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That the death penalty should be abolished globally

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JV-StalinJV-Stalin (PRO)

I would like to thank cdw.scout for accepting.

Contention one: Two victims

We do not kill someone for being born with brown eyes. Why? Because they are just dealt that genetic hand. Moving this closer to my point, we do not kill someone who is mentally insane because they are just the product of their insanity. If a person murders another and say we find they have a brain tumor in their prefrontal cortex, we shouldn’t execute this person because they wouldn’t have done it otherwise. They did it because of the tumor. If murderers have some type of brain problem, we should keep them locked up, but not execute them because they are a victim too. They were dealt a bad hand, we would no more kill a brown eyed person than a person who murdered because of an underdeveloped brain. Research shows murderers have poorer brain function.

“Studies using electroencephalographic (EEG), neurological, neuropsychological, and cognitive test techniques have repeatedly shown that violent offenders have poorer brain functioning than normal controls”[http://wardakhan.org/notes/Original%20Studies/Physiological%20Psychology/Adrian-Raine-%20Monte-Buchsbaum-and-Lori-LaCasse.pdf]

Research into serial killer’s brains have shown that they have under-developed brains [http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/blame-the-amygdala/201301/what-would-we-find-wrong-in-the-brain-serial-killer] [http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/459614/20130421/criminal-psychology-neoroscience-adrian-raine.htm].

“The findings suggest that many people currently being punished for their crimes cannot actually control their behaviour, and should be seen as suffering from a disorder that needs treatment,"[ibid].

We can in fact ignore neurological studies. An action is either caused or uncaused. If it is caused then the action is just a result of that cause and if it’s uncaused, then it’s just random. Philosopher Paul Russell put it this way

“...if an action was caused or necessitated, then it could not have been done freely, and hence the agent is not responsible for it…. if the action was not caused, then it is inexplicable and random, and thus it cannot be attributed to the agent, and hence, again, the agent cannot be responsible for it. In other words, if our actions are caused, then we cannot be responsible for them; if they are not caused, we cannot be responsible for them”[Paul Russell,Freedom and Moral Sentiment, 1995, p.14]

We have not one victim, we have two. The murdered and the murder.

Contention 2: Fallibility

Humans are innately fallible, there will always be mistakes sooner or later. There’s always a possibility that a prisoner is innocent. Having a death penalty removes the chance of mistakes being corrected and prevents justice from being done. A life sentence gives a higher probability of innocence being released. The number of death row inmates are increasing and the appeal process is getting shorter [www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/node/523]. This increases the likelihood for error. There have been many errors already [ibid]. The best course of action overall would be a removal.

Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent. -Justice William J. Brennan, Jr [ibid]

Thanks, now to Con.

Return To Top | Posted:
2013-12-17 07:37:35
| Speak Round
cdw.scoutcdw.scout (CON)
I thank my opponent for accepting the debate. Let's get started.

I agree completely with both of the Pro's contentions. If a perpetrator doesn't have full capacity over his actions, he shouldn't be given the death penalty, and the appeal process should be lengthened and made easier. In fact, I would advocate that the death penalty shouldn't be used unless absolute, objective proof can be found against the alleged perpetrator (such as surveillance cameras instead of witness testimony).

However, the Pro has provided no reason why that means the death penalty should GLOBALLY be abolished. All he's done is provide two situations in which the death penalty isn't ideal; with restrictions and safeguards, the death penalty can be just and effective.

For example, after WWII, many members of Hitler's regime were on trial. Many of them were justifiably given the death penalty, because:

1. They were in full control of their actions.
2. There was absolute proof that they had conspired to perform genocide.

All the Pro has done is provide two areas in which the death penalty shouldn't be used. To fulfill his burden to prove that "the death penalty should be abolished globally," he must show why isn't not justified to give Nazis who committed genocide, serial killers, and others the death penalty.

Thank you.

Return To Top | Posted:
2013-12-19 11:40:44
| Speak Round
JV-StalinJV-Stalin (PRO)

My opponent has misunderstood my first argument. I will address his objections to my second point, first.
Even with security camera evidence, fallibility still exists. Most murder cases do not have the privilege of that kind of evidence. Furthermore, inductive information cannot be absolute and thus there can still be a possible error. A longer appeal process may be within our control, but not how many people are convicted which would still increase the probability of error. There may be scenarios where this argument may not apply, like obvious evidence (high certainty) of war crimes (genocide) however my case is a cumulative one. This argument is more against the death penalty in a society.
 Con misunderstood this argument. This argument is saying no murderer has control over their violent acts. My argument never suggested or left any possibility that there were. If we ignore the neurological evidence given, it still seems to me that the Nazis still had severe problems. Who could do something like that? Really.

My arguments remain standing. One of them was completely straw manned.

Thanks, back to con.

Return To Top | Posted:
2013-12-22 17:03:01
| Speak Round

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