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Utopia-Politics > Utopia Politics > The Duel
So who has the guts to duel me...
I am opposed to the death penalty...
Alrighty then:

Tell me why someone who kills an old woman, a young kid, 8 people at a factory, 20 people over a couple years, etc... deserves to live.

Now tell me why someone completely innocent must risk his/her life in order to see to it that people like you dont ever have to deal with them again, yet in order to ease your own conscious you place such rules and regulations on them that their job becomes very dangerous.

Observe certain instances:

In Arizona two inmates, one in prison for life, manage to subdue a couple guards, rape a kitchen worker, break into a guard tower, steal two shotguns, take two officers hostage, rape one of them repeatedly for the next couple of weeks, and then just go back to jail again for life...

Or, an Arizona inmate, in jail for life, decides that since he isnt getting out anyway, he goes ahead and kills a guard using a shank(improvised knife) because he felt that officer unjustly searched his room.

Those types of thigns do happen, and with no death penalty there is no way to punish them farther. You cannot torture them, beat them, etc... So the death penalty is the only reason for them to behave. It is also the only way to be sure that some people simply will not ever hurt someone else again.

Being a guard at a prison is already dangerous enough without adding onto the danger by forcing them to babysit evil, sadistic people every day for the rest of their lives.

You have to demonstrate that a person deserves to die, givin that live is the default state for this consideration.
Removal of privilages can act as punishment. For example, denial of a tv, of access to the prision library for a period of time etc.
The death penalty is not reversable, if a mistake is made it cannot be rectified to any extent. In the case of life in prision, a person can be released.

Even in the case of the use of the death penalty, prisoners still need to be guarded untill they are exucuted, and prisoners who have commited less serious crimes as well. In order to protect guards (who in accepting such a job are expressing a willingness to accept risk, something an innocent convict has not done)it would thenfore likly be better to develop superior prision procedure, and design.
Removal of privileges will result in retaliation by prisoners in the form of physical violence. Not to mention why they should be a given a TV in the first place. Like I stated earlier, a prisoner will attempt to kill his guard if he believe no further punishment will come to him, or the punishment is not harsh enough to deter him.

By not having a death penalty you essentially condemn officers at prisons to death by stabbing/beating etc... However, if that person is facing a fear of the death penalty, or has already been put to death, they will harm no one.

You cannot argue that an innocent convict will be put to death, because life in prison is not that much better anyways. While you may say that because there is always a chance he will be found innocent you cannot execute a criminal, I say that you would be putting innocents at risk of death by not killing someone who has already has his day in court. Death penalty cases are exhaustively defended, the chance now for an innocent man to be put to death is very small, almost to the point of being impossible.

However, dozens of prison officers are hurt every year due to the constraints placed upon them by such as yourself. Why condemn an innocent person instead of a guilty one?
Solitary confinement.
Indefinitely? That would be cruel and unusual.
1 person to a cell, no close contact with guards- and a prisoner would spend more time without privalages if he attacked a guard- but when out of the cell, the most violent prisaners should be shackled.

Prison guards choose the profession, kowing the risks. Why kill to protect a person willing to accept the risk? Esp. givin that the person might not truly be a threat to a guard.

You still have to shackle them. Prison guards choose the profession, yes, but that doesnt mean its OK for us to make their job less safe. All people convicted are threats to the guards. They have nothing left to lose, and because of that are dangerous. No matter what security options you have, we both know that some criminal will always figure out a way to beat it.

"The chance of seeing the world through anything but barbed wire was unlikely for Coy, who used his pregnant wife as a getaway driver when he robbed and sexually assaulted a Tucson shopkeeper on Feb. 24, 1993.

Coy, 39, who has tattoos of snakes from his shoulders to his wrists, stole money and jewelry before raping the 34-year-old woman at gunpoint in the back of the empty store.

A day before the attack, Coy walked into a dental office and asked to make an appointment, then pulled a handgun and robbed a 79-year-old bookkeeper who was working alone.

Pauline Morales, a former nun, said Coy stole money and rifled through desks before dragging her into a bathroom and ordering her to lock herself inside.

