780. After that, there were few executions, and the number of murders hovered at around 20,000, reaching a high of 24,530 in 1994. Still, very few executions took place, although some did. In response to this gorwing crime rate, the federal government passed the Death Penalty act of 1994[1], making imposition of the Death Penalty much simpler. After that, the death penalty began to be used in earnest, with 56 Executions in '95 (a jump of 25 from the year before.) 45 in '96, 74 in '97, 68 in '98, and a peak of 98 in 1999. How did the number of murders correspond to this? The upward trend that was established before 1994 was swiftly reversed, with the number of murders falling every single year. By 2000 the number of murders had fallen to 15,522 over 9000 less than only 6 years earlier and has remained relatively steady since then, and Capital Punishment has continued to be imposed.[2][3]

P2. Cost

This has the potential to become a very compelling point, but I have a few problems with the way my Opponent has put it.

1. This is trading justice for money, a clear miscalculation in my opinion. In order for this point to work, he must show life impriosnment to be as good as the death penalty, which I've shown in my case that it is not.

2. The studies he's linked do not explain how the cost was calculated.

3. I contend that California (the only State mentioned in my Opponents studies) is a special case, considering how it has 697 individuals on its death row, but has performed only 13 executions in the past 35 years.[4]

4. The source my Opponent linked is biased, it says "10 Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty" on the sidebar and says "Working for alternatives to the death penalty" at the top. In response, I'll link an equally biased source showing that the death penalty is " $1.2 to $3.6 million" cheaper than Life W/o Parole.[5]

5. The public pays for the criminal justice system, and prefers the Death Penalty over Life Imprisonment.[6]

6. Capital punishment keeps a killer from killing again, as I've shown in my case Clarence Allen was sentenced to Life w/o Parole yet due to his actions 3 people were killed. This is trading public safety for money.

7. This cost analysis ignores the use of the Death Penalty for plea bargaining. According to a report defendants pled guilty to 1st degree murders 10% more in death penalty states than in non-death penalty states[7]. That's 10% more trials to be avoided, saving significant amounts of money.

P3. Wrong Person

In order for this point to be valid, my Opponent must show four cases in which an innocent was executed, because I've shown 3 innocents killed by the actions of a man sentenced to Life w/o Parole. If he cannot show this, than my impacts outweigh his.

P4. Cruel

This point directly condradicts his 5th point which states that it's not a punishment. How can the Death Penalty be too cruel of a punishment, yet not a punishment at all?

Furthermore, this point should not even be considered. As Donald Atwell Zoll, Professor of Political Science at Arizona State University points out: "Capital punishment ought not to be abolished solely because it is...repulsive, if infinitely less repulsive than the acts which invoke it."

The Executions liknked in my Opponents case are botched ones, and perhaps I'm just being cold, but I find it extremely hard to find any sympathy for these murderers. They did what they did and ought to be punished for it. After reading about the cases in which a murderer was actually executed (such as Peter Cantu) I simply cannot muster any sympathy for them. Furthermore, it's a matter of safety. A murderer can always strike again if he's not executed, and the evidence points to deterrence so this point is massively outweighed.

P5. Not a punishment

If this were true, than why would the vast majority (96%) of criminals fight their death sentences? I know it seems like life w/o parole is a harsher punishment to us, but since we're both rational people who could never commit the terrible crimes that meet the aggravating circumstances for the Death Penalty, our thoughts on it are invalid. The evidence, sadly, points to the fact that criminals do not want to die. Furthermore, even if Life Imprisonment was a better punishment, it still isn't as safe for the public as the Death Penalty is so this point is also massively outwieghed.

P6. Hypocritical

I find it very hard to wrap my mind around this point. My Opponent states: "we kill people who kill people to show other people that killing people is wrong" using that logic, we also kidnap people to show that kidnapping is wrong, and the Police should not be allowed to go faster than the speed limit to pull over a traffic violater. Surely my Opponent realizes that the physical similarities between the Death Penalty and murder do not make them anywhere near similar morally.

English philosopher John Stuart Mill sums it up nicely by stating:

"Does fining a criminal show want of respect for property, or imprisoning him, for personal freedom? Just as unreasonable it is to think that to take the life of a man who has taken that of another is to show want of regard for human life. We show, on the contrary...our regard for it, by the adoption of a rule that he who violates that right in another forfeits it for himself and that while no other crime that he can commit deprives him of his right to live, this shall."

I thank my Opponent for his excellent response and look forward to our next round.

