The Instigator
prodigyofaristotle
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tejretics
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The Death Sentence Should be Used

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
tejretics
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 701 times Debate No: 93490
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

prodigyofaristotle

Pro

If a criminal is proven guilty beyond doubt, he should be executed. Prisons cost lots of tax dollars and they require a lot of maintenance and work.
tejretics

Con

== Cost ==

Pro's argument from costs clearly indicates that they haven't done the research. The flaw in their case lies in their first sentence: "If a criminal is proven guilty beyond doubt, he should be executed." To prove that a criminal is guilty beyond doubt requires a trial with significantly more effort than an average trial. That's why cases where the death penalty is being considered (i.e. capital cases) are significantly more expensive - sufficiently expensive to outweigh the costs of putting the convict in prison. Sherod Thaxton's study in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, published in 2013, found that capital cases cost $2 million more than non-capital cases. [http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu...] The death penalty costs the state of California $300 million per execution, with is a lot more than life imprisonment costs. [https://www.theguardian.com...]

According to an audit from researchers in Nevada: "Adjudicating death penalty cases takes more time and resources compared to murder cases where the death penalty sentence is not pursued as an option. These cases are more costly because there are procedural safeguards in place to ensure the sentence is just and free from error." [https://www.leg.state.nv.us...]

== Executioners ==

Executions require actual people to oversee them, and to flip the switch that results in the death of the convict. But the experience of killing another human being is incredibly traumatic. Empirical evidence proves that executioners face psychological trauma, including permanent clinical depression and paranoia, from carrying out the task of the death penalty. [http://www.njadp.org...] The team of executioners present during each execution watch the convict say their final words, and possibly struggle for their last breaths - a gut-wrenching experience. The lives of executioners are often completely damaged as a result.

Jerry Givens, a former executioner who killed 62 people, explains, "I performed the execution. So you might suffer a little. I'm going to suffer a lot, because I performed the job." [http://abcnews.go.com...] Executioners are often driven into these jobs by desperation, so this is a case of pure exploitation by the government.

== Conclusion ==

Capital punishment is very costly, and makes people victims, so it should be abolished.
Debate Round No. 1
prodigyofaristotle

Pro

Thank you for accepting my debate.

Lets look at the pros and of the death sentence.

1. By executing criminals, we are giving justice to those who have been harmed and violated by said criminals. Without justice we are just showing criminals that crime is acceptable.

2. Use of capital punishment has been proven to reduce crime rates. By executing criminals we can prevent further crimes.

3. It prevents criminals from going back onto the streets and committing more crimes.

The appeals in the court room today are unfair. They give more rights to criminals than to those who seek true justice. Capital punishment should be used more frequently.
tejretics

Con

1. Why is capital punishment the only way to mete justice, as opposed to, say, life imprisonment? If we imprison criminals for life, how are we showing them that "crime is acceptable"? Furthermore, the role of government isn't to uphold "justice" - it is to maximize benefit to society.

2. Pro doesn't produce any of this so-called "proof." The argument that the death penalty deters homicides relies on an econometric model called rational action theory, which states that humans -- including potential murderers -- perform an analysis of costs and benefits before committing any action. Pro provides absolutely no evidence to believe in this model. Crimes aren't committed by foreseen rational thought. Dr. Jonathan Groner explains, "The psychological mind-set of the criminal is such that they are not able to consider consequences at the time of the crime. Most crimes are crimes of passion that are done in situations involving intense excitement or concern. People who commit these crimes are not in a normal state of mind -- they do not consider the consequences in a logical way." [http://abcnews.go.com...]

3. Pro's argument appears to be that they'll be let "onto the streets" and will "commit more crimes." This relies on a lot of assumptions. One, criminals can be rehabilitated. Research from Texas finds that those who participated in rehabilitation programs, in the vast majority of cases, did not reoffend -- a far greater number than those who didn't participate in similar programs. [http://www.governing.com...] Two, those that can't be rehabilitated will be put into secure prison-facilities for life, or secure psychiatric treatment facilities, which means they won't be "in the streets." Three, the harm from the death penalty caused to executioners outweighs, because so many people are facing severe psychological harms.

