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Head-2-Head: Should Capital Punishment Exist?

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posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 06:15 PM
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Congratulations! This is the first debate in the Politics Head-2-Head forum.

Participants

Pro: lombozo
Con: chissler

Terms

The terms for this debate are as follows:

1. Participants will take turns, and each will post an opening statement, two rebuttals and a closing statement.

2. There are no time limits on this debate.

3. Opening and closing statements will be no longer than 2500 characters, and rebuttals will be no longer than 6000 characters.

4. Each participant may post no more than one image to the debate thread.

5. This debate will not be judged.

6. However, comments from any Fighter will be welcome in this thread after an H2H moderator has made a post declaring the debate finished.

7. These rules may be modified by mutual agreement prior to beginning the debate. The changes will be made to this post by an H2H moderator.

8. Because this is the very first Head-2-Head experience, the participants may mutually agree to rule changes during the course of the debate. These changes should be negotiated in a separate thread, if necessary, but will be posted here by a H2H moderator as they apply.

9. lombozo will post first, at which time the debate will begin.

General Rules

NOTE: These would normally not be listed here, but since they're under construction and subject to change, I've included them here to reduce confusion. -- Majic

The following General H2H Debate Rules (current at the time this debate started) apply:

1. Any violation of the terms of a debate will result in a forfeiture.

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8. As with all forums, the AboveTopSecret.com Terms And Conditions Of Use apply.

Participation

These are the proposed terms for this debate. Participants should ensure that they understand and agree to them prior to posting to this thread.

Once a post has been made, the terms are binding.

(However, if there's a silly glitch or something, we can start over with a fresh thread if you want.)


Fight well, and let the debate begin!




posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 07:01 PM
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Addendum: Judging

1. At the request of the participants, I will render my opinion and declare a winner at the end of the debate.

2. The thread will be restricted to posts from the participants (and, if necessary, by moderators) until I declare the debate finished.

3. I will render my opinion at that time, then open the thread to comments from other Fighters.

Good luck!



posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 09:19 AM
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First I would like to thank Chissler, Majic, and the ATS staff for making this debate possible. Chissler, you are a formidable adversary, and you have my respect even if we choose not to agree with one another.

I am a strong believer in the death penalty. I say this without reservation, however I also must state clearly that I am not proposing that a lynch mob be allowed to run amuck. I also want to make it clear that I believe the death penalty only be used in cases where there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever about the guilt of the perpetrator. In trying to keep this debate within the bounds of reasonable length I will use three high profile cases to present my beliefs, rather than the plethora of examples available. The BTK killer, Andrea Yates, and Joseph Smith. I use these three examples not only due to their high profile, but it is also a diverse group in that it shows 3 different "styles" for lack of a better term. 1) The hunter, stalker. 2) The "Insanity" defense, and 3) The "Spur of the moment" killer.I will briefly outline the heinous crimes.

Dennis L. Rader, also known as the BTK killer, hunted, stalked, then tortured, and murdered 10 innocent people, including children and the elderly. One of the victims, was a 9 year old boy. After killing his mother and father in front of the boy, Rader put a plastic bag over the childs ., then sat and watched as the boy slowly suffocated to fulfill "sexual fantasies". Then if not enough, he then took the boys 11 year old sister in the basement of their home where he then proceeded to hang her, once again fulfilling "sexual fantasies". He is to serve 10 consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole for more than 40 years. A link to the BTK Killer can be found here:

www.kansas.com...

Andrea Yates planned and methodically drowned all five of her children in a bathtub. Four of the five children were laid out beneath a sheet, clothed and soaking wet. All of them were dead, with their eyes wide open. The fifth child, the oldest, was submerged amid feces and vomit floating on the surface. She planned it in advance, knowing exactly when she should start the cold blooded murders to coincide with her husbands going to work. She also had the foresight to remove the bathroom rug so that the children could not gain traction when fighting her. A link to this case may be found here:

www.crimelibrary.com...

Joseph Smith abducted, raped, battered and strangled 11 year old Carlie Brucia, leaving her half naked body on the grounds of a church. Security camera photographs, lies, hairs, fibers, a false alibi, conclusive DNA tests, as well as his revelation of where her body was located prove beyond doubt his guilt. A link to this case may be found here:

www.courttv.com...

Now I ask you, why should any of the three of these people still be alive? I've read that the annual cost of keeping a prisoner is somewhere in the vicinity of $30,000.00 per year. Link found here:

www.recordnet.com.../20060129/NEWS01/601290307/1001/ARCHIVE

Not only are these prisoners getting 3 square meals a day, but they get cable TV, education, free healthcare - things I work hard every day to struggle to provide my family. I do not agree with the often abused "Insanity Defense". If someone is a danger to society, then they should be removed permanently, and quickly. We've all heard the argument that it costs more to execute a prisoner, than it does to imprison him/her. Now how can that possibly be? Is it the years of appeals which cost us, the taxpayers enormous amounts of money? Yes it is. Is it because not only do you have these huge appeals costs, but the cost to imprison as well? Yes it is. I'm not advocating cruel or unusual punishment, even though the crimes they committed were beyond cruel and unusual. Imagine the terror and utter confusion the Yates children felt when the person they called Mommy watched contentedly as she fought to hold them under water. Insanity? She was smart enough to plan it all out. She is guilty in my opinion. The trial, and the execution should take place immediately. Not years down the road so that a defense attorney can say "Well it's been some time since the crime, how can you be sure that your memory holds true?". It should be immediate. A firing squad using marksmen, and large caliber weapons would be a quick, painless, and inexpensive execution style.

