The Instigator
evanjfarrar
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
letsdebate1
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Death Penalty Should be Abolished

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
evanjfarrar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 435 times Debate No: 76721
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

evanjfarrar

Pro

Hello all! This debate is on the abolishment of the death penalty.

Definitions

death penalty:
  1. the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime.
abolishment:
  1. to end the observance or effect of

Layout

Round 1: acceptance

Round 2: ALL arguments presented
Round 3: rebuttal (no new arguments)
Round 4: rebuttal pt. 2 (no new arguments)
Round 5: conclusion/closing statements (no new arguments)

Please note that this debate will be carried out in a formal manner, with extensive arguments that are expected to be well-written and respectable.

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I accept this debate, and will argue on the pro side, claiming that the death penalty should, or ought to be abolished.

I await acceptance of this debate.
letsdebate1

Con

I believe that the the death penalty should not be abolished.
Debate Round No. 1
evanjfarrar

Pro

Hello all. In this debate, I will present several key arguments in opposition to the institution of capital punishment, or the death penalty. I will specifically refer to the situation in the United States.

I believe the death penalty is a stain on American society. It shows that we are not as morally or fiscally concerned as we should be. I will attempt to show this with these three arguments.


I. The Death Penalty is Unjust

The job of our government should be to eliminate injustice to promote prestige and a morally concerned society. However, with the existence of the death penalty, the government is failing to live up to this role. My argument to prove that the death penalty is unjust is as follows:

Definitions

revenge: the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands. (Google)
just: based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair. (Google)

Argument

1) The death penalty is based on revenge (as defined above).
2) Revenge is immoral.
3) Therefore, the death penalty is immoral. (From 1, 2)
4) The death penalty is unjust. (From 3)

On Premise 1
The death penalty is based on revenge, as it is inflicting death upon criminals that inflict pain and suffering on others. This revenge is instituted by the federal/state governments (I am referring specifically to the situation in the US in this debate).

On Premise 2
Revenge is widely considered to be immoral. The premise of revenge is to inflict near, identical, or even excessively more pain than the criminal caused the victim, and that is just escalating the amount of immoral action (think Gandhi's eye-for-an-eye principle).

On Premise 3
The death penalty, because it is based on an immoral principle (revenge), is an immoral practice.

On Premise 4
As 'just' includes the condition of moral fairness and righteousness, the death penalty can be concluded to be unjust.


II. The Death Penalty is Expensive

The process of capital trial, containment on death row and eventual execution is more expensive than keeping the criminal in prison for life, as proven in numerous surveys. [1] This is clearly unfair for taxpayers, who end up paying a lot more than they would otherwise (if criminals that would be indicted of capital punishment would instead be sentenced to life in prison, the cheaper and more moral answer).

III. The Death Penalty Does Not Deter Crime

Countless studies have shown that the existence of capital punishment as a penalty for serious crime does not add on to the deterrence effect of prolonged time in prison. Another study has shown that there is no correlation between the death penalty's institution and the murder of police officers.

In fact, in states without the death penalty, there are lower rates of crime. Therefore, it is clear that the death penalty does not deter crime or add any sort of effectiveness to the fight against crime. [2]

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Conclusion

For all these reasons, it is clear that the death penalty should be abolished. First, it is clearly an immoral principle and should be treated as such; it is wrong for our government to institute a principle against basic morals. Second, the institution of capital punishment, capital trial and containment on death row awaiting execution costs substantially more than life in prison. Third, the death penalty is not shown to deter crime, or have any effect on the murder of police officers or the crime rate, in fact, states that have abolished the death penalty have lower rates of crime.

It is resolved that the death penalty ought to be abolished.

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Sources: [1] http://deathpenalty.org...;[2] http://deathpenalty.org...

* Both of these sources are credible and are publications of veritable studies and data compiled by professionals.
letsdebate1

Con

I will argue that the Death Penalty should not be abolished. I will present facts to back up my argument.

I believe that the Death Penalty is not a strain on America but actually helps the victims family, I know you might think that it is unfair but however if you were to put yourself in the victims shoes what would you want?

1. Only applies to Capital Crimes Such as Murder or Horrid abuse to a minor. Such as the States below who believe in the Death Penalty

Oregon - Aggravated murder (ORS 163.095).

