The Instigator
Aardvarky
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Vigour
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

The death penalty should be imposed for those found guilty of rape.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Vigour
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,197 times Debate No: 37779
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

Aardvarky

Con

I'll start this debate by stating that I do not believe the death penalty is a logical punishment for cases of rape for a number of reasons.
Vigour

Pro


I’d like to greet my opponent and thank them for creating a provocative resolution.


As Pro, I will be arguing that the death penalty is a logical punishment for rape, albeit with a few caveats. The death penalty should only be applied to rapists who were violent or sadistic in their attacks. Statutory rapes, or rapes where both or one party was incapacitated without violence, should quite clearly not be punished by execution – although they should still be punished severely.


I look forward to addressing Con’s numerous reasons for why violent rapists should not be executed. Good luck!


Debate Round No. 1
Aardvarky

Con

I thank my opponent for their rebuttal.

As my first counterargument I'd like to raise the question as to why exactly rape, among other criminal offenses, would be given priority for the death penalty over (arguably) more severe crimes to which the death penalty does not currently apply (i.e. attempted murder/grievous bodily harm, pedophilia etc.). Secondly, I would like to bring to attention the possibility of assailants having mental defects or issues; are cases of rape in which this would be a factor be treated with equal consequences? Lastly I would like to address the fact that often in courts of law those accused are often wrongly judged, framed and sentenced for numbers of different reasons including lack of substantiating proof or alibi for example. Bearing in mind that in these cases those accused would be wrongly and unjustly sentenced to a grim fate, I believe that the margin for error is too large for such a severe punishment to be applicable for this crime.

I eagerly await my opponent's response.
Vigour

Pro

Below are my rebuttals to all of Con's arguments as to why the death penalty should not be applied to violent rapists.

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"As my first counterargument I'd like to raise the question as to why exactly rape, among other criminal offenses, would be given priority for the death penalty over (arguably) more severe crimes to which the death penalty does not currently apply (i.e. attempted murder/grievous bodily harm, pedophilia etc.)."

A recent study by Lisak and Miller showed that 63.3% of rapists were recidivists - meaning that they had a previously commited the crime of rape. In fact, the authors go on to show that the average rapist is responsible for 5.8 rapes per person (1). In contrast, a study of 366 prisoners convicted of murder showed that upon release not a single prisoner was rearrested for murder - this is a recidivicsm rate of 0% (2). This difference in reoffending rates suggests that rapists, as compared to most murderers and other criminals, have a pathological dysfunction that will prompt them to reoffend. In the case of violent rapists, the pontential for continued and escalating violence is apparent and unique to those crimes. Therefore, once convicted of a violent rape, it is reseasonable to assume the the average rapist will rape and harm again. Once this fact is established, the release of a rapist cannot be ethically justified - indeed a society that releases a rapist, whom it suspects is likely to rape again, is responsible for any of the future crimes he or she may commit. In fact, the only morally justifiable action is to execute violent, pathological rapists - both to prevent the future harm they will commit, and to reduce the burden they represent to society, which through their actions, they have unilaterally imposed.

"Secondly, I would like to bring to attention the possibility of assailants having mental defects or issues; are cases of rape in which this would be a factor be treated with equal consequences?"

In cases where a rapist is clearly mentally deficient - in which they have a recognized, managble disease that impairs their ability to function - I do not think the death penalty is applicable. However, I do not believe that patholgical violence and predatory rape are legitimate conditions that would exclude criminals from the death penality - rapists clearly know that rape is wrong. They are under no illusions about the gravity and impact of their crimes, which explains the effort they go to in order to avoid being caught. In contrast, those classified as clinically mentally retarded or schrizophrenic or bipolar or manic, all would have trouble understanding the consequences of their actions. A rapist is fully aware that he exists in reality and is an agent of his own behavior - people suffering from mental disease are often not aware of those facts.

"Lastly I would like to address the fact that often in courts of law those accused are often wrongly judged, framed and sentenced for numbers of different reasons including lack of substantiating proof or alibi for example."