I've also heard the argument that executing a murderer brings you down to the same level as said murderer. These murderers, plot, find and carry out their crimes on innocent victims. Executing a murderer who next time could be stalking either me or my loved ones is not the same thing, although I look forward to hearing your views chissler. There is a difference between fulfilling a deadly fantasy on an innocent victim, and removing the murderer from society in my opinion. Some might say justice, some might say revenge. While both might be argued, I truly feel that the death penalty is a viable solution in the types of cases I've outlined. I know many people who would love the prospect of not being bothered all day so that they can sit alone and read. These folks find that enjoyable. I cannot and will not support giving that opportunity to someone who committed a heinous act against society.

Again, I look forward to your views chissler. The floor is yours sir.



posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 10:29 AM
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Allow me to begin by thanking our astute member lombozo for the debate that is about to follow. I have discussed issues quite often with this member, and I believe I am in tough. My hats off to Majic, Nygdan, and the whole ATS community for making this a possibility.

In a terrible Big John Mccarthey voice: Let's get it on!

The issue at hand is Capital Punishment. If we are going to spend time discussing this issue, let's first define the term.



Capital Punishment:

execution: putting a person to death

Link


Putting a person to death? Sounds a lot like murder to me. Which brings me to my first point.

Why is it legal for the government to kill?

The state locks up individuals who are guilty of murder. We have determined that no person has the right to take a life, yet we permit our government to take lives?

Why is this? Do two wrongs make a right?

An eye for an eye, will leave us all blind.

Does it Save Money?

A common misconception of the Death penalty is that it is more cost efficient. It saves money to simply condemn a man to death, rather than housing and feeding him for a life sentence. Well, through out this debate, I will discuss exact figures and compare the two. From court costs to appeals, the figures are staggering. We will see that it is cheaper to house an inmate for forty years, than it is to execute them. We will also come to a case where it bankrupted a community.

Shock & Awe

It appears a strategy of my opponent is to use heinous details from specific crimes. Smart and creative, but I disagree on it's validity. He speaks of individuals who have committed horrible acts and believes returning the favor is an act of justice. As we progress through this debate, I will clearly indicate that this is not justice. We can not confuse revenge for justice.

As I respect his stance, I strongly disagree. Does killing the guilty, bring back the victims? Does killing the guilty, alleviate any of the pain?

My opponent fully understands the extent of the costs of executing a person. So he proposes we should place a large bullet in their skull. Cost efficient. Now, is cost efficient really the term we want to put on that?

Is this an act of Justice? Or an act of Revenge?

Justice is the fair, moral, & impartial treatment of an individual. Do we honestly believe that this would be morally right? How about impartial?

Revenge is the retaliation of any wrongdoing.

Justice is not revenge. Justice serves a higher purpose. One that goes above and beyond the retribution of the victims.

We are Better Than Them!

We are lucky enough to live in a civilized society. Each and every one of us has been instilled with human rights. No matter what actions we may or may not be guilty of, we all have rights. What my opponent wishes to do, is remove these rights from those who are guilty of certain crimes. Some of us may agree. When looking at Mr. Radar, we think, Why in the hell would we ever leave him with any rights? But where do we draw the proverbial line?

We remove the rights of Mr. Radar, but what of the next case? And the next case? We place a bullet in his . to avoid a costly and lengthy process, but where do we stop? If we cross this barrier, what is to keep us from turning the death sentence into a week long event. The process is the way it is for a reason. It costs money, it takes time, all because taking a man's life is no light task. No matter what they are guilty of, they deserve the right to die a peaceful death. Even if they have not offered the same right to their victims.

We as a society, are not in a position to determine who should and should not be granted these rights. It is not our place, and we do not have the right.

I believe this would place us on the same level as the individual we are condemning to death. My opponent disagrees. But we do not need the Death Sentence to remove these individuals from our society. The prison system does this for us already. The notion that if we do not murder them, they will remain among us, is off it's mark.

I now hand the floor back to my opponent and look forward to his reply.



NOTE:

Our initial responses were meant to be 2500 characters, and the posts themselves 6000. But we can simply ignore the first one, as editing is out of the question. Our two rebuttals are limited to 6000 characters, and our closing statement can only be 2500. Let's try to enforce that one.

As Majic has said, we will work with what we have for now.

Looking forward to your response.



posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 11:41 AM
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Why is it legal for the government to kill?

The state locks up individuals who are guilty of murder. We have determined that no person has the right to take a life, yet we permit our government to take lives?

Why is this? Do two wrongs make a right?



Valid question. There is a difference. One individual murders, in cold blood, an innocent unsuspecting victim. This individual in my opinion has given up his rights as a human being. I won't get into my views on political correctness here, but again, I have zero sympathy for a cold blooded murderer. When this individual commits a deadly act, then gets caught, it is the responsibility of the governing bodies to remove this menace from society. To answer your question, yes I do believe that executing a murderer makes it right. What sense does it make to have a murderer sit in prison for several decades then get out on parole to walk our streets again. Let's make a quick comparison here. In the future, you and your family are living in your perfect neighborhood. Perpetrator X, who was in jail for 30 years for raping and murdering a child pretty much the same age as one of your children, gets paroled and moves in across the street. Would you be uncomfortable with that? Do you believe that he/she would have been rehabilitated? Why take the chance? With Capital Punishment, it would be a complete non issue. It really does make sense to execute perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes.




