The Instigator
hyperjunker
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
philosopherpirate
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

a just society ought not 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: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,477 times Debate No: 3448
Debate Rounds (2)
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hyperjunker

Con

I negate the resolution "a just society ought not use the death penalty as a form of punishment". My value for this round is justice; Justice is giving each his due because it is prescribed by the resolution. My criterion is protecting life; life is a prerequisite to justice. If life did not exist the concept of justice would collapse since they are human-created ideals. It is the government's responsibility, in the interest of the people, to make decisions, to ensure the population's lives. The people establish the government for protection, and so in order to fulfill that responsibility, the government will have to employ the death penalty to ensure that the majority's rights remain unthreatened by the felons who commit extreme crimes. The one person who saves the most lives in the long run wins this case. My 1st contention is that the death penalty deters potential killers and murderers because they fear the state will kill them for their extreme crimes. If one knows the consequences of murdering another is death this would create a deterrence effect to potential crimes. Without the death penalty which deters murder, many other innocent bystanders will be killed and they would be left victims of violent criminals, thus creating an unjust society. Professor Hashem Dezhbakhsh, Paul Rubin, and Joanna Shephere of the Department of Economics at Emory University have recently published the most comprehensive analysis of the American death penalty data. Many other studies of capital punishment's deterrent effect relied on antiquated data developed before the Court's 1976 decision in Gregg v. Georgia established the modern American death penalty jurisprudence. The Emory researchers analyzed data for 3,054 American counties over the period 1977 to 1996, controlling for such variable as police and judicial resources devoted to crime, economic indicators and other potentially confounding influences on the murder rate. The Emoryresearchers found that, in general, murder rates fell as more murderer were arrested, sentenced, and-most important for present purposes-executed. In particular, they concluded that each additional execution during this period of time resulted, on average, in 18 fewer murders.

This data is sufficient to prove that deterrence works.
*When ppl asks about cards say "evidence says"
Ernest Van Den Haag
On Deterrence and the Death Penalty
Ethics, Vol. 78, No. 4. (Jul., 1968), pp. 280-288.
In some fairly infrequent but important circumstances, the death penalty is the only possible deterrent. Thus, in case of acute coups d'btat, or of acute substantial attempts to overthrow the government, prospective rebels would altogether discount the threat of any prison sentence. They would not be deterred because they believe the swift victory of the revolution will invalidate a prison sentence and turn it into an advantage. Execution would be the only deterrent because, unlike prison sentences, it cannot be revoked by victorious rebels. The same reasoning applies to deterring spies or traitors in wartime. Finally, men who, by virtue of past acts, are already serving, or are threatened by, a life sentence, could be deterred from further offenses only by the threat of the death penalty....

From this data one thing is sufficient to prove that rebels should be deterred. The only way to deter rebels is to give them the death sentence. Since they have enough nerve to rise up against the government the only thing that would stop and deter them would be the death sentence

99% Seek Imprisonment
Dudley Sharp
Death Penalty Resources Director, Justice For All 10/1/97
DEATH PENALTY AND SENTENCING INFORMATION In the United States
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
The most conclusive evidence that criminals fear the death penalty more than life without parole is provided by convicted capital murderers and their attorneys. 99.9% of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life, not death, in the punishment phase of their trial. When the death penalty becomes real, murderers fear it the most.
From this data it is concluded that criminals don't want to die because they fear death. Criminals do not search for death nor do they want death so they plea guilty to decrease their punishment. For all these reasons I affirm a negative ballet.
philosopherpirate

Pro

To begin with, I think it is inappropriate to judge this round solely on lives saved. The justice system is not just some dispassionate body-count. The justice system, and justice itself, seeks to protect people's rights. Someone is given their due when they have their rights protected. As such, if the death penalty violated people's civil rights, even perhaps at a cost of more people dying, that should be considered as well.

The first reason the death penalty is unjust is because it is irreversible punishment and is all too fallible. In the US alone there have been dozens of instances of someone who was executed and then later exonerated by DNA evidence. This rate is surely only going to be higher the farther back in history you go, as there were far fewer checks on government power and far more corruption, leading to untold thousands wrongfully executed. State-sanctioned murder cannot be a tool of a just society. At least with the life imprisonment, when someone is later proven not guilty they can be released and some attempt at compensation cam be made.

The second reason the death penalty is unjust is because it is racist. Black-on-black crime tends to be prosecuted as the less serious crime of passion while black-on-white crimes tends to be prosecuted as the more serious felony murders which carry the death penalty. Blacks are also several times more likely to have the death penalty brought against them than whites for the same crime. 74% of death row inmates are racial minorities and constitute 70% of instances in which the death penalty is sought.

The final reason the death penalty is unjust is because it is cruel. The current method for executing people in the US is the four drug cocktail lethal injection. Prisoners are first given Valium to relax them, sodium petathol to knock them unconscious, Pauvlon to stop the breathing, and then potassium chloride to stop the heart, finally killing the prisoner. This particular cocktail was billed as a humane and painless way to execute prisoners. The problem is that there is strong evidence so suggest that the last two drugs given to the prisoner are incredibly painful, only they aren't able to move or scream because by then they have been paralyzed. Instead they are forced to lie in silent agony as dozens stare down upon them, oblivious to what is happening.

I would also argue that there there is minimal deterrent affect to the death penalty. In order to be able to deter someone from committing a murder, they would have to stop sometime before the murder, reflect on their actions, decide the risk of being put to death wasn't worth it, and stop. The problem is that most murders are either committed in the heat of the moment or by people who don't think that far into the future to begin with. Most people who murder do so under conditions where they don't fully understand the consequences of their actions. As such, those committing murder are precisely those who lack the capacity to self-reflect and decide that they would not want to be put to death for what they are about to do. Meaning that the death penalty is unable to deter people from committing murder.

Hyperjunker talks about not prisoners almost always seek life in prison over the death penalty, and it is true that for most people, the death penalty is much worth that spending life in prison. The problem with using this evidence as proof that the death penalty has a deterrent effect is that these are decisions people are making weeks or months after committing the murder and have time to reflect. This sort of rational decision making process simply is not present at the time the murder happens.
Debate Round No. 1
hyperjunker

Con

hyperjunker forfeited this round.
philosopherpirate

Pro

philosopherpirate forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
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Vote Placed by blah 8 years ago
blah
hyperjunkerphilosopherpirateTied
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Vote Placed by Aietius 8 years ago
Aietius
hyperjunkerphilosopherpirateTied
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Vote Placed by philosopherpirate 8 years ago
philosopherpirate
hyperjunkerphilosopherpirateTied
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