The Instigator
Tree_of_Death
Pro (for)
The Contender
EXOPrimal
Con (against)

The United States and States Therein Should Discontinue the Use of Capital Punishment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 week ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 257 times Debate No: 97057
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (0)

 

Tree_of_Death

Pro

Hello!

Capital Punishment: the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime, also known as the death penalty.

Discontinue: to put an end to; stop.

I will be arguing for the discontinuation of capital punishment and my opponent will be arguing for the continuation of the aforesaid. BoP is shared and first round is acceptance only.

Looking forward to a good debate! :)
EXOPrimal

Con

Looking forward to it ;)
Debate Round No. 1
Tree_of_Death

Pro

Thanks to EXOPrimal for accepting this debate.

1. Cost

Contrary to what you might expect, the death penalty costs much more than its alternative, life imprisonment without possibility of release or parole. A 2015 Seattle University study showed that Washington aggravated first-degree murder cases in which the death penalty was sought cost an average of $1 million more than cases in which it was not. [1] A California study showed that the death penalty has cost the state $4 billion over the past 20 years. [2] Across the nation, the death penalty has cost us $1.6 billion in the time period between 1982 and 1997. [3] In federal trials, death penalty cases cost 8 times more to defend than similar cases in which the death penalty is not sought. [4][5]

This is not only a large economic and budgetary strain on communities. It also diverts money from programs that are more effective in terms of crime prevention, such as early childhood education, high school dropout prevention, mental health services, and drug and alcohol treatment services. We are doing our communities a disservice by taking money that could be used to create healthier societies and using it instead to execute people. [6]

Finally there is the fact that a person who commits a crime punishable by death in a richer area is more likely to be executed due to abundance of funds than one in a poorer area. As the Seattle Times editorial board puts it, "It’s an arbitrary version of justice by geography." (http://www.seattletimes.com...)

2. Ineffectiveness

Proponents of the death penalty often talk about the death penalty as a deterrent, saying murder rates would skyrocket if capital punishment were to be abolished. This is not accurate. In fact, murder rates in death penalty states have been consistently higher than those in non-death penalty states. [7][8] This is not necessarily to suggest that the death penalty causes crime, but rather that it has absolutely no effect on crime rates. In addition, 87% of expert criminologists agree that the abolition of the death penalty would not change murder rates in any significant manner. [9]

3. Psychological Damage

Another factor we must consider when discussing the continuation of capital punishment is the significant harm it inflicts on prison workers. According to Equal Justice USA, "Corrections officials, haunted by the experience of putting people to death, have committed suicide, turned to alcohol, or suffered mental and physical health problems." [10] One prison warden, Ron McAndrew, would wake up each night to see vivid hallucinations of executed inmates sitting at the foot of his bed, and reports of PTSD in executioners and other workers are widespread.[11] McAndrew speaks out against the death penalty: " I saw staff traumatized by the duties they were asked to perform. Officers who had never even met the condemned fought tears, cowering in corners so as not to be seen. Some of my colleagues turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of knowing that a man had died by their hands." [12] In other words, for every person we kill, we are ruining many innocent lives along with it. Is that justice?

4. Inaccuracy

As with any punishment, there are bound to be circumstances in which, for a variety of reasons, the justice system gets it wrong. The same goes for capital punishment. There have been many cases in which people have been exonerated after spending years of their lives on death row, and some in which innocent people have been convicted. [13] The death penalty, however, is set apart from other punishments because it cannot be reversed once carried out. If someone is wrongfully imprisoned, you can release them, give them a compensation for their time, and send them on their way. The death penalty, obviously, is irreversible, and as long as there is any possibility of mistakenly killing an innocent person, the death penalty should not be continued.

5. Hypocrisy

Finally, there is the simple issue of government hypocrisy. A classic question that reveals this is, "Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" It's simply not an ethical thing to do in a modern society such as this. A government should strive to set an example rather than sinking to the level of murderers; it should exemplify instead the idea that two wrongs never make a right.

