Debate Rounds (3)
Now, as this is a discussion of expanding the death penalty, most of the harms I'm going to cite will be focused on harms of the death penalty as a whole, though I have some points that apply solely to this case.
1) It completely defies one of the most important reasons why we have a criminal justice system: rehabilitation.
It used to be important.
"Until the mid-1970s, rehabilitation was a key part of U.S. prison policy. Prisoners were encouraged to develop occupational skills and to resolve psychological problems--such as substance abuse or aggression--that might interfere with their reintegration into society. Indeed, many inmates received court sentences that mandated treatment for such problems."
But not anymore. Now, the justice system is encouraged to focus on the punitive aspects. Great, how's that working out?
"As a result, the United States now has more than 2 million people in prisons or jails--the equivalent of one in every 142 U.S. residents--and another four to five million people on probation or parole. A higher percentage of the population is involved in the criminal justice system in the United States than in any other developed country.
"Many inmates have serious mental illnesses. Starting in the late 1950s and 1960s, new psychotropic drugs and the community health movement dramatically reduced the number of people in state mental hospitals. But in the 1980s, many of the mentally ill who had left mental institutions in the previous two decades began entering the criminal justice system.
Today, somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of people in prison are mentally ill, according to U.S. Department of Justice estimates."
Great. So we're going to take this punitive system and make it even more punitive. Remember, that system has produced more criminals, a higher amount of resurgence of criminal activity from those who are on parole, and major mental issues. Not only does this suffice as a measure of cruel and unusual punishment, but it exacerbates criminal harms rather than reducing them.
2) The innocent will have no chance at redemption.
I think this is self-evident, but if someone who is convicted of a given crime is killed shortly thereafter, there is no opportunity for that verdict to be overturned. The average number of years between sentencing and exoneration is roughly 10 years, and new technologies have played a substantial role in this, with DNA evidence being used to establish the innocence of many. As technology advances, we are likely to discover more methods to determine the relative guilt or innocence of an individual.
Wrongful executions do happen, and since 1973, 143 such individuals have been documented in the U.S. From 2000-2007, an average of 5 exonerations have occurred every year. Now, someone might ask, why should we care more about these people? It's because we as a nation have long since decided that this is all important. We have the presumption of innocence in this country, "innocent until proven guilty," for a good reason. It's in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it follows from the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments. What's more, it has been supported by two Supreme Court cases: Coffin v. United States and In re Winship.
3) Cruel and unusual punishment.
This is relatively straightforward as well. There are multiple concerns here. On a very basic level, most of the execution methods are currently allowable in the U.S. While many of them are out of style, electrocution, the use of a firing squad, hanging, and lethal gas remain legal in several states. Since these states will have more people on death row, they will also be more likely to engage in these practices. For each of these, death is not at all certain, while pain and injury are more likely. Each is a form of excruciating torture that may require multiple tries to be effective.
As for lethal injection, the most commonly used form of the death penalty, there's a lot of uncertainty here as well. It's not actually painless, resulting instead in a form of anesthesia awareness where the victim is forced to consciously endure a terrible death while completely paralyzed. They will endure suffocation due to the paralytic effects of pancuronium bromide and the intense burning effects of potassium chloride.
4) Unfair, unjust system.
Among the factors involved in determining a person's likelihood to receive the death penalty, one of the most important is their representation. Almost all of the people on trial for these crimes cannot afford their own attorney, and the ones they get appointed to them are overworked, underpaid, or lacking in experience. One in four condemned inmates has been represented by court-appointed attorneys who have been disciplined for professional misconduct. Stories of these attorneys arriving drunk or sleeping through parts of the trial, or even sabotaging a case, regularly surface. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best:
"People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty... I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay application in which the defendant was well represented at trial."
5) Justice vs. vengeance.
