The Instigator
XStrikeX
Pro (for)
Winning
51 Points
The Contender
Akemi_Loli_Mokoto
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

The Death Penalty/Capital Punishment should be eliminated

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
XStrikeX
Started: 4/28/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 18,022 times Debate No: 11913
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (11)

 

XStrikeX

Pro

Let's get straight down to business. I am on the Proposition side of this debate, arguing that Capital Punishment A.K.A. the Death Penalty should be eliminated.
I'll begin with a definition.

Webster defines "eliminate" as 'to put an end to or to get rid of."
I'll start with an opening.

Capital punishment is the execution of a person by the state as punishment for a crime. Crimes that can result in the death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offenses. Capital punishment has been used in societies throughout history as a way to punish crime and suppress political dissent. In most places that practice capital punishment today, the death penalty is reserved as punishment for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. Capital offenders are then sent to death row and await execution, by processes such as electrocution, gas, injection, hanging, or a firing squad. 36 states in the United States currently permit capital punishment, some even killing near 400 people since 1930. Nine states have no minimum age for execution and others vary from 10-18.

1. If the goal of the death penalty is to punish a person as severely as possible, life without parole can be seen as meeting this objective better than capital punishment. The reason is that life without parole forces a murderer to live out their remorseful life, whereas capital punishment saves them from living it. This is why many people on death row express feelings of relief about being put to death.

James Bernstein, NY Times. ""The loss of freedom for the remainder of one's life is no mild punishment. We do not need the death penalty to express society's utter repudation of those who would take the lives of others."
If the death penalty is considered a "proportional" punishment for someone who commits 1 murder, wouldn't we need a harsher sentence for a person that tortures and murders 10 people? If proportionality is the model, we might have to torture criminals in order to exert sufficient punishment. Therefore, the inherent flaw in a concept of justice based on "proportionality" is that it has no limits, creating a slippery slope to torture in the name of justice.

Harry Lee Anstead, Florida Supreme Court Justice, dissenting from a ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the electric chair. St. Petersburg Times. 26 Sept. 1999 - "Our justice system is not simply an instrument of vengeance, despite the connotation to that effect contained in the extreme rhetoric that sometimes surrounds the constitutional debate over continuing use of the electric chair."

2. The innocent are cruelly slaughtered. Since 1973, 123 in 25 US states have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. The Innocence project indicated that more than 150 people have been exonerated on the basis of DNA testing that concluded that they were innocent.
This creates a likelihood that many individuals have actually been executed that were innocent. This is too many, particularly when the executed are seen as innocent victims of the state. This is harmful to the state and the judicial system, and is sufficient evidence to shut down the practice. Judge Jed S Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan discusses novel legal argument against capital punishment which he developed while overseeing death penalty case; interview; his 2002 ruling pointed to increasing number of DNA exonerations and wondered whether death penalty violates due process because executed prisoners cannot pursue claims of innocence.

3. Cruel and unusual punishment. he death penalty is severe in the damage it causes to the human body. Inflicting mortal damage on the human body, whether by electric chair or lethal injection, is equivalent to or even worse than torture, and violates basic human rights that are inherent and irrevocable. The death penalty is also cruel and torturous in the way that it inflicts psychological damage on convicts that wait on death row. Also, sometimes, criminals do not die, and are still taking the effects of the punishment, for example, being electrocuted, but still being alive, and taking the pain of the volts.

4. Negative effect. Death penalty is there to deter crime, but it doesn't. Capital punishment has a "brutalizing effect" that increases the willingness of criminals to take life. If state-sanctioned killings are occurring, might an individual feel more justified in murdering another person? If governments of men can take the power of life-and-death into their hands, might this make a man more comfortable with also taking that power into his own hands? The site I am posting shows an increase in crimes.

http://debatepedia.idebate.org...
California averaged 6 executions a year from 1952 to 1967, and had twice the murder rate than the period from 1968 until 1991 when there were no executions. In New York, from 1907 to 1964, months immediately following an execution showed a net increase of two murders - an average over a 57-year period.
Bedua/ACLU. 1992. "The Case against the Death Penalty." "Reliance on the death penalty obscures the true causes of crime and distracts attention from the social measures that effectively contribute to its control. Politicians who preach the desirability of executions as a weapon of crime control deceive the public and mask their own failure to support anti-crime measures that will really work." It is important that scientists be able to study murderers to determine what drives them to perform such heinous acts. If society has a better understanding of the causes of murderous rages, it should be better able to prevent them in the future. Capital punishment prevents this research from occurring.

