The Instigator
destttt_b
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
jd325494523
Con (against)
Losing
8 Points

The Death Penalty Should Be Illegal.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
destttt_b
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,487 times Debate No: 22319
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (4)

 

destttt_b

Pro

I am looking for someone to give a reasonable explanation(s) and arguments on why he or she feels that the death penalty should remain legalized in certain areas of the United States. Therefore, I will be arguing on why I do not agree with the death penalty. For this 1st round I am asking for acceptance, 2nd-4th round going deeper into the argument, and the 5th round should be the final conclusion. This is only my second debate and compared to my last argument, I know this is going to be even more controversial, so, I'm not quite sure what to expect.

First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Destinee Bayona and I'm an 18 year old freshman attending William Paterson University in New Jersey and majoring in Psychology. As a requirement for my Philosophy class I am taking, and for 15% of my overall grade, I must complete 3 debates throughout the semester, with this being my second so far. Each debate must be a maximum of 3,000 characters, for 5 rounds, and must be completed by April 1st. Also, absolutely NO copying and pasting. If you are going to speak on your opinion, let it be YOUR own thoughts. I have a lot to say so I look forward to this debate :)
jd325494523

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for challenging me to this debate. I'm pro-death penalty for a number of reasons that will be presented later in my cases. I'm looking forward to this debate(:
I'm Jonathan and I'm a 14-year old freshman in high-school a first-year debater at Sherman Highschool. I'm on here for fun, so I don't necessarily have a fancy reason for being here, but it's all good.
Debate Round No. 1
destttt_b

Pro

You're welcome, and thank you Jonathon for accepting my debate :) I realize we are both young here, but both have a lot to say about this topic.

First off, I would like to say that I am aware that 34 out of the 50 states allow the death penalty and this is appalls me. However, I did notice that my opponent lives in one of the states that allows it, Texas, and I am from New Jersey which does not. So, I recognize that possibly being a reason for our opposing views, but am still respectful of my opponent's views as well.

I have noticed in my 18 years of life, that the justice system in our country is far from perfect. But, it is ridiculous how guilty people can walk free at times and the innocent can be executed when they are wrongly accused of a crime.

Recently, a 17 year old boy named Trayvon Martin apparently looked "suspicious" and was murdered - even when young Trayvon was begging for his life. All the poor boy had on him was skittles, an iced tea, the clothes on his back, and a cell phone! The man who murdered him, named George Zimmermann, was part of the neighborhood watch in Florida, an area where the death penalty is allowed, and this man walks free for murder. Where is the justice in that?

What about Troy Davis? He was executed by lethal injection in Georgia for a crime he "apparently" committed over 20 years ago, which was the shooting of an off-duty Savannah officer named Mark MacPhail. From the moment he was accused to the last minutes of his life, he still swore his innocence and was not even carrying a gun that night.

Plus, there was the Casey Anthony trial, also in Florida. All of the signs pointed to her killing her baby, Caylee, but she walks away free, too. To this day, I still feel that cases like these are determined by bribery, tricks played by the lawyer, or by even racism, and Casey Anthony is an attractive, young, Caucasian female.

These events are not the first times things like this has occurred in the U.S. It happens way too often, which is why we should not execute any criminals. After all our country has done to fix and improve "the system", these outrageous events should not still be occurring. Since, the legal system often has flaws, who is anyone to truly say whom deserves capital punishment and whom does not? More importantly, what exactly the justice of killing a killer? He or she should rot in jail for their crime if they commit such a murder. Plus, there are some people who kill out of crime of passion, not being able to take someone's physical/mental/emotional abuse anymore, to protect themselves, or because they have psychological problems and could not control themselves. Not saying that this makes what they have done alright at all, however, they deserve less of a punishment or possibly hospitalization and treatment for mental illness. Some are even executed for other things not even as severe as murder, which isn't even fair.

So, what is it that makes capital punishment alright?
jd325494523

Con

Given the amount of space, I will present my case first and then present my rebuttals in the next round.

