The Instigator
Mikal
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
Logical_Reason
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Death Penalty should be banned in most cases in the United States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Mikal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,841 times Debate No: 45504
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

Mikal

Pro

Banned - To remove the practice of

Structure

Me

[1] Rules/Structure
[2] Opening Arguments/Contentions
[3] Closing Arguments, Rebuilding points, Closing points


Adversary

[1] Opening Arguments/Contentions
[2] Closing Arguments, Rebuilding points, Closing points
[3] Shall type "no round as agreed upon"

Rules

[1]FFS shall result in the loss of a conduct point with multiple FFS possibly resulting in a full 7 point drop at the discretion of the judges

[2]Failure to type no round as agreed upon in the last round will result in a full 7 point drop

[3] Directly and intentionally plagiarizing information will result in the loss of conduct and possibly a full 7 point drop at the discretion of the judges.

[4] Votes shall contain a proper RFD

[5] 10k character limit, using Google docs or other sites to go over this shall result in the loss of a conduct point and if breach multiple times possibly in a full 7 point drop at the discretion of the judges. If this occurs shall shall vote on the information of the site and not the information that exceeds the 10k word limit.


Logical_Reason

Con

The death penalty is morally justified. My value is vengeance. I define vengeance with the definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary; the act of doing something to hurt someone because that person did something that hurt you or someone else. I will be speaking specifically of capital punishment in America throughout the duration of the debate, although will cover capital punishment in general. The death penalty, with revisions, can cost far less than life in prison, is morally justified, and constitutionally justified.

The death penalty should still stand, though under laws regarding the five California Propositions on capital punishment by Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Paula M. Mitchell; in particular the fourth and third. The problems with the death penalty, is that it is expensive. That is the only viable argument extended by those who oppose it. This can be cut, dramatically if we follow propositions 3 and 4. Proposition 3 is, in its essence, narrowing the number of death eligible crimes. This will remove many persons from death row. Proposition 4 is stating that video and/or scientific evidence is required for the accusation to stand against the defendant. Eyewitness accounts are very unreliable, as many times they can relate to viewing a silhouette, or viewing someone in the dark (as seen in the Mark Zimmerman case).

When I regard proposition 3, I propose that death penalty eligible crimes be limited to first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and third degree murder. I am not including manslaughter and matters where a person purposely ended the life of another, without regards to self-defense of he who is convicted of murder.

The cost of the death penalty in California has been the following: Pretrial and trial costs, summed, are 1.94 billion dollars, Automatic Appeals and State Habeas Corpus Petition, 0.925 billion dollars, Federal Habeas Corpus Appeals, 0.775 billion dollars, and last but most certainly not least, cost of incarceration, or 1 billion dollars. This costs about 170 million dollars more than life in prison. This can easily be fixed to be cheaper and plus efficiency. You can cut costs dramatically with propositions 4 and 3, by putting fewer people there to begin with, and faster trials (caused of course by scientific or video evidence needed). That is the economical portion of this case.

The death penalty is purely human. If you were to have your family killed by a man, would you want to see that man in prison for life, where he would receive free medical care, longer life than your family in general, access to the ability to experience (sunlight, taste, well-rested day, feeling in general), or for the person to be properly taken action upon, as you would feel best fit naturally, as a dead man? This is the reason for wars. To kill and avenge those who are dead and cannot fend for themselves. This is not a violation of human rights. This is the vengeance for human rights succeeded by this criminal of whom my opponent argues do not deserve death. The human right found in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 3, as it states "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person". This right has allegedly been refused by the alleged criminal.

The death penalty is constitutional. The 5th Amendment to the Constitution states: "No person shall be ... deprived of life ... without due process of law." The 14th Amendment states: "No state shall ... deprive any person of life ... without due process of law.". Not only do these amendments support the death penalty, but the Supreme Court noted that when the Eighth Amendment was written regarding cruel and unusual punishment, capital punishment was a common sanction in every State. The US Supreme Court, for over 200 years, repeatedly declared the death penalty to be constitutional (except for the time span between 1972 to 1976).

Capital punishment is not "wrong" or "evil", it is not hanging a given person for speaking up against an ideal, is not a punishment for graffiti, nor is it such as for vandalizing a store. It is for punishments we feel are especially harmful to our society. This is not a tyranny, and shall not be ruled as such. This is a republic based on the idea that all men are created equal! We cannot do with one committing murder, as he had not treated the victim as such equality as framed by our forefathers, and by such an action he shall be treated equally as his victim, with death and nothing lesser.

