The Instigator
AmandaTina
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CorinneSeagriff
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

The death penalty should be banned from a form of punishment.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
CorinneSeagriff
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 14,891 times Debate No: 15432
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

AmandaTina

Con

Ultimately, the moral question surrounding capital punishment in America has less to do with whether those convicted of violent crime deserve to die than with whether state and federal governments deserve to kill those whom it has imprisoned. The legacy of racial apartheid, racial bias, and ethnic discrimination is unavoidably evident in the administration of capital punishment in America. Death sentences are imposed in a criminal justice system that treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. This is an immoral condition that makes rejecting the death penalty on moral grounds not only defensible but necessary for those who refuse to accept unequal or unjust administration of punishment.

The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much. Some family members of crime victims may take years or decades to recover from the shock and loss of a loved one. Some may never recover. One of the things that helps hasten this recovery is to achieve some kind of closure. Life in prison just means the criminal is still around to haunt the victim. A death sentence brings finality to a horrible chapter in the lives of these family members.
CorinneSeagriff

Pro

There are many reasons as to why the death penalty should be banned as a form of punishment.

1)Financial costs to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life. Most people don't realize that carrying out one death sentence costs 2-5 times more than keeping that same criminal in prison for the rest of his life. How can this be? It has to do with the endless appeals, additional required procedures, and legal wrangling that drag the process out. It's not unusual for a prisoner to be on death row for 15-20 years. Judges, attorneys, court and court facilities all require an investment by the taxpayers.

2)It is barbaric and violates the "cruel and unusual" clause in the Bill of Rights. Whether it's a firing squad, electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection, or hanging, it's barbaric to allow state-sanctioned murder before a crowd of people.

3)The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents the use of "cruel and unusual punishment". Many would interpret the death penalty as violating this restriction.

4)The endless appeals and required additional procedures clog our court system. The U.S. court system goes to enormous lengths before allowing a death sentence to be carried out. All the appeals, motions, hearings, briefs, etc. monopolize much of the time of judges, attorneys, and other court employees as well as use up courtrooms and facilities. This is time and space that could be used for other unresolved matters. The court system is tremendously backed up. This would help move things along.

5)We as a society have to move away from the "eye for an eye" revenge mentality if civilization is to advance. The "eye for an eye" mentality will never solve anything. The idea of revenge leads to an endless cycle of violence. Why do you think gang violence in this country never seems to end? It is important to send a message to society that striking back at your enemy purely for revenge will always make matters worse.
Debate Round No. 1
AmandaTina

Con

Justice is better served. The most fundamental principle of justice is that the punishment should fit the crime. When someone plans and brutally murders another person, doesn't it make sense that the punishment for the perpetrator also be death?

Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims. It's time we put the emphasis of our criminal justice system back on protecting the victim rather than the accused. Remember, a person who's on death row has almost always committed crimes before this. A long line of victims have been waiting for justice. We need justice for current and past victims.

It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence. What about people already sentenced to life in prison. What's to stop them from murdering people constantly while in prison? What are they going to do--extend his sentence? Sure, they can take away some prison privileges, but is this enough of a deterrent to stop the killing? What about a person sentenced to life who happens to escape? What's to stop him from killing anyone who might try to bring him in or curb his crime spree?
CorinneSeagriff

Pro

My opponent states the "justice is better served". Of course it is a good feeling to see the person receive the death penalty if they have killed a loved one. But there is a chance that the system can very much be flawed. Unless the person on trial has said they have committed the crime, or there is cold hard proof, one can never be sure whether or not the person is truly guilty. These are the three cases in which show the flaws in the criminal justice system:

1)Arizona: Ray Krone, released in 2002
* Spent 10 years in prison in Arizona, including time on death row, for a murder he did not commit. He was the 100th person to be released from death row since 1973. DNA testing proved his innocence.

2)Illinois: Madison Hobley, Aaron Patterson, Stanley Howard and LeRoy Orange, pardoned in 2003
* Sent to death row on the basis of "confessions" extracted through the use of torture by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and other Area 2 police officers in Chicago. They were pardoned by outgoing Governor George Ryan, who also commuted the remaining 167 death sentences in Illinois to life imprisonment.

