The Instigator
thett3
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
BlackVoid
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The United States should retain usage of the Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
BlackVoid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,127 times Debate No: 17562
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)

 

thett3

Pro

Good luck! First round is for acceptance, second is constructive, third and fourth are for rebuttals. As always (in my debates) cross-examination is permitted.
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks to Thett for starting this debate. It will be fun debating someone on his level. I look forward to a good round and wish us luck.
Debate Round No. 1
thett3

Pro

=Case=


"A murderer deserves death penalty because he has trespassed against the whole society by killing one of its members."-unknown.

Seeing as I agree with the above quote, I strongly affirm the resolved. I offer the following contentions in support:

C1. Capital Punishment saves innocent lives.

SPA: Capital Punishment keeps a killer from striking again.

There have been many instances in our justice system where a murderer has reoffended, in fact a study from the U.S. Department of Justice finds that of prisoners released in 1994, 1.2% of those convicted of homicide were arrested for another homicide within three years of their release.[1]. This holds especially true for our most dangerous criminals, in 2009 8.6% of those on death row had a prior homicide conviction. Over 5% of those on death row committed their capital crime while in custody or during an escape.[2]

There are also many specific examples, such as Kenneth Mcduff. In 1966 a Texas jury ruled for him to die in the electric chair for his brutal murder of two boys and a girl. However his sentence was commuted to Life Imprisonment when the Supreme Court struck down the Death Penalty. Mcduff was later released, and ended up killing at least 9 more people. Thankfully, he was executed by lethal injection in 1998[3]. He will never kill again. Had he been executed the first time at least 9 innocent lives would've been saved.

Another example is the recently executed Lee Andrew Taylor. While serving a life sentence for his brutal beating and murder of an elderly couple Taylor fatally stabbed another inmate after a "racial tension" incident occurred[4]. Thankfully, he was executed by Texas in 2011, never to kill again.

Yet another example comes from Clarence Ray Allen. Allen was serving a sentence of life without parole for murder, when he conspired with his fellow inmate Billy Hamilton to kill the witnesses for his crime. When paroled, Hamilton tracked down the witnesses and killed one of them, along with two bystanders[5]. Allen was, thankfully, sentenced to die for this new crime, and executed by the state of California in 2006.

These are only some of many examples of murderers who later murdered again. In many cases, anything less than the Death Penalty simply isn't good enough. The recidivism rate for an executed murderer is 0%.

SPB: Capital Punishment has a deterrent effect.

Many different studies provide many different results, some examples:
  • Studies from Emory University stating that each execution prevents between three and eighteen murders. [6]
  • A 2006 study from the University of Houston, stating that the Illinois moratorium on the Death Penalty led to 150 additional homicides [6]
  • A University of Colorado at Denver study showing that for each execution five muders were prevented.[7].

Raw statistics also support the deterrent effect. Take the state of Texas for example:According to JFA (Justice for All), the Texas murder rate in 1991 was 15.3 per 100,000. By 1999, it had fallen to 6.1—a drop of 60 percent. Within Texas, the most aggressive death penalty prosecutions are in Harris County (the Houston area). Since the resumption of executions in 1982, the annual number of Harris County murders has plummeted from 701 to 241—a 72 percent decrease.[8]

Or nation-wide:

By the beginning of the 1990s, however, states that wished to reimpose the ultimate penalty had fought their way through the endless thicket of appeals and restrictions imposed by the courts. In 1991, 14 murderers were executed while 2,500 waited on death row. By 1993 the figure had risen to 38 executions, then 55 in 1995, and 98 in 1999, a level not seen since the 1950s. At the same time, murder rates began to plummet—to 9.6 per 100,000 in 1993, 7.7 in 1996, and 6.4 in 1999, the lowest level since 1966. To put the matter simply, over the past 40 years, homicides have gone up when executions have gone down and vice versa. [9]

These are just some of many examples showing the deterrent effect. As Researcher Karl Spence from of Texas A&M University states (speaking about the moratorium on Capital Punishment from 1972-1976):

"While some death penalty abolitionists try to face down the results of their disastrous experiment and still argue to the contrary, the...[data] concludes that a substantial deterrent effect has been observed...In six months, more Americans are murdered than have killed by execution in this entire century...Until we begin to fight crime in earnest by using the death penalty, every person who dies at a criminal's hands is a victim of our inaction."

Observation: While the argument that an innocent could be executed is a very compelling one, the murders committed by prior offenders and the deterrent effect of Capital Punishment outweighs this small risk.

C2. The Death Penalty is a better punishment than Life without Parole.

SPA: Life without parole does not always mean life.

If the Death Penalty is abolished, the next thing to go will be life without parole. Already some European countries like Norway, Greece, Portugal and Spain have abolished it [10]. There is already a movement to abolish life without parole in the United States for juveniles and even for adult offenders! [11][12]. While no one can truly know if these movements will gain traction, the evidence in Europe speaks for itself, sentences for murder in Europe are much lighter than those in the United States.