Capital punishment being nonexistent and replaced with life in prison without possibility of parole, is unfair to he who may have been killed by the criminal. For such a strongly cynical action against that person, if not against the American people in general, is it not best for us to penalize these people so harshly that no others dare make the mistake. Is it truly well to show those who may commit murder that the penalty is not just spending a large to meek remainder of their life in prison? All this truly would be is being separated from society. That is it. I could kill someone. I could be imprisoned and not receive capital punishment, as my opponent believes. I could live significantly longer than with death penalty, speak with peers, have foodstuffs provided, have medical assistance, and even see daylight! Prisoner-committed acts of violence are the small price to pay for life.

Fear of death is a superior deterrent when placed alongside life imprisonment without possibility of parole. The human will to live is an instinct outdone by absolutely nothing. Every human wants to live. Every human can say they do not want to live, but they are instinctually programmed to. Amnesty International states "In-depth report on United States' executions of the mentally ill. Includes definitions of terminology, explanations of common and relevant mental conditions, primary-source quotations, current national and international statistics, and recommendations by an American Bar Association task force. The report finds and provides startling new information such as that 5-10% of today's Death Row inmates suffer from serious mental illness; it also draws unique connections between certain states' mental health funding and execution rates." This "serious mental illness" can interfere with instincts, for those who are labeled as such have minds, which are not oriented as the rest of the population of the United States of America. This would mean that they would think slightly differently, and therefore 5-10% is the maximum percentage of persons in death row who could be lacking the instinctual will to live.
Debate Round No. 1
Mikal

Pro

So lets get straight down to the point, we are debating if the death penalty should be illegal in a majority of cases. I am pro to this resolution. I do however affirm that the death penalty should be left open for a few cases in where it is absolutely and totally justified. Such as evidence of needless murder without a doubt. I shall now provide evidence to support my claim, that the death penalty should be banned in a majority of cases.


Ineffective Deterrent.

This is not just my opinion but accepted as a fact among the nations top leading criminologist. 88-89 percent of the nations top leading criminologist over the past years have all said it is an ineffective deterrent to crime. [1]








" The criminologists surveyed included - 1) Fellows in the American Society of Criminology (ASC), (2) Winners of the ASC’s Sutherland Award, the highest award given by that organization for contributions to criminological theory, or (3) Presidents of the ASC between 1997 and the present. Those presidents before 1997 had been included in the prior survey. Respondents were asked to base their answers on existing empirical research, not their views on capital punishment." [1]


Even as recently as 2009, the nations top criminologist of the time also said it did not act as a proper deterrent because it did not consider factors such as non capital punishments and that the idea was fundamental flawed. This survey also showed that around 88 percent of the top leading criminologist said it was also ineffective.







States without the death penalty have a lower murder rate than states with the death penalty


This is a pretty hit home fact, but through recent studies it is shown that states without the death penalty have lower murder rates than states with the death penalty.




" The threat of execution at some future date is unlikely to enter the minds of those acting under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, those who are in the grip of fear or rage, those who are panicking while committing another crime (such as a robbery), or those who suffer from mental illness or mental retardation and do not fully understand the gravity of their crime. " [2]


We can also see this when comparing states without the death penalty to states with it. States with the death penalty usually have a higher murder rate. See [3]







Innocent Executions

The death penalty is finite and absolute. If someone is tried and killed because they were to have thought to committed the crime, it is final. Some times there are cases where evidence is provided at later dates that shows the person convicted was in fact innocent.

" Since Innocence and the Death Penalty: Assessing The Danger of Mistaken Executions was released in 1993, 21 more cases have been added to the list of mistaken convictions in capital cases. Seventeen of those releases occurred after the original report's release, and the other four were cases which would have been included in the original report had the information about these releases been known earlier " [4]


Right to life

As promised by the Constitution, we are promised the right to life [5]. There are situations that trump this such as self defense and justifiable homicide. If you are ever put into a situation where murdering someone is the only option to save your life or the life of the other under most state statues we are allotted the right under stand your ground laws [6]


I have even made this case for abortion in some circumstances. Any instance where someone or something is going to kill you, you have the right to defend yourself under US law by lethal means.

This does not apply in this situation. The act has already been committed, and we are applying old logic to get retribution. Murdering someone because they murdered someone is ending a life without need. Killing them will not bring the other person back, and they are other options such as deportation and life imprisonment that offers and provides the same results as far as keeping that person from killing again.

We are essentially invoking the code of Hammurabi, eye for and eye and tooth for a tooth and applying it to a modern criminal justice system.