=Sources=

1. http://www.justice.gov...
2. http://www.disastercenter.com...
3. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
6. http://www.gallup.com...
7. http://www.cjlf.org...
petersaysstuff

Con

=Defense=

1: (I will lump both deterrence arguments together and answer them in my rebuttal)

2: First I will say that the source I used was devoted to brining one facts about the death penalty but nonetheless I will provide more evidence to prove my point. Here I will post some quotes regarding cost:

"A 2003 legislative audit in Kansas found that the estimated cost of a death penalty case was 70% more than the cost of a comparable non-death penalty case. Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution (median cost $1.26 million). Non-death penalty case costs were counted through to the end of incarceration (median cost $740,000)."[1]
"In Maryland death penalty cases cost 3 times more than non-death penalty cases, or $3 million for a single case."[1]
I reserve the right to bring in more evidence.

On SP1: I am showing that in our debt rampant nation, the death penalty is just NOT cost effective. The resolution of this debate was "Resolved: The United States should retain Capital Punishment for murder." and I am merely showing why it should not be.
On SP3: This does not prove it to be a special case at all, it merely shows that even with the low number of actual deaths the cost is still high. Also, see [1].
On SP4: See new sources and see above. Also, the evidence is originally from here: http://tinyurl.com...
This is the Report of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice and I somehow doubt that it is biased. Also, if the voters will look at the link they can see that all the evidence on the "biased" site is just showing info from state reports.
On SP5: This is true but it does not detract from the cost and with people complaining that taxes are too high and spending is too much, my evidence shows that a good way to cut spending is by executing the death penalty.
On SP6: I will respond to this in my rebuttal.
On SP7: My opponent provides no evidence as to how much "significant amounts of money" is thus I will say the following, it is still cheaper to abolish the death penalty.

My contention stands.

On 3:
I will not give you four cases, I will give you 21 cases where people have been convicted of murder but, luckily, the court system prevailed and showed that they were innocent. While it is true that they were not yet killed this just goes to show you that if 21 people (from one source alone) were all sentenced to death and found innocent there are most likely many more who have been killed and who are innocent. (For the sake of characters I will just post their names but you can read the info in the link)
Samuel Poole, James Creamer, Dale Johnston, Jay Smith, James Robison, Muneer Deeb, Andrew Golden, Clarence Smith, Joseph Burrows, Adolph Munson, Robert Charles Cruz, Rolando Cruz, Alejandro Hernandez, Sabrina Butler, Verneal Jimerson, Dennis Williams, Roberto Miranda, Gary Gauger, Troy Lee Jones, Carl Lawson, Ricardo Aldape Guerra
[2]

But let's look at more: Roger Keith Coleman pleaded innocence and had evidence to back it up but no court would review his evidence. He then had an unfair conviction and was killed.[2]
Leonel Herrera was a man who was thought to be innocent and another man even said he was and said man admitted to the crime but Leonel was killed regardless. Also, "Numerous other pieces of new evidence also threw doubt on his conviction".[2]
Jesse Jacobs was tried for murder but the prosecution even admitted he did not kill the victim but that didn't matter, he was killed regardless.[2]
Coleman Wayne Gray the state convicting Gray ignored rules of discloser, and gave him an unfair trial as a Federal Court Judge cited. Gray was killed.[2]

I have given you 25 cases of innocent people convicted of murder, some of whom were executed, thus I have fulfilled your requirement of four people. I dare say I win. (Vote Con)

On 4: I will drop this. It has been proven wrong.
On 5: My opponent concedes that life w/o parole is harsher but he then says we're rational and could never commit terrible crimes. This is making the assumption that rational people can't commit terrible crimes. Where is your evidence for this? Our thoughts on this are entirely valid since we are the ones imposing the punishment! Also, obviously they don't want to die but life in prison doing nothing is still worse. Also, how is it not as safe? Do you have evidence that shows that? The only evidence you have from R1 is when the people were released. (granted there is the case of Mr. Taylor but I would say that with higher prison security things of that nature are improbable) This point stands.
On 6: I will drop this. It has been proven wrong.

=Rebuttal=
C1, SPA: Most of the evidence here is about people who have been let out of jail but I advocate for life w/o parole instead of the death penalty thus the cases where people are let out are moot. The only case of relevance is Mr. Taylor's case but with higher prison security things of that nature are improbable. Also, that could occur with anyone who is in prison. This is assuming that since they are a murder they are the only ones who would ever kill for racial tensions in jail but this is not so. If my opponent was really worried he would advocate for the killing of all prisoners. This point falls.
SPB: According to my opponent's link about the Emory study, a famous law professor, Cass Sunstein, said that "the data needs more study". Also, the link points out several flaws in the evidence itself "Some claim that the pro-deterrent studies made profound mistakes in their methodology, so their results are untrustworthy. Another critic argues that the studies wrongly count all homicides, rather than just those homicides where a conviction could bring the death penalty. And several argue that there are simply too few executions each year in the United States to make a judgment."[see opponent's 5]
The evidence in his own link contradicts his claim.
The first part of my opponent's [6] just is talking in theory with no data behind it but in the interest of characters I will bring in my evidence now.
States with the death penalty have statistically higher rates of murder.[3] For example, in 2009 states with the death penalty had a murder rate of 5.26 whereas ones without had a murder rate of 3.9. This trend continues back to the end of the data in the year 1990. In 2008 death penalty states had a 5.72 murder rate while non death penalty ones had 4.05. I could go on but I urge voters to look at the graph. Here is a graph: http://tinyurl.com...
Also, extend my ACLU evidence.
I will bring in more detterance evidence next round.