3)North Carolina: Jonathon Hoffman, exonerated in 2007
* Convicted and sentenced to death for the 1995 murder of a jewelry store owner. During Hoffman's first trial, the state's key witness, Johnell Porter, made undisclosed deals with the prosecutors for testifying against his cousin. Porter has since recanted his testimony, stating that he lied in order to get back at his cousin for stealing money from him.

(http://www.amnestyusa.org...)

Life in prison is a worse punishment and more effective . For those of you who don't feel much sympathy for a murderer, keep in mind that death may be too good for them. With a death sentence, the suffering is over in an instant. With life in prison, the pain goes on for decades. Prisoners are confined to a cage and live in an internal environment of rape and violence where they're treated as animals. And consider terrorists. Do you think they'd rather suffer the humiliation of lifelong prison or be "martyred" by a death sentence?

It sends the wrong message: why kill people who kill people to show killing is wrong. Yes, we want to make sure there is accountability for crime and an effective deterrent in place; however, the death penalty has a message of "You killed one of us, so we'll kill you". The state is actually using a murder to punish someone who committed a murder.
Debate Round No. 2
AmandaTina

Con

DNA testing and other methods of modern crime scene science can now effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence. One of the biggest arguments against the death penalty is the possibility of error. Sure, we can never completely eliminate all uncertainty, but nowadays, it's about as close as you can get. DNA testing is over 99 percent effective. And even if DNA testing and other such scientific methods didn't exist, the trial and appeals process is so thorough it's next to impossible to convict an innocent person. Remember, a jury of 12 members must unanimously decide there's not even a reasonable doubt the person is guilty. The number of innocent people that might somehow be convicted is no greater than the number of innocent victims of the murderers who are set free.

Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill. Perhaps the biggest reason to keep the death penalty is to prevent the crime from happening again. The parole system nowadays is a joke. Does it make sense to anyone outside the legal system to have multiple "life" sentences + 20 years or other jiverish? Even if a criminal is sentenced to life without possibility of parole, he still has a chance to kill while in prison, or even worse, escape and go on a crime/murder spree.

It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system. Prisons across the country face the problem of too many prisoners and not enough space & resources. Each additional prisoner requires a portion of a cell, food, clothing, extra guard time, and so on. When you eliminate the death penalty as an option, it means that prisoner must be housed for life. Thus, it only adds to the problem of an overcrowded prison system.

It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system. The number of criminal cases that are plea bargained (meaning the accused admits guilt in return for a lesser sentence or some other concession) can be as high as 80 or 90 percent of cases. With the time, cost, and personnel requirements of a criminal case, there really isn't much of a choice. The vast majority of people that are arraigned are in fact guilty of the crime they are accused. Even if you believe a defendant only deserves life in prison, without the threat of a death sentence, there may be no way to get him to plead guilty and accept the sentence. If a case goes to trial, in addition to the enormous cost, you run the chance that you may lose the case, meaning a violent criminal gets off scot free. The existence of the death penalty gives prosecutors much more flexibility and power to ensure just punishments.
CorinneSeagriff

Pro

Some jury members are reluctant to convict if it means putting someone to death. Many states require any jury members to be polled during the pre-trial examination to be sure they have the stomach to sentence someone to death before they're allowed to serve. Even if they're against the death penalty, they still may lie in order to get on the panel. The thought of agreeing to kill someone even influences some jury members to acquit rather than risk the death. Some prosecutors may go for a lesser charge rather than force juries into a death-or-acquit choice. Obviously, in all these situations, justice may not be served.

The prisoner's family must suffer from seeing their loved one put to death by the state, as well as going through the emotionally-draining appeals process. One victim's innocent family is obviously forced to suffer from the crime the person had committed, but by enforcing a death sentence, you force family to suffer even more. While the families loved-one is in jail, it ensures the victims family can rest peacefully, but also ensure that the person in jails family gets to see him/her at least.

Mentally ill patients may be put to death. Many people are simply born with defects to their brain that cause them to act a certain way. No amount of drugs, schooling, rehabilitation, or positive reinforcement will change them. Is it fair that someone should be murdered just because they were unlucky enough to be born with a brain defect. Although it is technically unconstitutional to put a mentally ill patient to death, the rules can be vague, and you still need to be able to convince a judge and jury that the defendant is in fact, mentally ill.