Does it Save Money?

A common misconception of the Death penalty is that it is more cost efficient. It saves money to simply condemn a man to death, rather than housing and feeding him for a life sentence. Well, through out this debate, I will discuss exact figures and compare the two. From court costs to appeals, the figures are staggering. We will see that it is cheaper to house an inmate for forty years, than it is to execute them. We will also come to a case where it bankrupted a community.


You make my point for me. "from court costs to appeals. the figures are staggering." Again I say I am talking about airtight cases. There should be no appeals. I'll use BTK as a quick example. He should have been executed within 1 week. A speedy trial is his constitutional right, so give it to him. Quick, and final. Immediate execution. I'll be very interested in hearing your rebuttal to this.




It appears a strategy of my opponent is to use heinous details from specific crimes. Smart and creative, but I disagree on it's validity. He speaks of individuals who have committed horrible acts and believes returning the favor is an act of justice. As we progress through this debate, I will clearly indicate that this is not justice. We can not confuse revenge for justice.


The details I've laid out are perfect examples of those who should be executed. Executing these individuals is justice. I truly believe that removing the costly appeals process which often times is strung out over a decade or more, is truly cost effective, and final. It also gives closure to the grieving family of the victim. I can see where you might argue that this may be revenge, however I won't be swayed in my beliefe that it is indeed justice.




What my opponent wishes to do, is remove these rights from those who are guilty of certain crimes. Some of us may agree. When looking at Mr. Radar, we think, Why in the hell would we ever leave him with any rights? But where do we draw the proverbial line?

We remove the rights of Mr. Radar, but what of the next case? And the next case? We place a bullet in his . to avoid a costly and lengthy process, but where do we stop? If we cross this barrier, what is to keep us from turning the death sentence into a week long event. The process is the way it is for a reason. It costs money, it takes time, all because taking a man's life is no light task. No matter what they are guilty of, they deserve the right to die a peaceful death. Even if they have not offered the same right to their victims.



Yes, I absolutely and without any reservations whatsoever believe in removing any and all rights to the perpetrator. I must again clarify that if there is a question of guilt that the death penalty may not be an option. I am speaking of airtight cases. That being said, I believe that all trials should be immediate.
This last comment which you've stated is one I disagree with you more than anything else you've presented thus far.
I in no way believe that a monster who committed a heinous act deserves the right to a peacful death. It is not his/her right. They chose to commit their crimes. They committed the crime. Thus they forfeit any/all rights they had prior to committing their acts.



TextBut we do not need the Death Sentence to remove these individuals from our society. The prison system does this for us already. The notion that if we do not murder them, they will remain among us, is off it's mark.


Why drain the tax dollars to house a murderer. This prison system sometimes keeps these individuals from our society. I emphasize the word 'sometimes'. Off it's mark, at times yes, but other times, no. One time is too many in my opinion.


I look forward to hearing your rebuttal.



posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by lombozo
There is a difference.


How is there? A life is a life. I'll come back to this point soon. I just wish to make it clear, that there is no difference. A life is a life, and the act of taking a life is wrong, no matter what the circumstances are.


Originally posted by lombozo
To answer your question, yes I do believe that executing a murderer makes it right. What sense does it make to have a murderer sit in prison for several decades then get out on parole to walk our streets again.


Now I can not allow you to make broad statements like that, with out any factual evidence. I fully plan to back every one of my claims with evidence. You speak of murderer's leaving prison to re-enter society. How often does this actually happen?

I would say it is as likely as a convict in a capital punishment case, actually being executed. As I will indicate soon, most individuals who are facing the death penalty, rarely face execution. It is a complete waste of tax dollars.


Originally posted by lombozo
Perpetrator X, who was in jail for 30 years for raping and murdering a child pretty much the same age as one of your children, gets paroled and moves in across the street. Would you be uncomfortable with that? Do you believe that he/she would have been rehabilitated? Why take the chance? With Capital Punishment, it would be a complete non issue.


You have no idea how glad I am that you asked. We continue to debate the issue of Justice versus Revenge here. Yet, you have made it clear that your emotions get the best of you when you wish for the death sentence. Revenge creates a smoke screen and masks itself as justice.

What you speak of in this quote, is it an impartial reaction? Or is it the retaliation of a wrongdoing. I believe it is quite clear.

What you are speaking of is revenge, not justice.


Originally posted by lombozo
It really does make sense to execute perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes.


In your opinion, it may. But does that make it right? Nope. I believe it should not exist. Does that make it right? Well.. Uhhh.. Nah! Our opinions are our opinions. Nothing more.


Originally posted by lombozo
Again I say I am talking about airtight cases.


Airtight cases. What is the determining factor in an airtight case? Eye witnesses? DNA Test? Caught in the act? Tell me what deciphers between airtight and marginal. What you propose is going to create more problems than anything. We can over turn a life sentence, we can only apologize for a death sentence. What happens when this air tight case is actually questionable at best.