Pennsylvania - First-degree murder with 18 aggravating circumstances.

South Carolina - Murder with 1 of 12 aggravating circumstances (" 16-3-20(C)(a))

South Dakota - First-degree murder with 1 of 10 aggravating circumstances.

Tennessee - First-degree murder (Tenn. Code Ann. " 39-13-202) with 1 of 16 aggravating circumstances (Tenn. Code Ann. " 39-13-204).

Texas - Criminal homicide with 1 of 9 aggravating circumstances (Tex. Penal Code " 19.03).

Utah - Aggravated murder (76-5-202, Utah Code Annotated).

Virginia - First-degree murder with 1 of 15 aggravating circumstances (VA Code " 18.2-31).

Washington - Aggravated first-degree murder.

Wyoming - First-degree murder; murder during the commission of sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, arson, robbery, burglary, escape, resisting arrest, kidnapping, or abuse of a minor under 16. (W.S.A. " 6-2-101(a))

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

Although the Death Penalty does NOT deter crime, and is expensive it is still something that should be kept.
I say that because as I stated in earlier, how would you feel if you knew the person who killed your loved one got to continue to live life , and your loved one life was taken from them?

CONCLUSION:

I stand firmly behind the Death Penalty as it is the humane thing to do. I understand what my opponent is saying , that is a "Revenge" thing. But, I beg to differ because revenge is something that some one seeks when they have been hurt emotionally or physically. The Death Penalty is decides by a Jury or Jude! Not the victims family, therefore I don't think revenge is the correct word.
Debate Round No. 2
evanjfarrar

Pro

In this rebuttal, I will address certain points made in my opponent's arguments in Round 2.

Rebuttal

1)
"Only applies to Capital Crimes Such as Murder or Horrid abuse to a minor. Such as the States below who believe in the Death Penalty"

This does not take away from the fact that the death penalty is based on the principle of revenge. You have presented no arguments that strike down any of my premises, therefore it stands unrefuted that the death penalty is immoral. The type of crime that must be committed to be indicted on capital charges is irrelevant to the fact that the death penalty is immoral, expensive and does not have any effect on the crime rate.


2) "how would you feel if you knew the person who killed your loved one got to continue to live life , and your loved one life was taken from them?"

From the perspective of someone who has had this experience:


"Even though I was working as a death penalty defense lawyer at the time, I was shocked at my impulse to hunt down and kill the perpetrators myself. Eventually, they were caught, but legal technicalities led to dismissal of the case. The cold, cruel reality I had to face was that no one was going to be held responsible for my brother's murder. But even if the case could have gone forward, nothing could replace what my family had lost. Nothing - not the death penalty, not the worse punishment I could imagine for his killers - would ever bring him back. There was no "closure" to be had.

Having served on both sides of the criminal justice system, the experience of losing my brother in this unforgettably tragic way, without recourse or retribution, forced me to re-examine the way "execution" and "closure" are joined in contrived alliance, recited by death penalty advocates to justify their point of view. But having survived my brother's murder without the "benefit" of the death penalty, it is clear to me that the death penalty cannot do what its proponents claim." [1]

This woman, Aundre Herron, articulately recounts her feelings: her 'impulse' to kill the perpetrators and her lust for revenge, fueled by the pain of her loss. But, as Herron says, it is impossible to feel closure from one more death. The killing of the perpetrator does not bring the victim(s) back, it just adds to the death count.


3) "I stand firmly behind the Death Penalty as it is the humane thing to do. I understand what my opponent is saying , that is a "Revenge" thing."

(The definition of humane: having or showing compassion or benevolence)

In conformity with the definition above, it is logically impossible for the death penalty to be humane, as killing someone, a criminal or victim, is not showing compassion or benevolence to anyone, even the family (as shown above).

Revenge and humane can simply not go together, it is a contradiction. Pursuing someone in hopes of closure of one's own pain by inflicting the pain upon the perpetrator is not moral, neither compassionate nor benevolent.

