The Instigator
xXCryptoXx
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
OneElephant
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points

The Death Penalty should be Abolished

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
OneElephant
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,685 times Debate No: 32695
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)

 

xXCryptoXx

Con

I will be taking the con position in this debate meaning I think the death penalty should not be abolished.

Definitions

Death Penalty - "Capital Punishment" (1)

Abolish - "to end the observance or effect of : annul" (2)

Rules

No trolling, semantics, innapropriate language, lawyering, strawmanning, or anything that the average DDO user would deem as innaproriate for a debate.First round is for acceptance.

(2) http://www.merriam-webster.com...

(1) http://dictionary.reference.com...
OneElephant

Pro

I accept and wish my opponent good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
xXCryptoXx

Con

The Death Penalty Saves Lives

Since 1996, 17 studies have shown that the death penalty reduces crime rates.

Five of the studies find that the death penalty shows no difference in crime or that it has a slight increase in crime.

Two studies are inconclusive in the issue, however one of them says that deterrence exists, but is not strong.

In other words, 18 studies find some criminal deterrent, 17 find a strong deterrent, and 5 dissent. (1)

From this, we can see that out of all studies performed on the death penalty, a large majority of them prove to have the effect to lower crime rates.

Even more than this, when one uses national data, one of the studies was actually used on a localized area. This is important because other studies were conducted on a much larger test subject.

One study conducted by Joanna M. Shepherd concluded the following:

1. On average each execution saves 3 lives

2. From the total lives saved, it is shown that 50% of them will be African American, 33% will be White, and 17% will be of other descent.

3. Shortening the time spent on death row also lower murder rates further. Precisely one life more is saved per execution for every 2.75 years taken off death row. (2)

For further proof of deterrence, studies have also shown that a whopping 99.9% of criminals would vote for being kept in jail for the rest of their lives over then be given the death penalty. (3)This shows us that they prefer life over death. If they fear death then they will not do crimes that would give them the death penalty, this is why the death penalty is beneficial.

A study by Gary Becker proves this theory. He proved that most murderers have a fear of death, just like everybody else, and may not commit a murder with the possibility of future execution - that murderers understand the cost and benefit analysis of their decision. (4)

History and Murder Rates

From 1968-1976, the Death Penalty was actually suspended in 10 states. During this time period, the murder rates in the United States went way up. Fast forward to the 1990’s where the death penalty has started to become legalized again in some of the states, there was a huge decrease in crime-rates. In addition to this, states that reinstituted the death penalty experienced a 38% drop in murder rates by 1998. (5)

Another study concluded, “Overall, the rise in executions during the 1990s accounts for about 12 to 14 percent of the overall drop in murders.” (5)

Conclusion

The death penalty saves lives and lowers crime rates.

Multiple studies prove the above statement and history itself has also proved that the death penalty is beneficial to society.

I would like to thank my opponent for debating with me.

I await Pro's response.

(1) http://www.cjlf.org......

(2) Joanna M. Shepherd, “Murders of Passion, Execution Delays, and the Deterrence of Capital Punishment,” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 33 (June 2004), 283-321.

(3) http://www.prodeathpenalty.com......

(4) Becker, Gary S., "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach." Journal of Political Economy. (1968)

(5) http://www.foxnews.com......

OneElephant

Pro

I thank my opponent for his prompt reply.

ABOUT DETERRENCE

First off, I need to correct my opponent’s statement about studies done on the death penalty, because it is false. He says:

“From this, we can see that out of all studies performed on the death penalty, a large majority of them prove to have the effect to lower crime rates.”

He arrives at this conclusion from counting all the death penalty studies collected on a pro death penalty website and then extrapolates this information to say that this pool represents all the studies that have been performed since 1996. This is obviously not true - even though the website that he cites only lists 5 studies showing no deterrence effect, over 15 different studies have been done within the last decade that affirm my position, as listed in the link below. There have been just as many, if not more studies, that cast doubt on the deterrence effect of the death penalty, if not more.

Additionally, he fails to mention that all of the pro death penalty studies listed on the CJLF has faced significant academic backlash and shown to be inconclusive at best. Let me take a quote from the website I’m citing from:

“A report released on April 18, 2012, by the prestigious National Research Councilof the National Academies based on a review of more than three decades of research concluded that studies claiming a deterrent effect on murder rates from the death penalty are fundamentally flawed. The report concluded: “The committee concludes that research to date on the effect of capital punishment on homicide is not informative about whether capital punishment decreases, increases, or has no effect on homicide rates. Therefore, the committee recommends that these studies not be used to inform deliberations requiring judgments about the effect of the death penalty on homicide.”

