The Instigator
kasmic
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
lannan13
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

The USFG should ban the death penalty in all 50 states.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
lannan13
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,259 times Debate No: 75816
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (2)

 

kasmic

Pro

Resolve: The USFG should ban the death penalty in all 50 states.

a) definitions

Death Penalty: To be sentenced and put to death by the state. aka capital punishment

b) burden analysis: As pro, I accept the burden of proof to affirm the resolution

4 rounds/72 hours/ 4,000 characters

Thanks Lannan13 for this debate.
lannan13

Con

I accept. My opponent shall begin.
Debate Round No. 1
kasmic

Pro

“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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”

As quoted above, The general consensus in the U.S. is that the primary function of government is to secure people’s rights. Some of which are unalienable. In the U.S. life is considered an unalienable right. This is evident by the quote above taken from the Declaration of Independence.

How is it that the State can function as a securer of the individual right to life while simultaneously taking a person’s life? Simply put, it cannot. The State does have the right to remove those who violate other’s rights from society. However, the State has no legitimate cause to take away one’s unalienable right to life. This is true even for the worst individuals imaginable. For the State to take one’s life via capital punishment is for the State to function contrary to its primary purpose. Life as a right should remain unalienable.

Thus we see that the Federal Government allowing capital punishment is a violation of unalienable rights and is contrary to the function of government. Due to these inherent harms the Federal Government should ban the death penalty.
lannan13

Con

Contention 1: Detterance

Now, we can all agree that Criminals are rational actors as we can see that they the plan and preform their crimes by weighing the costs and benefits. Economist do similiar type of cost-benefit analysist, so I would concider them to be a great expert on thie topic of studying such thing. They have found that there is a direct corrilation between the increasing penalties to that of decreasing crime. Teenagers, who we can all agree are less rational than adults, have been found to have their crime rates decrease when the penalty is stricter than not. [7]

This consensis has grown over time as economist Issac Ehrlich did research on this theory and was the first to do so and has found emperical evidense that the Death Penalty is a Detterance and found that the Death Penalty saves three lives on average. [8] My opponent might just say, well that was from 1975, this is 2014, 2015 tomorrow making that piece of evidence 40 years old. It's invalid right? Wrong, newer evidence still confirms this theory as the Heritage Foundation found the following conclusion when researching this topic, "the recent studies using panel data techniques have confirmed what we learned decades ago: Capital punishment does, in fact, save lives. Each additional execution appears to deter between three and 18 murders. While opponents of capital punishment allege that it is unfairly used against African-Americans, each additional execution deters the murder of 1.5 African-Americans. Further moratoria, commuted sentences, and death row removals appear to increase the incidence of murder." [1]

Death Penalty cases are done before and after the exicution, and it has been found that deterance is strong to begin with then slowly decreases. Meaning that a decreased time on death row would skyrocket the deterance rates. It used to be if you were on Death Row you would be exicuted within hours, now it's much, much longer than that. [9]

Congressional Testimony from Paul Rubin has shown evidence against the Death Penalty, "has yet to be scientifically evaluated." and has argued that modern evidence “have exploited better data and more sophisticated statistical techniques”, the modern evidence has “consistently shown that capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect.” [10] In another Congressional testimony Joann Shepard has found that per 1 exicuted criminal via the Death Penalty prevents 3-18 murders. [2] [use way back machine for it]

Contention 2: Innocents

Most people who are exicuted that are "innocent" aren't really innocent, but rather there is just some doubt to weather or not it's truely 100% their fault. Via today's DNA rate and technology they have found a 0.28% error rate in killing innocent people. Out of the 260,000 people convicted for murder in the US, they have found that 34 were wrongly convicted, of those 34 18 were exicuted. My friend mistakes will happen, but when we say the costs and benefits here we can see that saving more lives is more important and with our technology growing more and more advanced the error rate is decreasing. [3] and [4]

I do acknowledge that there has been some botched death penalties, but there will always be a slim margin for error reguardless how much we are technologically advanced, because due to the Theory of Infinate Probability there will always be a margin for everything no matter what it is or how small it is. The rate for shark attacks are incredably small and they are smaller then the chance of someone being struck by lightning twice, but it still happens.