C2, SPA: //If the Death Penalty is abolished, the next thing to go will be life without parole//
There is no evidence to support that this will happen in America. All this is a slippery slope fallacy where you are saying this might happen if this happens. This is baseless.
Regarding Moss, this is a rare case. Do you have evidence that this will happen more if the death penalty is repealed?
SPB: See point 5 above ^^

C3: I never argued this. Do you really want me to respond to it? It is irrelevant.
(sorry for the small rebuttals but I am running out of characters)

Conclusion: My 1, 2, 3 and 5 still stand. I have shown that the possibility of an innocent being killed is very real and very high while my opponent has not refuted it. I have shown that the death penalty is NOT a detterant and is better than life w/o parole. I have refuted my opponent's arguments and I hope you vote Con.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 2
thett3

Pro

I appologize for my untimely response, I've been very busy.

=Rebuttal=

Costs:


My Opponent continues to speak of the costs of the Death Penalty. Before I refute his evidence I have a very simple question that you (the judges) should think on when deciding this round. So what? Even if life w/o parole is cheaper, I've shown in my case that it doesn't provide as much justice as the Death Penalty, and is less safe. Keeping someone in prison for 20 years would certainly be cheaper than keeping them in for life, but it surely (in many cases) isn't as safe. The same can be said for life w/o parole, I have given 3 people killed by the actions of a man sentenced to life without parole, and I will give more in my rebuttal. Justice is NOT about what kind of punishment is cheaper, after all if it's only about the money, why prosecute criminals at all? It is a matter of public safety.

Now on to his evidence.

He brings up Kansas as an example, First off, the quote he uses speaks only of a Death Penalty case not the total costs associated with the DP V. Life w/o Parole. Furthermore Kansas is like California, since Kansas has sentenced 10 people to die, yet has not performed one single Execution in the past 35 years[1]. In states such as these, the "death penalty" is essentially life without parole with better security, and lets look at my Opponents definition of the Death Penalty (which I agree with) "The punishment of execution, administered to someone convicted of a capital crime." Since this is how we are defining the Death Penalty, individuals sentenced to die but who aren't executed (such as most of people in California and all in Kansas) aren't truly being subjected to the Death Penalty (notice the use of the word administered in the definition.) Therefore his Kansas evidence is irrelevant because they do not have a true Death Penalty.

In his Maryland evidence, it also exclusively mentions a case, not the total costs associated.

Also, he has made no response to the source I linked showing how life w/o parole is more expensive than the Death Penalty. (and unlike the sources he's linked, unless I've missed something, mine actually shows how the cost is calculated.)

He claims I did not provide evidence for the Death Penalty and plea bargaining, however I did as you can see in my last round, and also it's based on logic. The evidence shows that criminals fear the Death Penalty (96% fight it) so naturally they would be more likely to plead guilty to the more feared punishment of death than life.

Innocence:

Observation: My Opponent has not given one single case of a posthumous pardon. We can all claim that an individual is innocent, but the fact remains that every single one of these people was found guilty by the state, sentenced to die (except in a few exceptions such as Florida) by a unanimous desicion from a jury of their peers, sentence affirmed by a Judge, their death sentences survived review intact, all of their appeals were denied, and the Supreme Court of the United States (nearly always) reviews a last minute appeal for these individuals.


He gives an example of 23 people release from Death Row. 1. In the source he linked, the most recent Conviction (forgive me in I'm wrong) was from 1990. These are not recent cases, all were sentenced before forensic and DNA evidence. They were also Convicted before recent (relatively) Supreme Court cases limiting the use of the Death Penalty. For example, until 2002[2], the aggravating factors for the Death Penalty could be decided by a judge, not a jury of peers. Until 2004[3], all migitating factors did not have to be considered. Until even 2009[4] the state still had the right to deny an inmate habeas counsel after their conviction if they could not afford it. Until 1982[5] a person who was involved with a crime but did "not kill, attempt to kill, or intend to kill" could still be sentneced to die. Basically what I'm saying is that the miscarriages of justice my Opponent has pointed out are much less likely to happen today than years ago, when they did happen. I would ask him to show me a recent case.

