The Instigator
jwscavalier60
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Thessentials
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points

The Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Thessentials
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,556 times Debate No: 10534
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (4)

 

jwscavalier60

Con

I argue that the Death Penalty has an overall negative effect on society.

I Propose that:

1) Death is cruel and unusual, no matter what the crime was or what method of execution is used.

Here are two examples of botched executions:
April 22, 1983
Alabama
John Evans
Electrocution:
After the first jolt of electricity, sparks and flames erupted from the electrode attached to Evans's leg. The electrode burst from the strap holding it in place and caught on fire. Smoke and sparks also came out from under the hood in the vicinity of Evans's left temple. Two physicians entered the chamber and found a heartbeat. The electrode was reattached to his leg, and another jolt of electricity was applied. This resulted in more smoke and burning flesh. Again the doctors found a heartbeat. Ignoring the pleas of Evans's lawyer, a third jolt of electricity was applied. The execution took 14 minutes and left Evans's body charred and smoldering.

April 23, 1998
Texas
Joseph Cannon
Lethal Injection:
It took two attempts to complete the execution. After making his final statement, the execution process began. A vein in Cannon's arm collapsed and the needle popped out. Seeing this, Cannon lay back, closed his eyes, and exclaimed to the witnesses, "It's come undone." Officials then pulled a curtain to block the view of the witnesses, reopening it fifteen minutes later when a weeping Cannon made a second final statement and the execution process resumed.

There are a total of 42 botched executions listed on the Death Penalty Information Center website.

According to Avalon Project database, the eighth amendment states: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu...
http://deathpenaltyinfo.org...

2) Overall the Death Penalty costs more to maintain rather than the life sentence in prison.

Capital punishment cases go through several appeals costing millions of dollars, and of those cases only a few actually receive the death penalty. According to Independent Weekly, IDS is a publicly funded agency that provides private attorneys for defendants charged with capital crimes, but cannot afford a lawyer. Of 733 defendants in North Carolina that IDS represented, less than 3%, or around 20 people received the death penalty. However , millions of tax dollars still went into each of those cases. Independent Weekly also stated that North Carolina spent an additional $36 million dollars between 2001 and 2008 on the death penalty that could have been used elsewhere if the life in prison was the sentence used for heinous crimes.
http://www.indyweek.com...

3) The Death Penalty has no proof of being a deterrent.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center the U.S. Murder rate per 100,000 people has been fairly constant at around 5.5 to 5.7 per year. However, according to the Canadian Coalition against the Death penalty, Canada, which does not use the death penalty has had a rate around 1.9 to 2.2 over the past few years. Also, according to Speak Out .com, since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1977, 552 people have been executed. That averages about one person every 22 days, so clearly the death penalty has no evidence of a deterrent to heinous crimes.
http://deathpenaltyinfo.org...
http://www.ccadp.org...
http://speakout.com...

4) Many people have been executed innocently and obviously cannot be "released", however if life imprisonment was the preferred method of punishment they could be released. Although I do not have list of these cases there are 139 people listed on the Death Penalty Information Center for people who have been released from Death Row. (And not a moment to soon!)
http://deathpenaltyinfo.org...
Thessentials

Pro

1) The Death Penalty is a cruel punishment, but so is putting a man in a tiny cell for a bare minimum of 15 years. When people use the argument that the constitution prohibits the death penalty, the term cruel is usually interpreted in a way that almost any punishment could fit into.

Cruel-
1 : disposed to inflict pain or suffering : devoid of humane feelings
2 a : causing or conducive to injury, grief, or pain b : unrelieved by leniency http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Life imprisonment may not cause physical pain, but it certainly causes suffering and grief.

Regardless, the constitution uses the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment", so just because a punishment is cruel does not disqualify it from being put into practice.

The death penalty is unusual only in the sense that it is not implemented very often as opposed to it being perverse or torturous. The cases you listed only prove that the death penalty should be simplified to something that has a 100% success of killing an offender instantaneously, which would cause as little pain as possible.

2) The Death Penalty doesn't have to cost more than life in prison.