I believe this last arguement is something of a deflection. Your issue here is with the efficacy of the criminal justice system, not with the penalty phase once convicted of a crime. For the purposes of this debate, you should assume that the hypothetical rapist is 100% guilty without question to responsiblity or agency - the only question is to whether the death penality should be applied. My argument is that as he is a violent rapist, and as a result of the pathological nature of his crime, he is likely to reoffend violently and repeatedly. I do not believe he can be ethically rehabititated - and you have not proven otherwise with any evidence. Furthermore, I believe that society should not be burdened with both the impact of his crimes, and for caring for the criminal once he is imprisoned. Indeed, even if imprisoned, rapists are still able to rape with impunity (3). The only solution to this problem would be to keep rapists in isolation for the extent of their incarceration, which would be life. I believe this would constitute cruel and unsual punishement and amount to extrajudicial torture. The only viable, ethically justifiaible, and resonable action a society can take in response to the threat a violent, predatory rapist poses is to remove that threat entirely. Doing otherwise is to take responsibilty for insuring that a rapist will not reoffend - something I doubt very much that anyone can promise.

I look forward to reading my opponents rebuttals.


(1): http://www.wcsap.org...

(2): http://nj.gov...;

(3): http://www.hrw.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Aardvarky

Con

I thank my opponent for their rebuttals; however I would question the relevance of some of their arguments and as such will counter these points below before concluding my position.

"A recent study by Lisak and Miller showed that 63.3% of rapists were recidivists - meaning that they had a previously commited the crime of rape...Therefore, once convicted of a violent rape, it is reseasonable to assume the the average rapist will rape and harm again. Once this fact is established, the release of a rapist cannot be ethically justified - indeed a society that releases a rapist, whom it suspects is likely to rape again, is responsible for any of the future crimes he or she may commit."

Posted in response to my question as to why rape would justifiably suffice for the death penalty over more severe crimes, this rebuttal does not contain sufficient evidence to argue that the death penalty is a deserving punishment for those found guilty of this crime. Indeed, the statistics my opponent has used suggest that rapists would commonly commit the suggested crime numerous times without resolve; however I question whether 'common' continuation is adequate reason to sentence all offenders to death. My opponent continues to state that the death penalty is the "only morally justifiable action" for convicted rapists due to their statistically 'proven' likeness to commit the crime again; yet i wonder whether the death penalty is in fact "morally justifiable" when a large proportion of rapists will in fact repent and not commit this crime again. Is it not possible that, as human beings, we are capable of mistakes and is it not possible that we could in fact see the wrong of our previous actions and refrain from doing them again? My opponent continues to state that, " the average rapist is responsible for 5.8 rapes per "; I would question whether this average is the mean, median or mode average; whether this includes outlying factors such as rapists who would rape victims in excess, or rapists who would only commit the crime once. Lastly on this point, I reiterate that my original argument to this response was to raise question as to why rape would be given priority for the death penalty over more severe crimes; my opponent stated that murderers 'statistically' discontinue to commit murders after their first offence; however, murderers (In America) are in fact viable for the death penalty, proving that this crime holds far more severe potential punishments than rape; even in other countries (Australia, Britain etc.) where the death penalty does not apply sentenced jail time is far more severe in murder cases than in rape cases. This would discourage murderers for continuing to commit murder, giving reason as to why, statistically, rapists have a higher recidivism rate than murderers.

" I do not believe that patholgical violence and predatory rape are legitimate conditions that would exclude criminals from the death penality - rapists clearly know that rape is wrong. They are under no illusions about the gravity and impact of their crimes, which explains the effort they go to in order to avoid being caught."

In response to this rebuttal I would firstly like to question the legitimacy of this argument. Simply because you "believe" that offenders of these crimes with mental issues are, without question, in full knowledge of the severity of the crime they are committing are we to then believe that this statement holds truth? There are many mental conditions (ie. schizophrenia, bipolar, sadomasochism to name a few) which do in fact hinder one's train of rational and moral thought, or even where they black out and are not in full control of their actions, to the point where it would influence them to commit this crime that they otherwise would not. Among mental conditions there are also drug-dependent, or at least drug-related/influenced, cases where assailants would rape without full knowledge of their moral and lawful wrongdoing. In response to my opponents point in which they state that they go through efforts to avoid being caught, I again question the credibility of this argument. Where does this knowledge come from? There are countless rape cases where offenders do not in fact go through any efforts to cover their tracks in their crime, for reasons including but not limited to that they are incapable or apathetic to understanding the moral line they have crossed.

"I believe this last arguement is something of a deflection. Your issue here is with the efficacy of the criminal justice system, not with the penalty phase once convicted of a crime. For the purposes of this debate, you should assume that the hypothetical rapist is 100% guilty without question to responsiblity or agency - the only question is to whether the death penality should be applied."