Are you familiar with, The Life of David Gale? Amazing movie, tackles this issue . on. Speaks volumes, in my opinion.


Originally posted by lombozo
There should be no appeals. I'll use BTK as a quick example. He should have been executed within 1 week. A speedy trial is his constitutional right, so give it to him. Quick, and final. Immediate execution.


Do you realize how far this would set us back? We are, who we are, for a reason. As much as we bitch and complain about the system, it works. Show me something that works better and I'll take a look. Our system is based on the premise that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. You notion here is going to erase that whole way of thinking, and we are going to be digging the cemetery plot as we select the jury. It does not work like that.

Would murdering him in a week, actually be justice? Or would it be vengeance? How can you be certain any one is guilty?

Will I post countless links of men and women who had their sentences over turned. These air tight cases that had them serve years of their lives, only to see that we were wrong.

If the system were to execute ONE innocent man, none of it would be worth while.

I ask you this question, If it were proven true that the state executed an innocent man. Would they be held accountable for their actions?


Originally posted by lombozo
I truly believe that removing the costly appeals process which often times is strung out over a decade or more, is truly cost effective, and final. It also gives closure to the grieving family of the victim. I can see where you might argue that this may be revenge, however I won't be swayed in my beliefe that it is indeed justice.


I would be disappointed if you did sway your belief. However, the removal of the appeals process is going to leave us where? I see where you do not equate the lives of the guilty, to the lives of others, but taking it to the extreme is an act of injustice in itself.

Innocent until proven guilty, Remember? Do you believe what you speak of is based on innocent until proven guilty?

It is a matter of ethics between you and I, and ethics alone is where we differ. I treasure every life, regardless of their actions. I fail to see how you decide who is, and is not worthy of this proper treatment. I am under the assumption you condone the mistreatment of any individual who is guilty of horrific crimes. How is this act, different from the act they are supposedly guilty of?

I will conclude this post with an excerpt from the link below.



A New Jersey Policy Perspectives report concluded that the state's death penalty has cost taxpayers $253 million since 1983, a figure that is over and above the costs that would have been incurred had the state utilized a sentence of life without parole instead of death. The study examined the costs of death penalty cases to prosecutor offices, public defender offices, courts, and correctional facilities. The report's authors said that the cost estimate is "very conservative" because other significant costs uniquely associated with the death penalty were not available. "From a strictly financial perspective, it is hard to reach a conclusion other than this: New Jersey taxpayers over the last 23 years have paid more than a quarter billion dollars on a capital punishment system that has executed no one,"

Source


I am going to bold certain aspects of this snip and list them below.

New Jersey Policy Perspectives report concluded that the state's death penalty has cost taxpayers $253 million since 1983

The report's authors said that the cost estimate is "very conservative" because other significant costs uniquely associated with the death penalty were not available.

New Jersey taxpayers over the last 23 years have paid more than a quarter billion dollars on a capital punishment system that has executed no one

Need I say more?

The floor is yours my friend.



posted on Dec, 19 2006 @ 09:31 AM
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TextA life is a life. I'll come back to this point soon. I just wish to make it clear, that there is no difference. A life is a life, and the act of taking a life is wrong, no matter what the circumstances are.


While I agree with your premise that a life is a life, including insects, and other various species, I respectfully disagree with your non yielding view that there are no circumstances where performing an execution is warranted. As I've stated previously, my view is that when an individual performs a premeditated crime on an innocent, unsuspecting victim, then all rights have been forfeited.


Now I can not allow you to make broad statements like that, with out any factual evidence. I fully plan to back every one of my claims with evidence. You speak of murderer's leaving prison to re-enter society.


Touche`. It does happen.

The most egregious instances of early release are in the case of “life” sentences. Contrary to public impressions, a sentence of “life”—or even “life without possibility of parole”—almost never means that. In states like Massachusetts and Nebraska, “life without parole” sentences “routinely are commuted to parole at some point.”[11] In Wyoming, “life” means 20-25 years before parole eligibility; but with “good time” (i.e., good behavior reductions), a “lifer” might spend haft that time in prison. “Life” actually means about twelve years before parole eligibility in Virginia[12] and Kentucky; ten years in Mississippi and West Virginia; and seven in Georgia.
In one year, 121,713 furloughs had been granted to 10,835 Massachusetts inmates; 5,554 of those unescorted leaves were taken by first-degree murderers, supposedly serving “life without parole” sentences.[27]
The results, predictably, have included chronic escapes, and grisly crimes committed by furloughed inmates—up to and including multiple murders.[28]

The entire article can be found here.

www.fee.org...



would say it is as likely as a convict in a capital punishment case, actually being executed. As I will indicate soon, most individuals who are facing the death penalty, rarely face execution. It is a complete waste of tax dollars.


I couldn't agree with you more. It is an absolute waste of tax dollars. I say again, that on airtight cases, that trials should be immediate. The decision final, and execution to follow immediately.


You have no idea how glad I am that you asked. We continue to debate the issue of Justice versus Revenge here. Yet, you have made it clear that your emotions get the best of you when you wish for the death sentence. Revenge creates a smoke screen and masks itself as justice.