"I asked him if he was going to kill me and he didn't answer. I thought it would be the end of me," Morales, now 95, said in an interview with The Arizona Republic on Friday.

Morales called 911 after she heard Coy leave. She was not sexually assaulted.

A Pima County Superior Court judge sentenced Coy to spend the rest of his life in prison for both attacks.

"I strongly recommend that he not be released. Quite simply, Mr. Coy is dangerous," Judge Lina Rodriguez wrote in a 1999 letter to the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency."

Look at the history there, and that isnt even all of it. That guy had a demonstrated history of violence and there was NO doubt he was guilty. Because of people like you, 2 women were raped, one man was beaten.

Explain yourself.

I also would like to know about a different aspect of the death penalty argument.

Do you honestly believe a man who rapes and kills a 7 yr old girl deserves to stay alive?

What justice is there for the family? If he dies there is some closure at least, a sense of justice and that no one will got through the same thing again.
In Canada such a person whould be declared a dangerous offender, and most likly never leave prision. Is that not enough?
The objective is the protetion of society.

I would suggest shackinlg/ handcufing through small opening in the cell door.

The Prisoners do have things to loose- take privaliges through a time. Solitary (total) for a few days. No books for a few weeks... things of that nature.
You cannot do. Indefinite solitary confinement would be unconstitutional. They also rules indefinite confinement beyond their appointed sentence to be unconstitutional as well for people deemed 'dangerous to society'. So you must decide at trial if they are worthy of life inprisonment or not.

No matter what security arrangements you make, they will figure out a way to beat them. That or some lawyer will argue cruel and unusual and they will be lessened.

You never did answer me, why does someone who rapes and kills a 7 yr old girl deserve to live?
Why do they deserve to die? or, more to the point, why do you think you are compatent to make that determination?
Im not, by myself, however twelve people who hear the specifics of the case are.

Death Penalty is now decided by a jury, not a judge. They decide if the man deserves death or not.

They deserve to die because they committed heinous acts of violence against their fellow man. They deserve to die because they would do it again if given the oppurtunity. They deserve to die because they took life away from someone else, and the only way to punish them is to take their own life away. Anything else would fall short.
The death penalty is a greater punishment than is necessary in order to protect society. It is a punishment were error cannot be corrected. And it is a punishment of a type that recognises the validity of violent action beyond what is necessary for defence as a valid action. The very existence of it as a punisment sends that message to society at large.
I disagree, again, as you have shown no way to guarantee a death row inmate will not harm people in the future. The only guarantee is death. Once dead, he/she harms no one. While alive, the potential exists for more violence. You choose to risk the innocent in order to protect the guilty.

These men/women are found guilty in a court of law. Then, it is decided by a jury that the crime was heinous enough to warrant death. Then, multiple appeals are automatically set in motion. By the time of the actual execution, it is beyond a reasonable doubt that the man is innocent. With modern technology the possibility of executing an innocent man is as close to impossible as you can get.

When was the last time an innocent man was executed?
No idea. Recently I would think, though perhaps not in the US...

A man sentenced to death here may be granted a new trial... but then he has convicted in the late 50's... and (naturally) the sentence was commuted. The convicted man was releced after 10 years, and never charged for another crime.

What you suggest is killing a person because they might harm a person- Certin harm vs. possible harm.

I dont recognise the compitence of 12 average citizens, ot indeed anyone, to judge a person as deserving of death. People are prone to error and prejudice. In the US, a person from lower economic classes is far more likly to be sentenced to death for the same crime.

more later...
A jury of your peers sentences you, not a judge. Please, I do not mean to questiont the validity, but some statistics would be nice so I can see how the study was conducted and the inherent bias in it.