Conclusion

The death penalty does not act as a proper deterrent as stated by the nations leading criminologist of both modern time and throughout history. It can kill the wrong people and is a violation of their right to life as promised by the Constitution. We can even see that states without the death penalty have less murder rates than states with the death penalty. Both statistics, studies, and experts all agree that it is an outdated practice and does not do what it needs to do effectively.


[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://www.amnestyusa.org...
[3] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[4] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[5] http://www.constitution.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...







Logical_Reason

Con

I point out that the title of the debate is "The Death Penalty should be banned in most cases in the United States". The word "most" was never properly defined, at any point, by the instigator in this debate.

Furthermore, death penalty varies by state. For instance, death penalty in Massachusetts is currently nonexistent. It would, for this reason, be invalid to discuss death penalty varying by state, as they are all different, be it by sentences or ideas in general. Furthermore, they are states, not the United States itself, which implements Federal law. For this reason, the only valid way to speak of death penalty "in the United States" would be in Federal law. Federal death penalty is mostly including murderous tasks which are committed on purpose. Therefore my opponent is arguing insufficiently from the first paragraph my opponent had written in Round 2, as my opponent states "I do however affirm that the death penalty should be left open for a few cases in where it is absolutely and totally justified. Such as evidence of needless murder without a doubt". Federal law covers, for the most part, espionage, national security threats, terrorism in general, and military justice. My opponent argues "I do however affirm that the death penalty should be left open for a few cases in where it is absolutely and totally justified. Such as evidence of needless murder without a doubt." This would mean that my opponent is arguing that the death penalty should not be eligible for espionage, which he has not mentioned throughout the duration of the debate.

When my opponent states "I do however affirm that the death penalty should be left open for a few cases in where it is absolutely and totally justified." the word "however" does not have commas on both sides of it, as necessary, as the word "however" is not necessary to the sentence. This is a grammatical error.

Many persons who would dare commit espionage are foreigners. Foreigners do not care if the death penalty is there or not, foreign spies care if they are assisting their government, so their job would be to commit espionage against the United States. Therefore the pole about the death penalty being an "Ineffective Deterrent" is invalid under these circumstances.

For my opponent's first argument, with the statistics that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent, the participants have not, or at least I can safely presume not, committed death penalty eligible crimes, so their mental stability differs from that of a person who has committed such a crime.

With proposition 4, which I am arguing for, the death penalty would be limited further to cases which include video/scientific evidence. This would greatly lower, if not diminish the number of persons innocent who are executed.

My opponent argues for the death penalty for murder cases which were committed with intention, or as my opponent states "I do however affirm that the death penalty should be left open for a few cases in where it is absolutely and totally justified. Such as evidence of needless murder without a doubt". Later on in my opponent's Round 2 argument, my opponent states "Some times there are cases where evidence is provided at later dates that shows the person convicted was in fact innocent. " This is contradictory to what was stated earlier in the same round of the debate by the same opponent, therefore my opponent's argument is invalid.

My opponent argues for the right to life. If my opponent had paid any attention to how the death penalty is constitutional. Even if my opponent had not paid attention to such an argument, my argument is further justified, by the fact that the right to life has been violated by he who murdered with intention.

The states with a higher murder rate were those with death penalty, and the lower murder rate states were those without death penalty. There is no evidence given which prompts belief that when the states who abolished the death penalty did so the murder rates dropped. Therefore my opponent's statistics of murder rates are invalid when making such an argument, as my opponent had made.

My opponent states "We are essentially invoking the code of Hammurabi, eye for and eye and tooth for a tooth and applying it to a modern criminal justice system. " This is very untrue in cases of serial killing cases, in which it may be something as ten eyes for two eyes, therefore invalid.

My opponent states "and provides the same results as far as keeping that person from killing again. " This statement is invalid. There are 5 murders per 100,000 murders [1] in jail for white males alone, so the criminals can actually kill again.

There are innocent persons killed by state death penalty from time to time, although those states have not ratified any laws regarding proposition 4.

My opponent's sixth source is Wikipedia. This website can be modified by users as needed, therefore this source is invalid, along with every point that references such as "There are situations that trump this such as self defense and justifiable homicide. If you are ever put into a situation where murdering someone is the only option to save your life or the life of the other under most state statues we are allotted the right under stand your ground laws [6]".

I won this debate, because my opponent stated, from the first paragraph of my opponent's Round 1 argument, that the death penalty should be implemented on those who have committed murder with intention, then proceeds, throughout the rest of his argument, to tear the very same argument down. Therefore my opponent did not hold a position in this debate, therefore my opponent's argument, in its entirety, is invalid.

Sources:
[1] http://www.slate.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Mikal

Pro

Lets get down to rebuttals and rebuilding contentions.

