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The Death Penalty - A Necessary Evil?

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So I was thinking about this today (because I'm morbid like that) and I was wondering what you guys thought. Is having a death penalty justified? Do we, as humans, have the right to decide when another person's life should be ended?

I personally believe in the death penalty, I believe it to be a necessary social device to maintain control and order, but I also think it should be a sentence used sparingly at best (i.e. no going all crazy Texan). It should be reserved for those criminals who have committed crimes of the worst sort: crime against humanity; war crimes; genocide; torture; jus cogens violations, etc. Adolf Hitler-esque criminals that is.

I think it's incredibly unfair that war lords and torturers get away scot free. Even recently when Pinochet was convicted for countless counts of torture against his own citizens, the death penalty was not even entertained. European society finds it to be too "barbaric."

So what do you think? Should there be a death penalty? If not, why? If so, why and to what extent?

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I come from an area where everyone is pro death penalty... but I don't agree. I think someone who goes to prison for life an enjoys the gross benefits of prison (if you know what im saying) for life will want to die.. Also that way there is no innocent people dying.. What I think is funny is how the Catholic Church argues so hard for no abortion, and yet barley address's this issue. A life is a life, no humans are better than others.

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Agree with Arrowhead. Support the death penalty in extreme cases of abominable crimes, cold-blooded murder, war-crimes, genocide etc.

Justice is necessary, not revenge. If somebody has willingly taken away the life of another human, ruining the lives of their families, then it is only fair that they receive the same treatment in return. I'm a firm advocate of 'an eye for an eye'.

Nevertheless, although the punishment of death is severe, there really isn't any pain involved if I am correct. A swift strike of a deadly sharp sword is all it takes in Saudi Arabia, and the criminal no longer exists. I'd argue that this is more humane than a torturous hanging where the person is strangled and visibly struggling for air in the last few seconds of existence. This is where I will stop though, to avoid the excessive controversy :)

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I support the moratorium of the Capital Punishment for several reasons:

  • the Capital Punishment violates Article 3 under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
    • thus it violates international law, and any country not abiding to the UDHR does not set a good example for other more troubled nations (like Syria, Somalia, D.P.R.K., and others) and promotes discourse across the international community.
    • [Especially as the United Nations has made the moratorium(abolition) of the Capital Punishment as one of their top agendas backed by humanity groups such as Amnesty International]

    [*]statistics comparing the "before and after" and international crime rates of either the implementation or the abating of the Capital Punishment prove that: In actuality, there is no relation between the crime rates and the implementation or the abating of the Capital Punishment.

  • Despite popular misconceptions, the average Capital Punishment needs a much more vigorous judicial process and complicated procedures, resulting in a higher cost than the average cost for life imprisonment.

  • Two rights don't make a wrong, and if one were to argue that the gov't would be making an example by killing the criminal, that would be contradictory in that: by performing the Capital Punishment (i.e. killing someone), the necessary violence involved in that act does little to dissuade violence among the country's people; but rather promotes it (if not consciously then subliminally).

Therefore I would much rather recommend Life Imprisonment over the Capital Punishment

source: multiple years of doing Model United Nations

Edited by Zenith

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I support the moratorium of the Capital Punishment for several reasons:

  • the Capital Punishment violates Article 3 under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
    • thus it violates international law, and any country not abiding to the UDHR does not set a good example for other more troubled nations (like Syria, Somalia, D.P.R.K., and others) and promotes discourse across the international community.
I'm going to go ahead and completely disregard this line of reasoning. Nobody respects International Law, unless the treaty or custom in question is on the side of the state attempting to enforce it. IL is a hodge-podge of broken and incomplete rules with absolutely no enforcement mechanism and one that keeps changing unexpectedly, with or without consent or prior notice.
The concept of the UDHR is very appreciable but there is no global mechanism in place to MAKE states follow it. Besides, the argument you're marking on human rights is quite baseless. Yes, everybody has a right to "life, liberty and security of person," but such rights come with inherent limitations and restrictions. The text of such rights is not absolute and states interpret them differently in light of proportionality analyses. To hold them to their literal content is, well, naive.