It is not certain harm vs possible harm. It is certain harm vs certain harm. I can give a dozen examples of death by life-in-prison inmate, and have even already done so. Yet you cannot give one example of death of an innocent man.
here is an applicable article (Americian Bar Association site)

looking for more sorces now...a

another article:

these are mistakes that were cound, of corse, but suggest that others may not have been. A greater time to allow for proof of innocence (as would be the case with a life sentence) mitigates the results of an error.
Group says 16 executed in U.S. were probably innocent
By John Aloysius Farrell
October 25, 2000

WASHINGTON -- The American system of capital punishment has taken the lives of 16 men despite "compelling evidence of their innocence," according to a report by death penalty foes scheduled to be released Thursday.

"Courts overwhelmingly favored procedure over justice and efficiency over fairness," the report by Equal Justice USA contends. "In doing so, state and federal governments sanctioned the state killing of men who were probably innocent."

The report is the product of a grass-roots investigation project, in which anti-death penalty activists in several states conducted research into cases where there were doubts about an executed inmate's guilt. The individual state researchers then forwarded their findings to Equal Justice, a liberal public-interest group that sponsored the survey.

Supporters of the death penalty reacted with skepticism to news of the report.

"Every prosecutor's worst nightmare is that an innocent person could be executed," said Joshua K. Marquis, an Oregon district attorney who serves as a spokesman for the National District Attorneys' Association.

"It takes 10 or 12 or 14 years for these cases to get through the courts, and rightfully so," said Marquis. "We could always do a better job, but the idea that people are regularly being clapped into death row after being represented at their trials by drunken lawyers six months out of law school is a reality that doesn't exist. It may have at one time, but it does not exist now."

The Equal Justice report introduces no new evidence in the 16 cases -- no new forensic or DNA tests or witness recantations -- but instead tracks each case through the state and federal court systems from the day of the crime to the day of the execution, raising questions at various stages about the accuracy and fairness of the process.

The report cites the case of Larry Griffin, for example, who was executed by the state of Missouri in 1995. A major part of the prosecution's case was the testimony of one eyewitness -- a Boston hoodlum with a lengthy criminal record named Bobby Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald was living a new life in the federal witness protection program, after testifying against his former criminal associates in Boston, when he happened to observe a drive-by shooting in St. Louis. He identified Griffin from a police photo lineup.

The jury at Griffin's trial was told almost nothing about Fitzgerald's criminal record and history as a government witness, or that he was being held by St. Louis authorities on fresh charges of credit card fraud. After Fitzgerald testified, the prosecution agreed to settle the credit card case with no further jail time. Fitzgerald later recanted much of his testimony.

Though Griffin had a motive -- the victim was a drug dealer who was said to have shot Griffin's brother -- there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.

Griffin's lawyer was just a few years out of law school, and had never tried a murder case. Another federally protected witness from a federal racketeering trial later identified three other men as the killers.

"This report represents only a small number of the actual cases in which people have been executed for crimes they probably did not commit," the Equal Justice organization said.

The Equal Justice report, which was compiled by Maine writer and activist Claudia Whitman, cites incompetent and poorly paid defense attorneys; prosecutorial and police misconduct; racial bias and judicial timidity as the prime failures of the death penalty system.

The executed men identified as innocent are Brian K. Baldwin, Cornelius Singleton and Freddie Lee Wright of Alabama; Thomas M. Thompson of California; James Adams, Willie Darden and Jesse Tafero of Florida; Girvies Davis of Illinois; Griffin and Roy Roberts of Missouri; Odell Barnes, Robert N. Drew, Gary Graham, Richard W. Jones and Frank B. McFarland of Texas; and Roger K. Coleman of Virginia.

The Death Penalty is Arbitrary and Unfair

No system in which fallible human beings decide the fate of other human beings can be free from some degree of arbitrariness and error.