Prisons are also over crowed and it's overly expensive to keep someone in jail. It costs the US $160,000 per year per one criminal in jail and that's more then I mate in a few years of working. [5] Prisons are also overly crowed and there is several thousand people in jail and there is now too many people. Cutting out the Death Penalty means more people in jail and more expense for the US. [6]

Debate Round No. 2
kasmic

Pro

Rebuttals

Contention 1: Deterrence

Con says that “They have found that there is a direct correlation between the increasing penalties to that of decreasing crime.” Personally I find it hard to picture a drug lord deterred by the death penalty as it would seem more likely he die from his chosen life than our Justice system. That stated the death penalty may be deterrence. However, con does not show that the impact of deterrence is higher than other forms of justice, like say life in prison. So using the same argumentation con does, we can see that life in prison can act as a deterrence. Due to both a life sentence and the death penalty being deterrents the justification for the death penalty as a deterrent is severely mitigated.

Contention 2: Innocents

Con concedes an important truth. “I do acknowledge that there has been some botched death penalties”At least 18 people have been wrongly executed. 18 people have had their unalienable right to life taken from them unjustly. As con put it “mistakes will happen.” What cost is my opponent willing to pay for so called justice that he is willing to endorse the unjust action of the state taking peoples lives.

Con then brings another important factor into this debate. Cost… Consider: “the enhanced cost of trying a death penalty case is at least $1.25 million more than trying a comparable murder case resulting in a sentence of life in prison without parole.”(1) Here is an additional source if the first was not satisfactory (2)

As it turns out, the death penalty costs the tax payer more than life in prison.


Conclusion of rebuttal:

As deterrence is not only applicable to the death penalty, it does not pull much support for the death penalty. My opponent acknowledges innocent lives taken due to the application of the death penalty. Also, we see that the death penalty costs the tax payer more than life in prison. To accept my opponents case is to accept that innocent lives will be lost and more money will be spent.

The case for the death penalty is negated.



(1) http://deathpenalty.org...
(2) http://www.forbes.com...
lannan13

Con

Contention 1: Detterance

If we observe the above graph we can see that since the first studies done in the mid to late 1970's we can see that states where there is a Death Penalty we can see that the Murder rates have fallen drastically and there is a signifcant difference in the two. [1] We can also extend across my argument on economists being better at these graphs and studies then those who study crime, because their graphs don't include the lag that is included in the Death Penalty studies.

My opponent states that it doesn't deter drug loard and it's simply because the costs of failure outweigh that of the oppertunity of success and such is included in the Criminal's thought. If we observe the works of Fyodor Dostoyveski in his work Crime and Punishment we can see that his observance of the character Radion Raskonlinikov that the Criminal plans everything out in advance and then goes to the greatest lengths to justify it not actually carying about it. He was quoted saying that killing the old pawnbroker was that she was a principle and he killed a principle not a person. He also goes to use the theories of Utilitarianism and the Overman theory to justify his murder showing that it doesn't mater what he did as the murder in his own mind was justified.

Contention 2: Innocents and costs.

Mistakes will happen no matter what, but once again I extend across my evidense that shows that the rate for error is that of 0.28% which is incrediatably small and with newer and newer technology coming out we can see that the error rate is getting very miniscule and though there will always be errors due to the theory of infinate probability meaning that my opponent's worries are all for nothing. If they don't want to do lethal injection that's okay. There are other means of the death penalty like firing squad or gas chamber. So if you're ever in Utah you can select your death penalty and can pick your one way American ticket for the Hollicaust.

Well lets do some math here. The average prisoner lives about 50 years so when we do the math that's about $5 million while it costs $3 million at most for a death penalty meaning that it's chearper to do the death penalty. If my math skills are right we save more money doing to the death penalty.

Contention 3: Constitutionality

This is to counter my opponent's case. Personally I believe that the Supreme Court is best when it comes to decoding the Constitution as it is their job. In the Supreme Court Case Gregg V. Georgia the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty did NOT violated the 8th Amendment ending the moratorium on the Death Penalty. In the statement for the Supreme Court Justice White stated, "Even if the character of the accused must be considered under the Eighth Amendment, surely a State is not constitutionally forbidden to provide that the commission of certain crimes conclusively establishes that the criminal's character is such that he deserves death." [2] Justice Stevens has been quoted saying that, "The time for a dispassionate impartial comparison of the enormous costs that death penalty litigation imposes on society with the benefits that it produces has surely arrived." [3] Here we can see that the Supreme Court finds that the Death Penalty is indeed Constitutional and does not violate our 8th Amendment of Cruel and Unusual Punishment nor does it violate our "Right to Life" as we have broken our Social Contract and the government has the right to end our life for ending someone else's. [4]
Debate Round No. 3
kasmic

Pro

Summary of this debate:

Thanks again to Lannan13, I have great respect for him and everything he contributes to this site.