Furthermore, all this shows is that our current system of appeals works! Indeed, I would be much more concerned if the executions marched on with no commutations or pardons than an occasional release.

He brings up several cases of individuals who were "wrongfully executed" and while I don't have the time nor space to look through every case and argue in support of the conviction, I would like to point out that not a single one of them was pardoned after death. I find it both foolish and arrogant that the site my Opponent has linked believes it knows more about the case than the prosecutor, jurors, judge, Governer of the state in question, the board of paroles and pardons of the state in question, and the United States Supreme Court, all of whom were involved in the executions.

Not a punishment

1. This is completely irrelevant, the Death Penalty is more safe for the public which takes full priority.
2. Rational people can't commit the terrible crimes to meet the Death Penalty. It seems my Opponent is claiming that brutally murdering in cold blood with an aggravating factor can be done by ration people. Rational: "Based on or in accordance with reason or logic"[6]
3. "Our thoughts on this are entirely valid since we are the ones imposing the punishment!" - I didn't make myself clear here, I meant what seems like a worse punishment for us doesn't matter because we aren't the ones who commit these crimes.
4. "Also, obviously they don't want to die but life in prison doing nothing is still worse." Prove it. If Life w.o Parole was worse less criminals would fight their death sentences. Also, it is not doing nothing, the vast majority if not all of prisoners have contact with other prisoners, get to work in the exercise yard, ect. So no, it isn't sitting in a padded room 24 hours a day as my Opponent would have you believe.

=My Case=

C1.

SPA:

He gives a very weak response to my Taylor evidence, stating that "higher prison security things of that nature are improbable." Unless he is advocating solitary confinement for all murderers (which is ironic considering how much he speaks of cost) human contact between prisoners will still happen, and therefore tensions will still happen. Also he didn't respond to the Allen case which is also highly relevant in this.

Also, let my reinforce this point. I'll give another example, the case of Robert Pruett who was serving a life sentence for murder when he killed a corrections officer[7]. I concur with Associate U.S. Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen when he stated that without Capital Punishment prison murders are impossible to deter because "without a death sentence, a violent life-termer has free rein to continue to murder as opportunity and his perverse motives dictate."

SPB:

He mentions how my source contained criticism of the studies. That certainly doesn't invalidate them. A simple criticism from a few anonymous scientists certainly is not enough to invalidate an entire study. As to the evidence I've pointed out myself in my second round, he makes no response.

He asserts that States w/ the DP have a higher murder rate. This is true, however these states are motivated to have the DP because of their high crime rates. Also, to give an example, Murder rates have certainly fallen in Texas since the DP act of 1994.[8].

C2.

I have provided evidence that there are movements to abolish life in the U.S. I have shown an examle from the U.S. and many from Europe. There is a historical precedent. To claim that I haven't provided any evidence is very unfair.

C3.

Fair enough, since my Opponent agrees, this contention will no longer be debated.



I thank my worthy Opponent for his excelltent response, and I look forward to our next round.

Source in comments.
petersaysstuff

Con

Cost:
My opponent claims he has shown that the death penalty is better than life w/o parole thus we should ignore the cost because it is irrelevant to justice but this is just not so. First off I want us to look at my deathpenalty.org evidence which shows that "California could save $1 billion over five years by replacing the death penalty with permanent imprisonment" [4 from round 2].Even though $1 billion is not a huge amount, that is only in 1 state and one must remember that that money comes out of the tax payers pockets. This is a key point to remember because people already have to pay huge taxes and that is driving away businesses which is bad for the economy.[1] By removing the death penalty, if only by using California as a reference, the tax payers could save $1 billion dollars and that would lower the amount of taxes they pay thus businesses would be helped. So here we must look at which outweighs, saving small businesses and saving the tax payers money or killing a few people. Anyone can see which it is. Saving money and helping businesses vastly outweighs revenge. As to my opponent's claim that it is safer to kill the people: 3 of the 4 cases he references where killers have killed again are because they were let out. They were paroled but in a system with life w/o parole this would not happen. My opponent has, as of yet, not addressed this and thus I extend it.

As to the evidence. My opponent has never refuted my California evidence, all he said was that it was biased but if one looks at the links on deathpenalty.org, one can see that the data is from the Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice! My opponent is using his falty assumption of bias to get out of answering the evidence. The only attempt he makes to refute my evidence is to say that they did not actually undergo the death penalty since they were not killed but this is just false. It is true that not everyone on death row has been killed yet even the cases before being killed cost more than life w/o parole! Let me say that again, even before we include the cost of the injections/electricity, the cost of the DP cases are vastly greater than life w/o parole. It does not matter if not all the people have been executed yet, they will be and the ones that have are also factored into the total cost thus my opponent's claims are false. But also let me show something again: "Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution". That is a quote from my Kansas source thus my opponent's claims that they do not count the actual execution is provably false. Cross apply to Maryland.