Rebuttal (This is an all one one rebuttal)

My adversary says this was not properly defined. I never even tried to play semantics with this at all. In "most" cases is a pretty common sense resolution, clearly meaning the majority of cases. As I previously stated the option should not be completely removed anywhere, but left open for certain cases. The main issue with this is the argument I brought up about innocent people being executed. The death penalty may be a viable option for serial killers and other such cases where the killer can be proven beyond doubt. If there is enough empirical or direct evidence to support that a killer did in fact commit that crime, the option should be on the table. What I mean by banned in a majority of cases is that the option should be made unavailable in cases such as an act of passion, or where someone does not have enough evidence to properly justify the penalty it self. As i stated in my prior round, there have been 21 cases where people were wrongly executed in the past decade. Over 17 of those is where information was presented at a later date that shed new light on the case [1]. Cases such as this need to be abolished and removed, if the death penalty is going to be an option it should only be an option for cases that can be determined without a doubt. Even arguing this for a federal ban perspective, the right to life trumps the right to justify someones else's death by committing another act of murder in return.

In addition to this my adversary claims it is a false analogy to compare this to the code of Hammurabi. This is a fallacy on his part. He claims because someone commits multiple murders, it in fact is breaking this code. As if one life is not enough to justify the lives of others. This code in principle is about reaping what you sow. If you steal from someone, they had the right to steal back from you. The law itself paved the way for modern law and regulations, this is not a debatable fact ; it is empirical evidence.

The phrase itself "an eye or an eye" is a paraphrase of 282 laws that were inscribed on an upright pillar in ancient Mesopotamia. Here is a list of the laws [2]. Hammurabi saw the need to unite people under a set of universal or governmental laws. This was the first set ever in history. The entire code was about due process or suffering a proper consequence for crimes. Granted some of the codes were a little extreme, such as a woman whom was caught cheating could be tied up and drowned in a river alive. The code itself influenced today's legal system for obvious reasons. If you commit a crime now days, usually the amount of time or punishment you receive fits the crime somewhat. If you rob someone you receive time in prison, etc. There is a repercussion for every crime you can commit, and all this stems from finding a punishment that equates to the crime. The Code of Hammurabi was what started all this and influenced today's modern legal system.

The issue we are discussing is whether death violates the Constitution and humans rights as a sufficient response to a crime. If someone commits a murder without cause, do we as citizens of the United States have the right to end their life for committing that crime. I think the obvious answer should be no in a vast majority of cases. There are plenty of alternatives that bear the same outcome as the death penalty. Life imprisonment is one option. My adversary commits an adhom and a fallacy in his response to this. He is arguing that sending criminals to prison solves nothing because they kill other inmates. If inmates on death row kill each other, it would just speed up the process that he is supporting and cut federal spending for food. So even trying to bring up this point makes no logical sense. If anything my adversary is supporting this option already by defending the death penalty. The only difference is my option gives people a chance to see a fair trial, and prevents people from being killed after they could possibly be proven innocent at a later date.

My adversary claims this

" I won this debate, because my opponent stated, from the first paragraph of my opponent's Round 1 argument, that the death penalty should be implemented on those who have committed murder with intention, then proceeds, throughout the rest of his argument, to tear the very same argument down. Therefore my opponent did not hold a position in this debate, therefore my opponent's argument, in its entirety, is invalid. "

I have no idea what my adversary is claiming here, but I have defended the resolution with both statistics, facts, and empirical evidence. Something that he has failed to do at all.

The resolution as I have already states is clearly

"The death penalty should be abolished or not allowed in most cases"

It does not get much clearer than this. Almost similar to an abortion stance ; ie abortion should be banned in cases other than rape or where the mother could die. This is the same exact approach. The death penalty should be banned except in cases where it is justified beyond doubt with empirical and direct evidence. I have no idea why my adversary is trying to play semantics with this instead of debating his actual stance. He did not even bother to show the amount of crime the death penalty actual deters. He has provided almost nothing in defense of his position.


A Proper Deterrent.

This was not even touched by adversary, therefore it stands. Among the nations top leading criminologist and through multiple statistics and surveys we can clearly see that this is not a proper deterrent. We can also see that when someone is going to commit a crime of this magnitude the last thing on their mind is being punished for it. This is cited and sourced in round 1.

This argument was not touched.


States with higher murder rates are those without the death penalty.

Again this remains untouched. He claims there is no evidence to support this, and just leaves it at that. I have no idea whether he chose not to read my argument or even skim through my sources, but there is a gigantic graph that supports this along with a state by state comparison that is also cited in round 1.