Con"s Case:

1: Deterrence: using the same argumentation con does, we can see that life in prison can act as a deterrence. Due to both a life sentence and the death penalty being deterrents the justification for the death penalty as a deterrent is severely mitigated.

2: Innocents: Con concedes an important truth. "I do acknowledge that there has been some botched death penalties"

3: Cost: the death penalty costs the tax payer more than life in prison. This supports my case.

My case:

I argued that the primary function of government is to secure the rights of its citizens. Life being listed as unalienable in the Declaration of Independence being the quintessential right. Thus we see that the Federal Government allowing capital punishment is a violation of unalienable rights and is contrary to the function of government. Due to these inherent harms the Federal Government should ban the death penalty.

Con responds by saying "Personally I believe that the Supreme Court is best when it comes to decoding the Constitution as it is their job."

This is an interesting response as I did not argue that the death penalty was unconstitutional. Rather I argued that it is contrary to our founding principles and the function of government. However, if con cites the supreme court as an example of moral authority it is worth noting that the Supreme Court has upheld institutions that are morally questionable. i.e. slavery. Separate but equal etc" It is also worth noting that opinions of the court have changed overtime. Thus, citing the supreme court"s ruling does nothing to negate my argument. Thus my argument stands.

The U.S.F.G. should ban the death penalty in a 50 States.

Vote Pro!

Thanks for reading.
lannan13

Con

I thank my opponent for such a wounderous debate, but all good things must come to an end.

With that I will review the arguments made and show you why I've won todays debate.

1. Detterance- This Contention was backed with hard evidence and graphs by myself. My opponent did not even refute most of the evidence that I provided which is a huge problem in this debate. This shows that there is key detterance and his only refutation was that Drug lords still commit crimes, but he failed to refute my refutation to that of cost analysis which is what we must do in this debate to see if the Death Penalty should be banned in all 50 States of which my opponent has accepted the full BOP.

2. Innocents- Out of this entirety I pre-argued that there will be mistakes no matter what we do. This is simple fact. Just like there's always a likelihood you could get struck by lightening or attacked by a shark, but it doesn't ALWAYS happen to people. As I've been showing in previous rounds that this rate is under 1% as the statistic given was that of 0.28% and it's dropping due to improvements. This part was dropped by my opponent so we can see that I win this contention as well.

3. Costs- My opponent completely ignored the math provided last round. Yes it may cost more to exicute a prisoner than 1 year in prison, but on average we can see that the cost to keep someone in prison for life costs more than to give someone a lethal injection. $5 million to keep someone in prison for life (50 years) vs. $3 million for a death penalty, you do the math, which is cheaper?

4. Supreme Court- This was my opponent's main argument and as I've shown the Supreme Court's ruling and the Justice's opinion's on the case. My opponent's only refuation was that the Supreme Court support slavery and segregation, but here's the thing. Segregation was over turned. Just as the Supreme Court Ban on the death Penalty was banned in the Supreme Court case Gregg V. Georgia. My opponent also wishes to argue our Founding Principles, but if he disagrees with the branch of government made by our founding fathers to interperate the Constitution then how could he argue something violates it or it's principles? Due to this you can see that I also win this point.

Due to me winning each point there is no other valid option, but for a vote for Con allowing the Death Penalty to stay legal.

Thank you and Please vote Con!

Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
Thanks.
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
kasmic
Congrats lannan on the win!
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
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>Reported vote: 9spaceking // Moderator action: Removed<

3 points to Con (arguments). Reasons for voting decision: con's points weren't really refuted.

[*Reason for removal*] Too generic. This RFD offers no real feedback or verification that the judge analyze the major points in the debate.
==================================================
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
kasmic
Thanks for voting!
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

Honestly, there's not a lot to cover here, mainly because both cases essentially functioned within a vacuum without any real clash occuring between them. That might seem surprising considering the amount of actual points given and the fact that both sides addressed each other's arguments to a degree, but neither of you really attempted to counter the central arguments of the other.

In order to convey this, I'll cover the cases separately before I go into a conclusion.

Pro's entire argument here is based on the function of government. It's a somewhat philosophical point, which Pro tries to establish by presenting text from the Declaration of Independence. Pro builds upon this point in rebuttal, stating that innocent lives being taken by the government fundamentally contradicts the basic duties of a government, in that the government must uphold the unalienable right to life.