"Twenty years have passed since this Court declared that the death penalty must be imposed fairly, and with reasonable consistency, or not at all, and, despite the effort of the states and courts to devise legal formulas and procedural rules to meet this daunting challenge, the death penalty remains fraught with arbitrariness, discrimination, caprice, and mistake." - Justice Harry A. Blackmun, February 22, 1994

"Race, ethnic origin and economic status appear to be key determinants of who will, and who will not, receive a death sentence" in the United States. - UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, 1997

The death penalty in the USA is arbitrary and unfair because:
Ninety-five percent of death row inmates cannot afford their own attorney. Poor people are often subjected to convictions and death sentences that equally or more culpable, but more affluent, people do not receive.
Prosecutors seek the death penalty far more frequently when the victim of the homicide is white than when the victim is black or of another ethnic origin.
Co-defendants charged with committing the same crime often receive different punishments, where one defendant may receive a death sentence while another receives prison time.
Individual prosecutors make their own decisions about when to seek a death sentence, so that where the crime has been committed often determines the punishment.
Only a small percentage of the people convicted of crimes for which the death penalty is a possibility actually receive a death sentence. Two people who commit similar capital crimes may receive drastically different punishments.

"Almost all people accused of death-eligible crimes are impoverished and must rely on court-appointed lawyers to defend them at trial…there is an ever-present risk that minority defendants may be represented by lawyers who are not only incompetent, but also openly bigoted." - Killing with Prejudice: Race and the Death Penalty in the USA Amnesty International Report, May 20, 1999

All this aside, the mere possibility of killing an innocent being killed is enough. A fallible system cannot be intrusted with irreversible action when there is a resonable alternative. Prision guards are willing to take risks to protect innocents. Why can this not extend to a smallish increse in risk in oreder to prevent innocents being exucuted.
An article in the Stanford Law Review in November 1987, reports an extensive nationwide study that found 349 such cases. The book, In Spite of Innocence, expands on the Stanford study and found that since 1900, there have been 416 documented cases of innocent Americans who have been convicted of potentially capital cases.

Doesnt say how many were actually executed. Since 1900 416 men originally found guilty were later released on appeal. Doesnt help your argument much. They didnt die.

The Equal Justice report introduces no new evidence in the 16 cases -- no new forensic or DNA tests or witness recantations -- but instead tracks each case through the state and federal court systems from the day of the crime to the day of the execution, raising questions at various stages about the accuracy and fairness of the process.

I see no evidence pointing the execution of innocent men. Sounds like a jury decided their fate. No new evidence. No witness recantations. So what were they going on? And what is this:

the prosecution agreed to settle the credit card case with no further jail time. Fitzgerald later recanted much of his testimony.

Wait... again...

no new forensic or DNA tests or witness recantations

The report cites the case of Larry Griffin

A major part of the prosecution's case was the testimony of one eyewitness -- a Boston hoodlum with a lengthy criminal record named Bobby Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald later recanted much of his testimony

This report and article is therefore discredited. It contradicts itself openly or is lying.

However, to further my own argument:
The American prison system works poorly, if at all. The rate of recidivism runs between 60 and 80%

So if a murderer gets parole after 20 years, there is a better than 50% chance he will kill again if put in a situation where he could get away with it.

Recent studies indicate that 75-80% of prisoners have some sort of sexual encounter --- usually violent --- between themselves and their fellow prisoners. Much of it is enforced pleasure, eg, assault.

^ comes from lack of real punishment. Fear of death would cut down on that, wouldnt it?

16 officers have been killed tragically in 25 years

That is JUST in California alone.

six officers are assaulted every day. Inmates use handmade weapons. They throw feces. “They can assault you for no reason.” They act without rationale, like caged animals.

I declare myself the winner of this duel...

I declare you the loser...
Totalitarian Soldier
Dakyron is presenting great points, and they are responded to with touch feely things that will only piss of prisoners.

He wins by so much its not even funny.
Are we reading the same thread?
I'd like to try my hand at debating against the death penalty. Is someone willing to argue for it? Totalitarian Soldier, I'm looking at you here...
Wow. Dak, you need help arguing this, or to stop arguing it. You're not making the pro-capital punishment side look better.
EDIT: I found the quote I was looking for:
QUOTE(Nietzsche @ The Gay Science, 1882)
The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.

There's a starting point.

Another good point to bring up: There's no connection between maldistribution of an action and whether or not it is ethical, or whether or not it should be continued as is, eliminated, or expanded.