People that get considered for the death sentence usually use the court system only as a way to get out of their punishment.

Ted Bundy confessed to killing some of the 28 people he was convicted for, and yet he still cost taxpayers more than five million dollars by the time he was put to death. He used appeals only to delay and possibly lessen his sentence. This is clearly abuse of the court system, not a flaw in the death sentence itself.

Reserve life imprisonment when proper evidence cannot be found. If substantial evidence shows the defendant to be a murderer then give them the death penalty. I cannot state that the death penalty is cheaper than life imprisonment, but the system should be redone so that trials are quicker and less costly.

3) Death Penalty doesn't deter crime because it is not used often enough.

"Within the context of the overall murder rate, the death penalty cannot be said to be widely or routinely used in the United States; in recent years the average has been about one execution for about every 700 murders committed, or 1 execution for about every 325 murder convictions."
http://en.wikipedia.org...

It doesn't deter crime because it is not a punishment that gets used very often. It's especially disgusting that even after being guilty of a murder (possibly after confessing), you can still get away with life imprisonment regardless of the degree.

So if you commit a murder you have a 50% chance of being convicted, which is pretty high. You only have a 0.3% chance of actually receiving the death penalty....

You say that Canada has a lower amount of murders than the US, which is true...Unfortunately, lack of a death penalty has nothing to do with this.

Mexico does not have the death penalty and yet it trumps the US with its murder rate. Along with Russia, Poland, Costa Rica and many others.
http://www.nationmaster.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
On the flip side, some countries that use the death penalty have a lower murder rate such as Japan and India. Death penalty does not effect murder rates as much as my opponent leads one to believe.

4) Leaps in science are clearly providing more accurate evidence which leads to better judgments as to a person's innocence. Looking at the chart of innocent convicts I can see that more have been exonerated recently than 10 years ago.

Looking at my opponent's source http://speakout.com... you can see that innocent executions are at maximum 4% (139 innocent/About 3,335 inmates remaining on 'Death Row.') There definitely have been more than 3,335 people who have passed through death row between the years 1973-2009 but I can't find the exact number. I can only find the number contained within one year.
Debate Round No. 1
jwscavalier60

Con

jwscavalier60 forfeited this round.
Thessentials

Pro

Thessentials forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
jwscavalier60

Con

First I have to say sorry to my opponent for one missing the second round resulting in a forfeit. Second, for the lack of my free time I cannot give this argument my full effort, but will still try to convince the viewers of my position.

1) I agree that life imprisonment could easily be interpreted as cruel and unusual, however, with the death penalty, society focuses on vengeance and punishment, but with life imprisonment we can focus on rehabilitation and forgiveness. The death penalty gives the accused no chance of turning their life around, and is often sought out of vengeance of families of the victims, however the death penalty brings little to no closure of the families.

These botched executions are unacceptable and because there is no humane method of killing, none shall be used.

2) As I have shown, the death penalty is at least as expensive and more often way more expensive than life imprisonment. My opponent argues that trials shall be done faster and more efficiently, however that will just result in more mistakes, cause after all, we are all human, we all make mistakes, not just criminals.

3) I accept my opponent's argument that use of the death penalty doesn't correlate with murder rates, however I still state that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. My opponent claims that more use of the death penalty would result in better deterrence, I admit this is possible, but it would not be a good thing for society, which is the original argument. An excessive use of the death penalty creates fear in society, which would be one method of deterrence, however with life imprisonment and the injection of morals into society. That way, society as a whole could get a better grasp on what is right and wrong.

4) Ok, all I have is one question:
How many innocent people can be executed before the death penalty should stop being used?

5) The video doesn't relate to any one point, I feel that it helps express my overall feeling of the topic.
Thessentials

Pro

Hope you had a good time over the holidays jwscavalier60. I was on vacation as well so I would have most likely missed the deadline if you had responded sooner, so it all worked out nicely.

1) The death penalty is not about vengeance. It is about prevention.