Secondly, a survey of authority figures on capital punishment shows that over 87% of US criminologists agree that the Death Penalty has no significant impact on homicide rates, an increase of 7% from 3 years ago. A large majority of police chiefs, who have first hand experience dealing with criminals, agree that criminals do not think about the range of possible punishments before committing a crime and when asked what would they do to lower crime rates capital punishment was consistently ranked last, scoring and average of 2 out of 20, whereas social programs such as welfare and funding for mental institutions consistently came first.

Finally, common sense suggests that capital punishment does not make a significant impact on homicide rates. First off, of the safest, most crime - free countries in the world, next to none have the Death Penalty. Countries like Canada, Australia, Sweden and Finland all have lower crime rates than the US, suggesting that the issue is more likely caused by the culture of the country and it’s people rather than it’s policies on capital punishment. Second of all, most murders are either committed on impulse, impairment or mental imbalances or carefully planned out fully aware that they face the threat of life imprisonment. Either way it is unlikely that the Death Penalty will have any sort of deterrence effect on these minds.

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

ABOUT COST

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that capital punishment is more costly than incarceration, even imprisonment till the criminal’s death. This is because of the cost of the special security death row cells and the extended legal process (which often takes up to 15 years from court to the electric chair!). The state of California, for example, put a total of $4,000,000,000 since 1978. And they only actually executed thirteen criminals.

http://money.cnn.com...

If the only argument my opponent can extend in favor of capital punishment is that it deters criminals, then doesn’t it make more sense to invest that 4 billion into things we know will actually prevent crime and criminologists and police officers actually agree with, such as an increased police force or better mental institutions, rather than taking a blind gamble and using that money to execute 13 criminals for something that has been shown to be inconclusive at best?

As an added plus, we’d be addressing the root of the problem by changing criminals to good citizens with social programs, rather just making them hesitate before committing a crime.

For these reasons, this resolution must and will stand. More arguments to come later since I’m running out of time. Back to con.


Debate Round No. 2
xXCryptoXx

Con

1) Deterrence

I concede to my opponent’s point that there have indeed been more studies over the death penalty. After a little more research I actually found two more. Since cannot actually know I've found all studies over since 1996 I will drop the point.

However, this does not mean I have lost any points whatsoever in this debate in the convincing arguments section. If I cannot show that deterrence exists then I officially lose the points. The studies were only there to help me prove deterrence, but I have not dropped he deterrence point all.

Now then, on to my contentions.


My opponent talks about how the National Research Council of National Academies shows that over 3 decades of research over the deterrence effect in studies is flawed. Sadly, I cannot simply trust those words. I would like to ask my opponent to clarify how those studies are flawed.

I opponent then states that 87% of U.S. Criminologists agree that that the death penalty has no deterrence effect.

I don't see how this is relevant. In fact, this doesn't disprove a deterrence effect at all. Opinions mean nothing. Facts are what we are looking for in this debate and I've already shown that:

1, Criminals fear death, therefore they will not (in the assumption that the particular criminal is not mentally unstable) commit a crime that will give them the punishment of death.

2. 3 lives are saved per execution.

3. In my historical example crime rates went down a full 38% when they were reinstituted into the states at had them illegal before.



"Finally, common sense suggests that capital punishment does not make a significant impact on homicide rates. First off, of the safest, most crime - free countries in the world, next to none have the Death Penalty. Countries like Canada, Australia, Sweden and Finland all have lower crime rates than the US, suggesting that the issue is more likely caused by the culture of the country and it’s people rather than it’s policies on capital punishment. Second of all, most murders are either committed on impulse, impairment or mental imbalances or carefully planned out fully aware that they face the threat of life imprisonment. Either way it is unlikely that the Death Penalty will have any sort of deterrence effect on these minds."

I disagree that capital punishment does not make a significant impact on homicide rates, and I think this should actually help my argument. If what you say about the very culture of a country effecting the death penalty to be true, then even if places like Canada Australia ect. Don’t need it to lower crime rates, the Unites States does.
I have already given a historical example of just how much the United States needs the death penalty to help lower the excessive violence that exists within America. Look History and Murder Rates in my opening argument to see just how beneficial the death penalty was during the time. You must at least refute my historical example of how much the death penalty helped America in order to truly prove deterrence does not exist.