5. Wastes too much time and money. Considerable delay in carrying out the death sentence is unavoidable, given the procedural safeguards required by the courts in capital cases. Starting with empaneling the trial jury, murder trials take far longer when the death penalty is involved. Post-conviction appeals in death-penalty cases are far more frequent as well. All these factors increase the time and cost of administering criminal justice. The sobering lesson is that we can reduce such delay and costs only by abandoning the procedural safeguards and constitutional rights of suspects, defendants, and convicts, with the attendant high risk of convicting the wrong person and executing the innocent. Capital punishment wastes resources. It squanders the time and energy of courts, prosecuting attorneys, defense counsel, juries, and courtroom and correctional personnel. It unduly burdens the system of criminal justice, and it is therefore counterproductive as an instrument for society's control of violent crime. It epitomizes the tragic inefficacy and brutality of the resort to violence rather than reason for the solution of difficult social problems.

Sources:
http://users.rcn.com...
http://freenet-homepage.de...
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
deathpenalty.org
http://www.religioustolerance.org...
http://query.nytimes.com...
http://www.religion-online.org...
http://www.nytimes.com...

I look forward to debating with someone!
Akemi_Loli_Mokoto

Con

There are several reason to keep the Death Penalty.

1) The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much
2) It creates another form of crime deterrent
3) Justice is better served
4) Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims
5) It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence
6) DNA testing and other methods of modern crime scene science can now effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence.
7) Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill.
8) It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system.
9) It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system.
10) It's cheaper then keeping the SOB's in prison.
Debate Round No. 1
XStrikeX

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate.
I doubt my opponent has even looked on my points for he has not touched on them and many of his points have already been disproven by the ones I put down.

Let's get crackin'.
Refutation

1. If something gives closure and happiness to the victim's family, and it is bad, it shouldn't be done. The death penalty is a mischievous case of revenge for the victim's family. Killing one life will not bring another life back. You just end with two dead people. In some cases, no closure is even given to the family. Jennifer Bishop said, "Our sister Nancy and her husband Richard were a young couple expecting their first child when they were shot to death in their home. They loved and valued life; our sister was carrying life within her when she died a terrifying and brutal death. Her last act as she was dying was to write a message of love in her blood. We can't imagine making the death of another human being her memorial."
Sharon Borcyzewski, whose daughter was murdered in 1997, Arizona Republic, 12 Apr. 2004. - "The assumption is all too often made that all murder-victim family members want the death penalty. The horrible reality for those of us who have lost loved ones to homicide is that nothing that happens to their murderers is going to bring our loved ones back."

2. I already stated that it is not an effect deterrent. See Round 1, contention 4.

3. Justice is not better served. See Round 1, contention 1.

4. The victims are already dead, so you can't be sympathetic to them. Our justice system is based on the death penalty, and you're saying that that is more sympathetic. So let's switch to life-in-prison! If the goal is to obtain more punishment, solitary confinement or prison is better.

5. How does it provide a deterrent for those that are going to die, if they can't ever murder someone again, seeing as they're getting killed by the death penalty...

6. Almost all uncertainty. Innocent people will be killed, no matter what. In 2004, Gordon Randy Steidl was released from death row after being discovered innocent. That is more modern and we still have the same technology! Ronald Kitchen was freed from charges in 2009, one year ago! We had DNA testing back then, but we still made that error! For further innocence, consult this site. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

7. Murderers will be put in such an extreme jail that they will never be able to escape.

8. Well, there's overpopulation in the death row, and those people continuously build up!

9. Um, could you please clarify?

10. No, that's untrue.
Annual cost of death penalty: $137 million a year
Annual cost of penalty with reforms: $232.7 million a year
A system using life-in-prison: $11.5 million a year
Research conducted by California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice

Maryland spent $137 million on a SINGLE execution.
In New Jersey, death penalty cost taxpayers $253 million!
These numbers are quite outrageous and would massively reduce with life-in-prison.