The law can also change, take for example the tragic case of Pamela Moss: "In 1962, James Moore raped and strangled 14-year-old Pamela Moss. Her parents decided to spare Moore the death penalty on the condition that he be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Later on, thanks to a change in sentencing laws in 1982, James Moore is eligible for parole every two years"[13]

Laws change, Governors change, sentencing changes, and people forget the past. The only way to truly know if a murderer will not ever be released is to execute them.

SPB: Prisoners view the Death Penalty as a harsher punishment than Life without parole.

One argument against the Death Penalty is that it does not force criminals to truly pay for their crime. While at first this seems to be a compelling argument, the evidence speaks against it. Criminals have the right to waive the appeals on their death sentence, very very few do. Executions in 2011: 25 so far, 1 waived appeals. Executions in 2010: 46, 1 waiver. Executions in 2009: 52 executions, 2 waivers. Executions in 2008: 37 Executions, 3 waivers.[14]. Nearly 96% of those executed in the past four years have fought to escape their sentence.

Conclusion:

The death penalty undoubtebly saves innocent lives through prevention, and evidence strongly suggests deterrence. As a society, we have a moral responsibility to use the ultimate penalty for the most serious of crimes.

Thank you to my Opponent for accepting, and I hope this is a debate we can both learn from!


Sources:
1. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
2. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
3. http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu...
4. http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us...
5. http://www.clarkprosecutor.org...
6. http://www.cbsnews.com...
7. http://www.heritage.org...
8. Lowe, Wesley. "Consistent and Swift Application of the Death Penalty Reduces Murder Rates."
9. Tucker, William. "Capital Punishment Reduces Murder Rates."
10. http://en.wikipedia.org...
11. http://www.scribd.com...
12. http://www.usatoday.com...
13. http://www.globalpolitician.com...
14. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks to Thett for his opening arguments.


Con case:


C1: DP causes psychological damage

A. Executioners

Executions aren't done by robots; they are carried out by live humans. Executioners are empirically shown to suffer severe psychological trauma from the experience of killing other humans (1). In fact, the source lists two of them who have committed suicide from the experience. So it looks like I'm saving lives too. These people have to not only electrocute someone or inject poison into the criminal's system, but also watch as potential strugglers fighting for their lives, are forced into the chair for them to euthanize. The psychological damage is evident.

Jerry Givens, a former Virginia executioner, described how mentally wrenching the process is, especially in anticipation of the death (3). In particular, finding out the possibility of innocence was extremely traumatic. As he put it, "The people who do the executions, they’re the ones who suffer through it."


B. Witnesses

Of course, Execution is a spectator sport. The victim's family, correctional officers, and media members are all allowed to witness the killing. For an average member of society, watching an execution is particularly distressful. NJADP confirms,

"Studies have reported on the emergence of anxiety symptoms among journalists who recently witnessed an execution. Other problems reported include short-term psychological distress (such as nausea and nightmares) and dissociative symptoms." (2)


C. Remnants

The death row inmate usually isn't the only one. They will eventually leave their family behind as well. According to Sheffer and Cushing, the family of the one killed experience severe psychological trauma at knowing their loved one is going to die (4). Many of the families interviewed reported strong anxiety, and more showed signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These symptoms are magnified once the execution has taken place. Plus, family members often watch the execution as it happens. So extend Sub Point B. Witnesses of executions sustain further mental trauma.

The families of the victim are included. While public opinion polls vary on their results, all of them have the public opinion against the death penalty at around 38-52%. The problem is that the families of the victim often have no say in the prosecution seeking Death or life in prison. Take the previous statistic into consideration; whenever the death penalty is sought, the victim's family opposes it at least 38% of the time. But the prosecution fights for death anyway. Now the family has to live with two dead bodies they didn't want. Thats fair.


C2: Death-qualified juries

Juries for death penalty cases are chosen selectively. In order to serve on a death penalty jury, one must support the death penalty (6)! That seems fair. Take the people biased towards capital punishment and make them decide whether capital punishment is applied. Impartiality be damned.

This system is on-face illogical. However I will articulate two disadvantages anyway.

A. Death penalty trials do not represent actual public opinion.

Thats because every jury member is required to support, or not be against, capital punishment. So in any death penalty case, every jury member is biased towards the same side. The jury is supposed to remain impartial. Thats impossible in death penalty cases, where every jury member has the same opinion.

B. Death penalty jurors empirically convict defendants more often than life-without-parole cases. This translates to a higher possibility of innocents being convicted.

According to Allen and Mabry,

"The summary of 14 investigations indicates that a favorable attitude toward the death penalty is associated with an increased willingness to convict. Using the binomial effect size display, this favorable attitude towards the death penalty translates into a 44% increase in the probability of a juror favoring conviction." (7)

So death penalty jurors are 44% more likely to convict. Thats ridiculous; Jurors are so eager to exercise their belief towards capital punishment, that they ignore possible doubts of the defendant's guilt. The threat for innocents being convicted is infinitely higher on death penalty cases than life-without-parole cases.


