The Instigator
wjmelements
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
acer
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Death Penalty is a just punishment in certain cases.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
wjmelements
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/7/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,002 times Debate No: 13945
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

wjmelements

Con

== Parameters ==
just - guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness http://dictionary.reference.com...
death penalty - capital punishment http://dictionary.reference.com...
capital punishment - punishment by death for a crime http://dictionary.reference.com...
My opponent has the burden of proof in that he must provide the specific cases and the reasoning for them.
== The Negation ==
A person seriously offended of their rights to govern themselves and their property is not compensated by a death penalty. Depriving the offender of his life only removes the person who must be held liable for his damages. Because of this, it is preferable to deprive the offender of their rights until just amends have been made.

In the case of murder, one cannot expect to resurrect the victim by such means, but adding another death doesn't accomplish this either. The friends or relatives, can be at least compensated, by an amount equal to the total expected income of the victim for the full duration of his life, plus other arbitrary damages for lost safety, happiness, utility, etc. The offender shall be subjected to slavery until compensation is made in full.

Surely, this is more just than capital punishment, for the victims receive amends equal to the damage taken and the offender receives just punishment equal to the damage done. Thank you.
acer

Pro

First of I would like to thank wjmelements for opening this debate, I can feel that it is going to be an interesting one.

In his negation, my opponent has stated that the offender must be kept alive so that he can repay damages done to the person offended. It would be quite interesting to see this actually happen. The criminals are generally not allowed to work due to the strong risk that they will escape and even in the few places where they do work, the money they earn hardly ever goes to the cause of the person he offended and even if it did, it would hardly cover the costs that my opponent has referenced. Moreover, my opponent has explicitly stated that "it is preferable to deprive the offender of their rights until just amends have been made." One of these rights could very easily be the right to life, which therefore refutes and makes useless his entire negation.

Using my opponents definition of just, let us again look at the debate topic: "The death penalty is a just punishment in certain cases." "Just," according to my opponent, refers to reason and truth and justice. Therefore, he states that the death penalty is not reasonable or truly necessary in all cases. However, I disagree. Justice has always been a system of equal retribution, in other words, it means that one must pay equal to the actions he has committed. In his argument, he has stated that slavery would be a more just punishment than death in all cases. However, if the crime was murder, my opponent has already conceited that it is impossible to repay damages done. Meaning that it is impossible to create equal retribution. However, with the death penalty for murder crimes, just as the offender took another's right to life, his right to life is taken from him. The death penalty therefore enforces equal retribution in certain circumstances and therefore proves the PRO side of this argument to be undeniably correct.

Furthermore, my opponent has requested proof on the justice of the Death Penalty and so here they are:

1. "In 1985, 13-year-old Karen Patterson was shot to death in her bed in North Charleston, S.C. Her killer was a neighbor who had already served 10 years of a life sentence for murdering his half-brother Charles in 1970."
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
In this story, had the murder been killed on his first offence, the second victim would still be alive. Through "reason", it can be seen that the death penalty indeed would have been just for this occasion.

2. "When Katy Davis observed three strangers outside her Austin, Texas, apartment, she walked away. Returning later, she was attacked and forced to open the door by Charles Rector, on parole for a previous murder. The men ransacked her apartment, abducted her and took her to a lake where she was beaten, gang-raped, shot in the head and repeatedly forced underwater until she drowned."
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
Another case in which if the murder had been executed, another's life would have been saved.

3. Ruby Longsworth of Pasadena, Texas, met Jeffrey Barney through a prison ministry, then helped him get paroled from an auto-theft sentence. Her kindness was repaid when Barney raped and sodomized her, then strangled her with a cord. She had made the mistake of calling Barney "a bum" after she had gotten to know him better.
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
Yet another case where the death penalty would have been a just retribution.

These three cases irrefutable show that the death penalty is beneficial and just (reasonable) in "certain cases" and can therefore prove my side of the argument.

I will end my argument by the following quote:

"If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call."