In trying to make your point, you are creating your own smoke screen. I find it irrelevant if the term is revenge, or if the term is justice. The one thing you are correct in pointing out in your statement is that I have strong emotions on this topic. Call it what you will sir, revenge or justice, but in my opinion executing a murderer in the fashion I've described, takes care of the problem once and for all, and would be a tremendous savings of tax dollars that could be used elsewhere.



Airtight cases. What is the determining factor in an airtight case? Eye witnesses? DNA Test? Caught in the act? Tell me what deciphers between airtight and marginal. What you propose is going to create more problems than anything. We can over turn a life sentence, we can only apologize for a death sentence. What happens when this air tight case is actually questionable at best.


I believe that airtight cases, several of which I outlined, is pretty much self evident. "Eye witnesses? DNA Test? Caught in the act?" Yes, not to mention surveillance cameras. Airtight is just that - air tight. Marginal is another story. I am not looking to go rampantly killing prisoners for fun. Please keep this in context.


Would murdering him in a week, actually be justice? Or would it be vengeance? How can you be certain any one is guilty?
Will I post countless links of men and women who had their sentences over turned. These air tight cases that had them serve years of their lives, only to see that we were wrong.



Again I say call it what you will vengeance or justice. Again I say that there are airtight cases, a very few of which I've outlined. I could use my entire 6000 character limit indexing more of these airtight cases.




I ask you this question, If it were proven true that the state executed an innocent man. Would they be held accountable for their actions?


That is an excellent question. Frankly I've not thought of that before. I will answer it based on my premise of how I believe the death sentence should be used, and not how it is currently being used. Yes, they would have to be held accountable. I hate to be so redundant, however I will say again I am speaking of airtight cases here. I say once again that if it is marginal, it is a different story.




It is a matter of ethics between you and I, and ethics alone is where we differ. I treasure every life, regardless of their actions. I fail to see how you decide who is, and is not worthy of this proper treatment. I am under the assumption you condone the mistreatment of any individual who is guilty of horrific crimes. How is this act, different from the act they are supposedly guilty of?


I admire your passion, I truly do. I too treasure every life, which is the reason that I believe murderers SHOULD be executed. It may seem diametrically opposed, but at least in my mind it makes sense. Someone takes an innocent life, make sure they never have the ability to do it again. Yes I absolutely condone the mistreatment of those guilty of horrific crimes. I believe they should have just enough food to live, and temperature control just enough so they don't die from freezing, or heat stroke. In a tiny cell with no luxuries whatsoever. They chose their fate.


? New Jersey taxpayers over the last 23 years have paid more than a quarter billion dollars on a capital punishment system that has executed no one
Need I say more?

Case and point. Immediate trial and execution would eliminate this drain of revenues.

Again, I admire your passion, you're a good man.

The floor is yours Sir.



posted on Dec, 19 2006 @ 06:55 PM
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My opponent is very wise. His lays tremendous emphasis on his strong points, and effictively avoids aspects of the discussion that are not as friendly to his argument. For example, a capital punishment case where it is marginal at best. A case that does cost a tremendous amount of money, and does consume an enormous amount of man hours. A case where we can not justify the pop 'em in the . approach. So rather than jumping back and forth on these points, my intentions on this final rebuttal is to run a bit of my own race.

As previously promised, I will begin with an example of where capital punishment cases nearly bankrupted a community.



Some county governments have neared bankruptcy to fund their capital trials. In Sierra County, California, authorities had to cut police services in 1988 to pay for the cost of pursuing death penalty prosecutions. In another case of wasted money, over 500 New Jersey police officers were laid off in 1991, while the state spent $16 million on the death penalty - more than enough to hire 500 officers at a salary of $30,000 each. In Texas, prisoners were serving only one-fifth of their sentences in the early 1990s, due to prison overcrowding, while the state spent $183 million over six years on executions.


Cutting police services, over crowded prisons, etc., squandered money that could of been beneficial if applied in these areas. My opponent will consider these facts and say it is another reason to abolish the appeal process, but I am of the impression that it is an unrealistic request. The system is wrong in the first place, but if your going to be wrong, you could atleast do it right. (Still with me?)


I believe that Capital punishment is a bad and immoral approach to dealing with the guilty. Many would agree to this. So if the state is going to pursue this, they have to do it right. The appeals process is a vital aspect that ensures the system does not fail and persecute an innocent man.

In Agreement

One thing my opponent & I are capable of agreeing on, is that the current state of the system needs to change. I believe capital punishment should be abolished, while he believes we need to do some cuts and speed up the process. This agreement, leads me to believe that it is quite obvious that there is a serious problem with the system. A lot of dollars, time, and effort and put into this process. In return, we receive what?

A mythical sense of satisfaction that justice was served? A false impression that the system works and we are safer for it?

Rehabilitation

I am a big believer in the goodness of all people. In any situation, everyone has the potential to do good or bad. Through rehabilitation and positive reinforcement, something could be made of this life. Even though they may be guilty of a heinous crime, their life can still serve a purpose.

Justice Circles are something I am beginning to research, and I am absolutely enthralled by them. They work on the rehabilitation of the guilty, rather than punishing them with a jail sentence. They are common in the northern parts of Canada, mostly in first nation communities. They began with a man who was guilty of murder, and through the Justice Circle, his punishment was to live with the family of the victim.

