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Should the death penalty be abolished?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2017 Category: People
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 597 times Debate No: 106093
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The death penalty should not be abolished. For many years the US has had the capital punishment system to put an end to all crime. We should continue to have the death penalty for many reasons.
My first argument is that the death penalty should not be abolished is because it provides a sense of closure for people who have had family members murdered. By putting the criminal to death, you are giving family member a sense that it is all over and the killer is dead. For example, on Thanksgiving Day, two people were stabbed to death, and the friends and family of these people said that they could not contain their relief when the judge sentenced the killer to death. Without the death penalty, it is likely that these people would be suffering from PTSD knowing the killer is still alive.
My second argument that we should not abolish the death penalty is that murderers cannot escape and murder again. Studies have shown that 6500 people have escaped from prison and murdered again. This means that 6500 innocent lives have been taken. This is not fair to them and their families. Families experience grief because of their loses. By putting the criminal to death, you take away any chance of this criminal to murder again.
My third argument for the death penalty is that it deters crime. In premeditated murder criminals are given a long time to weigh in the consequences if they are caught. With life imprisonment, because criminals don't believe that is as bad, they will go on to commit the crime anyway.
Critics will say that the death penalty is that it is cruel and unusual. So it is cruel and unusual to kill someone within ten minutes, but it is not cruel and unusual to let them rot in prison for the rest of their life. This argument is thus invalid.
Critics also say that the death penalty costs a ton. This is not the fault of the death penalty, it is not the death penalties fault that it takes trial after trial to finally decide whether to put the criminal to death. This is why it is expensive. This is the fault of the judicial system. If we made it where there is one trial and then decide whether to put the criminal to death, the death penalty would actually be cheaper than life imprisonment. Thus the argument of costs goes the other way in that the death penalty costs less.
Critics will also say that innocent people are killed. I have two things to say to this. One is again, this is the fault of the judicial system for making the wrong decision. Only 59 innocent people have been executed. Compare this with the 6500 innocent people who escaped from life imprisonment. Abolishing the death penalty helps more people then it hurts. It only makes sense.
Critics will also say that executioners suffer from PTSD. This is also invalid because no one is forcing executioners to go through with their job.
Critics would then tell you the death penalty is hypocritical. This is invalid because it is not the same kind of murder. Being kidnapped at night and being tortured, raped, and murdered is nowhere near to being put to death with a lethal injection which is painless.
In conclusion, the death penalty should not be abolished. There are no valid arguments that support abolishing the death penalty. The death penalty is the only solution to justice on criminals.

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I am taking the stance that the death penalty should be abolished. First, on your arguments.

Your first argument is that it provides closure for the families. In actuality, the death penalty typically leads to more strife for the families, according to a study done at Marquette University (1). The study found that the lengthy appeal process that follows a death penalty sentence forces the family to relive the experience over and over again with each appeal; this happens less frequently when the murderer is sentenced to life in prison. The study found that the families of victims whose murderer was sentenced to death actually felt less closure than the families of victims whose murderer was sentenced to life without parole.

Next, the problem of escaped prisoners later committing crimes can be addressed in many other ways than by killing them. Your argument essentially boils down to "We should kill the convicts so that they can"t escape and cause more crime", and you ignore the fact that there are other solutions to this issue, such as increasing public funding to the prison system. Our prison system is currently overcrowded because it is underfunded, and the idea that killing prisoners is good way of dealing with this problem is ridiculous. In addition, these 6,500 murders that you talk about were not prevented, despite the death penalty being in place.

Your next argument is that it deters crime, but there isn"t actually any evidence that supports this claim. On the other hand, there"s numerous studies that say it has no discernible impact on the amount of murders. (2,3)

Now for my own arguments. First, as you mentioned, the death penalty is extremely expensive and bogs down the judicial system. You dismiss this claim by saying that we ought to have one trial to determine whether or not someone should receive the death penalty, and that they should not get an appeal. This violates one"s right to appeal, which can be inferred from the Constitution in Article I, Section 8. In this section, the Constitution grants the federal legislative body the right to set up inferior courts to the Supreme Court, and it implies that these courts would be appellate courts. By taking away someone"s right to appeal, not only are you taking away someone"s Constitutional right, you are preventing them from saving their own life should they be convicted in an unfair trial. Using your suggestion, even if evidence came to light before the convict was executed that undoubtedly exonerated him or her, there would be nothing that could be done.

Because of the lengthy appellate process that follows a death sentence, death penalty cases typically cost ten times the amount than trials where the convicted is sentenced to life in prison. (4) What makes this worse is that often times convicted murders are represented by public defenders, meaning that not only do these cases tie up the court systems, making them less efficient, but they also waste your tax money.

In addition, the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment. You dismiss this claim by implying that killing someone in under ten minutes is not cruel or unusual. The problem is that many times the execution does not go smoothly in under ten minutes. In one particularly egregious example, Joseph Wood, executed on July 23, 2014, took one hour and forty minutes to die after being given the lethal injection. During this time he gasped frequently and was clearly in pain. (5). Counting all executions by lethal injection up until 2010, approximately seven percent have been botched in some way, and this number will only continue to grow; lethal injection drugs are becoming more and more difficult to obtain as the rest of the civilized world moves away from the practice. Many states have had trouble obtaining sodium thiopental, a drug commonly used in executions, as the company that produced it is no longer doing so as part of a global movement to end the death penalty (6). This is forcing many states to explore alternative, never before tested methods of execution; the problem is, the only way to test to them is to execute more people. Those on death row have literally become test subjects to see which drug will be the least cruel and unusual.

Finally, and most importantly, the death penalty has taken many innocent lives. You claim that the number is 59, but that number is outdated. 160 people who were on death row were later exonerated before their execution (7), but the number of innocent people killed will never be known. A study published in 2014 estimates that approximately 4 percent of all death row inmates are innocent. (8) That means that innocent people are being killed by this cruel and unusual punishment.

In conclusion, the death penalty ought to be abolished for numerous reasons. The lengthy appeal process that follows a death sentence is costly to the taxpayer, burdensome on the judicial system, and traumatizing to the victim"s families. The death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment, and it ends up killing innocent people. Finally, there is no evidence that the death penalty actually lowers the amount of capital crimes. Overall, the death penalty has only negative aspects to it, and the US would be better of without it.


Debate Round No. 1
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by KGlife 3 years ago
Will accept tomorrow.
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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