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The Death Penalty

Discussion in 'Debate Forum' started by Bananarama, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. Bananarama

    Bananarama The light is coming


    The state of Arkansas plans to execute 7 inmates within 11 days.

    While this decision was blocked by a court a little while ago, this has had me thinking about the capital punishment debate. Is capital punishment a "cruel and unusual" punishment? Under what circumstances, if any, should it be allowed? Is it a suitable form of justice? And should it even be legal in the first place?

    I'm personally completely opposed to the death penalty. I think it is a waste of taxpayer money, and I don't see it as a deterrent to violent crimes like murder.
  2. DiaRubyTandem

    DiaRubyTandem The Fastest Comeback

    Well in my county, it is implied by our President Duterte. I find it good because justice will finally be prevail and criminals will be lessen in our country.
  3. bobjr

    bobjr It's Fusion, I don't have to expalin it. Staff Member Moderator

    If the Death Penalty actually deterred crime there would be a much bigger debate I think, because for all the moral arguments if the result was lower serious crimes then it gets tricky. However it's the opposite and that's not the case, those areas with the death penalty have higher rates. There's also the massive time wait for an execution to take place, with an average time of over 10 years.
  4. Pikachu52

    Pikachu52 Well-Known Member

    Among "western" countries the United States is alone in its commitment to the death penalty. Australia, New Zealand, the UK and all the EU states, as well as most South America states abandoned the practice decades ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment

    I think it's been clear for a long period of time that the death penalty does not serve any logical purpose. Check out this Australian Institute of Criminology paper from 1987 - 10 years after last person sentenced to death was hanged in Australia. It basically shoots out of the water any potential argument for the death penalty reconcilable with what are generally considered the principals and goals of criminal punishment - it's not a deterrence to violent crime, it doesn't prevent recidivism because murder doesn't have high rates of recidivism to begin with, it's certainly not rehabilitative and there is a terrible risk of executing innocent people. The only arguments that really hold water centre around retribution and proportionality because there founded on abstract moral and ethical grounds with little grounding in the practical.

    As for whether it's a "cruel and unusual" punishment, the question is more vexed. Cruel and unusual is a legal concept derived from the 8th amendment to the US constitution. Thus far the US Supreme Court has never ruled that capital punishment in and of itself is impermissible as cruel and unusual punishment. All they've done so far is impose certain limits on who can be executed, when and in what method: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/death_penalty

    The majority opinion in the controlling case. Gregg v Georgia rejected the notion that the death penalty was cruel stating:

    The Court established two conditions that had to be satisfied by State Death Penalty statutes:

    1. First, the scheme must provide objective criteria to direct and limit the death sentencing discretion. The objectiveness of these criteria must in turn be ensured by appellate review of all death sentences.
    2. Second, the scheme must allow the sentencer (whether judge or jury) to take into account the character and record of an individual defendant


    The UN Human Rights Committee has reached similar conclusions in it's interpretation of Article 36 of the ICCPR. Despite favouring Abolition, it stated that:


    So it seems that in spite of the fact the death penalty isn't logically defensible, judicial bodies are reluctant to rule decisively against it.

    But this is not universal. The South African Constitutional Court in S v Makwanyane did rule the death penalty was constitionally impermissible as it violated rights against Cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/1995/3.html

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  5. chess-z

    chess-z campy vampire

    tbh this is yet another case where the US has a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the world

    it's pretty vile that we still have it
  6. U.N. Owen

    U.N. Owen In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night ...

    The death penalty doesn't reduce crime at all. For it to reduce crime in an area, one must make the death drawn out and very public. We don't do public deaths, therefore criminals can't fear anything.
  7. GrizzlyB

    GrizzlyB Confused and Dazed

    I am staunchly against the death penalty. Well, not so much "anti-death-penalty" as I am "pro-locking-people-in-a-box-for-the-rest-of-their-natural-life". That is unquestionably more humane.
  8. bobjr

    bobjr It's Fusion, I don't have to expalin it. Staff Member Moderator

    The new Supreme Court just reversed the decision stopping the death penalty being fast tracked, so the DNA evidence won't be looked over and no one is allowed into the room.
  9. In theory, I don't have an issue with it. I think it's possible that someone can be beyond rehabilitation and more dangerous to society left alive. Even people doing life still manage, somehow, to gank people outside prison walls. Happens all the time. The problem is that it's too permanent of a solution to be wielded by imperfect people. I think it's definitely a deterrent. Let's be serious, no one wants to die. The reason it isn't is because we barely execute anybody, not because it's intrinsically less of a deterrent than life or because "criminals don't care if they die." Sure they do. It's just that you're not going to refrain from killing twenty women if there's only a less than 1% chance you'll actually get the needle even if you're caught.

    Unless a 100% fool proof way is devised to execute killers with certainty, and they actually do it, then it's best to get rid of it.
  10. SBaby

    SBaby Dungeon Master

    I have a rather unique stance on the death penalty (and due to being someone who had family and friends murdered, it goes without saying that I have a unique perspective on it, and am probably more qualified to talk about it than most people here). I think it should be up to the victims or the victims' families on a case-by-case basis after the conviction has happened.

    However, I would say that they should not make the decision right away. They should wait a few weeks at minimum, preferably a month or two.