  • [Especially as the United Nations has made the moratorium(abolition) of the Capital Punishment as one of their top agendas backed by humanity groups such as Amnesty International]
  • [*]statistics comparing the "before and after" and international crime rates of either the implementation or the abating of the Capital Punishment prove that: In actuality, there is no relation between the crime rates and the implementation or the abating of the Capital Punishment.

    • Despite popular misconceptions, the average Capital Punishment needs a much more vigorous judicial process and complicated procedures, resulting in a higher cost than the average cost for life imprisonment.

    • Two rights don't make a wrong, and if one were to argue that the gov't would be making an example by killing the criminal, that would be contradictory in that: by performing the Capital Punishment (i.e. killing someone), the necessary violence involved in that act does little to dissuade violence among the country's people; but rather promotes it (if not consciously then subliminally).

    Therefore I would much rather recommend Life Imprisonment over the Capital Punishment

    Yes, but is the point of capital punishment to set an example to others, or simply to punish? The law says that one is sentenced because of the crimes he has committed; and yes, while it is true that when the state wants to discourage socially harmful behaviour, they penalise it more harshly in the hopes that the sentencing will have a deterrant effect, but that is always ancillary. The social fabric of criminal law is to punish wrongdoers and such punishment is decided by the lawmaking authority and judiciary of the state.

    I think your heart is in the right place, but your arguments appear flimsy and unreliable (to me).

    No.

    I've been against the death penalty for quite sometime now. I see no value in it.

    Moving aside the fact that it's very expensive when you factor in things like appeals and whatnot... it's barbaric. No civilised country needs the power to kill their own citizens. It doesn't even deter people from doing crime! If you wanted the justice system to be of deterrence then we'd be better off putting the death penalty for every crime or even adopt parts of Sharia law. How many people would steal if they knew they'd be killed if they were found out for it?

    To this I would once again disagree that that is not the driving purpose behind criminal law and sentencing; ancillary outcome, yes, certaintly - but not the driving force.

    As far as the expense is concerned, trust me, the "appeals and what-not" are exactly the same as for criminals with life-sentences or 10+ years' sentences. In fact I would say that this is cheaper in the long-run since you don't have to keep feeding and ensuring the life of the criminal with the death penalty. Once he's dead, no more three meals a day, no more clothes or recreation and a little less added security (if it had been necessary). Cheaper, indeed.

    Moving on, telling people not to kill by killing people isn't really a great example. If retribution (the eye for an eye type) or revenge was a model for justice then we'd have a problem. It'd just be at the mercy of a lot of angry people saying 'x should be killed because he killed a cat!'. (exaggerated but you get the point).
    This I agree is a very strong argument. The "slippery slope," where do you draw the line? I think this is the one thing that has to be set in stone in any legal system. Instead of leaving it open-ended, such that someone could "get the death penalty for killing his cat," I think it should be a specified list of offences that cannot be amended or increased. Crimes of the worst sort that I listed in my original post with the addition of things like lèse-majesté, for example. But even then, the slippery slope will always be a danger. The difference is, I think it's a danger worth contending against.
    Lastly, the simple risk that an innocent person could die because of it is good enough reason in itself to be against it. You can jail someone accidentally but you can't give them back anything if they're killed.

    I'd rather a system that isn't at the mercy of angry people, doesn't have the risk of killing innocent people and isn't so morally hypocritical. I understand why people want those who commit heinous crimes dead, but I don't trust humans (and can't) enough to make this an implementable system. These people are better enough in jail for the rest of their lives than a person being killed for a crime he didn't commit.

    Well, there are a lot of checks and balances put into place to try and ensure that innocent people don't suffer. Indeed, when they do suffer, it is sad, but such things happen.

    I guess to me, the idea of criminal law and sanction has little to nothing, really, to do with justice - punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. The law of crime exists to pass judgment upon people that are accused for having violated the more sacred laws of the social contract. But criminal law is ALL about reasonable doubt. If, based on the evidence, there is any reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime, then guilty or innocent, you let them go. It has never been about right and wrong, it has always been about the right to a fair trial. As long as the evidence is presented per the rules and the trial has given the plaintiff the valid and open opportunity to present his case, guilty or innocent the defendant may be, the law has done its job.

