The Instigator
MyDinosaurHands
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
Ajab
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Using the Threat of the Death Penalty to Ensure a Guilty Plea is Ok

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/14/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 539 times Debate No: 54707
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (5)

 

MyDinosaurHands

Con

One common argument for the continuing existence of the Death Penalty is the idea that lawyers can threaten to pursue the Death Penalty, and thus scare the defendant into pleading guilty to a life sentence (or other lesser sentence) instead.

I believe that this violates the intentions of our law system, and this argument should not be considered in a Death Penalty debate.

Any questions about this debate, please ask in the comments before you accept.

First Round is for Acceptance.
Ajab

Pro

I thank my opponent for starting this debate, I hope it will be very intresting.
Please outline the onus in your argument,
I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
MyDinosaurHands

Con

DEFIES INTENT OF LAW SYSTEM
When lawyers decide to pursue the Death Penalty, it often because they do not feel confident in their evidence against the defendant, and would rather that they cut a deal that involves the defendant pleading guilty for a life sentence instead. The concept behind our justice system is, "Innocent until proven guilty." Here we have, "Innocent until your life is threatened and you say you're guilty to not take a chance with your life." If you were in the position of the defendant, would you take the uncertain outcome with a Death Penalty trial, or a certain outcome with a plead to guilty?

If we allow the Death Penalty to get guilty pleas, we haven't actually proven the defendant's guilt, as we are supposed to in our justice system, all we have proven is that they're scared of dying. If a lawyer cannot prove someone's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt without coercion, then that person is innocent in the eyes of the law, and is to be treated as innocent. So, I say again, this defies the intent of our justice system.


CRAPPY LAWYERS
Often times, defendants involved in cases that are of the level of seriousness that could warrant a death sentence are represented by lawyers that, "...In many cases, [the appointed attorneys] are overworked, underpaid, or lacking the trial experience..."[1] This happens because those accused are often too poor to afford high grade lawyers, and thus are immediately disadvantaged. This is relevant. Imagine if you're an inexperienced attorney who is totally out of his league. The opposition is saying they'll pursue the death penalty, and you're not sure you can win. You don't want to feel responsible for a man's death. So you advise your client to take the life sentence without a fight.

I'm sure you can all see this happening, and I'm sure you can see that this is a bad thing for our justice system. Instead of this decision being made based upon evidence, it is based not only by fear of death, but also by the lack of confidence/experience in a lawyer. Basically, if you're poor, you're an easier target for coercion.


UNCOMPROMISING JUSTICE
As stated earlier, allowing this would violate the intent of our justice system. Perhaps some of you have asked, "So? Maybe we should let it slide this time." To this I say, absolutely not. The kind of attitude expressed in Death Penalty coercion is definitely one I associate with vigilantism. Think about it. A vigilante will pass their own justice on someone who cannot have any guilt proven to them by the law. Guilt cannot be proven, because there is not sufficient evidence to prove it. The vigilante is operating on a hunch. A feeling. Same here. Lawyers know they don't have sufficient evidence to get a guilty verdict, but they still feel that the person is guilty. So they enact their own vigilantism within the justice system.

We should not support vigilantism in our justice system, because vigilante actions are often taken because of subjective, often non-evidenced reasoning. A system that allows the line of thought. "I can't necessarily prove it, but I feel like he's guilty," is bound to lose effectiveness and respect. If we allow this to permeate throughout the attitude of our justice system, we allow racism, sexism, and other forms of situational discrimination to unfairly influence our verdicts. We as a society need consistency and fairness. The only way we can have that is without vigilantism in our system.


MONETARY LOSS
Death Penalty trials are far more expensive than life without parole trials. 20 times more expensive[1], in fact. This matters because whenever lawyers are trying to pull this coercion trick, there is a chance someone will call their bluff. In California, they spend an average of 137 million dollars per year. If they abolished the Death Penalty, they'd spend only 11.5 million dollars[2]. Every time someone calls the bluff, numerous tax-payer dollars are taken from other causes that don't involve one specific person.



Thanks for reading.

Sources:
[1] http://www.deathpenalty.org...
[2] http://www.amnestyusa.org...
Ajab

Pro

Ajab forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
MyDinosaurHands

Con

Vote Con.
Ajab

Pro

I do apologize, but I have not been well. If Con would allow, give me a few days, I would love to have this debate again.
Ajab




Debate Round No. 3
MyDinosaurHands

Con

I'll take you up on that.
Ajab

Pro

Thank you I am genetically hypertensive and forget to take my medication sometimes. Miss one pill and you get sick for days :P
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
jp, you did not.
Posted by jp_porwisz10 2 years ago
jp_porwisz10
Ha I just had a debate with this guy about the same topic
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
Sounds like cohersion.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Defro 2 years ago
Defro
MyDinosaurHandsAjabTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
MyDinosaurHandsAjabTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit by Pro, and then rain check. Looking forward to seeing the full version later, and I hope Pro feels better!
Vote Placed by SeventhProfessor 2 years ago
SeventhProfessor
MyDinosaurHandsAjabTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was the only one who provided arguments.