The death penalty is nothing but a system of institutionalized vengeance. It utilizes emotional impulse to decide the appropriate punishment, essentially doling out the pain of the victims' family as though it were justice. It is not. The notion of an eye for an eye, or a life for a life, is a simplistic one which our society should not endorse. We do not torture rape victims. We do not chop of the hands of thieves. It benefits us not at all to utilize the death penalty to punish those we deem as harmful to society.
And remember, not everyone on who gets life imprisonment gets there because of some violent crime, so this isn't even all retributive. People who receive that sentence due to the three-strikes law or treason won't get any special treatment here. They'll receive the same vengeance.
6) Court clog and cost.
This is, perhaps, the most important part of my argument. Why are people put on death row vs. life imprisonment? In a lot of cases, it's left up to whether or not they confess. They do this specifically to avoid receiving a death sentence.
Not one of these people is going to confess to their crimes. If they are guaranteed to receive the death penalty no matter their choice, they will decide to fight it in court for as long as possible. This is a big problem, and the reason why is the same reason why the death penalty costs so much - appeals. The death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison because of a combination of trial costs and appeals. The cost of the death penalty in California alone amounts to some $4 billion since 1978 because of these, and ending it would result in "immediate savings of $170 million per year, with a savings of $5 billion over the next 20 years." Courts will have to cover these cases, at the expense of time spent on other crimes and important issues.
But that's chump change compared to the other major cost. The families will have to endure this elongated procedure. They will often have to appear and reappear in court. The mental trauma will be stretched out for years.
The theory of justice which demands for "Tooth for a Tooth and an Eye for an Eye" is the strongest argument of the capital punishment. When a criminal does an act to fulfill his selfish motives resulting into personal gains then the equilibrium of justice in society is disturbed. To maintain this equilibrium the criminal should be punished with the same intensity of punishment no matter, even if it is capital punishment. If the criminal can dare to snatch away liberty, peace, lives from any individual then the justice says that he should also be deprived of all these facilities leading to a comfortable life it the society.
In a larger sense, capital punishment is the ultimate warning against all crimes. If the criminal knows that the justice system will not stop at putting him to death, then the system appears more draconian to him. Hence, he is less inclined to break and enter. He may have no intention of killing anyone in the process of robbing them, but is much more apprehensive about the possibility if he knows he will be executed. Thus, there is a better chance that he will not break and enter in the first place.
If you read about Bundy"s life in prison, waiting nine years for his execution, you will see that the man exhausted every single legal point he and his lawyers could think of, all in an attempt to spare him execution. He "defended" himself in prison interviews by blaming pornography for causing his uncontrollable teenage libido, and for causing him to think of women as objects and not humans. He attempted to have his death sentence commuted to life without parole by explaining that it was all pornography"s fault, and that had it never existed, he would have been a good person.
When that didn"t work, he pretended to come clean and tell police where the bodies of unfound victims were, so that their families could have closure. He never once admitted that he was a bad person, and just before his execution, he claimed that he hadn"t done anything wrong. It was obvious that he feared being put to death. He did his best to avert it. This means that he did not fear life in prison"at least not as much as he feared capital punishment. He had many opportunities to kill himself in his cell, but he did not. He might have done it a month before his execution, when all hope for clemency was gone"but he was afraid of death. How many would-be murderers have turned away at the last second purely out of fear of the executioner"s needle?
The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense.
There are many victims of a single murder. The criminal gets caught, tried, and convicted, and it is understood that the punishment will be severe. But the person he has killed no longer has a part to play in this. Unfortunately, the murderer has deprived his family and friends of a loved one. Their grief begins with the murder. It may not end with the murderer"s execution, but the execution does engender a feeling of relief at no longer having to think about the ordeal"a feeling which often fails to arise while the murderer still lives on.A system in place for the purpose of granting justice cannot do so for the surviving victims, unless the murderer himself is put to death.
3) Less expensive
Capital Punishment is the cheaper way to remove the ill from the society. If the criminal is given life imprisonment, all his expenditure is improvised by the government. Instead of spending money on criminals this money can be used for the development of the society and welfare of the people. Lots of people die of hunger; instead of feeding such people government spend money to feed the criminals, which in turn raises number of cases of crime in the society.