    The idea of justice has nothing really to do with law. So innocent people can die and can be sentenced to life imprisonment, it is irrelevant, because the law does not exist to protect them, it exists to give them a fair trial to prove their innocence or lack of guilt.

    Edited by Arrowhead
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    To this I would once again disagree that that is not the driving purpose behind criminal law and sentencing; ancillary outcome, yes, certaintly - but not the driving force.

    As far as the expense is concerned, trust me, the "appeals and what-not" are exactly the same as for criminals with life-sentences or 10+ years' sentences. In fact I would say that this is cheaper in the long-run since you don't have to keep feeding and ensuring the life of the criminal with the death penalty. Once he's dead, no more three meals a day, no more clothes or recreation and a little less added security (if it had been necessary). Cheaper, indeed.

    I think you're mistaken. The death penalty incurs many costs because it's such a volatile thing. People want to live so they'll obviously appeal to losing their lives. I'm not really sure of any case that has gone without any form of appeal or that has happened extremely quickly. I'm sure you wouldn't advocate a system that doesn't allow any form of appeal. The problem I think you have with this is that you don't see the costs of the time leading up to the death. Person x may have is case done with (after he's dead) in, let's say, 30 years. Whereas person y may have to be catered for for 50 years (after he's dead by through life imprisonment.) It looks like it's more expensive for y because the costs are spread out over a long period of time whereas x has his costs put into a shorter timeframe. All that does to us, is give us the impression that because he's alive for less time, we've spent less money on him. That'd only be the case if he simply died earlier in prison (without the death penalty charge).

    This I agree is a very strong argument. The "slippery slope," where do you draw the line? I think this is the one thing that has to be set in stone in any legal system. Instead of leaving it open-ended, such that someone could "get the death penalty for killing his cat," I think it should be a specified list of offences that cannot be amended or increased. Crimes of the worst sort that I listed in my original post with the addition of things like lèse-majesté, for example. But even then, the slippery slope will always be a danger. The difference is, I think it's a danger worth contending against.

    I don't. While I do think it's important to refrain from committing the slippery slope fallacy, I don't trust any legal system to actually keep things set in stone (as you propose). Of course it would be nice if we had laws saying '30 years for x crime but death penalty for y' but, as you know, these things aren't always in black and white. I wouldn't put it past public opinion to say something like 'Since we have the death penalty for people who commit genocide, why not for killing 5 people? Or even 1?' After all, a life has been taken away in the end.

    "lèse-majesté" - Can you explain this? I don't quite understand it.

    Well, there are a lot of checks and balances put into place to try and ensure that innocent people don't suffer. Indeed, when they do suffer, it is sad, but such things happen.

    I guess to me, the idea of criminal law and sanction has little to nothing, really, to do with justice - punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. The law of crime exists to pass judgment upon people that are accused for having violated the more sacred laws of the social contract. But criminal law is ALL about reasonable doubt. If, based on the evidence, there is any reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime, then guilty or innocent, you let them go. It has never been about right and wrong, it has always been about the right to a fair trial. As long as the evidence is presented per the rules and the trial has given the plaintiff the valid and open opportunity to present his case, guilty or innocent the defendant may be, the law has done its job.

    The idea of justice has nothing really to do with law. So innocent people can die and can be sentenced to life imprisonment, it is irrelevant, because the law does not exist to protect them, it exists to give them a fair trial to prove their innocence or lack of guilt.

    What is the point of the state if it isn't to protect people in anyway? If it is to punish wrong doers, why does it not do that by protecting innocent people? There is a reason why we have different scales of punishment for crimes. Yes, have the right to a fair trial by all means, but that isn't the aim of the law completely. To try and separate law and justice like that is extremely difficult, nor do I see the value in it. Whether you hold the just desert theory, or a welfare based approach to justice, or anything like justice as fairness, the law will pretty much always act on the aims of justice.

    Agree with Arrowhead. Support the death penalty in extreme cases of abominable crimes, cold-blooded murder, war-crimes, genocide etc.

    Justice is necessary, not revenge. If somebody has willingly taken away the life of another human, ruining the lives of their families, then it is only fair that they receive the same treatment in return. I'm a firm advocate of 'an eye for an eye'.