I do not understand how my opponent believes that this argument is a deflection. If the death penalty were to be imposed for those convicted of rape, it would apply to those convicted rightly or wrongly. If someone is wrongly committed of rape they would be sentenced to death without actually having committed any crime at all. A few days later evidence could reveal itself proving that the person convicted was in fact innocent and another guilty; it would however be too late. Although this is just one circumstance, there are countless more situations where insufficient proof of innocence could result in someone being wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for a crime they never committed, rather than simply being sent to jail; a punishment reversible if necessary.

I would like to close my argument by stating that, although my opponent has decided to argue that violent rapist offenders are worthy of the death penalty, the intended argument was simply about the death penalty being imposed for rape offenders. Regardless of this point, with the arguments I have raised it becomes clear that the death penalty is too severe a punishment for the crime of rape, particularly over other crimes which are not applicable to the death penalty, and is furthermore an unnecessary measure due to its moral unjust, irreversibility and large margin of potential potential influence for motive.

I thank my opponent for their intelligible discussion and arguments raised.
Vigour

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for their prompt response, and interesting arguments. However, I feel as though his rebuttals show a misunderstanding of my original points.

"this rebuttal does not contain sufficient evidence to argue that the death penalty is a deserving punishment for those found guilty of this crime"

My opponent apparently believes the fact that rapists are more likely to recommit their crimes, as compared to other criminals, is not grounds for an escalation in judicial punishment. I wonder then what criteria he would use to apply the death penalty - he apparently sees no moral difference between a criminal who has raped once and one who has raped twenty times. He sees no difference in fundamental morality between a man who crashes his car while drunk and kills somebody (criminal negligence resulting in grievous bodily harm / injury, as an example of what he suggested in his first post) vs. a career criminal and serial rapist who attacks his victims through violence and intimidation.

"A large proportion of rapists will in fact repent and not commit this crime again"

You have provided zero evidence to support this contention. In fact, I have provided numerous papers and statistics that assert the exact opposite of what you claim. Therefore, your argument in not even an argument - it is an unsubstantiated opinion that bears little weight in this debate.

"Is it not possible that, as human beings, we are capable of mistakes and is it not possible that we could in fact see the wrong of our previous actions and refrain from doing them again?"

You make such a claim in the interest of second chances, and I can sympathize with the emotion, however; you ignore the likely possibility that if you are wrong about the rapist's reformation and he rapes again, you directly will be responsible and culpable for the rape. Your desire to give people a second chance should never endanger innocent third parties who have no decision in the matter - I will forgive a drunk for much of his behavior as a human being, but I would never trust him enough to give him the keys to my car.

" I would question whether this average is the mean, median or mode average; whether this includes outlying factors such as rapists who would rape victims in excess, or rapists who would only commit the crime once."

And I would encourage my opponent to read the sources I provided, as they answer all of his questions.

"I reiterate that my original argument to this response was to raise question as to why rape would be given priority for the death penalty over more severe crimes"

And I will reiterate that it is extremely presumptuous to state that rape is a less serious crime than grievous bodily injury or attempted murder. The reason I believe rape is serious crime deserving of the highest punishment, and the evidence I have provided, shows that rapists - as opposed to murders and other "serious" criminals - are very likely to recommit their crimes and therefore are deserving of special judicial considerations. Furthermore, as rape can and is frequently committed in jails and prisons by inmates, life imprisonment or imprisonment of any kind is not an effective deterrent to their behavior. The only two effective methods to prevent harm would be life in prison in an isolation cell, or the death penalty. As I believe extended isolation to be a form of torture and incompatible with human rights - I feel that the death penalty is the more palatable of the two choices in dealing with the dilemma of a serial rapist.

"In response to this rebuttal I would firstly like to question the legitimacy of this argument. Simply because you "believe" that offenders of these crimes with mental issues are, without question, in full knowledge of the severity of the crime they are committing are we to then believe that this statement holds truth"

You have completed misunderstood my point, I do not believe pathological violence and predatory rape instincts to be in a class of mentally debilitating diseases - or "mental issues" as you put them. A man who rapes because he suffers from schizophrenic delusions does not deserve the death penalty; a serial rapist who rapes multiple people, multiple times simply because he has the inherent impulse does deserve such a penalty. The issue between the two cases is one of agency.

"Among mental conditions there are also drug-dependent, or at least drug-related/influenced, cases where assailants would rape without full knowledge of their moral and lawful wrongdoing."