Resolved: Capital Punishment should be illegal. In today's society there are many horrendous crimes committed by murderers, in my opinion, Capital Punishment is justifiable. It is for these reasons and those that follow that I am compelled to negate today's resolution.

For clarification, I offer these definitions:
Murder-The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being to another
Capital Punishment-Punishment by death for a crime

Contention 1: Murder is unnacceptable. Murder is the unlawful premeditated killing from one human being to another. In today's society our laws condone good behavior and good character. Actions that violate the laws are usually bad. As mentioned earlier, murder is the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another, this is obviously not okay. So how do we go about handling something like this? Well, according to philosopher John Locke, "Once a man has initiated force against an innocent person, he has in effect declared that he does not live by the principle of individual rights. He does not wish to live among men as a rational being, but as a predator, to the detriment and destruction of all those around. Rights stem from man's nature as a rational being, and a man living irrationally has no rights." the only clear solution is capital punishment, especially since an inhumane crime has been committed. One may argue that execution is wrong but how righteous is the killing of an innocent human being?

Contention 2: Capital Punishment is proportional for the most part, if it is not, it is usually in the murderer's favor. The death penalty is completely proportionate, when there is a murder, there is a victim who was killed before it was their time die, the same is done to the murderer. The murderer is given better treatment than the victim, they are placed in captivity for approximately 5-10 years, (which is clearly more than enough time to investigate a case to see if someone is guilty or not.) where they are fed 3 square meals a day (which is a lot more food than the homeless citizens of the U.S. have access to.) and when it is their time to be executed they are able to choose what they would like as their last meal. Did their victim have that option? No. There are horrendous murders committed that include stabbing, shooting, torturing, etc. and what is the consequence? A lethal injection that puts the inmate into a deep sleep before they are killed. Did the victim have the option to be put to sleep? No. They had to feel EVERYTHING. I would have more sympathy for the innocent people that are wrongly convicted if Capital Punishment were more brutal but it is not. People are put to sleep. Therefore I believe that Capital Punishment should remain legal.
Debate Round No. 2
destttt_b

Pro

I appreciate my opponent's clarity, and that he took the time to define the terms he used. Jonathon defines murder as "the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being to another" - I feel that premeditated should be a keyword as well; pre�med�i�tate: to meditate, consider, or plan beforehand: to premeditate a murder.

I mentioned in my previous argument that killings can happen for different reasons and is certainly immoral. But, in some cases people who commit a murder do so in self-defense, from emotional trauma caused by that person, or mental, physical, emotional, or even sexual abuse. Those people deserve something less severe than capital punishment and some need to get themselves help instead of being punished.

Jonathon mentions in Contention 1 "One may argue that execution is wrong but how righteous is the killing of an innocent human being?" - that is one of the points I am trying to make. As mentioned, our justice system is far from perfect. Sometimes it is biased, corrupted, lawyers use trickery on the jury, the jury is not always trustworthy with choosing one's fate, innocent people are wrongfully accused for crimes they did not commit, some spend decades in jail until the truth finally comes out, and unfortunately, some die from execution before and if it does. Also in this paragraph, it is mentioned that the only "clear" solution is capital punishment, however, jail time for whatever is deserved of that crime seems like a fine solution, too.

In Contention 2, he mentions that the death penalty is proportional because it is taking the life away from someone who took another's life away. But again I say, does killing someone for killing really teach a lesson? What if we were to rape a rapist for raping or kidnap a kidnapper? Killing someone for murder does not bring back the person(s) murdered. Also, lethal injection is not the primary punishment for all states that permit the death penalty; some still allow electrocution, lethal gas, or the firing squad, which all inflict much more pain than putting someone to sleep. Adding on, the suffering of a lifetime in jail is just as bad if not worse than capital punishment. In all seriousness, it is like when you were a kid, your parent told you to "go to your room and think about what you've done" but for several years, if not a lifetime. I realize that some criminals show no remorse for their crimes, but a large portion keep that guilt with them for the rest of their lives and constantly think about the harm they have done; guilt can truly eat a person alive, and even push someone towards killing his or herself or having suicidal thoughts. Plus, though they have a bed and 3 square meals, they have completely lost their freedom, families, jobs, and chances of improving their lives. On top of that, they are surrounded by criminals and possibly in fear of their own lives everyday. Furthermore, jail time is a better punishment than the death penalty and non-hypocritical as well.
jd325494523

