The Instigator
Danthefish
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Kkyhtthebaconking
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

The Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/23/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 678 times Debate No: 26512
Debate Rounds (3)
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Danthefish

Con

As a head note, this is my first debate, so please forgive me if I do something wrong.

The death penalty, in my opinion, is wrong, and my reasoning for this is simple; it is just not logical. For example, it is very expensive. Although keeping people in jail for life sentances is also expensive, killing people costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The amnesty international site shows that a legislative audit shows that the median cost of killing somebody is much more expensive than giving them a life sentance in many states of the United States of America (http://www.amnestyusa.org...). A search on google will give many results showing the greater cost as well, if the evidence provided is not sufficient.

If it is more cost effective to put them in a prison cell, surely it is more efficient all together. It could be argued that not killing a criminal means they are still a threat to society, and while this is true, there is always the risk of executing the wrong person, or executing someone who either:

1) Was not aware what they were doing or
2) Did not purposefully commit a crime worthy of the death penalty

A controversial case is the case of Kesley Patterson, who was executed in 2004, on the 18th of may, aged 50 years old. This report (http://www.txexecutions.org...) shows that Kesley had a severe mental condition. Kesley had, as the report shows, killed before and both times been sent to a mental hospital after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Another similar case is that of Dereck Bentley (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Dereck Bentley was only 19 when he was executed by hanging in the UK in 1953. However, Bentley had not directly killed anyone. He and his accomplice Chris Craig attempted burglary, in which Craig was armed with a gun and Bentley with a knife and spiked knuckle dusters, both given to him by Craig. A resident of a nearby house reported suspicious activity to the police, after sighting Bentley and Craig on the roof of the Barlow and Parker Company warehouse, and the police were subsequently called. To shorten the story, Craig killed Constable Sidney Miles, and recieved imprisonment (he was too young for the death penalty) while Bentley, who had supposedly said 'Let him have it' was hanged. Bentley had a very low mental age, as he suffered from concussion and brain damage, and many people did not believe he should be killed. Bentley was hanged, however, but more than 40 years later, his case was quashed by the Court of appeal. He would have been 65 years old, and likely still alive. This proves that, occasionally, somebody is killed when they have done nothing or little to be punished for.
Kkyhtthebaconking

Pro

I acknowledge your stance on the cost effectiveness of the death-penalty, however to be quite frank the argument towards the quilt of the individual person is silly. The death penalty is only used for first degree murder which, by definition means that it was pre-meditated, there couldn't be an argument on wether or not the killer meant to do it when in reality the death penalty is only used on the GUILTY. The death penalty CANNOT apply to the mentally retarded, or generally anyone who didn't plan out the murder before hand so it is set up so that only the people who are dangers to society will be penalized with something so heavy.
Debate Round No. 1
Danthefish

Con

I would ask you to look at the links I posted, I think you will find that they prove your point to be, if only partially, invalid. Mistakes are made, and the problem with having the death penalty is that, once you have killed them, they are gone forever. A prison sentence, while still by no means enjoyable, at least means that the person can be pardoned if they are at a later date found to be innocent. It is also a simple and barbaric way of dealing with criminals. It was something that was practiced in the middle ages, has humanity still not moved on? Surely we can find other ways of administrating justice, that do not involve simply ending another persons life, which only achieves one thing; the person is no longer a danger to society. This however, is also easily resolved by a prison sentence, so surely if a prison sentence can achieve the same as what a death penalty can, for a lower cost, why is it not more effective to simply use that method. Many people would find that being locked in a small room, with limited contact with the outside world, more repulsing than a relatively quick and painless death. If someone has done something wrong (in the case of the death penalty, murder) it is right in the eyes of most people that justice should be applied. However, is the death penalty justice, or revenge? Justice has two definitions, according the the Oxford English dictionary, (http://oxforddictionaries.com...), and neither involves anything about killing people. The first definition, which is actually where the second definition originates, says, if you have not already read it, "Just behaviour or treatment". In my opinion, doing something to somebody that is what they have done to somebody else is not acceptable behaviour, especially in modern society. If somebody is accused of burglary, they are not burgled themselves. The same goes for (in the majority of HEDCs) sexual assault, trespassing or assault, amongst every other crime recognised by the law. While I understand that murder is much more serious, surely the same rule applies?