//Also, he has made no response to the source I linked showing how life w/o parole is more expensive than the Death Penalty. (and unlike the sources he's linked, unless I've missed something, mine actually shows how the cost is calculated.)//
You have missed something. If you go to my link for deathpenalty.org and click the link to the pdf's you can read the entire report. I want to say the following regarding your evidence: It provides no means of checking whether the information is true. For example, it provides no links to any of the original sources unlike my evidence which does. Also, since my opponent is arguing that my cases aren't actual death penalty cases his are not either. My opponent's evidence is only about the costs on death row thus, by the logic he used only paragraphs ago, his evidence is moot whereas mine is not.

The only evidence my opponent has provided about plea bargaining is that criminals don't like the death penalty. How does that prove that they will say they are guilty? In some case you will still be sentenced to execution even if you plead guilty so I fail to see how his evidence shows that they will plea guilty.
My contention stands.

Innocence:
My opponent did not ask for a posthumous pardon! All he said was "In order for this point to be valid, my Opponent must show four cases in which an innocent was executed" and I have shown you that. The only way you can say I have not is to claim that the aforementioned men were not innocent. Also, my opponent claims that the Supreme Court would review appeals but my opponent is ignoring the fact that no court reviewed their appeals! My opponent has not proven my claims wrong.

As to my 23 people. My opponent claims that they were before DNA evidence was used thus they don't count but this is false on many accounts. First off, the most recent one was the sentencing of a Mr. Ricardo Aldape Guerra who was sentenced in '94. But even so, the DNA fingerprint was used as evidence as early as '88 thus my opponent's claims are moot and he has not answered my arguments at all.[2] Next my opponent tries to weasel out of answering my arguments by saying that it is "much less likely to happen" and that is that. My opponent must rationalize/refute my evidence or my impacts outweigh. I also suggest the voters and my opponent to look at my [2 from round 2 and you will see the HUGE number of innocents who were sentenced to death. But to humor my opponent I will provide MORE people from 2004-2010;

Alan Gell, Gordon Steidl, Laurence Adams, Dan Bright, Ryan Matthews, Ernest Willis, Derrick Jamison, Harold Wilson, John Ballard, Curtis McCarty, Michael McCormick, Jonathon Hoffman, Kennedy Brewer, Glen Edward Chapman, Levon "Bo" Jones, Michael Blair, Nathson Fields, Paul House, Daniel Wade Moore, Ronald Kitchen, Herman Lindsey, Michael Toney, Yancy Douglas and Paris Powell, Robert Springsteen, Anthony Graves.[3] Answer that. My impacts clearly outweigh.

The people that were executed were quite clearly not given a fair trial! They were denied their basic rights and they were killed. Also, my evidence shows that the system wrongly convicted over 40 people and that is only from 1 source. What of all the others who were wrongly killed?

Punishment:
Due to my lack of characters I must drop this :( I am sorry. Please forgive me.

Your case:
C1SPA: The Taylor evidence is about a racial tension which, as I said before and was not contested, could occur between any inmate. This is not a murderer specific crime and thus it is not relevant. Also, with the higher prison security it is "much less likely to happen". My innocence argument outweighs.
As to Allen, he merely conspired to stop a witness which could happen with anyone in jail. I challenge my opponent to provide me with evidence of a murder specific incidence. Also, my innocence argument outweighs again.
AS to the new evidence; if one reads into it further one can see that the authorities said this "He said the attack may have been retaliation over a disciplinary issue."[4] thus this is an issue of disciplinary action and is not a murder unique thing. Again, my innocence argument outweighs.
(I will hit this contention hard in the last round)

C1SPB: I am using the criticisms to my advantage. Your studies are not correct methodologically and there is not enough data to show anything. My opponent has not answered my ACLU evidence. You evidence is false though. The death penalty was stopped in '72 and the murder rates rose but after it was reinstated in '76 they continued to rise thus contradicting your claims! (I would put all the numbers but I have under 500 characters) Please see graph and analyze it[5]

//He asserts that States w/ the DP have a higher murder rate. This is true, however these states are motivated to have the DP because of their high crime rates.//
But the crime rates have not gone down thus there is no deterrent effect! In Texas they have fallen and then stayed the same showing that even though people are put to death there is not a significant decrease in murder and in most cases it does nothing. Extend all my evidence.