John McAdams - Marquette University/Department of Political Science, on deterrence

Thanks
Debate Round No. 1
wjmelements

Con

I would like to thank acer for his timely response.

== Regarding the Negation ==
My opponent objects that convicts should not work due to the chance of escape. This chance could easily be minimized through the introduction of controlled forced-labor factories, where all convicts can work efficiently and securely to make products to be sold on the market. A victim or victim's family could send their offender there to work until amends have been made. The chance of escape would be zero.

My opponent also objects that amends cannot hope to be paid fully during the lifetime of the convict. If this is true, then the convict works until dead, earning for himself only subsistence, and for his victim, the rest. Regardless, the victim is repaid rather than left to pay damages himself, a less ethical and less achievable task.

The affirmation also objects that my statement, that "it is preferable to deprive the offender of their rights until just amends have been made" includes the right to life, but depriving the convict of the right to life can make no amends to the victim whatsoever.

== Regarding the Affirmation ==
All of my opponent's examples have one thing in common: parole. While his first quotation does not explicitly say parole, in the original quotation, it mentions it explicitly: "Karen's mom ran to the Atkins home nearby, where Joe then murdered his adopted father, Benjamin Atkins, 75, who had worked to persuade parole authorities to release Joe from the life sentence" [1]. All of my opponent's examples, therefore, are the result of poor prisoner management under the current system, which I do not support.

My opponent misconstrues my statement regarding the case of murder. I did not state that it could not be repaid; in fact, I stated exactly the opposite. My statement was that, unlike fixing a broken fence, resurrecting a human is impossible. Damage still can be repaid to some people (as I already stated, this would likely be the family) "equal to the total expected income of the victim for the full duration of his life, plus other arbitrary damages for lost safety, happiness, utility, etc." It is possible to pay retribution, at least in part, and my opponent's idea of killing the convict pays none.
The convict may lose his life, but he cannot in the process give it to the person or people from whom he stole theirs. Therefore, the death penalty ensures that equal retribution, the agreed standard of justice, can never occur, even in part.

== Conclusion ==
My opponent and I have agreed on an ideal for justice, that the offender is liable to the victim the damages done. The taking of the offender's life, therefore, can not achieve justice. The resolution is negated. Thank you.

== Sources ==
[1] http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
[2] http://www.britannica.com...
[3] http://www.directionjournal.org...
acer

Pro

acer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
wjmelements

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeited his second round. I await his rebuttal in the third.
acer

Pro

First, I would like to apologize for not being able to submit my argument in the correct time frame. This will not happen again.

With regard to the negation, my opponent says that chance of escape would be zero. However, escape from prison can and did occur, meaning that my opponent is incorrect in his reasoning. In one such case, Ted Bundy escaped from county jails twice and continued on his killing spree. [2] No amount of caution will ever make probability of escape zero[3]. Therefore, it sometimes is more reasonable to utilize the death penalty to prevent future death and to give just punishment.

In addition, though my sources have parole in common, they all refer to a case where the death penalty would have been more logical. My opponent has agreed that prison management is poor, yet he states that the possibility of escape is zero, a major contradiction. Because of poor prison management, there are certain cases where it is beneficial to utilize the death penalty.

Furthermore, my belief on equal retribution states that whatever the offender committed on the victim, his punishment should equal his offense. The debate here is about a just punishment, not what would be the best for the victims family, meaning a punishment that seems most reasonable for the crime committed. Therefore, for murder, the logical punishment is death.

Moreover, my opponent still clings onto an incorrect belief of justice for the case of murder. And considering that almost all death penalties are punishments for murder, this idea of justice is very important[1]. In almost any other circumstance, where the victim can still retrieve benefits from the offender to make amends for damage done, then such an act is carried out by the law. However, for murder, the victim no longer exists to be able to collect retribution and therefore just amends can never be made. So my opponent claims that amends must be made to the victims family. However, the law does not involve the family. The bounds of law encircle only the offender and victim and therefore cannot extend to the family.