C3: Morality

A. Methods of execution

Morality dictates that we choose the most humane action. Burning prisoners at the stake is prima facie unacceptable and should not be pursued. Life in prison is clearly a better moral alternative than Quartering or Beheading. I will argue that modern methods of execution are just as cruel and torturous as those.

Electric chair

According to the DPIC, electocution causes the prisoner's muscles to spasm uncontrollably which can cause dislocation and bone fractures. The prisoner defecates, their tissues swell, and vomiting of blood often occurs. A blindfold is applied because the electricity often causes the prisoner's eyeballs to pop out. The body often emits smoke and sometimes catches fire completely (8).

Lethal injection

Lethal injection contains three drugs. The first is sodium thiopental, which acts as an anesthetic and puts the prisoner to sleep. The second drug paralyzes the prisoner and induces cardiac arrest. The third stops the heart (9).

This method is terrible. According to the Court of Maryland, the anesthetic/sedative effect of sodium thiopental wears off after 5 to 7 minutes (10). Death takes around 14 minutes. That means the prisoners are awake and aware during their execution, while the other drugs induce cardiac arrest and limits breathing. They cannot express their pain because they are paralyzed from the second drug. They die a painful and agonizing death.


Some states have the Firing Squad and, strangely enough, the Gas Chamber as legal methods of execution. Death from these methods is also unnecessarily painful and sometimes slow. All of these methods are inhumane and violate moral standards.


B. Botched executions

Human actions are fallible; the DPIC lists 43 botched executions since 1982 (11). This demonstrates a clear threat of cruel and immoral punishment. To substantiate this, I offer the following Appeal to Emotion.

"Donald Harding. (Gas chamber). Death was not pronounced until 10 1/2 minutes after the cyanide tablets were dropped. During the execution, Harding thrashed and struggled violently against the restraining straps. A television journalist who witnessed the execution, Cameron Harper, said that Harding's spasms and jerks lasted 6 minutes and 37 seconds. One reporter who witnessed the execution suffered from insomnia and assorted illnesses for several weeks; two others were "walking vegetables" for several days." (12)

Lethal injection in particular is prone to being botched. The Doctor's code of ethics prevents medical professionals from administering drugs for execution (13). This means that injections are often done by amateurs or people with little medical experience. Finding a suitable vein is difficult and often takes hours. Sometimes multiple injections are required, and this magnifies the pain the prisoner often experiences.

From these contentions, it should be obvious that the death penalty should be abolished on both practical and ethical grounds.



Links:

1. http://www.njadp.org...
2. ibid
3. http://abcnews.go.com...
4. http://www.murdervictimsfamilies.org...
6. http://www.britannica.com...
7. http://www.jstor.org...
8. http://law2.umkc.edu...
9. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
10. http://bitURL.net...
11. http://www.clearinghouse.net...
12. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
13. ibid
14. http://www.ama-assn.org...

Debate Round No. 2
thett3

Pro

Thanks blackvoid, now I'll refute your case.

C1. Damage

A.

Con contends that since executioners have in the past committed suicide, this proves that the DP results in the deaths of innocents. First off, nowhere has it been proven that the executions are what caused the suicides. Indeed, people commit suicide all the time. What's interesting, is not that not only is his source staunchly anti-DP, it also provides no evidence that these suicides even happened! It does not even give the names of these people who committed suicide or even a date, so we cannot look them up to see if it's true, or to see what the actual reasoning behind their suicide was. So until Con provides real evidence for this, consider this point dropped.

Con gives a quote from a former executioner, about the emotional trauma. This is a good example for Con's point, however it is just that, an example. Con provides one example of how this can harm executioners emotionally. When looking at all the benefits from the DP as indicated in my case, you can see quite clearly that this point is vastly outweighed.

B.

Con tries to show how witnessing an execution can be harmful. First of all, his "study" that he linked is cited as "ibid". I have no idea what that means, so until Con provides actual evidence for this point consider it dropped as well.
Secondly, even if Con wins on this point, this doesn't show that we should abolish the death penalty, rather it merely shows that we should stop allowing witnesses. It would be beyond foolish to abolish the DP because of a problem with such a simple solution.
C.

Con tries to argue that since it's hard for the criminal family to see them executed, we shouldn't do it. How absurd. Surely it's hard for them to see their loved one in prison as well, but we shouldn't abolish prisons. Perhaps the psychological trauma truly comes from the fact that their loved one brutally murdered an innocent person. When considering this point, we must think about who is to blame in all this. The only person to blame is the criminal. It's sad that the family has to suffer, but the criminal chose to commit a crime punishable by death in our society. We can;t let justice be obstructed for this reason.

As for the families of the victims, their wishes are ir-relevent. If the punishment handed down by our justice system is consistent with their ideology, than so much the better, if not than that's unfortunate. To give an example of why the families wishes cannot always be honored, I know for a fact that if anyone ever killed my mother or sister, my father would want to kill the murderer himself, most likely painfully. This certainly undermines Cons position, and if we are to take the wishes of the family into account, than we would have to honor this wish as well. Also, heres a link containing over 350 quotes from victims family members in support of the death penalty[1].