I assume then you would excuse the criminal of every crime that has been committed under the influence of a narcotic? I have yet to see a bottle of alcohol pour itself down someone's throat. When that event occurs, then your argument may hold water. A rapist who commits a rape while drunk is still a rapist - it does not excuse his actions or influence the probability of him committing the same crime again in the future.

"There are countless rape cases where offenders do not in fact go through any efforts to cover their tracks in their crime, for reasons including but not limited to that they are incapable or apathetic to understanding the moral line they have crossed."

A yet despite the "countless" rape cases you allude to, you have not provided one actual instance or source of material supporting what you believe to be true.

"I do not understand how my opponent believes that this argument is a deflection."

The argument is very clearly a deflection of your stated resolution. The guilt or innocence of the hypothetical rapist has no place in this debate - you asked a very clear question of whether the death penalty should be applied to rapists. This assumes that the rapist is, in fact, a rapist. Your issue with the potential fallibility of the judicial system is a deflection that attempts to hide the weakness of the arguments you have provided.

"I would like to close my argument by stating that, although my opponent has decided to argue that violent rapist offenders are worthy of the death penalty, the intended argument was simply about the death penalty being imposed for rape offenders. "

The reason I argued for violent rapists was to avoid the inevitable hyperbole that accompanies statutory rapes and date rapes. Both are serious crimes deserving of serious penalties. However, neither warrants the death penalty. As such, I did not discuss them in order to address what most would be to consider the true spirit of the resolution.


In conclusion, my opponent failed to provide any sources to support his argument, His contentions, although well worded, were simply opinions unsubstantiated by fact or reality. Indeed, several of his opinions were directly contradicted by the sources I provided - though it appears he did not read the papers which would explain the misunderstanding. Furthermore, my opponent neglected much of the arguments I made concerning a lack of viable alternatives to dealing with rapists, and as such I will claim that he conceded those points but continued the argument because he finds the death penalty inherently unpalatable. In either case, I find my opponents arguments to be largely be opinion in direct conflict with available evidence – the sure sign of an ill-defended resolution.

Lastly, I would like to thank my opponent for an uncommonly quick and interesting debate.

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
This was a really problematic debate in that there were a lot of responses or arguments from both sides that kind of just fell flat. A typical example is Pro's response to the innocence argument. The resolution very clearly says those CONVICTED of rape, not necessarily actual rapists. Anyway:

Con wins innocence, that sometimes some innocent people may die because they didn't actually rape someone but were convicted. The problem is he does a poor job of weighing it...how many innocent people will die? How does this outweigh Pro's recidivism argument?

Con's argument about other crimes is a bit of a non starter as there's no reason that the death penalty cannot be applied to other serious offenses as well as rape, but Pro doesn't make that response. Instead Pro gives me a rational for why rape should take precedent--a very high recidivism rate. Con's responses fall extremely flat here--there's a very obvious counter to this, which is that life imprisonment would solve for recidivism as well, making Pros advocacy non-unique while also solving for the problem of innocents. However Con instead argues that since some rapists will repent and quibbles about small statistical issues with Pro"s data. This is nowhere near as compelling as the 63.3% stat Pro brings up.

Ultimately in the Pro world, I"m preventing a ton of rapes from occurring, while also killing off some innocents but since I have no idea how much this would occur, while having evidence that a huge number of people would be saved the trauma of rape, it"s safe to affirm.
Posted by Vigour 3 years ago
Vigour
De Fool - I'm curious as to how Con tied in the "reliable" sources category when he didn't use any.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
AardvarkyVigourTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by mikicat10 3 years ago
mikicat10
AardvarkyVigourTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Very well done! I couldn't find flaws in the arguments and fabulous rebuttals. Pro did list his sources.......
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
AardvarkyVigourTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The dueling arguments were as follows: Rape should not be punished more severely than lethal crime, and imperfections in the criminal justice system cannot rule out the possibility of executing an innocent person or the mentally ill. -Vs- The high rates of recidivism among sex criminals requires that they be killed in order to spare society the pain that they are likely to inflict, as well as the costs of incarceration. Rapists often cannot prevent themselves from committing future crimes, due to a ?pathology.? (PRO concedes that the mentally ill should be spared the death penalty, but also argues that rapists are often ?pathological,? and so are likely to strike again, thus justifying the death penalty. This went largely unchallenged by CON. PRO later clarifies that this should not count as a mental impairment, but it is difficult to understand why not.) Due to this pathology vs mental illness question, I awarded CON "Arguments."