C2: My opponent has only shown that there is a movement for this in Penn but has not proven that this will happen. There is a prison abolistionist movement but surely we don't think that would happen. (I will hit this in R4 due to characters)
Debate Round No. 3
thett3

Pro

Since this is my last round, I will now do a point-by-point analysis of each point, and explain how they support my side.

=His Case=

Cost

My Opponent has shown that the Death Penalty costs more in California. I contended that my Opponents link was biased, but after reviewing it I agree with him, it is not biased that was a mistake on my part. However, lets look at California's "death penalty". As I've said earlier, California has sentenced nearly 700 people to die, yet has only performed 13 executions in the past 35 years! Remember, the definition of "Death Penalty" brought up by my Opponent clearly states "administered", so all of the people on Death Row in every part of the country who will die before execution are irrelevant to this round becuase they are not truly being subjected to the Death Penalty. I stated this in my last round, and he made no response, meaning he has conceded to this statement. Thus his California and Kansas evidence must be dropped in this round, because the vast majority of the condemned in those states (100% in Kansas) are not executed.

As for his Maryland evidence the quote he's shown only mentions a case, not the total cost of the DP. Also, my evidence still applies to this situation because it shows the costs of the Death Penalty leading up to an execution, whereas his hard evidence does not lead to the actual execution, only his estimate does.


As for the issue of Plea Bargaining, my Opponent must have not read the source I provided showing that a guilty-plea to first degree murder happens over 10% more in death penalty states than non-death penalty states.

Cost vs. Justice

Let's assume that the Death Penalty does cost more. As I've stated before, justice comes before money. My Opponent only response to this was "but this is just not so." followed by an analysis of what California could do with all the extra money. So he is valuing the money over justice. I have shown in my case that life without parole is less just than the DP, and his only major attack in his last round against that point was attacking my SPA that there are movements to abolish Life w/o parole. Since he has dropped his argument about the DP not being a true punishment, and has dropped my SPA about how prisoners prefer life to death, he has conceded that the DP is a more just form of punishment. This is significant because the attitude of prisoners towards a punishment is a good indicator to how just it is, after all surely murderers would prefer a 20 year sentence over a life sentence, and it would be cheaper but it certainly wouldn't be as just. This applies to the DP as well, we shouldn't value the money over the justice, because if we do why bother to prosecute and punish criminals at all?

Innocence

My Opponent has shown me another list of pardoned offenders. However the key element to this is that they were not executed. This shows how our current system of appeals and pardons works! Also, while there were a few cases from the 2000's in my Opponents list, the vast majority were convicted before DNA and forensic evidence became prevalent (I made a mistake in the last round, I truly meant to type this same thing but left off the "became prevalent" by mistake.) and before the recent Supreme Court cases lmiting the use of capital punishment (which my Opponent did not respond to)

He has not shown a single murderer who was executed and later pardoned. He makes an absurd statement that because I used the word innocent instead of pardon his point still stands, when he has not proven innocence. He states that "The people that were executed were quite clearly not given a fair trial!" with all due respect to my Opponent (and I mean that sincerely, I have a lot of respect for him.) neither he, nor the site he linked is qualified to make that analysis. The people who are qualified to make that analysis (such as the Jurors, the Supreme Court, the State Board of Paroles and Pardons) all found these people guilty, and agreed that the trial was fair, or else they wouldn't have approved the executions. He has not provided even one case where an innocent was actually executed. Since I have shown innocents killed due to prisoners sentenced to life without parole, this point is outweighed.

=My Case=

C1

SPA


My Opponent contends that the Taylor evidence is un-important because it could happen with any crime. While the statement is true, the objection is not. What I am showing here is that murderers sentenced to life imprisonment can and do kill again. The only way to be certain that a murderer will not kill again is to execute them. My Opponent continues to argue that since these acts could be committed by any prisoners, that they are not useful for my case. I truly cannot understand what he is trying to say here. So these crimes could be committed by other offenders..so what? I've shown how life without parole, the sentence he champions, is still dangerous to the public because murderers can still kill again. Executed murderers cannot so this point stands.

More examples: The Texas 7, I do not know what their sentences were, but they were in a maximum security prison and still escaped, and went on a crime spree killing many innocent people.[1]

Martsay Bolder, sentenced to life imprisonment and murdered his cellmate.[2].

Donald Dillbeck- sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1979, escaped in 1990 and murdered a woman while attempting to steal her car.[3].

Martsay Bolder- while serving a life sentence for murder, killed cellmate.[4].

James Prestridge-sentenced to life w/o parole for murder, escaped from prison and murdered his fellow escapee (serving a sentence for robbery)[5].