The guilty must accept all responsibility for their actions, and be willing to take any consequence in stride. But leniency was rewarded to this man, and he was grateful for it. He turned his life around and made something of it, by helping those who suffered from the same problems he once did.

In these Circles, the families are given an opportunity to face the guilty. Everything is based on the mutual respect for one another. The guilty is shown the same respect as the judge. Only one person is permitted to speak at a time, and must be holding a symbolic feather to do so. When one finishes speaking, they pass the feather on to whomever wishes to speak next.

For the most part, these circles deal with smaller crimes but have been known to handle larger cases. Often they do work as a catalyst for the guilty, and spark some light into their lives. Others take it for granted and abuse the leniency shown to them. Well these individuals will face a much stiffer penalty than they normally would. There is no three strikes with the justice circle, you only have one.

So it has been proven that rehabilitation works.

Now that I have lifted that off my chest, I will turn to a few points from my opponents previous post.


Originally posted by lombozo
I find it irrelevant if the term is revenge, or if the term is justice.


You've continued to debate me on this issue. In a recent post, I have posted two separate definitions and applied them to some scenarios we have created. I believe it was quite clear what we were trying to instill, and it was not justice. In the wake of this, you have wavered from your stance. You seem to of accepted your stance as an act of revenge and now attempt to justify it.

An act of justice can be exonerated. Revenge is a punishable offense.

The terminology is important, and in my opinion, completely relevant. The system is not a house of revenge, it is a house of justice.


Originally posted by lombozo
I too treasure every life, which is the reason that I believe murderers SHOULD be executed


So you treasure every life, except for those guilty of certain crimes? Which would actually mean, you don't treasure every life.

It appears I am closing in on my character restriction, so I shall conclude this post. I look forward to your closing statement L and good luck on the last mile.


Reference



posted on Dec, 20 2006 @ 09:31 AM
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I've laid out my views of Capital Punishment with clarity. I've maintained that while I am an advocate of the death penalty, that it is not to be utilized with impunity. I've not waivered from my stance that airtight cases should be tried immediately. The Constitution of The United States guarantees the right to a speedy trial to defendants. All cases regardless of the crime should be tried immediately. AIRTIGHT capital cases should be tried, with execution to follow immediately.

My opponent, has laid out a passionate, intelligent rebuttal. This being said however, he has been redundant in trying to gloss over the real issue with a diversion of whether Capital Punishment should be called justice, or vengeance. To his credit, he has done vast research and presented the facts that the present laws pertaining to Capital Punishment are a costly drain of revenues. His research actually helps make my point for me. Yes it is an absolute waste of not only state revenues, but also effects the lives of yet another group which has not been mentioned - the jurors. Aside from the innocent victims, their grieving families, and loved ones, the jurors are effected as well. They are pulled away from their work, quarantined from the outside world, including their own families for extended periods of time. Every time there is an appeal, it effects 12 more families, costing yet again more hardship and revenues just so a convicted murderer can take advantage of the system.
Does executing a murderer bring us down to a murderers level? Ludicrous.
A murderer chooses to commit a heinous act. It's not a hand that is dealt, it is a CHOICE that he/she made, then plotted the crime and carried it out. Removing the murderer from society with the death sentence in the fashion which I've outlined benefits society in every way I can contemplate. There is no possibility of he/she doing the crime again. The revenue losses would significantly be reduced. And closure would be given to grieving loved ones of the victim.
Executing a murderer in no way brings the executioner down to the murderers level. Is it Justice? Yes it is. Is it Vengeance? Some may call it that, I do not.
In closing, I once again applaud my opponent. While I disagree with his views, I do respect them.
I rest my case, and turn the floor over to you Sir.



posted on Dec, 20 2006 @ 11:11 AM
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It is with great sadness that I begin my closing statement. One final time I do applaud my opponent for his efforts here, I've thoroughly enjoyed our experience.

I believe my opponent has taken a narrow approach to this issue. His main, and only, point is to abolish the appeals process. I agree, this would save a lot of time and money. But for what? Would we be in a better position, if we were to wipe out the years of appeals?

Through out this debate I have indicated separate figures where states have spent over a quarter of a billion dollars on capital punishment cases. A state that has not executed a single person in almost twenty five years. Now my opponent believes this is another example of why we need to abolish the appeals process. What he ignores is the expenses that are incurred through out the actual court proceedings.

A case without the death penalty normally costs around $47-70,000. A death penalty case normally costs around $500,000. No appeals, just the court proceedings itself. Does my opponent propose we cut costs here as well?

I believe, if we listen to our opponent, the court system will be turned into a Mccarthy'ish type witch hunt.

The individual is innocent until proven guilty.

We have also looked at an example where a community was on the brink of bankruptcy. I've indicated that 500+ police officers had lost their jobs. Now I ask you, is all of this worth it? Is executing any man worth all of this trouble? Capital punishment cases cost millions. All of this extra money that we spend here, could go towards providing extra jobs for honest, hard-working men who are trying to provide for their family.

My final point, and I believe the crux of this issue, is that every man or woman on this earth, inherit rights at birth. Allowing the state to play god, and determine who is worthy of certain rights, is injustice in itself. My opponent believes he is in a position to determine who is, and is not worthy. He has openly condoned the mistreatment of prisoners and believes the extent of a death sentence should be a large caliber bullet.