C2. Death qualified juries

I ask the judges to completely drop this point. If you look at the definition Con provides, he has overlooked a very crucial part. Here is a definition of what it takes to be a death-qualified juror. You must not be a person who is:

"1. not categorically opposed to the imposition of capital punishment; and 2. not of the belief that the death penalty must be imposed in all instances of capital murder."[2][3]


So jurors must be willing to consider both the death penalty, and life imprisonment. This makes sense, because those are the only two punishments that can arrise from a first degree murder conviction. The reason that all jurors must be willing to consider the death penalty, is to ensure that they will not vote for a not guilty veridict, just because they do not want the defendant to possibly be sentenced to death. (my Opponents source says that itself.)

A.

This is all explained above. Cons own source states that those excluded from a jury in a capital case are

"Those indicating that their views on capital punishment would preclude them from rendering an impartial verdict on the defendant’s guilt or innocence (i.e., whether he actually did the criminal act, rather than what punishment he should receive) were also excluded."

B.

Con says that Jurors are more likely to convict in a capital case. While his evidence indicates this to be true, how do we know that the death qualification is responsible? That is to say, could it be that a conviction is more likely in a capital case due to the fact that the prosecution spends quite alot more in capital cases than otherwise? Capital cases are also more likely to get the best prosecuters, so logically the reasoning behind a higher conviction rate is simply because that the state performs better in a Capital case than otherwise.

Even if this point seems to still stand, it can easily be fixed by eliminating the need for a death qualification in a capital case. This point provides no compelling reason to abolish capital punishment.

C3. Morality

A.

Con tries to show electrocution to be barbaric and cruel. Not only did the Supreme Court find electrocution to not be cruel and unusual punishment[4], but electrocution is a method that is used increasingly rarely, so this point falls.

In his attack on lethal injection, my Opponent brings up Maryland as an example. What's interesting about that is that according to DPIC, Maryland currently has a moratorium on executions until it decides on new lethal injection protocol.[5] This shows that the better way to solve these problems is to.. *drumroll* solve them! Rather than abolish the penalty, fix the method if it's so cruel!

B.

Con wants us to condemn the DP based on an exception to the rule. Con wants us to abolish the ultimate penalty based on a 3.4% failure rate (43/1261). The only specific example provided by Con is an execution by lethal gas, which is, like electrocution, used extremely rarely. Con wants us to condemn the DP based on the claim that "Sometimes multiple injections are required, and this magnifies the pain the prisoner often experiences." Because the prisoner might, in very rare scenarios, have to feel a needle piercing his skin more than once, we should abolish the DP. This impact is incredibly outweighed by the innocent lives saved through the DP.


In conclusion, my Opponent's contentions are refuted, they are all exceptions, and even if they all still stand they only offer reasoning to alter our protocol for the Death Penalty, not to abolish it. I urge a Pro vote. Thank you.

Sources:

1. http://pro-dp.appspot.com...
2. http://definitions.uslegal.com...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks to Thett for his response. I'll refute his case then defend mine.


Observation: The resolution says "The US should retain the Death Penalty", not "With reforms, the US should retain the Death Penalty". Pro repeatedly tries to wave his magic wand and say we can change this, change that. However the resolution suggests that we are debating the death penalty as it is now, not how it can be in some imaginary world. This also keeps the debate realistic as it allows us to debate the death penalty as it is actually used.


C1A: Capital Punishment keeps a killer from striking again.

"1.2% of those convicted of homicide were arrested for another homicide within three years of their release"

Turn his first source. According to it, over 70% of thieves reoffend after their release. So murderers = 1.2%, and thieves = 70%. Under his logic, we are justified in executing burglars and larcenists.

In fact, his source says that murderers have the lowest recidivism rate of any criminal. So empirically, they are the ones least likely to strike again. If pro wants to kill murderers because they can reoffend, the stats say we should kill everyone who ever commits a crime.


Many drug traffickers and extortionists have escaped from prison. Some of these have killed people during their tenure. It doesn't justify execution; it justifies improving the system. Most criminals spend well over a decade on Death Row, so they can escape under a DP system anyway.


C1B: Deterrence

Studies


1. Only 40-60 executions happen in a year (2). This is a terrible sample space to draw conclusions from.


2. Any deterrence study should be tossed because their conclusions are dependant upon the subjective opinion of the writer. His own source says that "Some scientists are out seeking the truth, and some of them have a position they would like to defend." Meaning, if a pro-DP writer wants to find stats that support his position, he will find and twist numbers until he gets what he wants. If an Anti-DP writer wants to say that it actually increases murder, he will also find a way to finalize the conclusion he is looking for.


3. Simple logic would state that the death penalty doesn't deter. Criminals do not plan on getting caught when they commit the crime, so possible punishment doesn't matter. My logical analysis has already won; pro only gave statistics with no reasoning.