Another thing that should be taken into consideration is the message that is given off; most HEDCs around the world do not use the death penalty, such as in Europe -where only Belarus maintains the death penalty- has less murders per 100,000 inhabitants than areas in Africa that maintain it. The comparison can be made using the graph on this page: (http://fullfact.org...). The article reveals a lot as well. While the murder rates would be higher in some countries due to culture or poor application of law, countries that have the death penalty also often have a high murder rate, so it obviously does not act as a deterrent.
Kkyhtthebaconking

Pro

I find that in your arguments you only presented INDIVIDUAL CASES, why I fully acknowledge that mistakes can be made, I do however not think they happen often enough to fully illegals the practice of the death sentence altogether. As I said before, First degree murder (the main crime penalizable by death) is ONly when the killer thought the crime out and there are large amounts of evidence pointing to this fact. You may see that while there are many cases where the prosecuted appears to be guilty, having a reason or being in the room while it happened, they don't have a visible premeditation of the murder, they did it in the spur of the moment, crimes of passion (second degree, I believe). These people (the supposed "Un-guilty" ones) are prosecuted because they are convenient suspects that "Could have" done it, however someone on death-row is there because there was evidence of him planning a murder, I find that hard to replicate and say he "Could have" planned to kill someone then done so. I know you see the inmates as the cute cuddly teddy bears that may or may not have killed a man but death-row is implicated for a reason, a perfectly sane individual killed a man, and before so thought a bout it and held it in his mind that he was going to kill, this is a man that obviously does not fear or regret murder, even with a life sentence, what keeps him from posing as a threat to the people in jail, that, as you earlier said, aren't completely comfortable there but thats it?
Debate Round No. 2
Danthefish

Con

I do acknowledge that mistakes are rarely made, and -as you said- most people on death row 'deserve' to be there. However, I must disagree with your argument about prison. Prisoners are not just subjected to uncomfortably, as was suggested, but attempts are made to 'correct' them are made (despite the fact that they rarely work) and, most importantly, are kept away from society which is the intended cause of the death penalty anyway. While I understand it is not am ideal system, and many governments refuse to give out actual life sentences, it is still a better system in terms of cost (especially court costs), the severity of mistakes and possibly less people would be willing to commit murder; to some, a quick death may not be that much a daunting prospect, but spending long years locked up is a much more severe punishment. The links in my previous arguments show that, in many cases, the death penalty is not a deterrent, and people don't care or worry about it. If you look at the USA's crime rate for murders by state, states with the death penalty, generally speaking, have a higher murder rate than states without it (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...).
Obviously then, the death penalty rarely acts as a deterrent. If it does not act as a deterrent, is more expensive, has the possibility of murdering innocent people and is a more inhumane way of dealing with people, why is it still applied?

Killing someone who murders in the name of justice, surely contradicts the entire point of it? While I understand that the murderer is guilty of a crime that deserves to be punished, is killing them really justice, or is it just revenge? The small amount of benefits of the death penalty compared to the prison sentence, that is better in most factors, would suggest that it is. If someone is wrongly killed, and later found to be innocent, should the court and everybody else who was responsible for the death of this person be killed as well? Even if it is different to killing somebody in first degree murder, surely directly killing an innocent person should not be tolerated.

To summarise, I am against the death penalty because: It does not work as a deterrent (generally speaking), there is a risk of murdering an innocent person, there are other ways of dealing with criminals that offer larger benefits, it is expensive and it is not necessary in the modern world.

I would like to end by thanking Kkyhtthebaconking for providing me with an interesting first debate.
Kkyhtthebaconking

Pro

Kkyhtthebaconking forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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