Con

In her introduction, my opponent spoke of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot for no reason by one of the neighborhood watch members because he seemed suspicious. She goes on to say that the death penalty was enforced in Florida and seemed to be upset with the fact that George Zimmerman walked free. I'd like to address the fact that she is advocating that the death penalty be illegal, yet she mentions that she is upset that George Zimmerman was not executed with the question "Where is the justice in that?" Clearly, she believed he should have been put to death.

In her next paragraph she goes on to state that Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection for a crime he did not commit. I'd like to present the fact that in the state of Texas, one of the leading states when it comes to executions, there have been approximately 138 people that were exonerated and let go after being wrongfully accused. This goes to show that the justice system is still intact and that investigators are being very thorough. 138 people=138 lives saved. While many may argue that it was still wrong to convict 138 people, I'd like to ask what would have been better, 138 people dying, or 138 people being saved?

She also brought up the Casey Anthony trial. The reason Casey Anthony was able to walk free was because of the lack of proper investigation. The evidence was either contaminated or overlooked by investigators (in Florida, not Texas).

She claims that a killer should not be killed but should "rot in jail for their crime". Usually, murderers do not go to jail, they are placed in solitary confinement where they are forced to be alone in a small room for 23 hours a day and are given 1 hour a day to exercise. This leads to approximately 1/3 of its inmates being driven mentally insane and 90% of inmates experiencing irrational anger. In other words, inmates are psychologically tortured.

She also speaks of domestic abuse victims who are sent to death row for their crimes. Unfortunately, she is uninformed about what actually occurs. In fact, women are rarely sent to death row for murder, they actually receive a life sentence in jail instead. Also, if it is a domestic violence case, it is completely different than a regular homicide case. Domestic Violence victims reserve the right to use Battered Spouse Syndrome as a defense, and with the right representation, they can be found not guilty. Capital Punishment only comes into the trial if there was reason to believe that the "victim" was not in danger. Slef defense and murder are TOTALLY different cases.

She brings up the raping a rapist argument, which is irrelevant to this debate simply because the consequences of murder are far worse that that of rape/kidnapping. A life is lost with a murder and with rape the only thing lost is virginity. My opponent is advocating the psychological torture("guilt can eat a person alive") of an inmate which is a direct contradiction of everything she is advocating against.
Debate Round No. 3
destttt_b

Pro

My question "where is the justice in that?" does not imply that I "clearly" believe he should be put to death. If I did, I would not be pro in this debate. By mentioning the tragic controversy occurring in our country involving Trayvon Martin's death, the point I was trying to get across was that the justice system is obviously not perfect, and those who deserve punishment often do not receive it. If proven guilty, even though in my eyes he is, then he definitely deserves time in jail for such a crime. However, that does not mean he or anyone else deserves to die for killing; killing one for killing another is extremely hypocritical of our society, immoral, and though it may seem "proportional", it does not teach a lesson about the seriousness of taking another's life if one is going to do the same thing - even for revenge purposes, or whatever it may be.

I would like to point out that I do think it is a good thing that my opponent states that in Texas there were 138 people exonerated and released after being wrongly accused of a crime. However, capital punishment is legal in over 60% of the United States. With that being said, there are still too many people killed before they are truly proven innocent of the crime.

He also states most murderers are sentenced to solitary confinement and, as a result of this, deal with their own insanity, anger, and overall become psychologically tortured. Obviously, this is a bad thing. But, if people feel that they deserve death for their crime, what makes growing psychological problems worse of a punishment? It clearly is not, plus, prisoners deal with this as well.