    Nevertheless, although the punishment of death is severe, there really isn't any pain involved if I am correct. A swift strike of a deadly sharp sword is all it takes in Saudi Arabia, and the criminal no longer exists. I'd argue that this is more humane than a torturous hanging where the person is strangled and visibly struggling for air in the last few seconds of existence. This is where I will stop though, to avoid the excessive controversy :)

    Would you also advocate raping someone if they raped someone else? Or, as I've heard before, castrate rapists? Personally, I think the 'eye for an eye' philosophy is flawed. It is something the advocates of it wouldn't appreciate it if it was fully universalised.

    On your second point, hanging is seldom used in the states. Even so, if it's done properly it's quite painless also. I think you've simply taken beheading (which is far from perfect) in its good form but taken the negatives of hanging and put them together as equal. The lethal injection is the most common form of execution nowadays and even then it has its flaws. Another thing I think you should take into account is the well being of the person actually doing the killing. Do you think that beheading someone (including missed swings and stuff) doesn't do anything to the person?

    Two rights don't make a wrong, and if one were to argue that the gov't would be making an example by killing the criminal, that would be contradictory in that: by performing the Capital Punishment (i.e. killing someone), the necessary violence involved in that act does little to dissuade violence among the country's people; but rather promotes it (if not consciously then subliminally).

    You've got the saying wrong there. It's "Two wrongs don't make a right". However, a case could be made that you're begging the question.

    Edited by Award Winning Boss

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    I think you can't believe that murder is wrong but then have space within the justice/political system for legalised murder where all you need is the right person to sign it off and suddenly killing somebody becomes okay and something that taxpayers pay for. To be honest I'd rather pay loads of money to keep people in cells than violate what I think is the important principle of not taking a life. It's hypocritical to do otherwise. I don't personally want to be part of a state that puts people to death, regardless of the method.

    You can argue all sorts of things about what the law is for, its purpose and so on, but I think you should also consider what powers it is exactly that a state should be able to dispense. Death to designated citizens in a sort-of state funded retribution is not on the list. If you want an eye for an eye, then the state should requisition property at random from burglars, rape the rapists... as others have described! Having a system where we punish people in a humane way allows there to be a space between crime and then the presently well-regarded 'civilised' system of justice.

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    I support the moratorium of the Capital Punishment for several reasons:

    • the Capital Punishment violates Article 3 under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

    thus it violates international law, and any country not abiding to the UDHR does not set a good example for other more troubled nations (like Syria, Somalia, D.P.R.K., and others) and promotes discourse across the international community.

    I'm going to go ahead and completely disregard this line of reasoning. Nobody respects International Law, unless the treaty or custom in question is on the side of the state attempting to enforce it. IL is a hodge-podge of broken and incomplete rules with absolutely no enforcement mechanism and one that keeps changing unexpectedly, with or without consent or prior notice.

    The concept of the UDHR is very appreciable but there is no global mechanism in place to MAKE states follow it. Besides, the argument you're marking on human rights is quite baseless. Yes, everybody has a right to "life, liberty and security of person," but such rights come with inherent limitations and restrictions. The text of such rights is not absolute and states interpret them differently in light of proportionality analyses. To hold them to their literal content is, well, naive."

    It seems like you're not aware of the European Convention of Human Rights and similar regional conventions. The ECHR is based on the UDHR, and is in fact binding-by-law. It is true that the UDHR itself is not binding-by-law, which makes Zenith's argumentation somewhat flawed, but it does not change the fact that regional conventions based on the UDHR are in place, and which are incorporated in international/regional law. (Note: It seems that the International Bill of Human Rights is a global international law, which applies to the UN members).

    Your assertion that nobody respects international law is not true at all. The civil war in Syria, for instance, would have escalated to a war between states had it not been for international law. Had the international laws not been followed, the UN would not been in existence, and at least not in its current status.

