The Instigator
mannyfresh
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
bladerunner060
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

States should not be allowed to pursue the death penalty for a criminal that pleas guilty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
bladerunner060
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/3/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 864 times Debate No: 32043
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

mannyfresh

Pro

The State should not be allowed to pursue the death penalty for a criminal that pleas guilty.

Reference:
http://www.nytimes.com...

On April 1, 2013 the district attorney for Arapahoe County, George Brauchler, announced that they would be seeking the death penalty for James E Holmes. Prior to this announcement, The Defense had offered to plea guilty to all charges in order to avoid the death penalty.

Positions:
Me: I will be arguing for this position. PRO
You: Will be arguing that states should be allowed to pursue the death penalty regardless of plea.

Format of the Debate:
Round 1
Administrative Round please state the following: "I accept the debate and will be arguing that states should be allowed to pursue the death penalty regadless of the plea of the defendant"

Round 2
Me: Opening Statement
You: Opening Statement / First Rebuttal

Round 3
Me: First Rebuttal / Questions to Opposing side (3 Max)
You: Questions to Opposing Side (3 Max) / Answers to Questions

Round 4
Me: Answers to Questions / Response to Answers
You: Response to Answers / Final Arguments or Rebuttals

Round 5
Me: Final Arguments or Rebuttals / Closing Statements
You: Closing Statements

If you have no questions simply state : "I have no questions for my opponent"

Good luck!
bladerunner060

Con

Thank you to my opponent.

In keeping with his rules:

I accept the debate and will be arguing that states should be allowed to pursue the death penalty regardless of the plea of the defendant.

(I did correct the typo in "regardless", which I hope Pro does not fault; which is not to give him crap about the typo, because I'm sure I'll make my own)

Though this is an administrative round, I would also like to note that Pro has conceded in the comments that the death penalty is valid in principle, so that this debate will not hinge on that point.
Debate Round No. 1
mannyfresh

Pro

Does a police officer have the right to shoot a criminal after he has given up? Do soldiers have the right to kill soldiers after they have given up? Do you have the right to beat someone to death, after the other person has given up, even though you may have been acting in self defense? There are a lot of questions as to when reacting with deadly force is justified, but there has always been a standing moral rule, when someone gives up, the violence stops. Entering a plea of guilty is akin to giving up your fight against the state. I think if you consider the plea of guilty in this way, the state must give up their right to execute the Guilty party. States should not be allowed to purse the death penalty for a criminal that submits a plea of guilty.
bladerunner060

Con

Thanks to my opponent for his response.


Opening Statement:


In order to understand why we might want to, or why we shouldn't, hobble prosecutors in the manner that Pro suggests, we need to understand why prosecutors currently pursue the death penalty, or offer don't, and why they offer plea bargains.

While not an exhaustive list (I'm sure hypotheticals can be conceived of a convoluted nature), in general a prosecutor goes for the death penalty when:


A- The crime itself is heinous enough to warrant it

AND


B- There are no mitigating circumstances.


(To understand the second, an example: if one man kills three in cold blood, but only because they are his daughter's rapists, then the prosecutor may go for life in prison. Though the crime was heinous, there is a mitigating circumstance.).

A case where the crime is heinous enough to warrant it, and there are no mitigating circumstances, may nonetheless get a plea bargain if:

1- There is uncertainty how the jury will rule (which doesn't mean that the prosecutor is uncertain of the accused's guilt, but rather, knows human nature well enough that he has concerns they will rule in ways that seem inconsistent with the evidence presented. Such a situation leads the prosecutor to accept a plea in order to obtain a measure of certain justice, rather than run the risk of losing it completely)

OR


2- There are public perception problems in one way or another (perhaps the public thinks that the case is racially motivated, or religiously motivated. That might lead them to see more leeway in point 3, below, than they would otherwise).

OR


3- The crime is technically heinous enough, but within a gray area where a prison sentence might still be an acceptable outcome; in which case the prosecutor may offer a plea bargain that benefits the state and the defendant.


A plea bargain may be seen, thus, as a compromise. "Don't make us go through a trial, which we would rather not do for one of a myriad of reasons, and in exchange you will have a lighter sentence".

However, in a case where the crime is heinous enough to warrant the death penalty, and there are no mitigating circumstances, and there is almost no question how the jury will rule due to the character of the case, there is no incentive for the State, as represented by the Prosecutor's office, to offer a bargain: their goal is justice, and if they have decided the most just outcome is the death sentence, and that there is no good reason to accept anything less, why should they be forced to?

Pro suggests that prosecutors be prohibited from ever going for the death penalty for those who plead guilty. This would have the net effect of making the death penalty nonexistent for the ones who are most likely to qualify for it: Those against whom the state has the most compelling and most complete evidence of heinousness.



First Rebuttals:

My opponent thinks that death is only warranted to people struggling against the state. This completely ignores the stated goal of the justice system. There isn't, nor should there be, "punishment" for proclaiming your innocence, which is what Pro is advocating.