Statistics


1. A lot of things contribute to homicide rates. One reason more executions may occur is that more murderers are being arrested in the first place, and thus have a chance of being sent to death. In that case, a decrease in crime may be a factor of the increased arrest rate, or risk of being caught. Its near impossible to isolate the Death Penalty as the only variable that determines murder rates, so all of his evidence commits the Correlation/Causation fallacy.


2. If you dont buy that, buy this. Since 1990, states with the death penalty have had higher murder rates than states without it, 100% of the time (3). Currently, DP states have 35% higher murder rates.


C2A: If the Death Penalty is abolished, the next thing to go will be life without parole

1. The United States incarcerates more criminals than any other country, and does so for longer periods of time. Historically, we are tougher on crime than anyone. One report from an Anti-Jail group will not change this mindset; life without parole is here to stay.


2. Remember that murderers have the lowest recidivism rate of any criminal. So them being released early is just as logical as releasing trespassers.


3. The Pamela Moss example is flawed. James Moore has been denied parole 14 straight times. This shows that the system is still smart enough to know who they shouldnt release.


Sub point B preempts an argument I'm not making. So lets go to the Con case.



Con case:



C1: Psychological damage

A. Executioners

Straw man. Pro spends a whole paragraph on Suicide. However, I had one sentence on suicide. I had six on mental trauma, which was dropped. My key argument is unanswered; the death penalty causes psychological damage to executioners; the experience is extremely traumatic.


Pro wants links to the executioners who killed themselves. Here (4,5). Additionally, trauma from killing other people would magnify any stress coming from other life issues. So even if being an executioner might not be the only cause of suicide, its a strong contributing factor.


Pro thinks I only gave one example. However, I linked my source and pointed out how multiple executioners are suffering from the death penalty.


B. Witnesses

"Ibid" means it is in the previous source. I've already answered his "oh, well we can change that" argument. So extend: People watch executions and suffer from it.


C. Families

The emotional reaction from seeing a loved one go to prison is much less than seeing a loved one die. While the family isn't happy on both sides, I at least assure them that their loved one is still alive. Through this, I ultimately prevent more psychological damage than my opponent, who kills them off and scars the family forever.


While some families do support the death penalty, the goal is to prevent psychological damage, not be democratic. If my opponent's father, who he referenced, wanted a criminal to die but he only went to prison, he may be unhappy. However, he will not be an emotional wreck. In contrast, if he is categorically opposed to the death penalty but the criminal was sent there anyway, he will be distraught knowing that there are now two dead bodies he didnt want. My (dropped) evidence empirically proves this.


C2: Death Penalty juries

Pro just restates my definition. Yes, to be a death qualified juror you must be able to support and use the death penalty, or life imprisonment.

A. Impartial

Pro's quote is meaningless. While the definition says jurors are "supposed" to be impartial, my evidence proves that jurors in DP cases actually aren't. They are empirically looking for a conviction which makes death penalty cases inherently biased.


B. Biased

Pro thinks other things can contribute to jurors convicting defendants more often in capital cases. Well, he dropped my analysis explaining why it was specific to the death penalty: "Jurors are so eager to exercise their belief towards capital punishment, that they ignore possible doubts of the defendant's guilt." He doesn't refute my analysis so we must assume this to be a cause of the 44% increase. This means more innocents die on the pro side.


C3: Morality

A. Methods of execution

Based off this, you can vote Con right here. He drops the argument that morality requires the most humane option. He also drops that Life in Prison is a better moral alternative to Quartering and burning at the stake. So, if our current methods of execution are just as inhumane as those, this is an independent reason to vote Con.


Electric chair

Pro brings up the Supreme Court ruling. This is an Appeal to authority AND misinterpretation. The Supreme Court saying the Chair is OK doesn't mean the Chair is OK. Additionally, the Supreme Court decides what is constitutional, not what is moral. So they dont apply to this debate. Lethal injection is the primary execution method, but electrocution is still used occasionally.

He has not attacked my logic of the Chair being cruel and barbaric; my point stands.


Lethal injection


This is the biggest point in the round. He has dropped and therefore conceded that lethal injection is extremely painful and inhumane. Since he has also conceded that morality prohibits inhumane behavior in place of an alternative (life in prison), it is proven that lethal injection is immoral. Lethal injection encompasses 97% of all executions (6), so he has basically conceded that the death penalty is immoral 97% of the time. Um, vote Con?



I will again thank my opponent for his response and look forward to his final round.






1. http://bitURL.net...
2. http://bitURL.net...
3. http://bitURL.net...
4. http://tinyurl.com...
5. http://tinyurl.com...
6. http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 3
thett3

Pro

Thanks Con, this has been quite an enjoyable debate.

The Resolution:


Before I begin my final round, I must point out the Con's C1. B, C2 A & B, and C3 A are 100% ir-relevant. The resolution states that the U.S. should retain the DP, the sentence of death. It does NOT state that the U.S. must retain the DP in its current forms/methodology/protocol ect. Keep that in mind while voting on this round.