    Furthermore, executions are irreversible. What if a person was framed? Or if the justice system is flawed, which causes an innocent person lose his life despite for the fact that there were no evidence against him (Troy Davis, Carlos DeLuna and Reggie Clemons in the US for instance, or maybe the Gambian president that began executing homosexuals during fall is worth a mention)? In China, you can face death penalty if you are convicted for fraud, in some nations because you're homosexual and in others because you wrote a twitter post. These examples are of course outrageous, but they happen in today's

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    Your assertion that nobody respects international law is not true at all. The civil war in Syria, for instance, would have escalated to a war between states had it not been for international law. Had the international laws not been followed, the UN would not been in existence, and at least not in its current status.

    That is not because of international laws. That is due to the countries around Syria and the countries that use the countries around as proxies (read; USA and Russia) would result in a huge regional war, which is very undesirable for all parties.

    On topic: I am against the death penalty because it is brutalising our societies and taking away the last chance of the human being that is being executed to even improve. Personally I believe that everyone deserves a second chance and thus the death penalty is impossible for me to accept.

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    I think you're mistaken. The death penalty incurs many costs because it's such a volatile thing. People want to live so they'll obviously appeal to losing their lives. I'm not really sure of any case that has gone without any form of appeal or that has happened extremely quickly. I'm sure you wouldn't advocate a system that doesn't allow any form of appeal. The problem I think you have with this is that you don't see the costs of the time leading up to the death. Person x may have is case done with (after he's dead) in, let's say, 30 years. Whereas person y may have to be catered for for 50 years (after he's dead by through life imprisonment.) It looks like it's more expensive for y because the costs are spread out over a long period of time whereas x has his costs put into a shorter timeframe. All that does to us, is give us the impression that because he's alive for less time, we've spent less money on him. That'd only be the case if he simply died earlier in prison (without the death penalty charge).
    I see your facts and am honestly, quite surprised. I never realised the appeals' processes differed this much. As far as I am aware, death penalty or life imprisonment, both carry and allow for the same number of appeals and cross-appeals, this inevitably results in the same amount of money being spent, discounting the costs of the actual carrying out of the death. It would be interesting to compare the numbers of the two.
    I don't. While I do think it's important to refrain from committing the slippery slope fallacy, I don't trust any legal system to actually keep things set in stone (as you propose). Of course it would be nice if we had laws saying '30 years for x crime but death penalty for y' but, as you know, these things aren't always in black and white. I wouldn't put it past public opinion to say something like 'Since we have the death penalty for people who commit genocide, why not for killing 5 people? Or even 1?' After all, a life has been taken away in the end. "lèse-majesté" - Can you explain this? I don't quite understand it.
    Lèse-majesté = high treason.

    The alternative I propose is a list of predetermined offences which fit the requirements for deserving the death penalty. Therefore, with a constitutional modality in the UK, for example, this can be inserted into judicial proceedings. Then, no matter what public opinion may or may not say, the specificities of the application of the death penalty will be fixed. I purport such fixture should be for the worst sort of crimes, the unimaginable ones involving horrendous acts. And yes, this will lead to a grey area, but the grey area can never be done away with, strict demarcated lines in the sand are the closest we can come to demystifying the associated unease.

    What is the point of the state if it isn't to protect people in anyway? If it is to punish wrong doers, why does it not do that by protecting innocent people? There is a reason why we have different scales of punishment for crimes. Yes, have the right to a fair trial by all means, but that isn't the aim of the law completely. To try and separate law and justice like that is extremely difficult, nor do I see the value in it. Whether you hold the just desert theory, or a welfare based approach to justice, or anything like justice as fairness, the law will pretty much always act on the aims of justice.
    Well that's a philosophical, jurisprudential dilemma. A natural law theorist would applaud what you've just said, but not all conceptualisations of the law adhere to your elaboration of it. Law is not based on "justice" as most people seem to and want to believe, it is and always will be based on predetermined rules and their application. Even if these rules render a result in a scenario that is diametrically opposite to what would be 'justice,' such outcome would not be nullified as law. Yes, it is very difficult to separate law and justice and arguing this point further would be, admittedly, pointless, because such arguments would stem from a deep-rooted disagreement on what the law does or does not constitute, which is something nobody can answer. I agree to disagree.
    Would you also advocate raping someone if they raped someone else? Or, as I've heard before, castrate rapists?
    Actually, specifically in this scenario, I have absolutely no moral qualms in the castration of rapists. Just to throw that out there.
    It seems like you're not aware of the European Convention of Human Rights and similar regional conventions. The ECHR is based on the UDHR, and is in fact binding-by-law. It is true that the UDHR itself is not binding-by-law, which makes Zenith's argumentation somewhat flawed, but it does not change the fact that regional conventions based on the UDHR are in place, and which are incorporated in international/regional law. (Note: It seems that the International Bill of Human Rights is a global international law, which applies to the UN members). Your assertion that nobody respects international law is not true at all. The civil war in Syria, for instance, would have escalated to a war between states had it not been for international law. Had the international laws not been followed, the UN would not been in existence, and at least not in its current status.
    I'm going to try to draw this picture for you as well as I can.