-More than 1,000 people had been put to death in the United States since 1977. Many of these people had histories of serious mental illnesses, either from before the crimes for which they were convicted, or at the time of their execution.
(http://www.amnestyusa.org...)

It creates sympathy for the person who committed the crimes. Criminals usually are looked down upon by society. People are disgusted by the acts they commit and feel tremendous sympathy for the victims of murder, rape, etc. However, the death penalty has a way of shifting sympathy away from the victims and to the criminals themselves. An excellent example is the 2005 execution of former gang leader "Tookie" Williams. This is one of the original members of the notorious Crips gang, which has a long legacy of robbery, assault, and murder. This is a man who was convicted with overwhelming evidence of the murder of 4 people, some of whom he shot in the back and then laughed at the sounds they made as they died. This is a man who never even took responsibility for the crimes or apologized to the victims.
Debate Round No. 3
AmandaTina

Con

It is believed that keeping harsh punishments like death penalty conduce to fear in the would-be murderer's mind pertaining to their future on being caught. If people know they will only face life-imprisonment, they will take the legal system casually and commit all the crimes they want. This increases the rate of homicides. By instilling death penalty in the legal system, people will not dare to murder that easily. Thus, death penalty is considered as an essential tool to fight premeditated murder.

Since life is so precious, the punishment for taking somebody's life is paying the price with your own life. Thus, death penalty is nothing but just punishment for those who have taken another individual or individuals lives.

Keeping the death penalty will scare people even more into not committing the crime.
CorinneSeagriff

Pro

I do believe the death penalty does but fear into people from committing the crimes. Having said that, the fear of rotting away in jail (in my opinion) is more scary. Just like I have stated before, the death penalty is a horrible thing, but rotting away in jail for life is much more horrible. People have time to think years upon years of what they did wrong.

Capital punishment is not always just and appropriate. Usually, it has been seen that poor people have to succumb to death penalty as they cannot afford good lawyers to defend their stance. There are very rare cases of rich people being pronounced capital punishment. Also, an individual from minority communities are more likely to be given death penalty.

Every human being is entitled to receive a second chance in life. Putting a convict behind bars is always a logical option than killing him, as there is a chance that he may improve. People who have served life sentences are reported to have bettered their earlier ways of living and have made worthwhile contribution to the society.

It is reported that there is no relation between capital punishment and crime rate. There is no credible evidence giving death penalty does not decrease crime rate in the society. Crimes are prevalent in countries where capital punishment exists and also where it has been abolished.
Debate Round No. 4
AmandaTina

Con

The death penalty was first instituted by God Himself in Genesis 9:6: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." Man didn't invent the death penalty, so man has no right to abandon it. We live in an age when everyone is far too concerned with "human rights", and God has been practically ignored, as if He had no rights at all.

The death penalty also helps the enviornment, according to God:
"And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him."

I am excited to hear your answer, it has been a pleasure debating with you. Thank you.
CorinneSeagriff

Pro

I am not really sure as to why you used the quotes from "God" and how they are relevant to this debate?

You have stated the issue of religion but different religions have different beliefs concerning capital punishment. Even individual religions have contradictory beliefs. For instance, the Bible clear states the death penalty as valid and just, yet at the same time murder is not allowed and salvation must be offered. Since not everyone is of the same religion and each person can even interpret the same religion differently, the role of religion concerning the death penalty is very unclear. This is why governments should separate state and church.

The death penalty has many effects on society. The death penalty is itself a premeditated murder. This is unacceptable even it is inflicted by state authority as it lowers the value of life. In fact, such act can only brutalize the society. "Revenge is essential" can become a society attitude.

In conclusion, capital punishment is a moral dishonor. The mockery is that the very civilizations that have no right to impose it, are in particular leading the traditions of capital punishments.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
AmandaTinaCorinneSeagriffTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: "The death penalty was first instituted by God Himself in Genesis 9:6" - really?
Vote Placed by Jillianl 6 years ago
Jillianl
AmandaTinaCorinneSeagriffTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments weren't as compelling, since they attempted to justify revenge and justify the killing of people to deter people from killing. Neither or which makes any sense in my mind.