=Con case=

C1.

A.

If you read Con's source, all of the supposed trauma suffered comes from executioners involved in electrocution. There is a reason that electrocution is being phaed out. Since he has not provided any examples of executioners suffering during a lethal injection, which is essentially the only currently used method, consider this point dropped. Even if I was to concede to this point, can this outweigh all of the innocent lives saved by prevention? Of course not.
As for the suicides Con has linked, there is no strong evidence to suggest that the executions were the primary reasons for the suicides. Look at his source four, it states that the man suffered from huntingtons diesease and was 89 years ld when he killed himself. Huntingtons disease causes dementia.[1] That, coupled with old age and the fact that according to Cons source the man had not performed an execution for nearly 30 years before his suicide shows that his occupation was not likely a significant factor. The second one committed suicide after his wife died.[2]
This point falls.
B.
Con again misunderstands the resolution. Because witnesses are not a necessity to perform an execution, and the resolution only mentions keeping the sentence of death, not all protocol, this is non-topical. Even if it was topical, this point is massively outweighed.

C.

Con misses the point of my objection. While it surely is terrible to have to see a loved one executed, it is also terrible to see a loved one imprisoned. Whether or not an execution is more terrible is ir-relevant. What IS relevant, is that since they both cause damage, using Con's logic we should not allow either of them. Con has not shown why we must take this into account when deciding on a penalty. Again, this point falls and is outweighed.

Con seems to believe that a family opposes the DP and their loved ones killer is executed, they will be "an emotional wreck". This makes no sense, the damage comes from a loved one being killed not from the just execution of the killer. Con wants us to believe that those opposed to the DP would suffer severe trauma when a killer is executed. If that were true, they would suffer trauma every time any killer is executed as well, which clearly does not happen.

I have also linked over 350 examples of families who were glad to see their loved ones killer executed. Con has provided none in return. 64% of Americans support the DP in cases of murder[3]. Con wants us to do away with the DP because the possbility of extremely unlikely trauma for the 29% that oppose it. This point, like Cons other points, is clearly outweighed.

C2.

A.

Con states my definition of a death qualified jury is meaningless. This is puzzling, because his definition is merely a longer version of mine. Con gives his personal opinion that death-jurors are "inherently biased". By definition, the Death qualified jury is unbiased because they must be willing to consider the DP and life. Con's analysis falls.

B.

Con again misunderstands my objection. He states that I did not address his analysis of why capital cases have higher conviction rates. Well, if you look at my rebuttal I did address it, I stated that there are likely to be other causes. Con gives his personal opinion, and I gave mine in return. Personally, I think mine is more logical but since evidence on this subject is not something that can be measured (even evidence brought in would just be the opinion of another) I ask the judges to completely drop this point.

C3.

Con states that because I agreed that life imprisonment is more humane than burning at the stake, he wins. Con tries to compare a prisoner feeling the prick of a needle, to an agonizing burning death. Absurd. Con states that my Supreme Court evidence is invalid for being an appeal to authority. Of course it's an appeal to authority, because SCOTUS has an actual authority in this matter. Con provides only his personal opinion. He also ignores that we are debating the death penalty, I.E. an execution in principle not the methodology.

Con falsely states that I did not respond to his opinion on lethal injection. The only example of lethal injection being bad that Con gives is Maryland, which I have already stating is fixing it's problem. Cons "impact" is that a prisoner might have to feel a needle prick his skin on more than one occassion. It goes without saying that this is outwieghed.

=My Case=

C1.

A.

Con ignores my source showing how murderers on death row have higher rates of re-offending, and how many commited their crimes while in custody. Extend this evidence. Con believes that since murderers have a lower rate of re-offense than robbers, we should execute robbers. Wrong. I really don't feel the need to explain why this is false, because anyone with even the slightest sense of morality can detect the distinction between brutal murder and robbery, and can understand that the punishments should be accordingly different. Con states that prisoners could still escape from death row. This supports my side, death row has better security than the average prison and since Con concedes that prisoners can escape even from death row, he's also conceded that prisoners can escape and strike again from an ordinary prison. Vote Pro just for this.

B.

Con states that since the number of executions is relatively small, we cannot draw a conclusion. What an odd objection. A deterrent effect has been observed even with such slight execution numbers! If we want to consider this objection valid, it actually supports more executions so that we can observe if an effect truly exists.

Con states that the studies could be biased. I concede that the possibility for bias exists, however if we are to buy this objection than we can never trust any study, ever, because a possibility for bias exists. Until Con shows how they are biased, we should consider these studies sound. One sentence is nowhere near enough to invalidate three entire studies. He also drops the statistical analysis. Con states his personal opinion that criminals do not think about getting caught before they commit their crimes. This is untrue, because many murderers plan on how to dispose of the bodies before hand, how to make it look like an accident, ect. Showing that they DO think about getting caught, and take steps to avoid it before committing their crime. Refer to the phrase premeditated murder when considering this argument, murderers clearly often do think.