Yes, I was uninformed about the use of the Battered Spouse Syndrome as a defense and how crimes associated with self-defense are dealt with in general. I am glad that these cases are handled differently.

I also believe that the raping a rapist argument is relevant because he says the death penalty is proportional. So much more than virginity is taken from a rape that I don't think my opponent is aware of; one's self-esteem, self-worth, peace of mind, trust in others, future relationships, physical and mental health, and so much more are permanently damaged. Being a victim of rape, I know it all too well.

If the person is truly a cold-hearted killer, he/she deserves the psychological torture, and to suffer for what they have done, but certainly not be murdered themselves. I constantly mention this to the point where it is becoming redundant, I'm not contradicting myself.

Lastly, I'd like to mention that overall, capital punishment displays cruel and unusual punishment: it represents the earliest days of penology, when slavery, branding, and other corporal punishments were common punishments and like those barbaric practices, executions should have no place in a civilized, industrial society. Furthermore, it is unfair to forever deprive an individual of the opportunity to benefit from new evidence or new laws that could change their fate.
jd325494523

Con

Paragraph 1- My opponent fails to realize that she has agreed to the fact that George Zimmerman deserved to be punished, the only possible way that he would be punished is through Capital Punishment. She's advocating that it was wrong for him not to receive it. Thus she is contradicting everything she is standing against. He won't get jail time, he'll be executed. As much as she's like to disagree, she said it herself. "Those who deserve punishment do not receive it." she believes he deserves to be pusnished. The only way he will be punished is through Capital Punishment.
Paragraph 2- I'd like to see a statistic stating so.

Paragraph 3- There is a significant difference between torturing someone and putting them to death. Torture is longer and inflicts more pain upon a person, and that is not the goal the government is trying to achieve. The government is attempting to keep things proportional and execute the murderer. Torturing them would be doing too much. That's the same as smashing someone's brain and forcing them to live life with it, they can't do anything and they would just sit there, doing nothing. Why would you want someone to suffer? That's immoral. She even argued earlier that people wil psychological disorders should not be punished for murder, so why turn a murderer into one of them?

Paragraph 4-My opponents argument falls.

Paragraph 5- I'm sorry that you were raped, and I'm going to sound somewhat insensitive, but I'm just debating. In other words, don't take this too personally. The reason murder outweighs rape is because when a life is lost, the victim no longer has the ability to feel anything. They no longer have the ability to breathe. They don't get to feel anything. With rape, there is a chance of recovery. Knowing that my opponent is human, I can safely say that my opponent has probably smiled or been happy since the rape occured, sure it's a horrible memory, but she has the freedom and liberty to choose whether or not to dwell on it or not. Attitude is everything. Self-esteem, self-worth, peace of mind, trust in others, etc. that can all be rebuilt. A life, cannot. Which is why we provide such a heavy consequence for murder. Rape victims, they can at least feel happy again, they can laugh, they can participate in activities that they enjoy. But tell me, what do dead victims get to do?

Paragraph 6- If a person is a truly hearted killer and they show no remorse for their murder for as long as 10 years, it is easy to see that they probably won't change. Also, in her next paragraph she peaks about cruel and unusual punishment, but apparently psychological torture isn't?

Paragraph 7- Capital Punishment does NOT represent days where corporal punishments were common punishments. By that logic, I would assume that people of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are representative of 9/11? No. They were not responsible for what occured. That's like me blaming every white person today for having ancestors who once owned my ancestors. It's not their fault.
Debate Round No. 4
destttt_b

Pro

My opponent keeps dwelling on this, I did not imply Zimmermann deserves CAPITAL punishment, but to be punished for what he did. My point is the justice system is flawed and not always fair. People who deserve punishment, as in jail time, may not always receive it, and there are cases in which the wrongfully accused are executed. At times, this was because forensics and DNA testing were not as advanced, or even around yet. Therefore when cases are reopened investigators may discover new evidence that lead them to finding the accused innocent for their alleged crime.