How can we decipher between the two? If a man is guilty of a crime, but the state fails to press charges. Can society step in and execute the man? Is this not murder? From what my opponent has said, society can execute any man who is guilty of certain crimes.

Has Capital Punishment deterred crime whatsoever? No.

Every dollar spent on capital punishment, is a dollar wasted.



posted on Dec, 20 2006 @ 03:02 PM
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The Debate Is Finished!

I have reviewed the arguments of the participants, and I must say that this has been an excellent debate. Many thanks to lombozo and chissler for kicking off the Head-2-Head forum with exceptional class.


For completing the very first H2H debate (which is not unlike being the first to dance at a school party
), I have awarded each of you another 5000 PTS Points (bringing you up to 10,000 for the debate so far).

Now the hard part: judging.


I do have some first impressions, but since I just got back from a four-day absence and have just now read through the entire thread, I want to give myself a few hours to ponder the arguments and read the thread again before rendering a final decision on the "winner".

In the meantime, I ask that Fighters refrain from posting comments to this thread. After I post my decision, I'll open the thread for comments in accordance with H2H "tradition".



posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 05:45 PM
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Here Comes The Judge

Sorry for the delay in posting this, since I know it sucks to be kept waiting.


The topic and the debate itself have given me a great deal to ponder, and with all the other things going on right now, I didn't want to render a hasty judgment.

The first time through (last night), I simply read the thread and weighed the arguments intuitively. Who was more convincing? How well did they present and cover their points?

The second time through (today), I made a list of point/counterpoints (the details of which I'll omit here), examined how each were addressed and took a more technical approach to the mechanics of the debate.

As noted above, there was some relaxation of the rules, but in H2H, if the participants agree, that's fine.

The main thing is to encourage a stimulating debate, and I consider that goal accomplished.

And The "Winner" Is

Ultimately, I think chissler made a stronger case, and therefore declare him the "winner" of this debate.

However, the philosophy of H2H is more of collaboration than competition. Hence my use of quotation marks around "winner", since in H2H the best debate wins the prize, not the best debater.

In addition to the fact that I'm thrilled to have such a quality debate open up this new forum, I'm impressed enough with what I've read here that I have awarded an additional 10,000 PTS Points to each participant, for a total of 20,000 PTS Points that each has earned for this excellent debate (not too shabby, I'd say
).

Nicely done.


Early Retirement

Meanwhile, it occurs to me that I should now retire from judging individual winners in threads and stick to evaluating debates overall.

Aside from being more in keeping with the H2H spirit, it will make my life easier, because I'm telling ya, judging this one was hard.


Deny Limit

I would like to remind the participants in this debate and all Fighters that any political topic is fair game, any number of times.

So if you'd like a rematch, or if anyone else would like to tackle the question of capital punishment, this and all political topics are valid for future debates, and can even compete with each other in the H2H Contest.

Also, debates aren't limited to a single format. Would you like to try a three-way debate? Team debate? Roundtable?

Imagination is our only limitation.


Thread Open For Comments

All that said, I now open this thread to comments from Fighters (including the debate participants, of course) and staff members.

What are your opinions of this debate? Do you agree with my decision regarding the "winner"? What do you like about this format? What would you like to see changed?

All opinions are welcome.



posted on Dec, 21 2006 @ 06:20 PM
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Majic, thank you again for your hard work in this new forum.

Chissler, I extend my hand to you and offer you a warm CONGRATULATIONS! Well done. You earned it pal. Know this though - I'm going to keep watching you and look for another topic to debate you on!


Here's a couple of ideas to throw out to you and our fellow fighters.

Political Correctness - Oh brother. I think it's over the top ridiculous.
Racial Profiling - I think it is warranted.
The "war" in Iraq - I believe the US won the "WAR" as soon as Husseins government was toppled. The US is now nothing more than "Hall Monitors" that will never "fix" the problem. Religous based fanatics can never be beaten, unless the ENTIRE body of other religous groups is anhilated. Nope, I disagree with having troops remain.

Just some fodder for thought.



posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 08:21 AM
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[ posted by chissler

“ . . my opponent has a narrow approach . . his only point is to abolish the appeals process . . this would save a lot of time and money. But for what? Would we be in a better position, if we were to wipe out the appeals? The individual is innocent until proven guilty. Capital punishment cases cost millions . . My final point is that every man or woman [have] inherit rights at birth. My opponent has openly condoned the mistreatment of prisoners and believes a death sentence should be a large caliber bullet [to the .]. Has Capital Punishment deterred crime whatsoever? No. Every dollar spent on capital punishment, is a dollar wasted. [Edited by Don W]



I enjoyed following the debate, although I have found it hard to contain myself. As a 25+ years dues paying member of the ACLU, you can guess I am not enthralled with the DP. But let me stay off the soap box which Chissler manned so well, and try to “stick to the facts.”

Until the JFK assassination there were very few - maybe none - capital offenses in the US Code. Abraham Lincoln’s accused assassins were tried by Army Court Martial because the Union leaders feared a local W-DC jury would acquit the accused. The assassins of Garfield, McKinley and the attempt on FDR and HST were all tried by local courts. But for Jack Ruby LHO would have been tried in Dallas by DA Mr Wade of Roe v. Wade fame.