Con states that many things can contribute to a falling homicide rate. No one is denying that, however the only factor introduced in this round has been the DP. Con has shown no reason why homicide rates have declined. I have. Even if you disagree with my argument, it is valid for the purposes of this debate so vote Pro.

Con says that since states w/ the DP have higher murder rates, this disproves my point. That's false. That's like saying: Person A is fatter than person B. Person A diets and loses weight, but person B is still lighter. Therefore person A's diet failed. It is not comparing "apples to apples" so to speak.

C2.

Con states that the U.S. is a "tough on crime" nation, and life will not go away. Again, he states his personal opinion. I have provided actual evidence. Vote Pro.

Con says the moore example is flawed, because he's been denied parole. True, however the McDuff evidence shows that sometimes criminals who have no business being released still get released.

Thank you for the debate blackvoid.

Sources:


1. http://bitURL.net...
2. http://bitURL.net...
3. http://bitURL.net...
BlackVoid

Con

This has been a fun debate. I'll go over my case then his.


The resolution

Con thinks he can change how the death penalty works because the resolution doesn't exclude changes. Well, it doesn't exclude aliens coming down from the heavens and destroying the planet either, but thats ridiculous to argue about. So we should debate what the resolution says and not what it doesn't not say.

He drops my Realism argument. Debating the DP as it is used now is best because our arguments actually pertain to the real world. So we go Con on this even if you don't buy the last argument.


C1: Psychological damage

A. He never refutes my accusations of a Straw Man, so you can go Con on this right here.

Pro says most mental trauma comes from electrocutions, which are practiced rarely. This is a brand new argument that he was waited until round 4 to formulate, so toss it. The evidence refers to executioners having to inject substances into someone that they know will kill them. You think they're not bothered by that?

He's dropped my Magnification argument; the trauma from executing people magnifies any stress from other personal issues. So being depressed over a wife's death turns into suicide. So the death penalty is still responsible for executioners killing themselves.


B. He's conceded that witnesses to executions suffer from the death penalty. Remember, the resolution does not allow us to use pixie dust and create whatever system we want. We debate the DP as it is now.


C. By saying, "Whether or not an execution is more terrible is ir-relevant" he has tacitly conceded that the death penalty causes families more trauma than life in prison. That alone is a reason to go against the death penalty here. That being said, this quote makes no sense. Its like saying there is no moral difference between 5 people dying and 10 people dying, because people are dying either way. Clearly the option producing lesser harm is preferable, which is life in prison.


The victim's family doesn't always want the killer to die; they may categorically oppose the death penalty. But if he's killed anyway, (since the DP doesn't need the family's consent to be sought), they know they were part of a man dying that they didnt want to die. I dont see whats so hard to understand about that.


C2: Death-qualified juries


A. Pro Straw Man's my Impartiality argument. I'm not saying the jurors won't consider Life in prison. I'm saying that Death Penalty cases are full of only those jurors who support the death penalty. Any DP trial is full of people who have the same opinion. So yes, DP trials are inherently biased.


B. There can be multiple causes of a higher conviction rate in capital cases. But he's dropped my argument that jurors supporting the Death Penalty is one of those causes. So Capital Punishment is in part responsible for more defendants being convicted. He's also never denied that a higher conviction rate means more innocents going to prison, so he's conceded that the DP causes more innocents going to prison and the Chair.


C3: Morality

Remember, my argument is that lethal injection is an inhumane and agonizing death because the anesthetic wears of before the prisoner is dead. He lives through an entire cardiac arrest and suffers just as much as he would if he were burned at the stake. My opponent seems to think this is entirely about having to inject the needle more than once, because thats literally all he has attacked. However, this point is about lethal injection being a cruel and inhumane death because the victim experiences severe pain. This argument has been refuted zero times in 4 debate rounds, as well as the argument that life in prison is a better moral alternative.


The Supreme Court does not decide what is moral, they decide what is constitutional. This was also unanswered, so they have no authority in this debate.


Lethal injection is not wrong in just Maryland; the same three chemicals in the drug are used in every state that allows capital punishment. So the inhumane death exists on a national level. Maryland was just the source for my Anesthetic evidence.



Pro case:


C1A: Murderers striking again

My point was that under the logic of killing murderers to prevent them from striking again, we should kill all criminals because murderers actually reoffend less than any other criminal. Pro's implied argument is that we should kill murderers because they deserve it and not kill robbers because they don't . However, nobody has run any Justice type of argument in this debate. This point has been about the practicality of killing murderers, not morality, so this is another new argument. Its also wrong; even if certain criminals deserve certain punishments, he doesn't explain why the appropriate punishment for muderers is death.


Pro says Death Row inmates are guarded better. He gives no proof of this claim; the debate between Death Row and Maximum Security prisons is just as controversial as this topic.


C1B: Deterrence

Studies


1. He's conceded there is a small sample space to observe a deterrent effect. Just use common sense here; if 40 executions happen one year and 44 the next, can we really trust any conclusions drawn from such a small change?