In addition to this, I think we can all agree that it would be unjust to give someone who is legitimately mentally unstable to begin with the death penalty. However those who act on impulse should still be subject to it seeing that they can be in full bearings of just what they are doing.

2) Cost

Yeah, I agree that it costs more to ve the death penalty. However I believe that it is far more important that we keep this country safe before we worry about money. However, if you can indeed prove that deterrence does not exist, then will concede that the death penalty is both pointless and expensive. For now I believe that the lives of many innocent people are far more important than some money. In addition to this, that's only about 1,100,000 a year. That's actually relatively inexpensive for the whole roughly 38% less crimes you get from it.

It also doesn't matter that they only executed 13 criminals. What matters is that crime rates are being lowered. The death penalty exists not only to punish those who have committed especially heinous crimes, but to keep people safer and to lower crime rates.

My opponent states that we should invest the 1,100,000 dollars we use on the death penalty per year into actual things that are proven to prevent crime. That is an interesting proposition. he question is though, which will deter more crime? I would like to ask my opponent just how much crime rates would decrease if the death penalty was made illegal (roughly 38% more crimes) and if they spent that money on other things. In order for it to be more effective than the death penalty my opponent must show that by taking out the death penalty and replacing it, there would be at least a 38% drop in crimes.


"As an added plus, we’d be addressing the root of the problem by changing criminals to good citizens with social programs, rather just making them hesitate before committing a crime."

Please clarify. If we can make a social program that helps criminals turn into good citizens effectively then I am all for it. However we also need to let them know that no matter what, crossing the line is crossing the line and you will be punished by death for certain acts. The death penalty works too well for society for it not to be implemented.

I await my opponents response.

OneElephant

Pro

Unfortunately, there are a few fundamental problems with my opponent's case about deterrence that needs to be addressed before this debate continues.

  • DOUBLE STANDARDS FALLACY
Con treats the results of his pro death penalty studies as if they are proven facts. He says in his constructive speech "Facts are what we are looking for in this debate and I've already shown that: Criminals fear death, 3 lives are saved per execution, crime rates went down 38%...".

He contends that these results are "facts" because they were in a study he read. In the same breath, he also admits that a myriad of anti - death penalty studies contradict these statistics and show completely different results. He says earlier "Five of the studies find that the death penalty shows no difference in crime or that it has a slight increase in crime". He even concedes afterwards that there are much more than 5 studies that prove this.

The problem with this is obvious. My opponent gives us no reason to believe that one study is more reliable than the other, but for some reason only treats studies that support his arguments as facts and dismisses all other results.

I'm going to have to be firm here and say: no, until you have give us a reason to believe that pro death penalty studies should be taken as more reliable than the enormous amount of evidence that begs to differ, you have NOT shown that criminals fear death, or 3 lives are saved per execution, or crime rates went down solely because of the death penalty in any way, shape or form.

  • CAUSATION FALLACY
My opponent commits a causation fallacy in regards to his historical example about capital punishment because he does not give us one reason to believe that there is a correlation between the drop in murder rates and the implementation of capital punishment.

A) He says that after the Death Penalty was temporarily suspended crime rates went "way up". What does "way up" even mean? What about the crime rates for the states who didn't suspend the Death Penalty, how were they affected?

B) The study he cites to support him says that the executions were only responsible for a 14%, not the 38% number my opponent is spewing around, of the drop, meaning that even if capital punishment played a part in the change crime rates were already dropping before then. Additionally, I don't even believe this figure is true - my opponent's citation for it is broken and only takes me to the FoxNews homepage.

Finally, my opponent offers a faulty syllogism in the form of:

1. Capital Punishment was re-implemented in several states in the 1990s.
2. Eight years later the homicide rate dropped by 38%.
3. Therefore, the Death Penalty must have caused this deterrence!

This is as flawed as saying:

1. The grunge band Nirvana became popular in the 1990s.
2. Eight years later the homicide rate dropped by 38%.
3. Therefore, grunge music must lower homicide rates!