Courts usually do not dwell on claims of innocence after the defendant is executed. Also, the government does not like advertising such errors so the number is unknown and attorneys move on to other cases where clients' lives can still be saved. The Northwestern University School of Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions documented 38 "reported" executions occurred since the '70s where compelling evidence of innocence or serious doubt was found. Cases like Carlos DeLuna, Ruben Cantu, Larry Griffin, Leo Jones, Gary Graham, Claude Jones, etc have about a 10-20 year gap from the time the person was convicted, most likely meaning there was a lot of reasonable doubt and controversy.

Approximately 1 out of 10 people executed are exonerated, again proving the justice system is untrustworthy. What if they weren't? Whether it is a 1 or 1,000 falsely executed, another life is taken away unnecessarily. The controversy with the death penalty is that both Pro-CP and Con-CP understand the value of life, and that taking another's is immoral. But taking one to be proportional or "get even" is just as bad, even vengeful - a personal feeling that civilized government should not engage in. Capital punishment is almost a contradiction in itself.

The FBI has found the states that enforce the death penalty that have the highest murder rates. Since most of the states enforce it, that means violence is spreading not only there but throughout America. A national survey of police chiefs show that they feel the death penalty is the least effective way to reduce crime, behind curbing drug abuse, hiring more officers, lowering the barriers to prosecution, longer sentences, improving the economy, and gun control. They also feel that instead of spending taxpayers money on this it should be spent on more effective ways of reducing crime.

Jail: place for the confinement of persons in lawful detention, especially persons awaiting trial under local jurisdiction - that is the purpose, not psychological torture, however one takes it is out of our hands. Regardless, if that occurs it's still less severe than death. My opponent defined murder as premeditated killing, meaning planned, just like these executions are. As a civilized society we need to work together to reduce crime and violence instead of killing off criminals. It is an effort to erase the problem instead of solving it, thus causing even more problems.
jd325494523

Con

My opponent fails to realize that the only punishment that Zimmerman can receive is "CAPITAL punishment". It doesn't matter what she thinks should happen, she views him as guilty, and if he is, he will be executed. Also, I've already established the fact that people are kept on death row for approximately 5-10 years. That is more than enough time to investigate.

Courts don't like to dwell on claims of innocence after the defendent is executed. What's the point? To the best of their knowledge, the defendant was guilty. No, the government doesn't like advertising their mistakes, did my opponent advertise her mistakes? Did she elaborate on the fact that she dropped her contention? Also, who would want to share negative news? If someone wants to read depressing news, they can do so, but we shouldn't broadcast it for all to see.

My opponent needs to look at her statistic 1/10 people are exonerated after their execution; 9/10 people are actually guilty. Judging by the principals of utilitarianism, founded by Jeremy Bentham, a theory that advocates the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, it's safe to say that the number of people who are guilty outweighs the number of those who are innocent. Sacrifices must be made for the betterment of society. My opponent speaks of Capital Punishment being vengeful, Capital Punishment is not revenge; if one of the victim's family members went and killed one of the murderer's family members, then yes, that would be vengeful. But fortunately we have a 3rd party(the government) making judgements as opposed to the immediate family members who would kill the murderer and not think twice about it.

My opponent speaks of the FBI feeling that taxpayers should spend money on something other than Capital Punishment. Taxpayers' money also funds Solitary Confinement, which is almost the equivalent of housing a murderer. They are fed, bathed, and given a place to sleep, it sounds a lot cozier than the street. In a study, there were no executions in certain states who had chosen to drop the death penalty between 1968-1977; throughout these years homicide rates increased greatly. In 1967(The year before the death penalty was dropped) homicide rates were at an alarming amount of over 500,000 per year. By the time the death penalty was reinstated homicide rates had been raised to a shocking 800,000 murders per year. This is a 60% increase in murder. It was not until 2002 that the number of executions exceeded the number of homicides. Thus proving that Capital Punishment is effective.