JFA [Justice for All] estimates that life without parole LWOP cases will cost $1.2 million-$3.6 million more than equivalent death penalty cases. There is no question that the up front costs of the death penalty are significantly higher than for equivalent LWOP cases. There also appears to be no question that, over time, equivalent LWOP cases are much more expensive... than death penalty cases.
4) Save lives
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 ? 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.
I heard on the news, February 2000, where a 62 year-old grandmother, Betty Beets, was pleading for her life because she was on death row and was going to be executed. At first, I felt very sorry for her, but after doing research on her, I learned she had five husbands. She had already killed the fourth one, and served a prison sentence for murder, and she got out of prison early. She murdered the fifth husband-she shot him, and buried him in her back yard. Betty Beets was imprisoned a second time, and now was pleading for her life? It has been proven these killers do it again and again. The rate of recidivism is high for people who commit murder and crimes. I feel murderers should be executed the first time because chances are they will come out of prison and kill another innocent person again. We need stricter laws and swift death penalty.
A criminal is like a rotten apple among the good ones, he is like a virus to the society, which can even infect others of the same disease. Like a doctor excise any body part to save life of a patient likewise, a criminal is cut out permanently from the society for the well being of the society. Human beings live in civilized society and do not allow anyone to perform any inhuman act which causes harm or any type of discomfort to any individual. Capital Punishment is the best way to remove such diseased people from the society. Before they could spread their immoral believes to other people in order to justify their act they should be removed from the society from the "root level".
5) Less possibility of error
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.
No system of justice can produce results which are 100% certain all the time. Mistakes will be made in any system which relies upon human testimony for proof. We should be vigilant to uncover and avoid such mistakes. Our system of justice rightfully demands a higher standard for death penalty cases. However, the risk of making a mistake with the extraordinary due process applied in death penalty cases is very small, and there is no credible evidence to show that any innocent persons have been executed at least since the death penalty was reactivated in 1976... The inevitability of a mistake should not serve as grounds to eliminate the death penalty any more than the risk of having a fatal wreck should make automobiles illegal.
Capital Punishment proves to be the best method to eliminate negative elements from the society forever thus, leading to a more humane society.
As Pro's opening round didn't really present an argument, so I'll just move into his R2.
1) Deterrent of capital crimes
He starts off by arguing for retributive justice. I've already argued that Pro is supporting institutionalized vengeance, and that he'd have to apply this principle of a crime befitting an equal punishment across the board, something he's so far failed to support.
But the principle itself is nonsense. What "equilibrium of justice" ends with more lives lost? That's not balance, that's just more imbalance. More death doesn't benefit anyone. Equal intensity of punishment doesn't bear any benefit either. If we truly wish to create some sort of balance, then we should force the convict to give back to society, something they cannot do if they are dead.
Pro continues by arguing deterrence. He doesn't explain how the DP is a greater deterrent than life imprisonment, which ends in the same general outcome. Moreover, he doesn't explain how murders, which are often committed in the heat of the moment and without rational thought, In fact, there's very little to no effect of the threat of the DP on actual murder rates.
The Ted Bundy example utterly fails him. First, he tells us that Bundy waited 9 years. This case was incredibly straightforward, and yet it took 9 years to reach his execution date, and as Pro points out, he "exhausted every single legal point he and his lawyers could think of", which means they went through numerous, expensive appeals. But despite knowing that the DP was a likely outcome for him, despite clearly being afraid of it, he still engaged in the murder of so many women. In fact, this man represents the perfect example of an individual who a) wasn't deterred, b) exploited the DP system to bilk money out of the state and waste precious resources, and c) took an excessively long time to be executed anyway. All Pro can really garner from this is that he feared the DP more than life imprisonment, but Pro has to prove a broad deterrent effect exists, not just a fear. Pro is speculative on this, claiming that the fear prevents murders without any support, and ignoring any and all deterrent effect for LWOP.