I think my point is clear - my opponent doesn't show why these two statistics relate. Consider the following explanations for the decline. The legalization of abortion in the United States meant that an increasing amount of unwanted pregnancies were terminated - most of the unwanted babies would have became criminals because they wouldn't have been able to grow up in a healthy environment since their parents did not want to support them. Therefore, the legalization of abortion is what caused these crime rates to drop. Alternatively, crime rates could have been steadily decreasing in other states before capital punishment was even reimplemented - my opponent doesn't give us these statistics, so for all we know states that didn't reinstitute the death penalty could have experienced an even greater decline in murders! Or perhaps a boom in the economy meant that many people who were forced to resort to crime before had an opportunity to become contributing citizens of society, causing the decline in crime.

As my opponent is the one making the assertion about deterrence, the burden of proof is on him to show that the Death Penalty is the catalyst that caused the decline in crime and not these alternative explanations. Until then, his statistics should be disregarded.

ABOUT DETERRENCE

Although it is clear at this point that most of my opponents objections to my arguments are based of faulty logic, there are still a few ideas I want to address on this topic.

First off, my opponent asks me to explain how the Committee on Law and Justice at the National Research Council (a government funded organization that has been publishing research on government decision making ever since 1916) demonstrated that the majority of Pro Death Penalty studies are based off of flawed methodlogy. This is an unreasonable demand because I am obviously not willing to summarize over 144 pages of information into a brief sentences for my opponent - just like I don't expect my opponent to explain the how the death penalty studies he cites arrived at the conclusions they did. However, I have linked to a free PDF version of the document below so my opponent can delve through the paper if he wishes.

http://www.nap.edu...;

Secondly, my opponent completely dismisses the fact that over 87% of criminologists and the majority of American police chiefs agree that the Death Penalty is ineffective at deterring crime as irrelevant. These opinions are relevant because they are the opinions of experts who have been researching or experiencing first hand the effects of capital punishment on crime for years. Regardless of whether my opponent believes he can arrive at a more accurate conclusion than experts who have spent over eight years studying the idea of criminal deterrence at universities by just googling death penalty studies, we should factor in the opinions of these people when we debate this resolution.

Finally, my opponent completely misinterprets my last argument. I am not saying that criminals who commit murders on impulse or when impaired shouldn't be punished, I am saying that from a common sense perspective, murderers wouldn't be deterred by the death penalty since they are either A) acting on impulse or impairment and not able to realize the consequences of their actions or B) commiting crimes fully aware that they will spend the rest of their life in prison if they are caught.

ABOUT COST

Although I technically don't even have to address this since my opponent agrees that if I can show that the Death Penalty doesn't actually deter criminals, it is pointless and expensive. However, I need to clear up a few things my opponent mentions in the previous round.

A) My opponent says that "That's actually relatively inexpensive for the whole roughly 38% less crimes you get from it". This statement is false because even if the Death Penalty actually does deter crime, which it doesn't, the 38% figure doesn't make sense - my opponent's own studies admit that the actual portion that the Death Penalty is possibly responsible for is much lower. So I ask that my opponent would stop throwing that number around because it is false and misleading to the readers.

B) "My opponent states that we should invest the 1,100,000 dollars we use on the death penalty per year into actual things that are proven to prevent crime". This sentence is also misleading because we don't just spend 1,100,000 per year on the Death Penalty as a nation, we spend that sum per state. In total America actually spends 55,000,000 on the Death Penalty per year.

Finally, my opponent asks for an alternative program we can invest in that would lower crime rates more effectively than capital punishment. There are numerous examples, the most notable being drug rehabilitation. Since we know that a majority of criminal acts are commited under the influence, drug rehabilitation programs would be able to address these crimes, in addition to positively impacting our culture and fixing the root of the problem. There are numerous studies that support this idea, I have 15 to cite next round since I'm running out of space.
Debate Round No. 3
xXCryptoXx

Con

Listen, I'm not going to lie. I am obviously losing this debate. I made this debate in order to practice my arguments on why the death penalty should not be abolished. I have made many mistakes in my arguments, but now I know how to re-organize what I am trying to say, add in certain arguments, and take out some of my weaker arguments.

I would like to thank pro for this debate and for helping me to reform my arguments and get a taste of the arguments of the opposing side. You have really gotten me to think and to really continue to consider my position on the death penalty (I am currently undecided).

Thank you.