There are only some of the many cases of killers who have killed again.

SPB:

My Opponent states that my since the muder rate continued to rise after the DP was reinstated, this proves that the DP does not deter. However he ignored my analysis that the DP was used very spariodically until the passing of the DP act of 1994, and then murder rates fell. He also criticises my studies, but as I said earlier, he is hardly qualified to make such an analysis about them.

He states that in Texas the murder rate fell and then remained the same, and this shows that the DP does not deter. Well the murder rate in TX has remained fairly steady since 2001, as has the execution rate of around 20-30 per year[6]. So you can see that this objection actually supports my side because it shows that the murder rate is consistent with the execution rate. To give another exaple, since the DP act of 1994 murder rates in Virginia (another state where the DP is used very commonly) have fallen significantly.[7]. The ACLU evidence my Opponent has shown does not give enough data to assess if the DP deters, indeed he has only shown 3 specific years, where as I have shown that since the DP has been increased in use after 1994, murder rates have significantly fallen. Thus this point stands

C2.

SPA

My Opponent contends that since I cannot prove that Life w/o parole will be abolished after Capital Punishment. I agree, I cannot prove what will happen in the future, however I have established that there is a historical precedent, indeed I've given evidence from Europe, and heres another example from the U.S. Melvin Geary was sentenced to life w/o parole, had it moved down to life, and was later released and murdered a 71 yeard old woman. More evidence as to the movments to abolish LWOP can be found, heres an example of a report advocating LWOP abolition[8].

SPB

Dropped, extend.

=Conclusion=

My Opponents contentions fall because they are based on specific examples from a small amount of states where a true Death Penalty does not exist. Mine stand because they are based on a broad spectrum using states that use the Death Penalty in earnest which is a more accurate way to assess it. I urge you to vote Pro, and thank my Opponent.

Sources in comments.


petersaysstuff

Con

I will hit what my opponent has said and then write a conclusion.

My case:

Cost: I did not concede to your notion, I responded to it quite clearly but since my opponent has missed it I shall copy-paste it again here. I said: "The only attempt he makes to refute my evidence is to say that they did not actually undergo the death penalty since they were not killed but this is just false. It is true that not everyone on death row has been killed yet even the cases before being killed cost more than life w/o parole! Let me say that again, even before we include the cost of the injections/electricity, the cost of the DP cases are vastly greater than life w/o parole. It does not matter if not all the people have been executed yet, they will be and the ones that have are also factored into the total cost thus my opponent's claims are false. But also let me show something again: "Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution". That is a quote from my Kansas source thus my opponent's claims that they do not count the actual execution is provably false. Cross apply to Maryland."

thus we can see I did respond to my opponent and thus my cost stands. My opponent also never refuted my Kansas evidence which was "counted through to execution" thus I win on that alone. As to the Maryland evidence: the above can be cross applied to Maryland. With Maryland, even if we ignore the costs of the electricity/chemicals, the cases alone cost more than life w/o parole!

To restate, my California evidence was never refuted, it was only said to be not relevant due to the 13 executions but he has conceded that the evidence itself is good thus it stands. My Kansas evidence was ignored and Maryland still stands. I win cost.

Cost v. Justice:

I did not concede that life w/o parole is more just. I will respond to this when I get to his case though but let me add one thing, cost outweighs in this case because America is spending way more money then it has on a form of punishment that is not needed. Just looking at my evidence from round 1 we can see that changing the DP to life w/o parole would save over $100 million dollars! $100 million from abolishing just one outdated form of punishment is amazing. Also, my opponent has not shown how the DP is more just, all he showed was the prisoners fear it (which I will respond to soon). That is not proving it is more just. This point has not been proven.

Innocence:

I have given tons of examples of people who came near execution but were saved. Yes, it proves our pardoning system works but this is what I said with my original list, "While it is true that they were not yet killed this just goes to show you that if 21 people (from one source alone) were all sentenced to death and found innocent there are most likely many more who have been killed and who are innocent.". But since my opponent keeps ignoring this I will provide some name of posthumous pardons. Joe Arridy[1] Here is a report regarding posthumous pardons: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

I have shown time and time again that the risk of killing innocent people vastly outweighs my opponent's "impacts" and thus, if only on this point, I urge you to vote con! Look at the evidence I have provided and make a fair judgment.

His case:

C1SPA: So what if we execute all the murderers? Do you honestly think that murders in prison will not happen? I am showing that the cases you have pointed to could be done by any criminal. Just executing murderers would NOT stop them from happening. As to your examples, my opponent concedes that he does not know what their sentences were thus they could be in there for a major robbery but not murder thus this is irrelevant. Unless he proves that the 7 were originally sentenced for murder, which he did not, then this is moot. For this to have any relevance he must advocate the killing of all criminals.