New Points

1. Not implemented fairly. Because Capital Punishment is resolute and irreconcilable, its application is either reserved for extremities, or for judicial statements regarding the severity of the law concerned. Thus, it may be either used exceedingly sparingly or overtly. Any sentence that welds such influential decision changing power cannot possibly be applied equally and fairly across all Judges/Juries deciding the sentence. As such, it should be removed as sentence the court has over the people.
Steward F. Hancock, former associate judge of New York's Court of Appeals. - "As a matter of common sense, one would have to conclude, as the court in Massachusetts did, that since racial prejudice affects the death sentencing systems throughout the United States and since it has affected death sentencing under the previous statute, it will affect death sentences under the present statute as well."

2. Cruel and unusual. Against Constitution. The death penalty is severe in the damage it causes to the human body. Inflicting mortal damage on the human body, whether by electric chair or lethal injection, is equivalent to or even worse than torture, and violates basic human rights that are inherent and irrevocable. The death penalty is also cruel and torturous in the way that it inflicts psychological damage on convicts that wait on death row.

For these reasons, the death penalty should be abolished.
I look forward to the next round and response.
Akemi_Loli_Mokoto

Con

You don't get it yet do ya?
1) Some family members of crime victims may take years or decades to recover from the shock and loss of a loved one. Some may never recover. One of the things that helps hasten this recovery is to achieve some kind of closure. Life in prison just means the criminal is still around to haunt the victim. A death sentence brings finality to a horrible chapter in the lives of these family members.

2) It creates another form of crime deterrent. Crime would run rampant as never before if there wasn't some way to deter people from committing the acts. Prison time is an effective deterrent, but with some people, more is needed. Prosecutors should have the option of using a variety of punishments in order to minimize crime.

3) The most fundamental principle of justice is that the punishment should fit the crime. When someone plans and brutally murders another person, doesn't it make sense that the punishment for the perpetrator also be death?

4) It's time we put the emphasis of our criminal justice system back on protecting the victim rather than the accused. Remember, a person who's on death row has almost always committed crimes before this. A long line of victims have been waiting for justice. We need justice for current and past victim

5) What about people already sentenced to life in prison. What's to stop them from murdering people constantly while in prison? What are they going to do--extend his sentence? Sure, they can take away some prison privileges, but is this enough of a deterrent to stop the killing? What about a person sentenced to life who happens to escape? What's to stop him from killing anyone who might try to bring him in or curb his crime spree?

6) One of the biggest arguments against the death penalty is the possibility of error. Sure, we can never completely eliminate all uncertainty, but nowadays, it's about as close as you can get. DNA testing is over 99 percent effective. And even if DNA testing and other such scientific methods didn't exist, the trial and appeals process is so thorough it's next to impossible to convict an innocent person. Remember, a jury of 12 members must unanimously decide there's not even a reasonable doubt the person is guilty. The number of innocent people that might somehow be convicted is no greater than the number of innocent victims of the murderers who are set free.

7) Perhaps the biggest reason to keep the death penalty is to prevent the crime from happening again. The parole system nowadays is a joke. Does it make sense to anyone outside the legal system to have multiple "life" sentences + 20 years or other jiverish? Even if a criminal is sentenced to life without possibility of parole, he still has a chance to kill while in prison, or even worse, escape and go on a crime/murder spree.

8) Prisons across the country face the problem of too many prisoners and not enough space & resources. Each additional prisoner requires a portion of a cell, food, clothing, extra guard time, and so on. When you eliminate the death penalty as an option, it means that prisoner must be housed for life. Thus, it only adds to the problem of an overcrowded prison system.