I concede this debate. Vote Pro.
OneElephant

Pro

In that case, I thank you for the debate. I have to say you are quite skilled (much more than I was) for someone of your age and I hope we can debate again sometime in the future.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by OneElephant 3 years ago
OneElephant
@4saken

Regarding the first two points - I actually cited seven studies that were anti - capital punishment, and those were from 2005 and beyond alone. Additionally, the point of citing the National Research Council wasn't to completely undermine the value of Pro's studies, it was simply to show that there is enough evidence and studies to the contrary to make the deterrence value of the Death Penalty inconclusive. That's arguably all I needed to show since it was the only argument that Pro extended.

I'll admit that the third point was flawed though haha. I shouldn't have phrased it like that - it was ad hominem.
Posted by 4saken 3 years ago
4saken
It's a shame that Con submitted to the pressure. If he calmed down he could easily find the flaws in Pro's arguments and countered them.

For example:

"There have been just as many, if not more studies, that cast doubt on the deterrence effect of the death penalty, if not more."

Pro said there are more, but he cited only two.

Or this:

"My opponent gives us no reason to believe that one study is more reliable than the other, but for some reason only treats studies that support his arguments as facts and dismisses all other results. "

Even though Pro said something like this, he had considered one study (the one of the National Research Council) counters all other studies.

Or this:

"Regardless of whether my opponent believes he can arrive at a more accurate conclusion than experts who have spent over eight years studying the idea of criminal deterrence at universities by just googling death penalty studies, we should factor in the opinions of these people when we debate this resolution."

Ad hominem to the finest. With this logic this website should be shut down, we have no business debating these matters, just leave them to the experts.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
I've edited it so I will accept anyone with 11-20 debates.

I've already promised DakotaKrafick the debate if I do not get anyone to accept with 1-2 days left.

@Skeptikitten The reason I have a higher amount of specific debates is because they will either have a high(er) ELO, more experience in formatting ect. or both.
Posted by Kwhite7298 3 years ago
Kwhite7298
"Lawyering" is like spreading and should be a part of DDO.

If you allowed spreading I would take this, gladly.
Posted by tmar19652 3 years ago
tmar19652
Dam, I was hoping you were pro so I could take this debate. Oh well, I will just have to troll for another death penalty debate.
Posted by glassplotful 3 years ago
glassplotful
I will accept your debate if you wish, if you do not find a challenger in time.
Posted by Skeptikitten 3 years ago
Skeptikitten
That's an almost ridiculously specific number of debates. Any particular reason?

FYI- some of us aren't inexperienced debaters, we are just new to this site.

Also, I looked up "lawyering". It apparently means either bombarding an opponent with evidence or providing evidence in such a manner that makes it impossible for an opponent to win the debate- usually done when one opponent is far more experienced than the other and doesn't give him or her a "fair shake". I don't think it's really trolling per se, more along the lines of poor sportsmanship.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
1. I have set my preferences to debate anyone with 4-10 debates. You only have one debate finished.
2. Classic format. I present arguments, you respond, I respond, you respond, repeat till end of debate.
3. I'm not sure what lawyering is either, but I know the voters wil know when they see it and will also see that I forbade it in the rules.

I just know it's a troll tactic basically.
Posted by Skeptikitten 3 years ago
Skeptikitten
I would like to accept this debate, but I have a few questions.

What format do you intend to have for the rounds, and who has the Burden of Proof?

And I am not familiar with the internet term "lawyering".
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
I have purposely done so because I do not want a very experienced debater. I just want to practice my arguments and see what kind of refutations I get room my opponent. If I don't have an opponent with 1-2 days left will accept you for the debate. :)
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by DebaterAgent 3 years ago
DebaterAgent
xXCryptoXxOneElephantTied
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Total points awarded:16 
Reasons for voting decision: Con Conceded but I give him conduct points
Vote Placed by effimero89 3 years ago
effimero89
xXCryptoXxOneElephantTied
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Reasons for voting decision: great job to both and im glad to see it end with Con admitting, my suggestion to Con is to really look over souces because they can and will be easily picked apart by your future opponents. Also a thank you to Pro for showing that capital punishment is much more expensive, I never would have known.
Vote Placed by Legitdebater 3 years ago
Legitdebater
xXCryptoXxOneElephantTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by davidtaylorjr 3 years ago
davidtaylorjr
xXCryptoXxOneElephantTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con Conceded