4) "But, I beg to differ because revenge is something that some one seeks when they have been hurt emotionally or physically. The Death Penalty is decides by a Jury or Jude! Not the victims family"

The death penalty is sought by the victim's family often for the purpose of closure. As seen above, this closure is non-existent. The victim's family is traumatized and deeply scared by the victim's murder, and they feel the only way to bring true justice is to kill the murderer. This is immoral, and is a basic form of revenge; the proponents of the indictment on capital punishment in any given case are motivated to take the criminal's life in retribution for the victim's life. By definition, this is revenge.

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Thank you for reading. I await my opponent's response.
letsdebate1

Con

It was a good tactic to us my words against me, but not as smart. You said ,"The death penalty is sought by the victim's family often for the purpose of closure." That is not true.

Example: Click the link below. This is a video that will show an officer shoot an unarmed man in his back eight times.

http://gawker.com...

The white South Carolina police officer charged with murder for shooting an apparently unarmed black man in the back will likely not face the death penalty, according to the prosecutor.

When Michael Slager was arrested and charged with murder a week ago, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the agency investigating the shooting, noted that this charge carried with it a potential death sentence. However, the prosecutor who could pursue the case said she does not think she would seek such a sentence.
http://www.washingtonpost.com...

With that being said, do you still think that the sentence was sought by the victims family?

This is an example of a gruesome crime, in which someone should have been given the death penalty but was not. So your argument that "The death penalty is sought by the victim's family often for the purpose of closure" is invalid. Do you think the family wanted the man who shot their loved one to continue living?

As I said earlier the decision is often made by a jury or judge!
Debate Round No. 3
evanjfarrar

Pro

Rebuttal

As my opponent has not responded to any of my arguments or counterarguments but a single point I have made, my arguments stand as unrefuted and my opponent, I assume, has conceded those arguments. This response will aim to address the points my opponent has made against the following:


"The death penalty is sought by the victim's family often for the purpose of closure."

My opponent has denied this statement, to protect his own idea of the death penalty being completely moral and outside of the definition of revenge. However, this is blatantly false. The death penalty is sought by the victim's family so they feel justice has been served, and to pursue closure (to think the victim's murder is somehow made up for).


Mark Klaas, parent of a brutally murdered child: "I believe [Davis’] execution would bring closure to my daughter. She is the one that he contemplates as he acts out in his prison cell." Davis, the murderer of his daughter, is currently on California's death row at San Quentin.

But, as I have already stated, this closure is non-existent; the institution of capital punishment will not affect the situation in any way. Here is Jeanne Woodford, warden at San Quentin Prison, home of the only male death row in California: "People wait years for an execution that may or may not happen. People come to the prison thinking that the execution will somehow bring closure to them. I’ve just never had someone who that’s happened to. In fact, I’ve had reporters tell me that family members told them a month or two after the execution that they regretted having been involved in the process. "

Your argument appears to be a bit confused. You bring up the example of Michael Slager, a police officer who maliciously shot an unarmed black man to the ground. Then, you say because he deserves the death penalty, somehow my argument is invalid, because the judge/jury makes the decision.


Although I don't see a lot of clarity in my opponent's claims, I will attempt to respond.

First, I have already made the argument that the death penalty is unjust (and my opponent has appeared to concede that argument). My opponent seems to think that because a judge/jury makes the decision to institute capital punishment in a capital trial, somehow the death penalty is just. This is simply warped logic. The judicial system enforces capital punishment because it is an option inscribed within the law in a handful of states; because this is an option endorsed by the government does not make it a just one.

Second, my opponent claims that the victim's families do not make the decision, so they are not in pursuit of closure. This is lacking consideration for the role of the victim's families in capital cases. The family of the victim often testifies against the criminal in hope of an indictment of capital punishment. As warden Woodford has stated, the family does this in pursuit of closure, only to find after the indictment that they regret this pursuit.

Third, my opponent questions the logic of the victim's family pursuing capital punishment for the criminal. I would like to clarify that this is completely true in countless capital cases, as represented by Mark Klaas above.

------------------------

The death penalty is unjust, financially irresponsible to enforce and does not deter crime. My opponent seems to concede pretty
much all of the points within these arguments, and defends the death penalty by claiming sympathy on behalf of the victim's family. However, my opponent rejects the premise that the victim's families pursue capital punishment for the criminal, which is obviously true, shown above by the examples of Klaas and warden Woodford. He also rejects the premise that the death penalty is morally wrong, but fails to bring up any evidence, philosophical argumentation or real-life examples to support this claim.