If we give out more welfare money to blacks than to whites relative to their portion of the population below the poverty line, is the solution to the inequity eliminating all welfare? No, the solution is giving out more welfare to the whites in order to make it equitable. Taking away a good thing because of poor distribution is, as such, insane. (Ignore, for a moment, other separate arguments against welfare in general if you have them-- this is against one specific argument, to show that it is not sufficient to make any real determinations of the ethical nature of a subject.)

That completely debunks the second article on its own.

And for the first one about innocent folks, I seem to remember that study listing several dubious characters, such as Ethyl and Julius Rosenburg, as some of the "innocent" people. Please, provide the entire list. Further, one must weigh the risks against the rewards, as in every action. One innocent person dying is not necessarily enough to deem the entire system flawed; innocent people die as a result of driving cars too, but we arn't about to give up our transportation. Retribution, justice, and deterrance are three arguable positives for the death penalty. Show that those positives are outweighed by the extremely small number of deaths as a result of improper use (which is, even accepting the numbers you've just given of 16 total, under 1% IIRC of all convictions) on a scale if you want to use the arguments of innocents dying.

*yawn* I'm not too interested in this topic, but still. Wow.

EDIT2: Molimo, you want to argue against? You can start, I'm not in the mood right now, but I'll go pro.
QUOTE(bigboy @ May 22 2005, 03:39 PM)
EDIT2: Molimo, you want to argue against? You can start, I'm not in the mood right now, but I'll go pro.

Sounds good. May the best internet debater win.

I will argue against the death penalty based on two main points:

First of all, the death penalty has the potential to result in the execution of innocent people. It is very frequent for people on death row to be found innocent: since 1973 69 people have been released from death row; 21 of those cases occurred after 1993. Many of these people were not released due to the normal appeals process; instead they were released after new evidence surfaced, after the real committer of the crime confessed or was found, or when new scientific techniques were developed. Rolando Cruz, Alejandro Hernandez, Verneal Jimerson and Dennis Williams, for example, were released after DNA analyzing techniques were developed. Many of these people had access to expert lawyers and press scrutiny; without that, they would have been innocent but executed.

My source for all these statistics and facts is;=292, who in turn cite dozens of other studies and articles.

Convicts sentenced to alternate penalties (usually life in prison) have a much longer period of time during which they could be released from prison and compensated.

Second of all, the death penalty is not a deterrent to executions. Many, many studies , beginning with Thorsten Sellin's studies, have demonstrated that states with the death penalty do not in fact have lower murder rates than other states. There are endless sources to cite for this, but here's one:

The FBI  Uniform Crime Reports Division publication Crime in the US for 1995 reports that there were 4.9 murders per 100,000 people in states that have abolished the death penalty, compared with 9.2 murders in those states which still have the death penalty. "In no state has the number of murders diminished after legalizing the death penalty."

Unfortunately, I can't find this report online.

Other studies exist which claim to show the opposite, that the death penalty deters crime. However, the methodoloy behind these studies is often suspect, as described here:;=1176


user posted image
Figure 2: Anscombe’s Quartet (by J. Randall Flannigan)

user posted image
Figure 3: Executions and murder rates in the United States.
The data on capital punishment and homicide, when plotted in figure 3, look a lot like Anscombe’s fourth quartet. Most of the states had no executions at all. One state, Texas, accounts for forty of the eighty-five executions in the year shown (the patterns for other years are quite similar). An exceptional case or “outlier” of this dimension completely dominates a multiple regression analysis. Any regression study will be primarily a comparison of Texas with everywhere else. Multiple regression is simply inappropriate with this data, no matter how hard the analyst tries to force the data into a linear pattern.

Unfortunately, econometricians continue to use multiple regression on capital punishment data and to generate results that are cited in Congressional hearings.

Therefore, if you cite any studies attempting to demonstrate that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, you should ensure that those studies are not using this method of analysis.

Edit: added more of the article to the quotation
Can we get a new thread for this? I don't want to stamp all over Dak and xcr if they ever come back. I'll get around to posting an article or so sometime soon.
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