9) The number of criminal cases that are plea bargained (meaning the accused admits guilt in return for a lesser sentence or some other concession) can be as high as 80 or 90 percent of cases. With the time, cost, and personnel requirements of a criminal case, there really isn't much of a choice. The vast majority of people that are arraigned are in fact guilty of the crime they are accused. Even if you believe a defendant only deserves life in prison, without the threat of a death sentence, there may be no way to get him to plead guilty and accept the sentence. If a case goes to trial, in addition to the enormous cost, you run the chance that you may lose the case, meaning a violent criminal gets off scot free. The existence of the death penalty gives prosecutors much more flexibility and power to ensure just punishments.

10) Prisons cost taxpayers more than $32 billion a year. Every year that an inmate spends in prison costs $22,000. An individual sentenced to five years for a $300 theft costs the public more than $100,000. The cost of a life term averages $1.5 million.

States are spending more money on prisons than education. Over the course of the last 20 years, the amount of money spent on prisons was increased by 570% while that spent on elementary and secondary education was increased by only 33%.

140,610 out of 2.3 million inmates being held in jails and prisons across the country. 1.5million/Prisoner x 140,610 Life Sentenced Prisoners = $210,915,000,000/year I believe that number adds up to. I get the feeling its incorrect, but if so, disregard my sentence.

By the way, who give a flying s...turd about the pain the death pen. causes the guilty party, If he didn wanna die, he should have never commited the crime. Point-Counterpoint done!
Debate Round No. 2
XStrikeX

Pro

Thank you for responding.

1. I have already covered this. What you aren't mentioning is that another person is killed by inhumane methods. The family is simply being selfish by wanting the crime perpetrator killed. How can you get closure if you sleep at night knowing that you killed someone that you didn't even know? You never knew him or understood him. I have given examples that family members are not happy when the death penalty occurs. They have spoken that they don't receive any sort of closure or happiness when another person is hurt or murdered.

2. No statistics. I gave statistics. Refer to previous rounds for further information.

3. No, actually the death penalty doesn't make sense. Isn't the death penalty meant to act as a crime deterrent (which is failing by the way)? So why are we killing people to teach that the killing of people is wrong? That does not make any sense. And remember, it's not just when innocent people are killed for something they didn't do. The punishment should not fit the crime, it should be worse than the crime, as in solitary confinement or life-in-prison.

4. How does killing another person help the victim who's already dead? A long line of victims have not been waiting for justice because they're dead! And in another case, killing someone is not just in any way. See previous rounds and contentions/refutations.

5. How can you murder someone when you're confined in a maximum security prison? It is extremely hard to escape from such a prison and the crime-maker will never cause crimes again.

6. As I have previously shown, people nowadays are still being sentenced to the death penalty. It's just fortunate enough that they get to stay in death row so long that the court system finds them innocent. But the problem is, it wastes too much time of the court system. There are many appeals and many days are spent on an arduous capital offense. Imagine if we didn't have the death penalty. Courts wouldn't be clogged, innocents wouldn't be killed. The system would be freed of all these problems.

7. As I previously said, prisoners will not be able to escape and they cannot kill anyone in jail. They will not have multiple life sentences, only one because they will never run away.

8. That means we would need more prisons or we need to learn an effective way to prevent crimes. In any case, it's much, much cheaper than the death penalty. Extra guard time means more jobs, too. Bonus to the economy.

9. "Even if you believe a defendant only deserves life in prison, without the threat of a death sentence, there may be no way to get him to plead guilty and accept the sentence." Well, then, even if you believe a defendant deserves the death penalty, without the threat of a life sentence, there may be no way to get him to plead guilty and accept the sentence. It's not really a relevant point, considering it goes the same way for the penalty and the prison.

10. I do believe these numbers are wrong because in the last round, I said
"Annual cost of death penalty: $137 million a year
Annual cost of penalty with reforms: $232.7 million a year
A system using life-in-prison: $11.5 million a year
Research conducted by California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice"
As you can see, it's much cheaper to keep them in jail.

My opponent has hardly refuted any points I brought up in the first and second rounds and only focused on my refutation for his points. His counter-point argument brought up a point that I didn't even argue.