When we are comparing states with and without the death penalty, it is quite obvious via my sources to see that states without it have a significantly lower murder rate. This is not just in sheer numbers either, but by percentage of the population. A bigger states vs a smaller state would not be a factor in this.

The most logical process if you support the death penalty would be this

"States that have the death penalty would have a lower crime rate, because the death penalty would deter the amount of murders occurring"

This should be the logic used, but we can clearly see that is false. The states that have it are producing higher numbers than states without showing that the death penalty is a VERY ineffective deterrent.


Right to life

My adversary claims that I ignored his argument. I did not ignore his argument, and had my adversary read the rules in round 1 he would have clearly seen this round is rebuttals. He also questions my source regarding stand your ground laws. I used Wikipedia because stand your ground laws are common knowledge. In all honesty I do not even need a source to verify this, but he wishes to see one so here are just a few [3][4][5].

As far as the constitution bearing the right to end a life, this is a matter of perspective.

The fifth amendment as my adversary mentioned states that

" no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law" [6]

We are also promised in the declaration of independence that

" We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" [7]


So we have one thing telling us that life is something that is endowed to us and that shall not be taken, and something else saying it can be taken by due process. So the question is which is a more viable and reasonable option?

How do we define due process? The issue with due process is that the death penalty cuts this short. It is taking evidence that is available at the time and making a finalizing decision. If evidence is brought up at a later date that alters this, due process was not given violating the constitution.


Jed S Rakoff District judge from New York words this elequently

" To this Court, the unacceptably high rate at which innocent persons are convicted of capital crimes, when coupled with the frequently prolonged delays before such errors are detected (and then often only fortuitously or by application of newly-developed techniques), compels the conclusion that execution under the Federal Death Penalty Act, by cutting off the opportunity for exoneration, denies due process and, indeed, is tantamount to foreseeable, state-sponsored murder of innocent human beings."[8]

Also we are prohibited from taking out cruel and unusual punishment on people[9]. While you can play semantics with this but the death penalty is cruel punishment. [6]


Closing

My adversary has offered nothing to defend his claim. I have offered sources, statistics, and surveys to support the fact the death penalty is ineffective, inhumane, and executes innoncent people.

The resolution is affirmed.





[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://eawc.evansville.edu...
[3] http://www.leg.state.fl.us...
[4] http://criminal.findlaw.com...
[5] http://www.collinsdictionary.com...
[6] http://www.law.cornell.edu...
[7] http://www.archives.gov...
[8] http://deathpenalty.procon.org...
Logical_Reason

Con

"no round as agreed upon"
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
The argument was a straight up bump lol. You said surveys are unreliable because they people surveyed would not commit murder

"For my opponent's first argument, with the statistics that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent, the participants have not, or at least I can safely presume not, committed death penalty eligible crimes, so their mental stability differs from that of a person who has committed such a crime. "

If anything you just argued the point that I supported. Someone whom would commit a crime, would not be in the right mindset to actually think about the crime. Meaning consequences would not deter them. The espionage argument was a non sequitur at heart, but I still addressed it. You were all around the floor on the debate sadly and didn't bother to even read the rules. Check the stuff before you accept the debate lol
Posted by Logical_Reason 3 years ago
Logical_Reason
Mikal, read my argument before you make a rebuttal. I had argued for the death penalty being a deterrent. I don't care if I lose the debate for this comment, seriously read what I write next time. And as for that last paragraph, read it. Actually read it, and it will make sense.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 3 years ago
dtaylor971
MikalLogical_ReasonTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: This type of debate is easy to vote on. Mikal steamrolls the other guy, enough said. First, conduct. Con had to sink so low and point out little, petty mistakes that any qualified voters would notice. He pointed out that Wikipedia is not a reliable source (I agree), but he a) didn't use any sources himself and b) I already knew that wikipedia is not a reliable source. You don't have to tell me that. I do not like being told what to do or vote for, so conduct to pro. Spelling and grammar was equally good, with few errors from either side. Arguments were absolutely in the favor of pro. Con did not provide good rebuttals to the pro's arguments, while pro refuted the con's without much effort at all, it seems. Last, sources. Mikal was the only one to use sources, so he wins the debate. Good job to Mikal.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
MikalLogical_ReasonTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Spelling and grammar as well as conduct was good. Pro had a well backing of sources to defend his points. Pro made claims using FBI data and well studied information that was hard to refute.
Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 3 years ago
TheHitchslap
MikalLogical_ReasonTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Logical_Reason was anything but logical. Mikal points out rather well that experts overwhelmingly agree that CP is not a deterrent. As such because his opponent dropped this point, he wins. Sources for this as well, as logical seems to use none.