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Death Penalty
11-27-2015, 05:06 AM,
Post: #1
Death Penalty
Is death a valid punishment for committing a crime? If yes, which crime(s) should be worthy of the death penalty? What standards should be used to prevent wrongful conviction? Are any specific methods of execution, such as crucifixion or electrocution, immoral? Should anyone who is old enough to be held criminally liable at the time of the crime be subject to death penalty laws? Should executions be performed in public, and if so how does one define "public"?

For reference in the context of this open-ended debate, I will give the following information to help you:

"Supporters of the death penalty argued that death penalty is morally justified when applied in murder especially with aggravating elements such as for multiple murder, child murder, serial killing, torture murder, mass murder, terrorism, massacre or genocide. It is said that capital punishment for murder is and should be "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth"." (Wikipedia)

In countries like Singapore (Misuse of Drugs Act), drug trafficking is punishable by death, including possession of 500g/18oz marijuana/cannabis or 1.2kg/42oz opium for the mandatory death penalty, and 15g/0.53oz marijuana/cannabis or 100g/3.5oz opium. While I am not a drug user and as such have no idea how much that is in practical terms, I will assume it is reasonable. If there is an included charge of treason or murder, drug trafficking or pedophilia may warrant death in the US, and until 2008 was possible without included treason or murder. Treason is a death-worthy crime in essentially all jurisdictions with death penalties. Among other countries, Japan will execute you for "crimes against the state". In Saudi Arabia (and some other Muslim countries), sexual and religious crimes are worthy of death. In Kenya, Zambia, and KSA, aggravated robbery is worthy of death. In China, economic crimes such as sabotage on the value of the currency may warrant death.

Other crimes which may warrant death include conspiracy to commit murder (hitman-paying etc.), counterfeiting (US), desertion and abandonment of post (military), varying forms of robbery, kidnapping, piracy, espionage/treason, revolt, and crimes by those convicted to life in prison or convicted of incredibly large amounts of crime.

As a reference, the legal procedure for administering the death penalty in the United States is as follows: a jury composed of usually 24 people votes on if the case is valid enough to go to trial. Then, an actual trial is held. If a certain amount of jurors depending on state -- 12/12 in all states except Louisiana and Oregon, which require 10/12 or 11/12 -- who are selected specifically to be non-biased (often along the lines of half supporting or leaning towards either side from the start) -- declare that there is no doubt that the defendant is guilty, then the defendant may at the discretion of the judge presiding be sentenced to death. If the defendant is sentenced to death, then he or she has right to a review by the an appeal court, which will then determine if a second trial is necessary or not, and can acquit the defendant or reduce the sentence directly. If there is a reason for it, then the defendant also has the right to a change in venue to a place where there may not be as much bias among the jurors. The government will pay lawyer fees for criminal cases to ensure the right to a fair trial as well.

After all of this, the defendant probably has no more guaranteed appeals. Thus, the government will usually stop paying the lawyer bills. However, at this point, groups opposed to the death penalty will pay for the lawyers, since the defendant has gotten so far without having his death penalty overturned by usual procedure. A state collateral review is often performed at this phase; this process varies so much by state that I really cannot explain it myself, and I apologize for that. If one is still on death row after the state collateral review, then one may appeal to the federal government reporting wrongful imprisonment (since the state already rejected that) and then they might or might not declare the imprisonment wrongful. Next, one can challenge the law itself for violations of US Code Section 1983.

There are also various other routes one can take if one wishes to challenge the law, depending on situation. In 1946, for instance, the electric chair didn't work, so he had to be executed again. He claimed that executing him twice was a violation of his due process rights -- namely, the right to not be tried again for the same crime -- but the court said that it was simply a redo of the previously scheduled execution, rather than a second punishment for the same crime.

Death is painful. Some say that painful executions are immoral, but this is commonly refuted by the fact there's probably no way you're not going to have even the slightest pain being executed, because it's death. There are also moral objections to forced suicide (and the lack of an option to commit suicide rather than die on the other side), crucifixion perhaps for often purely religious reasons, torturous death penalties such as the Brazen Bull, which melts the flesh, and public executions.

Usually, youth are subject to lesser burdens than adults when they commit crimes. Some are sent to juvenile prisons, and in some countries they are executed. However, should they be subject to death if they commit extraordinary acts worthy of death, or even have no difference in criminal law from adults? Keep in mind this is teenagers killing people, and it is pretty rare to find someone who thinks two year old children should go to death, but they are welcome to speak as they wish.

A public execution does not necessarily mean doing it in an open space or forcing people to watch. It may be broadcast, provided to the media without permission to display it to all (e.g. letting journalists write about the execution), providing involved families with the right to view the execution, etc. It very much depends on how broad the meaning of "public" is cast. I once saw it proposed that the death penalty be broadcast on television, to be monetized as a form of entertainment.

I am certain that there is some way you may come up with something else to argue for this debate, since it's so open-ended. However, I'm running long with this post, so I'll end it here.
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