Lastly, Pro argues that there's some form of human dignity inherent to the DP. He spends all of a single sentence here, and doesn't explain how the death penalty and no other form of punishment is capable of accomplishing this. Any punishment treats a defendant as a free moral actor. Killing them deprives them of their free moral actor status, and thus removes any possibility for rehabilitation and redemption.
I've covered this under the vengeance contention. The justice system does not exist as a means for doling out the pain of the victims' family. Even if they do receive some feelings of closure, the justice system is debased by becoming a vehicle for vengeance on the part of the family rather than acting as a fair, impartial means of achieving just outcomes. But there is no closure. There have been multiple studies on this, showing that there's no benefit to physical, psychological or behavioral health, and no increase in the level of satisfaction with the cirminal justice system. In fact, it's quite the opposite. This holds up with other studies, which show that feelings of exacted revenge actually made individuals "feel worse, apparently because meting out a punishment caused htem to think about the offender more and dwell on the negative incident.". Even if some people might feel closure, there's no reason to believe that they wouldn't feel the same closure in LWOP sentences. In fact, I would argue that faster sentencing increases closure, and the elongated trials that accompany repeated appeals drag on these cases for far longer than with LWOP.
3) Less expensive
Pro doesn't source any of his arguments here, so voters should prefer mine, which clearly show that the appeals system and the process of killing someone requires higher costs than imprisoning someone over the remainder of their lives. Pro does provide one source that's just a number without any data. It's a nice bumper sticker, but not a good argument. So turn all of Pro's benefits of preventing hunger to my side.
4) Save lives
So now we're back to deterrence.
Pro never actually challenges the reality that LWOP ends in the eventual death of the inmate (multiple life sentences actually have more to do with preventing overturned or reduced sentences from releasing an inmate [http://bit.ly...]). As for the ability to kill while in prison or escape, both of those are possible for death row inmates, as those prisoners still languish for years or even decades. Why are LWOP prisoners more prone to either of these behaviors?
Pro's example of Betty Beets is another bad one for him. The DP is not required to prevent recidivism. If she had initially received LWOP, there would have been no recidivism.
The idea that a criminal is "a rotten apple among good ones... like a virus to the society" is interesting. On that basis, why shouldn't all criminals be executed? What makes murderers special? We don't want pervasive theivery or rape, either. It's because we recognize that not all criminals are going to remain terrors on society who have nothing of worth to contribute. We recognize that ending all of these lives will only exacerbate the harms on society, and produce little to no benefit in return. Allowing for rehabilitation and some form of redemption through their acts, something they're only allowed to do if they're not dead, is important.
5) Less possibility of error
All Pro does here is mitigate the level of harm. I pointed out in the previous round just how common these are. Pro doesn't contest those statistics, merely asserting that no innocent persons have been executed since 1976. Of course, that's wrong " there have been at least 4, and these are the publicized cases.[http://bit.ly...]
Pro doesn't respond to my point about "innocent until proven guilty" being ingrained in our sense of justice. It's upheld by our Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and yet it clearly happens. It's one thing to take away someone's freedom while their case is further assessed, it's another to end their lives and remove any possibility of redemption.
Lastly, this point about preventing more murders than we lose in innocent deaths is absurd. First, Pro hasn't proven that he's preventing any loss of life. Second, even if he gave some credible evidence, his argument presumes that we know the mindsets of murderers and can predict what they will do in the absence of a death penalty. It's Minority Report without the precogs, an effort to see into possible futures and make a determination based on nothing more than weak statistical correlation. Third, there's a difference between society killing an individual and individual murder. The injustice is much greater on the former. Society has an obligation to its citizens established through the social contract, and killing them without sufficient proof destroys the trust that citizens place in their government. Meanwhile, the government is not directly responsible for every individual who goes out and murders someone.