    The existence of the United Nations is based in the signing of a multilateral treaty. Such treaty comes under the purview of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), which is only binding so long as member-states agree to be so bound.

    The situation is Syria is being stymied, not because the rules of engagement are finally being observed and the law governing the use of force obeyed, it's because no powerful country has any particularly overriding or effectuating reason to invade Syria to restore order one way or another. International law, almost entirely, is seen as two things: a mechanism of global dialogue OR neo-colonialism in the 21st century. The situation in Syria is currently within the mandate of the Responsibility to Protect, something that has been hotly debated and came into effect informally and formally in 2005.

    The truth of international law, specifically in relation to intervention in other states, nobody can do anything if a powerful country decided to intervene. When America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, other than the first time, they had no international law-sanctioned right to do so. Under the rules of engagement, they could only intervene after it had been 'okay-ed' by the UN Security Council. The UNSC refused their request, they went in anyway. You want to know what happened to them for breaching international law? Nothing.

    International law is only binding upon a country, if that country wants to be bound. If the country decides to no longer be bound, it is free to do as it damn well pleases, and there is no authority or organisation that can tell it otherwise. Now if the country in question is North Korea for example, or some random, poverty-stricken country in Africa, yeah, it can probably be bullied into compliance with international law, but that's provided that the powerful states have some reason to do the bullying. If the USA or the UK or China did what it wanted, nobody would stop them. Yes, they would raise their shackles and scream bloody murder, but all that that would achieve at the end would be a large amount of white noise, and nothing more.

    Regional conventions such as the ECHR are applicable upon its signatories, but such conventions come with a wealth of limitations and law that has been adjudicated upon by the European Courts and the national courts of a country. Their decisions mould the actual text and allow for restrictions and limitations. Yes, people have a 'right to life,' but intermingled with that right is a 'right to a decent quality of life,' such quality of life is damn near reduced to shambles when one is sentences to prison. You cannot claim these rights to be absolute, because they are not. The most common example used by courts is the 'freedom of speech and expression," yes, you can say what the hell you want, but if a newspaper print something that's blatantly false and harms someone reputation, they will be sued, their freedom of speech restricted. As an individual you can say what you want, but if you go into a crowded movie theatre and scream "BOMB!" you will be tackled, arrested and charges brought up against you. No human right is limitless, that is one of their fundamental tenants and within the actual text of the original UDHR itself such limitations are recognised and given weight.

    So don't use an international law argument to try and nullify the death penalty, China and India were both part of the General Assembly when the UDHR was universally adopted and made part of customary law, yet both states legally allow for the death penalty. The two have very little to do with each other.

    Furthermore, executions are irreversible. What if a person was framed? Or if the justice system is flawed, which causes an innocent person lose his life despite for the fact that there were no evidence against him (Troy Davis, Carlos DeLuna and Reggie Clemons in the US for instance, or maybe the Gambian president that began executing homosexuals during fall is worth a mention)? In China, you can face death penalty if you are convicted for fraud, in some nations because you're homosexual and in others because you wrote a twitter post. These examples are of course outrageous, but they happen in today's

    This is why I believe the death penalty should be reserved for the criminal perpetrators of the most heinous crimes against humanity and not be doled out to every accused murderer that waltzes through the court doors.

    Also, as I had said before, the law exists to punish criminals when their guilt is proven beyond all reasonable doubt. If the defendant appears guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, then he/she IS guilty by law, whether or not he/she is innocent in reality is irrelevant.