Over to Con for his arguments! :)

Sources

1. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
2. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
3. http://www.nber.org...
4. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
5. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
6. http://www.ncadp.org...
7. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
8. [Full Article] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
9. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
10. http://ejusa.org...
11. http://www.ncadp.org...
12. http://www.ncadp.org...
EXOPrimal

Con

(Thank you pro for the debate, I would like to note that due to the lack of round structure, I will build my argument in this round, rebut in round 3 and Defend and rebut further in round 4, any thing that I criticise death penalty abolitionists in this round will not be specifically tailored to my opponent's argument and just be general arguments that abolitionist's make)

(I will shorten "death penalty abolitionist" to just abolitionist for the remainder of this debate)

(Pro, in your next round can you present your source 13 which was cited in "inaccuracy" but was not in "sources".)

C1:Crime Deterrence
A. To put it simply the death penalty deters crime. This is the most argued out point, with abolitionists and supporters saying the exact opposite on this topic, in this topic I will explain why the death penalty does deter crime and why abolitionist studies are biased and flawed.

B. A study by Emory University, who studied over 3000 counties in the US, has showed that each execution deters on average 18 murders(1). 18 lives saved for the execution of one criminal, is that not deterrence? There have also been a multitude of peer reviewed studies affirming the same thing(2)

C. If you believe that studies are biased, which they are on both sides, common sense can support by end of the argument as well. The price of speeding is a $200 ticket, and the cost for assault is jail time, what crime do you think gets committed more? All punishments have a deterrent effect, the worse the punishment the greater it is.

D. I will now cite a source that my opponent has also cites to further prove my argument. Since 1997 the crime rate of death penalty states has decreased by almost 2 murders per Capita(1.9 specifically) meanwhile non death penalty states have decreased my a measly .87 per Capita(3).

E. You cannot measure the number of murders per Capita as an argument due to many unstable populations in death penalty states, such as the African American population of California, and the Hispanic population of Texas. These populations are very unstable,and result in high amounts of violence in Chicago and new Orleans. These unstable places and populations leave murder counts significantly skewed. You can measure the change in murder rates to prove deterrence, but more specifically you can see the change in murder rates after an execution.

F. Only 7 states have executed someone in 2015 or 16, and only 3 have executed more than 5, and Texas has executed more than 20(4). Texas, as a result has been able to keep it's murder rates blow five, which is lower than non-death penalty states like Alaska and Maryland(5). Maryland, on the other hand, abolished the death penalty in in 2013, and it is seen that it's murder rates have sprung from 6.4 to 8.6(5).

G Again Texas has proved the deterrence of crime "A more recent study by Kenneth Land of Duke University and others concluded that, from 1994 through 2005, each execution in Texas was associated with "modest, short-term reductions" in homicides, a decrease of up to 2.5 murders." (1)

H. Let us now turn away from statistics and turn towards criminal's point of view. Criminals may not be completely sane, but they can process information. Dmitry Smirnov, a deranged lover, shot down his ex-girlfriend in Chicago. Why is this seemingly unoriginal story so important? It is because Smirnov only killed his ex after he learned that Illinois had abolished the death penalty, and reaffirmed this as close to the murder as the morning of. When Smirnov handed himself in he even concluded, before the trial, that he would get life without parole(6).

I. Margaret Daley, Orelius Stweard, and Paul Bresseau were all imprisoned for a multitude of crimes, from assault to bank robbery. What makes their stories so special is that after they got caught, they said themselves that they would have killed if they were not afraid of getting the death penalty.

C2:Dangerous Criminals
A. Criminal's murder, they take away lives of innocent humans. But some murderers stand out, maybe for brutality,. maybe for the amount of people they killed or maybe because of the lives they took away because thy were not executed.

B. If a murder is so atrocious and gruesome the killer must be put to death, it has always been seem that way. This point can be seen in the case of Lisa Coleman. Lisa murdered a 9 year old child in cold blood. The child died of malnutrition and it had been observed that the young child had suffered over 250 distinct injuries including cigarette burns. As a result she was recently executed(7).

C.The serial killers inside a Prison are also a danger to their fellow inmates and prison guards. A serial killer by the name of Graham Young who killed his own step mother, by administering her poison, when he was 15. He was put into a high security prison soon after. Inside the prison he continued to read about poisons. One of his fellow inmates died of cyanide poisoning during his stay at the prison. After Young was released he got a job and everything was seeming to go well, except he was all to eager to make his co worker's coffee. Two of his co workers soon died and over 50 fell ill, he was eventually caught. This case is a shining example of what can happen when a dangerous criminal is not taken care of(8).