    My final point. I find it really offensive when people talk about 'rights' and how 'inhumane' it is to execute someone, so my question is this. What about the rights of the victim? Was what happened to them 'humane'? Or do they not matter in this?
  11. lemoncatpower

    lemoncatpower Cynical optimist

    I completely disagree that you have more qualifications to talk about it since you have had a family member murdered... as unfortunate as that is. It doesn't make you more qualified in handling another person's life because one was stolen from your life.
    I would say the family should have NO decision in the case whatsoever as they would be COMPLETELY biased to a point that they wouldn't be able to think rationally.
    They wouldn't be able to properly look at the facts and the chances of rehabilitation for the suspect.

    If the chances of rehabilitation are zero and they cant do anything for society then I think the death penalty could be used, but then anyone can have a use in society. I don't believe in the death penalty unless you're relatable on Hitler's level.

    it is inhumane to kill someone, but two wrongs don't make a right.
  12. SBaby

    SBaby Dungeon Master

    That's why you have them wait a month or so, as I said. So the impulse is gone. Though personally, I believe anyone who murders another person for any reason other than self-defense is beyond any chance of rehabilitation.

    And by the way, the family member that was murdered in my case was a baby. And the murderer who we know for a fact did it, did so because his ex (another family member of mine) was trying to get away from an abusive relationship. And he did it to both spite her and to try and reassert control over her. So yes, I would say that I am more qualified to talk about it, because I have a unique perspective on it that few people on this site have.

    Most people are able to evade the issue because it never happened to them personally, but when it does then they gain new perspective and often times it changes their opinions.

    Anyway, I noticed my questions were 'overlooked', which seems to be a trend on this site. Here they are again.

    What about the rights of the victim? Was what happened to them 'humane'? Or do they not matter in this?

    And that's pretty much it. I can't think of anything else to add to this.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  13. lemoncatpower

    lemoncatpower Cynical optimist

    It doesn't matter who in your family died, I stand by saying that you should not have any say in the decision of the death penalty.

    Your questions weren't overlooked. What of the rights of the victim? They're dead and the family has to learn how to cope and grieve properly. Like I said, two wrongs simply don't make a right, so two inhumane acts don't make it one humane situation. This one person who murdered your family member has apparently turned your whole family into people who like murder. To say, well they did it first, doesn't make the death penalty not murder.
  14. SBaby

    SBaby Dungeon Master

    Remarks like this definitely sounds like the kind of thing someone who has never had to face this would say. But as I said, when you go through it, your outlook on it often changes. Call it what you want, but I call things like capital punishment justice.

    We didn't choose for our family member to be murdered. But it happened anyway.

    Of course, that doesn't matter to you. Based on what you said, I got your answer loud and clear. The victims don't matter to you one bit. On the contrary, you've made it explicitly clear that to you, they're somehow the ones to blame and that they somehow like murder.

    Again, I kind of had an inkling that this was the view of serebiiforums, but thank you for confirming it. While I'm not fond of the answer, I can't say I'm surprised by it. It's again the sort of thing I've come to expect from this site.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  15. mtqc

    mtqc MY BEANS!

    Question... how do the victims have a say in who should live and die after the fact? This argument confuses me. Just because capital punishment is deemed cruel and unusual to some, these people now suddenly don't care about the victims of murder?

    What would killing the murderers solve? It doesn't seem to scare many murderers away from committing the crime, to my knowledge. I just don't see a correlation.

    EDIT: I'm not very good at researching and I'm new to debating here, but I think this source provides quite a bit of information on how death penalty states tend to have more murders than non-death penalty states. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/deterr...alty-have-had-consistently-lower-murder-rates
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  16. It actually makes you less qualified, hence why victims don't get to be part of the jury.

    Not everyone that's a lost a loved one to a murderer has a hankering to give the perpetrator the death penalty. It varies widely, some victims even campaign for those that murdered their family to be removed from death row. It's not so much "if this thing happened to you, you'd feel differently" it has much more to do with your values as a person and how you approach abstract concepts like justice.

    Personally, I think values are a two way steet. If you believe in free speech except for the people who say things you don't like, then you don't believe in it it all. Similarly, if you believe in compassion and mercy, but not for the people who wrong you, then you don't believe in them at all. They apply everywhere or they apply nowhere.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  17. bobjr

    bobjr It's Fusion, I don't have to expalin it. Staff Member Moderator

    I often hear "Justice has been served/the family can be at peace" when someone is put to death. I personally never got that, because whatever happened still happened, the dead person isn't going to come back, and whatever happened to them can't be undone. It sounds weird but I have trouble processing how someone could go "Oh when my daughter died it was horrible until they killed the person who did it 15 years later"
  18. I don't know if it would give me closure, but I'd certainly feel better. I do understand the appeal of the death penalty. For those of us with a bit of a vindictive streak, it must be nice knowing that the person who wronged you is going to experience the same kind of terror in the minutes leading up to the final curtain. I may be a bad person for it, but that gives me all sorts of warm fuzzies. As a general rule of thumb, you should resist your darker nature though. :p
  19. AnorexicGirl

    AnorexicGirl Banned

    Federal execution is not at all unusual in history.

    It's just that liberal ideas have convinced all countries in the Western Hemisphere to prohibit capital punishment except the United States. In fact, the guillotine remained a common method of execution until just decades ago.
  20. chess-z

    chess-z campy vampire

    It's good that isn't a bad thing. Is anyone really upset that the guillotine has fallen out of use?

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