My opponent speaks of jails purpose. Does she wish to speak about purposes? Escorts are supposed to escort you to parties, but they end up being prostitutes. It's not about what the intentions are, it's about what actually happens.

I urge the con vote for the following reason(s):
-My opponent dropped her arguments about domestic violence, Casey Anthony, rape, Troy Davis, and CP being representative of cruel/unusual punishments.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by anasunn 2 years ago
anasunn
For the Contender:

In your first round second paragraph you stated how it was unfair for the victims, and more easy going on the murderer. Your argument stated that the victim never got a choice, or ever decide what their last meal was. How would that make capital punishment seem like a better option? While reading that paragraph I felt pity for the victim, and anger at the murderer, because he had a more respectful death. I even though that you wanted capital punishment to be abolished
Posted by RinWindSan 4 years ago
RinWindSan
what if ur neutral about it? ^_^
Posted by jd325494523 4 years ago
jd325494523
Have you ever done competitive debate? The reason I emphasized on the fact that you didn't argue back is because in competitive debate it's REALLY repetitive. The overall point of debate is to keep your arguments in tact, regardless of how redundant you may sound. But you really did make some good points. Also, be careful when using personal experience as evidence because others may view it as an appeal to pity.
Posted by jd325494523 4 years ago
jd325494523
Have you ever done competitive debate? The reason I emphasized on the fact that you didn't argue back is because in competitive debate it's REALLY repetitive. The overall point of debate is to keep your arguments in tact, regardless of how redundant you may sound. But you really did make some good points. Also, be careful when using personal experience as evidence because others may view it as an appeal to pity.
Posted by destttt_b 4 years ago
destttt_b
I didn't drop my arguments though... I just wanted to get my other points in as well. I didn't want to be redundant, I wanted to get my other points in, too.
Posted by destttt_b 4 years ago
destttt_b
I see your point, but if they're still high then there could still be a problem.. but I'm not trying to get into another debate lol and thanks Jonathon you did a great job too :)
Posted by magpie 4 years ago
magpie
Dest: You stated:"The FBI has found the states that enforce the death penalty that have the highest murder rates." This is a common a common error in logic. Con Hoc Ergo, Propter Hoc. (With this, therefore because of this.) There is no implicit information in the statement. The death penalty in those states may exist because the murder rate is so high, rather than the reverse.
Posted by jd325494523 4 years ago
jd325494523
I'd like to thank my opponent and all those who kept up with this debate. I had a lot of fun with this and my opponent did a phenomenal job.
Posted by DragonX 4 years ago
DragonX
No it shouldn't. Here's why when a person commits a terrible & get out of prison they;'re more likey to do it again. the prison inmates themselves admitted that they have gotten worse by going there not better. Also there are more prisoners than guards there. There also has been numerous amounts of killing in the prisons themselves. So that's gotta tell you something. If you take away the death penalty then criminals are more likely to commit crimes by using that as an advantage. True if you give the death penalty some innocent people will be killed but there are innocent people that get killed at the wrong place at the wrong time by a drunk driver DWI( Driving while intoxicated.) So in fact I think the death penalty should be used more often.
Posted by Daax 4 years ago
Daax
First debate I have read that has great views and reasonings. Looking forward to the closing statements!
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by mauricio2 4 years ago
mauricio2
destttt_bjd325494523Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: pro
Vote Placed by frozen_eclipse 4 years ago
frozen_eclipse
destttt_bjd325494523Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: pros first two postings had a huge impact.....i still agree with her logic.........and i dont think capitol punishment is ethically proportionate.......
Vote Placed by magpie 4 years ago
magpie
destttt_bjd325494523Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Dest's position was backed by invalid points and emotion. jd was somewhat better at logic.
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 4 years ago
1dustpelt
destttt_bjd325494523Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro dropped most arguments.