==Affirmation==
The debate topic states that the Death Penalty must be just only in certain cases and not in all cases. Therefore, finding one such case where death penalty was just, which I have, affirms the resolution. Furthermore, the death penalty acts as a deterrent from future murders. [4] . If the death penalty deters crime, then how is it not logical to use it. Though it may not be the right solution in all cases, it is logical to use it in some.

-Sources-
[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4]http://deathpenalty.procon.org...
Debate Round No. 3
wjmelements

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate.

I would like to begin by noting that my opponent's definition of justice and mine have actually been different, and I will start by making the distinction and the comparison. Under my opponent's system, of punishment equal to offense, a murderer would be killed. Under my system, of liability equal to offense, a murderer would be forced to pay an amount equal to the victim's life, as defined in my opening argument. My first objection to my opponent's system is that it is impossible to follow through on: a murderer of two cannot be reciprocally murdered twice. Therefore, it is impossible to follow. My second objection is that my opponent's system leaves the world worse off and punishes the victim. This is because just amends are not made. Two wrongs cannot make a right, the saying goes. By murdering the murderer, society prevents the only person that can be held liable for his crimes from compensating his victims; instead, the damages must either be paid by the victim, the victim's family, or society through taxation. None of these alternatives are just, for they are punishing society or the victim for the offender's crime.

My opponent's objection to my proposed justice system is that "the bounds of law encircle only the offender and victim and therefore cannot extend to the family." This is reliant on the authority of precedent [1], and otherwise has no basis. Further, one who murders someone also offends the family of the victim and the victim's friends, so my opponent's premise in his objection is false.

My opponent also objects that prisoners can be paroled. Under my proposed justice system, an offender would not receive parole for any reason while they still owe the family money, for they are still liable, so this problem is inapplicable to my case.

Regarding prisoner escape: My proposed system does not use public prisons, but a free-market labor contracting system involving bidders for offender labor. The companies will be liable for catching escaped offenders and for any damage they may do while escaped, so they will have every reason to maximize containment, and with today's technology, the chance of escape would be essentially zero. My opponent's attempted counterexample is inapplicable to my case, because it occurred under a public prison system, where the government isn't liable for prisoner escape and has no motivation to keep prisoners contained or productive. My opponent's source [2] gives no evidence that prison escape is forever possible. In fact, only one prisoner escaped a federal prison between 1997 and 2001 [3], and it has already been presented why the private system would be even more effective.

My opponent makes the baseless assertion that all five of his examples would have been better off using the death penalty. Besides the lack of support in this claim, his comparison pertains only relative to what did happen, parole, which neither side supports. While my opponent would prefer to murder each of the prisoners in each case, I would prefer they be put to productive use under a maximized security prisoner factory, where their sold labor will pay the damages they cause.

My opponent lastly presents an argument of deterrence, basing it on a source that shows that this point is, at best, unproven [4]. There is even an argument that the death penalty's existence increases prison murder [5]. The best summary of the deterrence argument is presented by former U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno: "I have inquired for most of my adult life about studies that might show that the death penalty is a deterrent. And I have not seen any research that would substantiate that point" [4].

== Conclusion ==
Vengeance is perhaps the most uncivilized of the natures of man: it destroys when it should repair. The death penalty is an instance of such vengeance: the offender is killed, leaving the victim to fix the damage. Capital punishment is never just because liability for damage falls upon the innocent rather than the criminal. My opponent has provided no counterexample, and can he not, for in all cases, amends of any kind are preferable to no amends. Therefore, the death penalty is in no case a just punishment.

The resolution is negated. Vote CON.

== Sources ==
[1] http://www.fallacyfiles.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.slate.com...
[4] http://deathpenalty.procon.org...
[5] http://www.fadp.org...
acer

Pro

acer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by jat93 6 years ago
jat93
wjmelementsacerTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
wjmelementsacerTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Vote Placed by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
wjmelementsacerTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
wjmelementsacerTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50