Note that Pro drops all of my arguments. He's unresponsive to the need for rehabilitation, drops that the DP is cruel and unusual punishment, and that it is unfairly and unjustly applied wholesale. Since decisions regarding the DP are inherently questions of justice, these are very important, because even if Pro manages to prove that there's some utilitarian benefit to its continued existence, the lack of justice makes it untenable by itself, warping our legal system at its very core.
Back over to you, Pro.
1. Every human life is precious, no doubt. The right to life is the most fundamental of rights. No state should be allowed to take it away easily. But no fundamental right is without riders either. Free speech, property and faith, all these are rights subject to reasonable restrictions. Sure, the right to life is even more fundamental, but this only means that the right to take it away has to be foolproof and not amenable to subjective readings.
When someone is a terrorist, killing people at will, or a serial murderer or rapist, is this person"s right to life all that sacrosanct all the time?
Also, we need to evaluate the death sentence compared to the alternative: a life sentence. Is living life in a dingy cell somehow more humane than sending the killer to the hangman? When suicide bombers voluntarily kill themselves for psychic gains, why is the right to life somehow so sacrosanct? They want to die anyway " and they don"t believe in other people"s right to live.
Let me add two more elements to this argument. Why is only human life so valuable, and not that of animals or other fauna? Why is it so unethical to hang a human being, but perfectly all right to murder animals by the million when this causes global warming, makes our diets excessively fatty and cholesterol-laden, and also leads to needless suffering to creatures whom we dominate?
Moreover, what if keeping a person alive can cause even more deaths? Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Indian Mujahideen, Al Shabaab, and ISIS will do anything to get the release of their jailed comrades. Keeping Maulana Masood Azhar and Sheikh Omar in jail caused the Kandahar Indian Airlines hijack and may even have contributed to the 9/11 mass murders at the Twin Towers. When keeping deadly killers alive in jail can tempt their compatriots to indulge in more killings, how is this justified?
When it comes to demented people who kill or rape for pleasure and revenge, and when they do so out of mental sickness, is it better to keep them rotting in jail or end their suffering and potential threats to society " including other jailbirds?
Sometimes, the greater good is more important than the life of one individual. Hence the death penalty is not something we should reject out of sheer emotion.
2.sending someone to the gallows when he may be innocent is the worst form of injustice.
There are two kinds of states " malevolent ones, that are run by dictatorships and hence outside the rule of law, and democratic ones, which do give the accused a chance to prove their innocence. In the first case, there is no point arguing against the death sentence since that kind of regime is against any argument that is not in favour of it.
In democratic regimes, where the rule of law is reasonably expected to operate, the accused have a chance to prove their innocence. In big cases, the courts themselves provide legal support; the real problem lies with the poor and weak in criminal cases that do not catch the public eye. It is a travesty that the bulk of the people languishing on death row are from these segments of society. This problem needs remedying by strengthening the law - a law which provides state legal support for the poor. Maybe, a group of concerned citizens can serve as watchdog to ensure that this gets done.
That still leaves the question of the non-guilty facing a death rap because of poor evidence gathering by the criminal investigation teams.
This is a valid argument, but not an overpowering one. Reason: the fact that mistakes will be made occasionally should not be used to kill the idea of death penalty in the rarest of rare cases. Once we create a basic list of crimes that fits this "rarest of rare" category, the rules for applying the death sentence can be tightened suitably so that convictions based on weak evidence should automatically attract nothing more than lifers. This is a reasonable safeguard to have " and it can be codified into law.
3. The third argument, that capital punishment is never a deterrent, is actually the weakest of them all. If death is no deterrence, is a jail term (even a lifer) a better deterrent? Ask yourself: if you intend to kill, not out of some degree of temporary insanity or driven by extreme emotion, nothing is a deterrent. If you kill after plotting assiduously for it, you are prepared for any consequences. So death or jail will be no deterrent anyway. I believe that punishment itself does not deter too many crimes involving the killing of people, but it is still needed to send out a message to society. Punishment is how we educate ourselves on what is acceptable or unacceptable to a society. This is the prime purpose of any punishment, death or jail, regardless of whether it deters or not.