2. He has never actually defended his studies from my accusations of bias, so we ignore his deterrence evidence. He just says that any study can be biased. However, DP deterrence studies are unique in that it is one of the most controversial issues in modern history. So Deterrence studies are inherently less reliable than others.


3. He complains that I give my personal analysis on deterrence. Well this is debate, thats kind of what we're supposed to do :/

I've argued that murderers don't plan on getting caught. You can turn his rebuttal because criminals hiding the body and disposing of evidence, shows that they work to AVOID being caught rather than not committing the crime in the first place.


Statistics

"Con has shown no (other) reason why homicide rates have declined."

My last speech pointed out that murder rates decline due to increased arrest rate. The increased arrest rate leads to more executions because there are more people being sent to trial in the first place. So, a decrease in homicide rates is more attributable to the arrest rate (threat of being caught). He's dropped this entirely, so we can't isolate the death penalty as a variable to determine homicide rates.


C2: Life in prison


Pro says the US being tough on crime is my personal opinion. I didnt give a source for that because I thought it was kind of obvious. I won't provide new sources in the last round, (contrary to pro, who gave three) but it should be obvious to voters that the US throws a lot of people in jail and will not do away with them.



Voting issues

These are my shortened rebuttals on key points.

1. Capital Juries

Death Penalty cases send more innocents to death AND prison. Death penalty jurors convict at a 44% higher rate than in Life in Prison cases. While Pro says there are other things that can lead to this gap, he has never denied my argument that the bias in DP cases is responsible for at least part of it, or that it leads to innocent conviction.


2. Methods of execution

He's conceded that we must pick the most humane method of punishment. He also dropped that lethal injection (97% of all executions) is an inhumane and agonizing death compared to life in prison. By measure of unanswered arguments, the death penalty is wrong 97% of the time.


3. Murderers striking again

I can't stress enough that murderers commit less crimes after their release than any other criminal, and this is coming from his own source. Pro wants us to kill murderers because they reoffend 40% of the time. Thieves reoffend 70% of the time. Rapists - 68%. He implies that we dont kill thieves because they don't deserve death. Well why do murderers deserve death? He's never said why outside of this flawed recidivism argument.



I again thank Thett for whats been an awesome debate. Hopefully voters will see this as one of the better DP debates.










Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tiaknowlesdebate 4 years ago
tiaknowlesdebate
I am am not for the death penalty because although the person was wrong for killing someone but you have to realize the same person you are ready to give the death penalty to is the same one looking at you in a chair through a glass waiting to be killed by you.
Posted by Steelerman6794 6 years ago
Steelerman6794
Great debate!

Conduct: Tied. Both sides were very civil.

Spelling and Grammar: Con. I know I'm nitpicking, but Pro had a couple of punctuation errors while continuously spelling "irrelevant' as "ir-relevant."

Arguments: Con. As Instigator, Pro had the responsibility to provide the round's framework, that is, how the resolution should be interpreted. As he provided none in the first round, Con reasonably interpreted the resolution to indicate an argument over the status quo. Therefore, the death penalty in practice was the lens through which I viewed the round. For me, the two deciding issues were murder/recidivism rates and morality. Con effectively refuted all of Pro's arguments regarding the death penalty's effects on murder and recidivism rates. Con's arguments that current execution methods are inhumane were misunderstood by Pro the entire round, particularly the points on lethal injection.

Sources: I found no reason to doubt the credibility of either sides' sources.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
BlackVoid
I have tomorrow off so this should be done relatively soon.
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
thett3
haha I only had THREE characters left! Sorry if I appear snippy in my last round, I had to be curt for the sake of characters.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
BlackVoid
Thats awesome, so you have Grapevine Mills right down the corner. I only get to go there occasionally.
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
thett3
no worries man, better a slow and well thought out response than a quick pointless one. By the way, I noticed on your profile that you live in fort worth, I live in dallas! Well grapevine actually, but its pretty much dallas.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
BlackVoid
Sorry, should be up by tomorrow afternoon. I wrote 3/4 shortly after your rebuttal but have been procrastinating since :(
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
thett3
wow! thank you that really is super helpful!
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
BlackVoid
Thanks. Present: If you use biturl.net to shorten all of your sources, you will have over 1000 characters of extra space.
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
thett3
ok, but that isnt counting my sources
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
thett3BlackVoidTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: There were no serious conduct violations, although both sides were unnecessarily cut in their claims. I voted conuct to Pro to cancel kohai conduct vote. Con picked, mostly, really odd and irrelevant issues to contest the death penalty: lethal injection might hurt? the murderers family would be upset? the executioner might be traumatized? The ompelling Pro argument is that capital punishment saves innocent lives.
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
thett3BlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: good debate. Overall, pro couldn't respond to the fact that lrthal injection is painful and inhumane. Conduct goes to con due to the fact pro tried to change the resoluton
Vote Placed by Steelerman6794 6 years ago
Steelerman6794
thett3BlackVoidTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Reasons for decision are posted in the comments section.