I await my opponent's response.
letsdebate1

Con

letsdebate1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
evanjfarrar

Pro

Even though my opponent has forfeited the last round of rebuttal, I will summarize both my arguments and his, and give my final say on the matter of the the abolishment of capital punishment.

My Arguments

1) The death penalty is unjust, since it is based on the immoral principle of revenge. My opponent has failed to adequately respond to this argument or address any of the four premises I put forth in R2, so I assume he has conceded this argument. Furthermore, our government should not stand for any unjust principle, and should strive for a fair, moral judicial system to uphold the laws of a fair, moral society.

2) It costs more to carry out a capital trial, keep a prisoner on death row, and execute the prisoner, rather than life in prison without parole. My opponent also recognizes the evidence I have put forth, and has conceded this argument without adequate response. Therefore, it is unjust to taxpayers to funnel their money into an institution that is both immoral and more expensive than the more appropriate alternative.

3) It has been proven in countless studies that the death penalty does not add any effectiveness to the deterrence effect of life in prison, therefore, the death penalty is a fruitless exercise in terms of deterrence from crime (one of the key goals of our criminal justice system). The prospect of the death penalty will not hold any weight in a criminal's mind over the weight of the possibility of life in prison without parole.

-------------------------------------

My Opponent's Arguments

1) "I say that because as I stated in earlier, how would you feel if you knew the person who killed your loved one got to continue to live life , and your loved one life was taken from them?"

Response: My opponent argues in favor of the eye-for-an-eye principle. In ANY case, revenge is irresponsible, inappropriate and immature. A truly prestigious, just government cannot stand for such a principle, which is the grounds for the death penalty. I have also clearly shown through examples that the death penalty does not bring closure to the family of the victim in a capital case, in fact, it often has a negative effect on them after capital punishment has been carried out. These examples include the story of Aundre Herron, and warden Jeanne Woodford.

2) "So your argument that "The death penalty is sought by the victim's family often for the purpose of closure" is invalid. Do you think the family wanted the man who shot their loved one to continue living?"

Response: Of course the death penalty is sought by the families of victims for the purpose of closure; this is shown through the stories of Mark Klaas and Jeanne Woodford. However, as Woodford notes, this closure is non-existent. Capital punishment does not change the situation at hand, except by adding one to the death toll.

3) "As I said earlier the decision is often made by a jury or judge!"

Response: My opponent claims that the victim's family is not responsible for the institution of capital punishment because a judge/jury makes the decision. This argument is flawed; the experiences and testimony given by the victim's families is often to show that the death penalty should be instituted, and as Mark Klaas believes, capital punishment will give closure. Families of victims testify in court against the murderer in hope of this indictment, so that closure can be achieved, but as Woodford explains, after the trial is complete, the families realize that the closure they expected is not granted, and instead, regret and remorse for participation in the trial consumes the members of the family.

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Conclusion

I wholeheartedly enjoyed this debate, and although my opponent forfeited the last round of rebuttal, I thank him for his time.

I believe that my arguments are not sufficiently refuted, nor are my opponent's arguments sufficiently valid, therefore, I find it is resolved that the death penalty should be abolished.

Thank you.
letsdebate1

Con

After going round for round with my opponent, I have come to see he does have a more convincing point, and the to continue this argument would be a waist of my time. I respect the argument that my opponent has made and he most certainly does have a better argument. The death penalty is unjust! Thank you for taking your time out to read over this debate, but I will not be continuing my argument as Pro Death Penalty.

Thanks,
C.R.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by letsdebate1 1 year ago
letsdebate1
After going round for round with my opponent, I have come to see he does have a more convincing point, and the to continue this argument would be a waist of my time. I respect the argument that my opponent has made and he most certainly does have a better argument. The death penalty is unjust! Thank you for taking your time out to read over this debate, but I will not be continuing my argument as Pro Death Penalty.

Thanks,
C.R.
Posted by evanjfarrar 1 year ago
evanjfarrar
For Round 3, my sources are the following:

[1] http://deathpenalty.org...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
evanjfarrarletsdebate1Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con concedes in R5.
Vote Placed by Varrack 1 year ago
Varrack
evanjfarrarletsdebate1Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded, so Pro wins.