The 6th Amendment says in part, “In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy . . the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Two other amendments are especially pertinent to criminal cases. The 5th Amendment says in part, “No person shall . . be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law . . “

The 14th Amendment is also germaine to criminal cases, saying in part, “All persons born or naturalized . . are citizens of the United States . . No state shall make or enforce any law [abridging] the privileges or immunities of citizens . . nor shall any state deprive . . any person of life, liberty or property . . without due process of law nor deny . . the equal protection of the laws.”

Search warrants are provided for in the 4th Amendment. The 5th Amendment also assures the right to a grand jury to hear the charges against a person although that person does not have a right to testify. It provides no person may be compelled to give testimony against himself and bans double jeopardy. .

The 6th Amendment also guarantees a speedy trial in pre-defined districts, by an impartial jury, and the right to face his accusers and bring in his own witnesses. The 7th Amendment provides that juries are to be the sole trier of facts. The 8th Amendment guarantees reasonable bail and prohibits cruel and unusual punishments.

Most states also have a Bill of Rights, often more extensive then these in the Federal Bill of Rights. As some smart aleck judge once remarked, "The Constitution means what we [the judges] say it means." In a logic class, I learned this was called a truism.

I believe every state and the Federal government now have provisions for public defenders. Lawyers who represent the indigent, or poor. Across the states, the quality of representation is not the same. Because of the fatal nature of the DP cases, the Federal courts and some state courts have establish higher standards of qualification and performance for PDs in DP cases. Over the past 40 years many rules of evidence and procedures have evolved that are much more stringent in DP cases. These circumstances are the major reason it costs so much more to hold a capital trial than any other criminal trial.

With the adoption of the current Codes of Trial Practice, the element of surprise has been ruled out. In the interest of judicial economy and fair trials each side has to divulge to the other side all the physical evidence including exculpatory evidence the prosecutor have or have access to. Each side must exchange a witness list. Each side must identify any experts to be called and offer a short summary of what they expect the expert to testify to. Remember, ordinary or lay witnesses may only testify to what they know, first hand. The hear-say rule. Expert witnesses OTOH, may draw inferences from the evidence and may offer speculation on some factual matters.

There are two kinds of juries in English common law, the basic law in 49 of the 50 states, Louisiana excepted. The Grand Jury, “grand” being French for large or big, usually 16 and up to 24 members. This jury hears the prosecutor. If they believe 1) a crime has been committed and 2) there is good cause to believe the accused committed the crime, then the Grand Jury will issue an indictment. The accused may offer to testify but the GJ is not required to hear anyone it does not want to hear nor is the accused entitled to even know the GJ is taking up his case.

The Petit Jury, “petit” being French for small or petty, is the trial jury and was traditionally made up of 12 members. Because of the difficulty in getting citizens to serve as jurors, many states now utilize 6 member juries. In all cases, however, the jury is the “trier of fact.” Appeals courts only hear the case on procedural issues and on the Constitutional rights aspect, never on whether the jury was right or wrong in making a factual determination or in giving or denying credence to a witness. Those issues may not be retried or altered by the appeals courts. Unless a mis-trial is declared, then it’s “start over time.”

There are three degrees of proof required in legal cases. The lowest is called ‘to a reasonable certainty.” This standard is usually found in judge only cases and in lower courts. It’s sort of “more likely than not.” The next standard is employed in civil actions with a jury. It is called, “by the perponderance of the evidence.” This requires 9 out of 12 vote in a 12 person jury, or 5 out of 6 in a 6 person jury. The highest standard of proof is used in criminal cases and is called “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It requires12 votes out of 12 or in the case of a 6 person jury, 6 out of 6. Unanimity. All jurors are equal. The foreman is only to count the votes - which ought to be by secret ballot - and to fill in the jury instruction forms. He or she has no extra power or standing. To be foreman is to be a servant.

Most states and the Federal government provide every convicted person is entitled to at least one appeal. Frequently in state courts, when the sentence is 20 years or longer, the appeal by-passes the intermediate appeals courts and goes straight to the supreme court from the trial court.

One may not appeal to a Federal court until he or she has exhausted all state court appeals. The only method of getting a criminals case before the Federal court system is on the Writ of Habeas Corpus. One of the oldest writs in the English common law. Literally, it means “produce the body.” Or, more practically, bring the person before the judge. Until 1997 the Federal courts had a rule the only allowed one issue to be brought to the courts at a time. This is the reason for the lengthy appeals process. Of course, convicted persons facing the DP were not going to urge a change in the rules to speed up the appeals process. In 1997, Pres. Clinton signed the Anti-Terrorist and Speedy Appeals Act into law. That law provides that all grounds for appeal must be consolidated into one appeal.

That law will not apply however, to any crime committed before that law was enacted. This is based on the ancient theory embodied in our Constitution that no “Ex Post Facto” law can be made in criminal cases. No “after the fact” changes are allowed. So whatever appeals were provided for in 1997, even if the accused is not brought to trial for many yeas, he or she is still under the law as it existed in 1997.

These are a few particulars about criminal law and the DP. Hope you enjoy.


[edit on 12/22/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Dec, 22 2006 @ 10:44 AM
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Majic, lombozo, Thank you for your time and efforts.

I have enjoyed this, and I look forward to any future battles.

My door is always open.



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