For these reasons, the Proposition has won this debate, for the motion that "The Death Penalty should be Eliminated."
Akemi_Loli_Mokoto

Con

What do you not get cutie pie? I believe that Ed Koch's piece, "Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life is correct (Koch 2005). We have to have the death penalty for cases of violent murder, multiple murders and serial killers. There is no other choice. Life in prison is not sufficient punishment for the taking of another human life. People always put forward the notion that killing is wrong, in any sense, but they don't want to punish killers. How many killers have been released after relatively short prison terms only to kill again? Koch cites 85 persons arrested for homicide in New York City in 1976 and 1977 who had a previous arrest for murder, six of whom had two prior arrests for homicide, and who one had four previous arrests for murder (Koch 717). How many killers have been sentenced to life in prison, then committed even more murders while in prison, as in the case of Lemuel Smith cited by Koch (Koch716).

What can be done with these people? They cannot be reformed. These people are simply evil. They have no respect for human life. They do no appreciate being given a second chance, a chance to repent and turn their lives around. They just go right back out and do the same thing again. Giving them a life sentence in prison gives them a license to kill in prison: they know that nothing more can happen to them. If he commits another murder, or two, or three while in prison - what more can we do to him? If we can't execute him, he is beyond further punishment so he should be executed. Thanks for playing, but you have failed on many levels. 8)
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tyciol 3 years ago
tyciol
Costs can be offset by changes in prison policy, like providing more opportunities for prisoners to work, fewer luxuries, experimentation. All are preferable to death.
Posted by XStrikeX 3 years ago
XStrikeX
Co-op
I never said that I thought I was smart. Sure, it will cost us 8681 a year, but he is suffering. Think if we had the death penalty. If you look in the debate, the costs of executing someone is a couple million dollars
Posted by co-op 3 years ago
co-op
xstrikex
you are not as smart as you think if we just keep him in jail for life it cost us tax payers $8,681 a year just to keep him in jail with food in his stumic and a bed at night. you are paying for a man that has done something so wrong that society thinks we should put him to death, and you are paying for him to live.
Posted by tyciol 3 years ago
tyciol
The death penalty is wrong because in case of innocent convictions, you can not make up for your mistake. That should be reason enough.
Posted by Demosthenes 3 years ago
Demosthenes
Life without parole cases are a farce but capital punishment should not be used except in cases where the proposed recipient of said punishment have committed so horrific a crime that the risk, however minute, of said criminal escaping back into the general population is not tolerable to the safety of society and therefore they must be terminated.
Posted by XStrikeX 3 years ago
XStrikeX
Haha... People like to lie about their age just so they can get accounts.
Posted by jingzhezhang 3 years ago
jingzhezhang
me too!!!
Posted by XStrikeX 3 years ago
XStrikeX
I"m actually in sixth grade, 12 years old. Almost a teen.
Posted by phoenixash 3 years ago
phoenixash
I won't bother with sources since I'm not actually part of the debate, but it appears to be that capital punishment cases (trials, appeals, etc) cost much, much more up front than life without parole cases. At some point in time, it becomes more cost efficient for life without parole. I am not sure of the specific numbers or at what time it switches. However, even these facts are mostly irrelevant because Con never specifically mentions life without parole in his argument, only "inmates/prison". More money is undoubtedly spent on an individual capital punishment case than on one average Joe prisoner. Since Con makes no such distinction, this could account for his wild difference in cost, seeing as he is counting every single prisoner in the country versus a substantially smaller number of death row inmates.
I lied about the sources. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org... seems to show that capital punishment takes up a ton of taxpayer money. On a more balanced note, http://lifeontherow.proboards.com... has a good forum topic with thorough research about the costs of life without parole versus capital punishment. One more balanced source- http://deathpenalty.procon.org... apparently did a lot of research, but found much more evidence against capital punishment economically than for it.
Posted by Marauder 3 years ago
Marauder
I'm disapponted sources wernt given on Cons 10th point from eithor side. both gave difforent numbers; 11.5 million a year as opposed to 32 billion a year, thats a big difference and worth sourceing a reason form differing oppinons there.
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