    Edited by Arrowhead
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    I think you can't believe that murder is wrong but then have space within the justice/political system for legalised murder where all you need is the right person to sign it off and suddenly killing somebody becomes okay and something that taxpayers pay for. To be honest I'd rather pay loads of money to keep people in cells than violate what I think is the important principle of not taking a life. It's hypocritical to do otherwise. I don't personally want to be part of a state that puts people to death, regardless of the method.

    You can argue all sorts of things about what the law is for, its purpose and so on, but I think you should also consider what powers it is exactly that a state should be able to dispense. Death to designated citizens in a sort-of state funded retribution is not on the list. If you want an eye for an eye, then the state should requisition property at random from burglars, rape the rapists... as others have described! Having a system where we punish people in a humane way allows there to be a space between crime and then the presently well-regarded 'civilised' system of justice.

    Human beings aren't a 'civil' race. We've always been violent and vindictive, just look at our bloody and illustrious history.

    I'm not going to fight with you because I see that your argument stems from a deep belief in the sanctity of human life. That you would classify the death penalty as 'legalised murder,' well, that's actually a fairly good description of what it is. Murder is when there is a killing (the actus reus) which is conducted via a predetermined course of action (the mens rea). (As a side note, the absence of the latter component classifies a death as 'manslaughter')

    Personally, I see nothing wrong with 'legalised murder.' Some people deserve to be killed. And no, I'm, personally, not making that call. I sincerely believe that society makes the list of rules to live by and when one violates a rule which has a sanction of death, then that's that. Kill the f*cker. Crude, yes. But I won't lose a single night's sleep over a convicted wrongdoer getting the chair.

    Edited by Arrowhead
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    There's quite a big difference between limiting and abolishing. When a person is imprisoned, his or her right to freedom is limited. The capital punishment abolishes one's right to live, hence making the argument "other rights are also being limited" irrelevant. Unless, of course, you considered abolishment as an extreme limitation. That would obviously be rather silly, because a limited right is still a right; it still exists, it has just been limited. In the case of capital punishment, the offender's right to live would cease to exist altogether. To sum up; rights are, as they should be, limited under certain circumstances, but that is not a sound argument for capital punishment, as capital punishment does not limit one's rights, but abolishes them.

    Secondly, the whole discussion of the costs of different punishments is, at least in my opinion, completely irrelevant. Even if capital punishment saved some money, it wouldn't be a sound justification for it. We'd save money by not giving food to inmates, but that doesn't give us the right to do so. I believe this should not be a pragmatic debate at all, it is about whether or not we have the right to take away one's right to live. This is where the debate becomes quite messy.

    I believe that taking away someone's right to live is wrong, under any and all circumstances. And now, you are of course thinking: "What about self-defense, or a situation where one has to kill a criminal who is trying to kill someone else?". Well, a right allows us to exercise that particular right, as long as that does not violate other's rights. Therefore the right to live does not extend to a case where it would limit someone else's right to live. As a consequence, you would not violate a killer's right to live, if you killed him to save yourself, or whomever that person was trying to kill.

    It is obviously a moral stance I'm taking here, and I'd just be going in circles if I argumented it further, as the presumption of killing being wrong is my argument. If you have a different set of moral values, and believe that killing can be justified even in cases other than self-defense, we will have to agree to disagree.

    Edited by Positron

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    I completely support death penalty and it is completely necessary to reduce crimes. Also I don't know how much of you will agree with this, for hardcore criminals, terrorists etc must be given a horrible death penalty. The first question is that whether death penalty is ethical? I completely think so. Second thus the criminals deserve harsh way of executions like ( impaling, brazen bull, or rat torture). Of course these are one of the most horrible way of executions but for today's world where crimes have become a total menace in the society such sort of punishments must be given so that the crime rates can be curbed completely. ( Of course not for all criminals but for those who have committed worst form of crime.)

    Edited by akash jishnu

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    I do not agree with the death penalty. I think its a method of punishment best left in the bronze age for ethical reasons, but unfortunately comes back in our modern world as a rallying cry for right wing politicians who want to be "tough on crime."