Pro claims "there has always been a standing moral rule, when someone gives up, the violence stops", and that's flatly not true. There have been executions in human society since pretty much forever.

The analogies he has drawn fail for lack of similarity: the death penalty is not some inherent, incidental consequence of a not guilty plea, but rather for the crime itself.

The soldier's job is to neutralize the enemy. That killing the enemy is generally necessary to do that does not mean that an enemy who has neutralized himself by giving up should be shot because, again, the killing is incidental to the goal, it is not the goal itself, the neutralization is.

The same is true for the police officer: his goal is to neutralize the criminal and take him or her into custody. If the criminal gives up, that goal is achieved. It is not his goal to kill the criminal, although that may be necessary. The killing is incidental to the goal, it is not the goal itself, the apprehension is.

The goal of the justice system is to see that justice is done as much as possible. If the death penalty is, in general, a sound proposition, as Pro agreed to, then hobbling the prosecution in the manner proposed by Pro does not serve to further that goal. Justice is the goal, and the killing may expressly be the means of achieving that goal.

Take the case my opponent is speaking of specifically (The Colorado movie-theater shooter). There may be mitigating circumstances here such as mental illness. But it is not those things that Pro is advocating for as affecting his ultimate sentence, but rather whether he concedes his guilt or not. When there is incentive for the state for that, I can see it. But cost alone is not a compelling incentive. Again, the Prosecutors are attempting to obtain justice. Saving money is a nice perk, but it doesn't further the prosecution's goal of obtaining the maximum correct justice. This crime was clearly heinous enough to warrant the death penalty, if it's ever warranted. Without mitigating factors, and with confidence in the outcome a jury trial, there is simply no reason for the state to take what they feel to be the just punishment off the table.
Debate Round No. 2
mannyfresh

Pro

mannyfresh forfeited this round.
bladerunner060

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeited his round. This makes the Q part of the Q/A period more difficult for me, as I have less "meat" about which to ask, and have no idea which points which I made Pro actually contests.

Questions:

1. What do you think the purpose of the death penalty is?
2. Don't you think that the plea bargains which exist now exist as a compromise which benefits both parties, the State in its interests of Justice and the Defense in its interest of minimizing consequence?
3. Will you actually be able to post a round this next round?

Answers:

No questions to answer for the obvious reason that I didn't get any!
Debate Round No. 3
mannyfresh

Pro

mannyfresh forfeited this round.
bladerunner060

Con

In keeping with the rules posted by my opponent, who has, unfortunately, forfeited again, this round should be a response to his answers, and my final arguments or rebuttals. As he has not answered any of my questions, I am left with my final arguments.

To be honest, I feel my opening arguments stand on their own, as they were unrebutted and unquestioned. In the absence of any "meat" for discussion, it's hard for me to make up more objections to counter, and I certainly wouldn't want to misrepresent his position with any of hypothetical objections, whatever it might actually be. So I will simply make my final argument a restatement of my initial statement, and probably very similar to my closing statement. I feel one can be against the death penalty in general, and one can think there are a lot of reasons the death penalty should not be pursued in specific cases, but I do not think that prosecutors should be hobbled simply because a defendant pleads guilty, and I do not believe my opponent has given any compelling reasons to do so.

I hope my opponent actually posts something his final round...
Debate Round No. 4
mannyfresh

Pro

I want to apologize for being absent during this debate. Some things came up during this week/weekend that did not allow me to continue on this debate. I apologize to Bladerunner especially and appreaciate all his work. My sincere apologies again to all
bladerunner060

Con

I appreciate my opponent's response, and will close by saying that I hope all is well with him!
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
Hopefully, Pro actually posts a round this next round...
Posted by mannyfresh 3 years ago
mannyfresh
Blade runner. I will agree that the death penalty should be allowed in other circumstances except when a defendant pleas guilty. Given: the death penalty is an acceptable form of punishment except in the case when a defendant pleas guilty or confesses
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
I will accept this provided that the general concept of the death penalty is accepted as sound; I have an argument, but I worry the debate will degenerate into "the death penalty is never just".

So to be clear: We are accepting that the death penalty is, as a concept, sound and just, and that your position is that someone who pleads guilty should be exempt from that?
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Is your argument against the death penalty for those who confess etc, or against the entire death penalty as it currently stands?

The case in question at least limits the problem of potential worse crimes.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
mannyfreshbladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con has me convinced that the defendants who will likely face the DP most and for whom there is the mot compelling evidence will likely be the ones who would plead guilty to escape it. While I have moral qualms about the DP in general, Con's argument is airtight. If we are gonna use the DP, the worst possible way is to do it is to give a free pass to those who plead guilty. Conduct for forfeit.
Vote Placed by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
mannyfreshbladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
mannyfreshbladerunner060Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: F.F.