4. According to the National Academy of Sciences, 4.1% of death penalty convicts are innocent of their crimes. And 0.5% of all people executed have been innocent. [https://www.theguardian.com...] The fact that so many innocents are getting executed is a reason to abolish the death penalty, because we can't let that happen.
Debate Round No. 2
prodigyofaristotle

Pro

1. If your family was murdered are you at peace knowing that the man or women who did it gets to sit behind bars and live there life peacefully? Their are countless stories about families who plead for justice and the death sentence, but are denied.

2. Each state execution deters an average of 14 murders.
http://dailysignal.com...

3.Just because some criminals can change does not mean the majority of them will. What if you let them out and they do commit more crime? It is not worth the risk.

4. Of course there are mistakes. Every system has mistakes. This does not mean it should be abolished.
tejretics

Con

== Retribution ==

The government doesn"t exist to "grant peace" to people. It exists to maximize benefit, and minimize harm. The death penalty causes significant harm to executioners and innocent humans, and costs too much. It isn"t worth the sense of small emotional satisfaction it will give to a few people.

== Deterrence ==

NOTE: Pro brings up new evidence in the final round, which means I am allowed to bring new evidence to refute it in the final round.

Pro drops my argument against rational choice theory. So let"s look to the article Pro links now. All data that concludes that the death penalty deters crime relies on a model called "rational action theory." Rational action theory is indefensible for exactly that reason: people don't consider *long term* consequences, only short term ones. It's for the same reason that people often eat food considered unhealthy. The immediate pleasure, in the minds of most people, outweighs any long-term harm from eating the food. Apply that to murder rates, where the heat of passion causes no consideration of long-term consequences. Let's look to the studies cited by the article: the 2003 study from the Emory University (Dezhbakhsh, Rubin and Shepherd), the study by FCC economist Paul Zimmerman, and the study by Kenneth Land.

All three studies are unreliable. The National Research Council's report on the deterrent effect of the death penalty criticizes all three of them for relying on instrumental variables, and for assuming rational action theory. The report summarizes, "The idea behind an instrument is to separate out the part of any observed relationship between the death penalty and homicide that is spurious (i.e., resulting from the relationship of both to other factors) from the part of the relationship between the death penalty and homicide that is causal." [https://www.law.upenn.edu...] But those two studies rely on the assumption that the instrument itself doesn't influence the homicide rate, without proof for that. [Ibid.] Finding a variable that allows for the measure of the death penalty's effect on homicide rates without influencing homicide rates itself is very tough, and neither of those studies succeeded in doing that.

All these studies also run into a few other problems. First, they fail to take into account the deterrent effect of other forms of punishment. Second, they all rely on the notion that potential murderers fear the death penalty more than other forms of punishment, and that they are actually deterred by it. In other words, the studies don't even establish a causal link, only a correlation. But rational action theory is indefensible and I've explained why above. Even under rational action theory, studies need to find a correct measure of potential risk. For instance, only 15% of those sentenced to death have been executed so far. Third, the assumptions of these statistical models (e.g. instrumental variables) are often not justified or credible. [http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...] So the statistical models are poor, they don't take into account the deterrent effect of other forms of punishment (e.g. life imprisonment), and they don't establish causation (relying on rational action theory, which I've already refuted by showing that murderers only consider short-term consequences).

There's also enough statistical uncertainty on deterrence to dismiss this argument altogether. Murder rates in non-death penalty states are lesser than those in states with the death penalty. [http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...] California's crime rate, for instance, was high when there were executions, and then decreased later upon abolishing the death penalty, and then increased again upon the death penalty's reintroduction. [http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...] So, statistically as well, the death penalty does not have significant effect on homicide rates.

== Recidivism ==

I said those that don't change won't be let out at all. Conveniently, Pro misses this point, and continues to argue this with no evidence whatsoever. Pro also fails to address my response that the harms from the death penalty (i.e. costs, innocent executions, and harm to executioners) outweigh this.