4. States punish crimes with punishment, including death, so that people don"t take law into their own hands and seek retribution directly. Punishment by the state is vital to keep ordinary citizens from taking the law into their own hands " some form of retribution is vital for closure, for righting wrongs. Of course, an occasional Gandhi or a Buddha may not want retribution, but most societies are held in place by the promise of retribution for wrongs inflicted, and not by the forgiving nature of the wronged. Retribution is a human emotion that needs to be acknowledged " just as love, anger and hate are " and punishment is vital if society is not to sink into wanton lawlessness.
These are some of the reasons why I think the death sentence should be retained. But it cannot be wayward and arbitrary. We need a specific set of crimes which are defined as rarest of rare and not leave it to the imagination of all-to-human judges to decide this.
The organization's confusing, but I'll stick with his points.
1. I actually never mentioned a right to life, but I feel like Pro"s shooting himself in the foot here. He says that "[t]he right to life is the most fundamental of rights. No state should be allowed to take it away easily", even clarifying that it"s more fundamental than other rights which have reasonable restrictions, and stating that it "has to be foolproof and not amenable to subjective readings." Based on Pro"s own reasoning, voters, you can stop reading right here and vote Con. Pro concedes that it"s not foolproof, as some innocents will die. Pro drops that it"s an unfair and unjust system that sends people to their death without fair representation " remember, a full quarter of condemned inmates has been represented by court-appointed attorneys who have been disciplined for professional misconduct. Many of these attorneys arrive drunk, sleep through trials, or worse, sabotage cases.
But let's go on. Pro starts asking a lot of questions, but he never attacks my reasoning, instead attacking this straw man argument of the right to life. Again, this was never my argument. The only protections I've argued for with regards to convicted criminals are those that prevent cruel and unusual punishment, which is sacrosanct (and which Pro has continued to drop). It doesn't matter if these people are deserving of death; we as a society clearly value the principle that no one is due cruel and unusual punishment, as it"s a part of our Bill of Rights. Whether we think they're due a right to life is irrelevant to the question of whether or not they are due the death penalty under current means, which is what Pro"s supporting.
Pro argues that we might need to kill some people quicker to prevent jail breaks, but since I've already shown that time spent on death row is also extremely long, there"s no reason to believe that LWOP presents a greater problem. If they"re not going to come for these guys in 9 years, I don"t think that another 10 is going to make the difference. I don"t see how imprisoning terrorists emboldens other terrorists to take action. If anything, I"d say that LWOP shows them a level of fairness in the U.S. justice system, and isn't as likely to turn these captured terrorists into martyrs, which would embolden them.[http://bit.ly...]
Lastly, Pro drops back to this argument that they"re going to commit crimes in prison. Again, I showed that death row offers practically the same opportunity without the chance of rehabilitation.
2. "sending someone to the gallows when he may be innocent is the worst form of injustice." It's like Pro's handing the debate to me. I pointed out at the end of last round that justice is what we should be most concerned with, that any other impact was secondary. Pro is actively saying that ANY INNOCENT DEATH is the worst form of injustice, and, just to reiterate, he conceded that the death penalty leads to some innocent death. He tries to characterize this as "the rarest of the rare cases", but a) he"s not responsive to my citations that show that it's more common than he believes, and b) 1 person is already too much when, and I will quote him again, this "is the worst form of injustice." Again, you can stop right here and vote Con.