Martsay: My opponent's evidence does not show that he was convicted of murder the first time thus my point about the Texas 7 can be cross applied here.

Donald: This evidence is good but the risk of innocence outweighs.

Martsay again: See above xD

James: Same as Donald.

The final thing that can be said here is the sheer number of innocents sentenced to death grossly outweighs anything my opponent can throw. I have given over 40 cases from 2 sources alone were innocents have been sentenced to death but were, luckily, saved at the last minute. I have also shown innocents that were killed and a man who was posthumously pardoned. My point massively outweighs SPA.

But just for fun here are some quotes regarding this: "I've been in this system for over 40 years. I've been held hostage and been through multiple prison riots. If someone told me that the death penalty would protect me as a corrections officer, I would be offended...The death penalty does not safeguard anybody."[3]

"Prisoners serving life without parole are often much less likely than the average inmate to break prison rules. Virtually all studies and accounts of lifers by correctional workers confirm this"[3]

I suggest voters to look at the evidence and you will see who wins.

SPB: //The ACLU evidence my Opponent has shown does not give enough data to assess if the DP deters//
You are "hardy qualified to make such an analysis". You have dropped all my evidence and thus I extend it. I extend my ACLU evidence, my Deathpenaltyinfo.org evidenece, and my graph. But since my dropped evidence seems to not be enough let me show you more, "A September 2000 New York Times survey found that during the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48 to 101 percent higher than in states without the death penalty.
FBI data shows that all 14 states without capital punishment in 2008 had homicide rates at or below the national rate."[2] Please look at the graph in [2] and you will see that I win this point.

C2SPA: My opponent has given two links where people talk about abolishing it and that is fine but until my opponent gives a qualified report, not some news paper report written by a random reporter I suggest that no one take heed to this argument. My opponent is just citing people who want to take away LWOP. That is it.

SPB: This was originally lumped into my "not a punishment" contention but I will respond here again. So what? This proves nothing and my innocence contention outweighs. But again I will give evidence to the contrary.
"Life without parole is much worse than the death penalty." These are the words of Thomas J. Grasso who was put to death in '95.[4]

Conclusion: I have proven that the DP is much more costly than LWOP and this has gone unrefuted. The reason I did not provide evidence on every state is because I do not have enough characters to do so but I have given a broad selection of evidence and it still stands. I have also shown that there are very real cases of innocents sentenced to death and I have given a posthumous pardon case. This too has gone unrefuted. I have disproven my opponent's contentions and thus I strongly urge you to vote con!

A note to my opponent: Thank you so much for giving me the chance to debate this and I'm sorry if I wasn't at my "A game".

1: http://www.aolnews.com...
2: http://www.amnestyusa.org...
3: http://ejusa.org...
4: http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
thanks so much!
Posted by Contradiction 3 years ago
Contradiction
I'll get someone on it.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
yeah, I even PMed him about it and he couldnt give any valid reason why he voted against me...he probably didnt even read the debate. Think you could counter it?
Posted by Contradiction 3 years ago
Contradiction
Seabiscut's vote looks like a vote bomb... possibly in retaliation to his loss to thett in another debate.
Posted by petersaysstuff 3 years ago
petersaysstuff
Sorry Brian but I did not read the comments before I accepted and this looks too good to pass up.
Posted by BlackVoid 3 years ago
BlackVoid
I agree, that is a pretty good case. C2 in particular is very interesting.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
thank you for the compliment! and I'd be proud to debate someone as experienced as you! )although I'd probably lose, but its all for fun)
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by aircraftmechgirl 3 years ago
aircraftmechgirl
thett3petersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: I found Pro's argument more convincing, and Con seemed more interested in gaining points than proving his points.
Vote Placed by kohai 3 years ago
kohai
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Reasons for voting decision: overall good debate. Con used more updated sources, and pro never responded to the cost argument.
Vote Placed by BruteApologia 3 years ago
BruteApologia
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Seabiscuit's baseless Vote Bomb.
Vote Placed by Seabiscuit 3 years ago
Seabiscuit
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Reasons for voting decision: Argumentation was astoundingly better for Con then Pro
Vote Placed by Double_R 3 years ago
Double_R
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Total points awarded:41 
Reasons for voting decision: Pros argument was much more convincing as his statements were more impactful on proving the resolution while Con seemed to focus more on winning debate points. SG goes to Pro for a better constructed argument. Sources and Conduct would have gone to Con until realizing he also used the comment section for sources, so Con will get 1 pt instead of 3. Standard debate rules are that the comment section in no way should be used as an extension of an argument. This defies the character limits.