As I stated above, I never see a response to this. What Con seeks to establish is that a government allows more loss of life in the absence of the death penalty by removing a deterrent effect. That's never linked to this argument from Pro. It only takes one step to link it: a government that allows loss of life is just as culpable for those deaths as a government that actively takes the lives of some innocents through the justice system, and since a government should seek to protect the right to life for the most people, deterrence would be reason enough to vote Con.

...But I never see that link being made. Nor do I see Con making a counter to Pro's implied framework " that we should focus on the duties of government rather than net benefits as a whole. I think Pro would have been much better off clarifying this framework and concluding by focusing solely on this framework and those impacts that matter to it (i.e. none of Con's impacts), but I get the gist of what he was going for, even if it's unclear why I should prefer Pro's framework.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

And then there's Con's case. Con effectively shows through his data analysis that the death penalty is effective deterrence. Pro's responses are both mitigation: that some criminals will not be deterred, and that life imprisonment has the same deterrent effect. In the former case, Pro doesn't do enough to show that this is a large population, why they're likely to ignore it, and why this counters Con's data. In the latter, Con actually provided two responses to this, one through the graph (which shows that states without capital punishment have higher murder rates) and the other through this point about death row stays, which shows that reduced time in prison has a reduced deterrent effect (though I do have concerns about what this represents for Con's case and the possible implications for execution of innocents). In both cases, I'm not convinced by the arguments personally, but I don't get what I need from Pro to address them. So I'm buying that a lack of the death penalty increases the number of murders.

The argument on innocents was pre-rebuttal, something I generally don't like, and I think this shows why. Con essentially fed Pro an argument. I get that Pro might have gone for this in any case, but Con could have addressed it after he did. Instead, he's granting that Pro has a benefit by reducing the number of innocents killed, even if it's small. It feeds Pro's case without reason.

So, if I'm looking at net benefits, my choice becomes simple. Con's point on deterrence clearly outweighs the loss to innocents.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

Conclusion:

I think the main factor that makes this debate difficult to vote on is the lack of a stated and defended framework from Pro. This might not seem like a big deal, especially to Con, but it is. Pro clearly spelled out that his argument was focusing on the duties of the U.S. government and the need to uphold them. A failure to do so, particularly on the right to life, is a huge problem under his view. Any loss of life suffices to showcase this problem, and so Pro most certainly showcased the links necessary to get there...

...But not the impacts. This is why the framework was so necessary: I need to know what makes dereliction of a government's duty so important. I could see there being a really simple structure here that explains why a government that fails to uphold the basic value of life is willing to take actions that end or allow the end of far more lives, but I need to see that explanation. Without it, I'm left to weigh that dereliction, without impact, against the clearly impacted loss of life that results from the removal of deterrence. On a net benefits level, that's a simple choice. And so I vote Con.

P.S. In case either of you are wondering, the cost point got removed from this RFD because I don't think either of you effectively proved that there was a cost benefit or loss, and even if you had, the point never gets weighed to show why it matters as compared with lives lost.
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
==============================================================
>Reported vote: greatkitteh // Moderator action: Removed<

1 point to Pro (S&G), 2 points to Con (sources). Reasons for voting decision: Con used a graph as his source, Giving him sources, But made S&G mistakes

[*Reason for removal*] (1) A graph isn't a source. In fact, graphs themselves should be sourced. Also, saying "Con had a source" isn't a sufficient RFD to explain why Con's sources were more reliable. (2) Not a specific enough explanation of what the S&G mistakes were.
==============================================================
Posted by lol101 2 years ago
lol101
Conduct-Tie: Neither of the opponents have broken any rules, or failed to follow any. Thus, a tie for conduct.
Grammar-Pro: If you take a look at Con's arguments, you will find various grammar errors within his case.
Arguments-Con: Pro has failed to refute many of Con's statements. Con also provided math for statistics, and included better reasoning for his argument. Con had made all sorts of reasoning, whereas Pro stuck to the same reasoning.
Sources-Tie: Both sides have provided reliable sources. It was Con's argument that was able to refute Pro's sources.
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
kasmic
Thanks for reading and voting Philocat
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
kasmiclannan13Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by Philocat 2 years ago
Philocat
kasmiclannan13Tied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Lannan ultimately won this debate by his conclusive evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent, which Pro didn't really refute. In regards to the 'rights' argument in Pro's case, Con rightly highlights that if one commits murder then they have broken their social contract. In regards to the argument about innocents being killed, whilst it is bad that it happens, Pro needed to argue that the lives lost would exceed the lives lost from the deterrent of capital punishment. Spelling and grammar goes to Pro though, since he made less spelling mistakes.