D. People can escape prison, Robert Crissman, who was arrested of non-violent changes, escaped prison and killed a 55 year old women(9). Some killers like John Miller and Jimmy Lee Gray got some mercy from the criminal justice system and were legally freed from jail. These people didn't embrace their chance to live but instead used it and killed again(10).

E. The safety of the people should be a nation's number one priority. And the people I have listed above have proved to be murderers and dangerous people, and when the government doesn't take the necessary precautions then people die.

C3:Family of the Victim
A. The Families of murder victims are thrown into the turmoil and suffer for a very long time. This near hellish state makes the families of the victims suffer more than the actual murderer himself. Its a horrible thing that happens and it must be stopped(11).

B. Some relatives consider the death penalty a form of justice such as Fred Romano who still suffers from the death of his sister. "It's justice," Fred Romano said. "It's not revenge."(12)

C. Some families complain about the death penalty, but never about the righteousness of it, but because of the long tedious process that it takes. The death penalty needs to be fixed and the murderers shouldn't be able to stall as long as they can. This puts stress on the families when they need to be together the most(11).

In Conclusion
The death penalty is a positive good on society. Executions deter murders and save the life of people. The death penalty should not be banned because it stops crime, and every innocent life counts. The US should not abolish the death penalty because a government's first priority should be to save their people and keep them save. That is what a government is here for and by abolishing the death penalty the government if overriding what they were created for.

For these reasons I urge you to vote Con, thank you. Over to Pro.

Citations
1.http://www.usnews.com...
2.http://cjlf.org...
3.http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
4.http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
5.http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
6.https://apps.bostonglobe.com...
7.http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
8.http://www.biography.com...
9.http://www.cnn.com...
10.http://www.cnn.com...
11.http://www.pomc.com...
12.http://www.baltimoresun.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Tree_of_Death

Pro

Due to an overload in homework I cannot post at the moment. We can either continue the debate minus one round or restart it entirely within a few days. Comment with your choice. :)
EXOPrimal

Con

We should restart because 3 rounds isn't really enough, and ending on rebuttal is never good for debates. we should keep the first two rounds the same.
Debate Round No. 3
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tree_of_Death 1 week ago
Tree_of_Death
Will restart it in a few days. PM me if I forget :)
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 weeks ago
Capitalistslave
If you want, I could play devil's advocate and argue for the opposite of what I believe in. It can be worthwhile for me to do that since I should think how my opponent would think. Like I said, I agree with your position, but I could argue for the opposite. But if you're rather have someone who actually believes in capital punishment, I'd understand that too
Posted by Tree_of_Death 2 weeks ago
Tree_of_Death
Partially. Plus I wasn't getting anybody who wanted to debate so I opened it.
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 weeks ago
Capitalistslave
Oh, you opened the debate up? Did I convince you of that or something?
Posted by Tree_of_Death 2 weeks ago
Tree_of_Death
There was sort of a debate about it on the DDO forum a while ago but not an actual debate.
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 weeks ago
Capitalistslave
Also, maybe we should have a debate on whether it makes sense to have a debate closed like this and choose your opponent, rather than just having an open debate where anyone can accept lol
Posted by Tree_of_Death 2 weeks ago
Tree_of_Death
It doesn't, but if I allow more experienced members to debate then I have less chance of getting a forfeit.
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 weeks ago
Capitalistslave
Tree_of_Death: does this even prevent people from forfeiting though? I mean, what is this doing that will prevent someone from suddenly stopping and no longer replying in the debate?
Posted by Tree_of_Death 2 weeks ago
Tree_of_Death
Capitalistslave--I agree, but often if you keep it open you often get forfeits. I wouldn't do it without the glitch, but I wouldn't want to have my debate frozen.
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 weeks ago
Capitalistslave
I don't understand why some people on here don't just allow anyone to accept. It seems pretty lame. There are already so few people who use this site, why limit it at all?

I'm not wanting to debate the instigator, I agree with them. I just thought I'd put in my two cents on this.
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