    Firstly in a philosophical point of view, how is the death penalty remotely ethical? Killing murders does not bring back those that they killed, it does not atone the mis-justice, it is just another wrong doing. As Gandhi said "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." An act of self-defence, you have no choice but to take that persons life. If you hold a person's life in your hands and kill them, as you do with an incarcerated criminal it is murder. The same as he committed.

    Something else people don't look past on "tough on crime political campaigns" is that these methods have been tried and tested for centuries and they do not reduce crime. This is because in reality there are two types of criminals. The desperate and the criminally insane. The desperate live on the margins of society, low socio-economic status. Many of them are not inherently criminal, but is a fact of life in their existence. These people are criminals because they need to survive. Even if you put the death penalty of stealing food, they would still steal. it is either starve on the street for sure, or maybe get some bread at the risk of the death penalty. These people can be saved, rehabilitated and re-integrated into society. Look at small time criminals in the US, they come out bigger criminals when they leave jail, than when they came in because they are receiving no help or education. People don't like the idea of spending money on some low-life punks, but if you want them to leave jail someone aspiring to add to society, it will take a little extra money.


    The second kind of criminal I mentioned is the criminally insane. These people cannot be deterred with any threat of punishment. These people do not commit their crimes because it is logical, normal or a necessity to survive. They commit them because they don't care about themselves, those around them and society. They are the kind of people can not be released back into the population. If you kill them, you sink down to their level, you've given them exactly what they want. More people killing, more death and negativity. In my opinion, these hardened criminals do not receive justice through the death penalty. With that we let them off the hook. They have a debt to society that is best paid by forced labour which benefits society and the continuing of a bleak existence until the day they die.

    So I do believe in justice being served, but I don't think that killing them really helps anyone. It just awakens a primitive desire in us to gain revenge. Like I said something we should leave in our past...

    Edited by Luka Petrovic
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    I don't really mind the non-prevalence of the death penalty in most countries, but I do believe that the death penalty could be justified to an extent.

    It should be very carefully based on a predetermined set of offences that only carries with it a list of offences severely limiting or abolishing basic human rights. I would limit the death penalty to be applicable only to mass murder, mass torture, mass rape and the top-echelon leadership of equivalent forms of war crime or the combination of these within a smaller amount of crimes (rape-murder, torture-murders etc). Additionally, the crimes ought to be performed with a clear intent of severely harming the victims and show such proof of guilt that it is virtually impossible to disprove (e.g. actual, highly credible recordings of the crimes or a multiple-match set of DNA evidence). In these cases where capital punishment would be used, I also think that the limits of appealing should be set whereever they stand with regards to life imprisonment, as at least in an ideal world, the only cases allowing for the punishment would be "clear-cut" enough to raise very few questions on guilt.

    It's just an unfortunate case that thought with an assumption of this level of clarity is far more a matter of ethics in philosophy than actual courtroom implementation.

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    I don't really mind the non-prevalence of the death penalty in most countries, but I do believe that the death penalty could be justified to an extent.

    It should be very carefully based on a predetermined set of offences that only carries with it a list of offences severely limiting or abolishing basic human rights. I would limit the death penalty to be applicable only to mass murder, mass torture, mass rape and the top-echelon leadership of equivalent forms of war crime or the combination of these within a smaller amount of crimes (rape-murder, torture-murders etc). Additionally, the crimes ought to be performed with a clear intent of severely harming the victims and show such proof of guilt that it is virtually impossible to disprove (e.g. actual, highly credible recordings of the crimes or a multiple-match set of DNA evidence). In these cases where capital punishment would be used, I also think that the limits of appealing should be set whereever they stand with regards to life imprisonment, as at least in an ideal world, the only cases allowing for the punishment would be "clear-cut" enough to raise very few questions on guilt.

    It's just an unfortunate case that thought with an assumption of this level of clarity is far more a matter of ethics in philosophy than actual courtroom implementation.

    But then you are simply a murderer yourself then. Unless you are in an extreme circumstance where you cannot provide for everyone else and this inmate or accused person is consuming very scarce resources, how is it at all morally justified? You by killing don;t avenge or reverse their crime, let them rot into old age in a dismal cell and let them think of their crimes. Its a far worse punishment than death, some would probably want to die.

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