The Instigator
hyperjunker
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Statesman
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

a just society ought not to use the death penalty as a form of punishment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,927 times Debate No: 3449
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (5)
Votes (7)

 

hyperjunker

Pro

I affirm the resolution "a just society ought not to use the death penalty as a form of punishment?" I will start out by defining the terms in the resolution. The death penalty is a form of punishment (execution) of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for a crime or number of crimes (Random House Webster). Ought means should, or an obligation or duty (Random House Webster). My value for this round is justice, justice is giving each his due which is prescribed by the resolution. My criterion is maximizing life, life is a perquisite to justice. If life did not exist the concept of justice would collapse because they are human created ideals. The only perception of justice is our own; since we are the original creators the only way to get the most accurate description of justice is to have the most amounts of people alive. The death penalty should not be used because deterrence does not work because life imprisonment is also a deterrent and is equally compared to with the death penalty. Life imprisonment is a hard enough sentence that is going from life imprisonment to the death penalty makes no difference. For example: a person would not be more deterred to touching a stove at high heat versus medium heat because both of the consequences will burn you. Also the government doesn't have stable information to state that one is guilty. My first contention is that a just society is not perfect, but it is a community full of individuals who strive to be the best people they can be. This means that there will be flaws in the death penalty, which leads to put many innocent people to the death penalty. Laurence A. Grayer writes…The United States has the largest death row population in the world, with over 3,300. There are many people who have been put on death row for crimes that they did not commit. Also included are mentally challenged and juvenile offenders, many of whom were sentenced to death without the jury hearing any evidence of justifying factors. Other prisoners among this lot will be executed despite evidence of their innocence or without any review of their case by an appellate court. Thus it proves that the death penalty doesn't work because there are many flaws and innocent people killed. With out the death penalty you could have saved 3,300 people in the U.S. Joshua Herman writes…Between 1973 and 1995, 68% of all death sentences were overturned due to serious, reversible error. Of this 68% courts found that the defendants deserved a sentence less than death in 82% of the cases. 7% of the individuals whose death sentences were reversed due to serious error were held to be actually innocent of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. Thus this evidence shows that 82% of the sentences, the people deserved a punishment less than death. The death penalty is unjust and also it decreases life through the evidence I have just provided. For all these reasons I urge an affirmative ballot.

Thank you

its a pretty short case so deal with it
Statesman

Con

First of all you say that a "just society should not use the death penalty as a form of punishment." This statement depends on how a society determines justice. If you believe in the christian GOD then the death penalty is justice. I don't want to change this debate into one on if GOD exists or not, but right off hand you're using the phrase "a just society" and I'm just trying to show that you use your judgement of what a just society is without giving any explanation as to why you believe that "the only perception of justice is our own." If you believe that justice comes from GOD, or if your muslim and you believe that justice comes from Allah, then your entire argument falls. Also, if people are "the original creators of justice," then how do you know that your idea of justice is right? If their is no "higher power" that set in stone ideas and rules of justice, doesn't justice become an ever changing thing depending on the majority opinion of the time? Your argument implies this by stating that "since we are the original creators the only way to get the most accurate description of justice is to have the most amounts of people alive." If justice is solely based on the majority opinion then Hitler was perfectly just in executing all those jews. Yeah, it sucked for them and their families, but it's what society thought was just at the time. Your argument is contradictory. You claim that the only way we can determine justice is from society because people are the creators of the concepts of justice. You then go on to claim that preserving life is the only way to have justice because the most amount of people are alive to determine what justice is. However, as I've shown with the example of Hitler (and there are many more cases) sometimes what the majority of people believe is just, is to kill the minority. If justice is derived from society then killing the minority is just. (I assume showing that Hitler was unjust is uneccessary) However, if preserving life is the source of justice so that the most amount of people are alive to determine justice, then the majorities were unjust in killing the minorities, meaning that justice is not derived from society. It's also contradictory in another way. America is a democracy. The people rule. The rule is that we still have the death penalty. If society determines justice, then the death penalty is just. This brings up another interesting point. You propose life in prison as a great alternative to the death penalty. However, in the U.S. if someone is in prison for a felony they cannot vote. So you're saying that preserving life is the source for justice because the most amount of people are alive to influence it, but even if the felons are in jail for life and not dead they still cannot vote and therefore still cannot influence justice in any way. Therefore, by your own definition life in prison is also unjust. This leads us to the concept of parole. This website will show you the statistics for repeat violent crime offenders.
http://findarticles.com...
You make the point that society is not perfect, so there may be mistakes in the death penalty. I agree no one is perfect. However, since you believe that the death penalty is unjust, and since we've established (using your train of thought) that life in prison is also unjust, by that same token, society is not perfect and therefore there may be problems with parole also. As the above website shows, repeat offenders for violent crimes often murder people once out on parole. Now, more people are dead and not able to influence justice. Using your train of reasoning, parole and life in prison are both unjust. This brings us back to the beginning because the only option left to us is the death penalty. The death penalty is not unjust because it keeps violent murderers from getting out of jail and murdering more people. The idea you put forth for deriving justice from the people is nonsense, and often gives the result of less justice (as I've shown with the example of Hitler), and is contradictory to itself. Justice is balance. You murder someone, you die. You steal something, you pay it back. The death penalty is justice. I agree, the people who administer justice are imperfect. However, to try and banish justice because the people who administer it are imperfect is wrong. Instead, we should be trying to perfect this system of justice (the death penalty) so that our imperfections do not play a role in it.
Debate Round No. 1
hyperjunker

Pro

hyperjunker forfeited this round.
Statesman

Con

I'm just writing so I don't forfeit. 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 characters. 100 100 100 100 characters.
Debate Round No. 2
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Thus this evidence shows that 82% of the sentences, the people deserved a punishment less than death."

You are assuming the reversals were correct. A strange assumption.

Almost as absurd as deriving "increased justice" from "increased number of people." This relies essentially on ad populum fallacy, because an increased number of perceivers does not change the number of actual occurrences.

People are due life when they act toward it's continuance. Those who violate a law that should be there do not act toward it's continuance.
Posted by Statesman 9 years ago
Statesman
"repeat offenders for violent crimes often murder people once out on parole" what I was trying to say is that people convicted of murder who are out on parole are very likely to commit a homicide and become repeat offenders. Sorry I did't do a very good job of stating that clearly in my argument
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Not really a principle per se... makes perfect sense tho - that's why you get stuff like mob mentality and large groups of people doing horrific things. Or groups of people like in the Psychological Prison example...
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Where did you pull that principle from? That interests me greatly.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Check your math... "OF THE 68%... less than death in 82% of cases." This means that evidence shows that in LESS THAN 56% of the sentences, the people deserved a punishment less than death....

Also, the idea that more people = more justice is fundamentally flawed. After a point (that point being like 50, not 50 million) justice begins to degrade because of the flaws in collective intelligence. The collective intelligence of a group of people is inversely proportional to the SQUARE of the number of the people in the group... more people = LESS justice after a certain threshold. And on top of that, saving UN-just people would certainly yield a reduction in justice.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by AEQUITAS 8 years ago
AEQUITAS
hyperjunkerStatesmanTied
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Vote Placed by liberalconservative 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by cooljpk 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Crust89 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Cooperman88 9 years ago
Cooperman88
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Vote Placed by Statesman 9 years ago
Statesman
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