Ex: A couple of stories about convicted murderers who were released and decided to kill again.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk... (article from the UK which shows life imprisonment doesn't mean killers are kept away for life. It is not an effective deterrent).
http://www.people.com...

The last one gives a little insight into a killer's thoughts. They are clearly irrational, almost childish in logic. Attempting to rehabilitate someone like this is not worth the time, effort, money and possibly losing the life of another truly
innocent human being.

A desire to kill others is usually not something a person struggles to refrain from in the first place. It is not a victimless crime that can be cured by shear willpower. It is possibly a genetic problem that is about as curable as depression or any other mental illness. Maybe they can be treated, but I wouldn't want to be around when they relapse. I want to know if my opponent also believes criminals convicted of less serious crimes can be rehabilitated.

I don't believe closure is important when the law is involved. Like I said before, the point of the death penalty is prevention, not providing closure or vengeance. Life imprisonment won't give closure either so that really isn't a valid reason to replace the death penalty.

2) My opponent states that I want trials to be faster and more efficient. This is true. I also think they should be more effective. If conviction was more secure would my opponent be in favor of the death penalty? Or is he against it purely because he believes killing in any situation to be morally wrong?

3) Death penalty would not create fear in society because it is reserved for murderers. So, unless the general populace is planning to commit a murder, I see no reason for them to live in fear of it.

4) I am not in favor of innocent people losing their lives.

Something can't be abolished when it does more good than harm, which is why I am in favor of the death penalty and stand by the fact that it has an overall good effect on society. The huge majority of innocent people being protected from murderers outweighs the 139 that have died because of the protection. As I said in the last round, science has definitely cut down on the number of convicted innocents.

5) The video doesn't state any facts and only works on an emotional level. Case was from 1981, DNA wasn't used in crime until 1984. DNA was first used to convict in 1988.
Debate Round No. 3
jwscavalier60

Con

jwscavalier60 forfeited this round.
Thessentials

Pro

My arguments still stand. It was nice debating with my opponent, I feel I have learned a lot about this topic since this debate began. Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jwscavalier60 6 years ago
jwscavalier60
2) I suppose I will say that yes I am against the death penalty because it is morally wrong. Now if you want to bring up the bible on this isssue, fine, but I am confident I know what the bible says about the topic. I see no upside to the death penalty, if a person is ruled unfit for society, keep him in prison.
Posted by jwscavalier60 6 years ago
jwscavalier60
Thessentials,
To answer your questions:
1) Yes, I think criminals convicted of lesser crimes can be habilitated and the majority of murderes as well, but it will take our prison program working toward rehabilitation, not just punishment.
Posted by jwscavalier60 6 years ago
jwscavalier60
I am sorry for not being able to give this debate my full attention, however, I believe I gave good and accurate points for my side of the topic. vote con!
Posted by Thessentials 6 years ago
Thessentials
jws, are you referring to non whites vs. other races? Because they have the highest death penalty count.

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

They also have the highest victim rate.
Posted by CRL 6 years ago
CRL
I missed the deadline. May I just forfeit the debate? Sorry.
Posted by jwscavalier60 6 years ago
jwscavalier60
And unfortunately discrimination still plays a huge role in our judicial system. There are scary statistics on how often different races recieve the death penalty compared to others.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 6 years ago
studentathletechristian8
I know that. If they hadn't been tried during the Red Scare, or possibly even tried in another country, the two would have been found innocent. They were found guilty because of American antiforeignism.
Posted by jwscavalier60 6 years ago
jwscavalier60
To Koopin:
Sacco and Vanzetti are two famous cases were they were executed and then pronounced innocent.
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
What I also hate is when people say that the founding fathers opposed the death penalty.
People like to bend the Amendments to their liking.
For instance, gun laws...
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
What I don't like about these anti death penalty people is, they say that people have died who were inocent, ten they say.."But that info can't be released."

I NEED PROOF!!!
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Thessentials 6 years ago
Thessentials
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Vote Placed by ilovedebate 6 years ago
ilovedebate
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Vote Placed by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
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Vote Placed by jwscavalier60 6 years ago
jwscavalier60
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