== Conclusion ==

The death penalty doesn't come close to deterring crime and there's no quantifiable impact from retributive justice. In contrast, it causes the executions of innocents, psychological harm to executioners, and it costs too much to justify such blind retribution. Therefore, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
Thanks for voting, Hayd and evanjfarrar.

lol @ the disclaimer
Posted by Hayd 1 year ago
Hayd
Disclaimer: I was listening to this while voting
https://www.youtube.com...

Pro argues that prisons cost tax payers lots of money. Con shows that life imprisonment actually saves tax payers money, thus *turning* the impact of the argument. Con also shows the suffering that is induced upon executioners, and that innocents are executed. Pro then brings up justice for victims, deterring crime, and preventing recidivism. Con points out that Pro does not show why death penalty is the only way to achieve justice, rather than life imprisonment or the such. Con shows that rational action theory is false, thus negating the deterrence argument. Con also explains that criminals would be life imprisoned, and thus not out on the streets to do crime. Pro responds by explaining that families would not be satisfied by the criminal leaving peacefully behind bars, but Con negates through weighing analysis (innocents killed.) Pro also brings up a study showing that the death penalty deters, but Pro dropped Con's negation of rational action theory, thus the study is automatically debunked since rational action theory is negated.

In the end, Pro has no offensive impact except for providing victims satisfaction which is completely outweighed by Con's arguments, of saving lives, well being of executioners, etc. Thus, since Con's impacts outweigh Pro's, Con wins.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: migmag// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: tejretics did a GREAT job of arguing, prodigy tried to make it about money, like all Republicans

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't explain conduct, S&G, or sources. (2) The voter is very clearly inserting his own bias into the equation as he assesses this debate, viewing one side as "Republican" and therefore somehow lesser automatically. (3) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to assess specific points made by both sides and compare them. In this case, the voter just dismisses an argument made by Pro and doesn't assess anything else in the debate.
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Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: RonaldTrumpkin// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Con offers more solid and concise arguments. Gives more numerous sources and in greater variety than Pro. Con was easily able to refute Pro's arguments.

[*Reason for removal*] Arguments and sources are insufficiently explained. The voter has to assess specific points made by both debaters and use that assessment to explain the outcome, and sources must be based on the quality and reliability of the sources and not just their quantity and variety.
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Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
@RonaldTrumpkin

Your vote is insufficient as per moderation standards, and I have reported it; regardless, I would appreciate if you could expand on your RFD.
Posted by TheBenC 1 year ago
TheBenC
There have been many cases of convicted criminals being wrongly convicted. Some of these innocent people were given death sentences. The government has literally murdered many innocent people because of the death penalty.
Posted by idontexist 1 year ago
idontexist
What prodigyofaristotle said implies that all criminals should be executed. This would include murderer as well as someone who stole a penny. No way would this be a just system.
Posted by missmedic 1 year ago
missmedic
Prison is expensive but life is cheap........................that is your argument.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Hayd 1 year ago
Hayd
prodigyofaristotletejreticsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by evanjfarrar 1 year ago
evanjfarrar
prodigyofaristotletejreticsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Argument points go to Tej. Pro drops both arguments regarding cost and executioners made by Pro in the opening round. Pro's second round consists of a list of curt claims, all addressed by Con. Pro's justice argument is questioned by Con, and Pro only responds by providing a baseless appeal to emotion. Con concludes by claiming this duty of government to provide closure is non-existent, which I deem convincing, as it shows Pro has not addressed why closure should be a government issue rather than a social one. Also, Con provides a succinct cost-benefit analysis that I think is satisfactory. The second argument also goes to Con, since Con responds to Pro's presentation of new evidence with evidence negating the original argument by Pro. The third argument by Pro lacks evidence to support the assertion and is based on assumptions that Con points out in R3. Source points also go to Con, as Pro fails to provide sources except for one in the final round, which Con adequately debunks.