But let"s keep on. Pro now presents an alternative remedy, "by strengthening the law - a law which provides state legal support for the poor... a group of concerned citizens can serve as watchdog to ensure that this gets done." The law provides legal support for the poor, and I"ve shown how that support has been absolutely awful. There are plenty of watchdog groups in existence, including the American Civil Liberties Union and numerous press groups.[http://bit.ly...] None of these have solved or will solve the problem. The only other suggestion he makes is that "the rules for applying the death sentence can be tightened suitably so that convictions based on weak evidence should automatically attract nothing more than lifers", but a) this is incredibly vague since we don"t know what "weak evidence" looks like, b) these convictions result from unanimous agreement among a given jury, which can"t be altered by law, and c) this defies his own statement from the previous round: "we can never completely eliminate all uncertainty". So long as any uncertainty still exists on, again, "the worst form of injustice" possible, then you vote Con.
3. Again, Pro"s straw manning my argument. I didn't say that LWOP was a better deterrent, I said it was equal. I pointed out that the vast majority of murders committed are done in a fit of extreme emotion or as a result of insanity. Pro doesn't counter this. These people won"t be deterred at all. There are others who might. However, among those, there's no reason to believe that the DP is fundamentally better as a deterrent. And Pro seems to agree with me: "I believe that punishment itself does not deter too many crimes involving the killing of people". He talks about sending a message to society, but I think that message is clearly sent by LWOP sentences. The DP is not a unique message, nor will people be more likely to commit murder simply because they don"t understand what"s acceptable. People don"t suddenly forget that killing is wrong just because the government isn't using the DP anymore.
4. This is a brand new argument, but I"ll address it. Pro argues that the DP exists to prevent people from pursuing vigilante justice. So many problems...
First, Pro provides no reason why vigilante justice is necessarily wrong. In fact, I would argue that if we"re really focused on retribution and feeding the desires of the victims" family, as Pro has argued in previous rounds, then we should encourage vigilante justice. Now that Pro doesn't want to do so, it calls into question his claims for why retribution is so important.
Second, the DP is a very slow process. LWOP may be slower, but I've clearly shown that the DP is incredibly slow. If someone wants quicker retribution, they'll try to take it in either case.
Third, the prison system prevents people from taking vigilante justice. There's a reason you"re not allowed in to see a prisoner with weapons on your person. There"s no reason to believe that vigilante justice goes up when people are being imprisoned for life, where they're protected from individuals trying to take vengeance on them.
Fourth, turn this argument against Pro: society only has the kind of kill lust that he's talking about because it views the system as reinforcing vengeance. Pro still hasn't responded to my argument that, despite attempts to come off as retributive, the system is inherently vengeful. It is government endorsement of vengeance, which may encourage many who feel the justice system left people out to take that vengeance themselves. Pro talked about how we should restrict the DP to clear cases, yet that would just exacerbate this problem by making more people feel that they have to impose that vengeance themselves. Removing public endorsement of vengeance reduces vigilante justice.
On every level, I'm clearly winning this debate. You can use Pro"s own words to pick me up on justice, which we both agree is the most important impact in this debate. I've clearly articulated how the DP perverts justice and warps our legal system. The most you can be doing is buying some level of deterrence, which Pro has only asserted and which remains entirely theoretical. However, even if you're buying this, I still outweigh, since loss of innocent life is always paramount. I've shown how there"s a utilitarian benefit to repealing the DP, explaining that it prevents innocent death, encourages rehabilitation and prisoners giving back to society, and how it prevents tremendous costs and unnecessary court clog, all of which Pro either drops or concedes.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See RFD: http://www.debate.org/forums/miscellaneous/topic/76735/ Con wins objectively. There's no front where Pro has any chance of winning. Every single argument Pro raises at all within the debate is thoroughly refuted by Con, and Pro is unable to withstand Con's counter-onslaught of arguments. The impact of justice, critical to the debate, completely goes to Con. Con entirely demolishes Pro's retributive framework, and deterrence is entirely refuted. Pro just concedes all impacts under justice and the criminal justice system. Pro doesn't have any impacts on their side whatsoever. Con clearly argues how the DP warps the criminal justice system, and Pro doesn't contest any of it. The utilitarian harms are also in Con's favor. There's no means to vote Pro. I vote Con.
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