Debate of Feb. 20, 1894.
Brief for the Affirmative.W. H. Cobb and Edw. C. Bradlee.
General references: Torjiro Mogi, "Capital Punishment." A. J. Palm, "The Death Penalty." "Mass. Capital Punishment Report 1848."
I. Advance of civilization tends towards absolute abolition of the death penalty.
II. It is not right: (a) It rests on the old idea of retribution and is not reformatory. (b) It makes conviction less certain. (c) It tends to weaken the sacredness of human life. (d) It is irrevocable.
III. It is unnecessary for the protection of society since it does not tend more than life imprisonment to prevent other crimes, either (a) by the criminal himself, or (b) by others, for (1) It is the certainty and not the severity of the punishment which deters the criminal, and, (2) The murderer dreads the death penalty no more than life imprisonment.
Brief for the Negative.E. B. Bishop and H. L. Cannon.
References: E. W. Cox, Principles of Punishment, pp. 1, 2, 75-78; G. B. Cheever, Capital Punishment; Hansard's Debates, Vol. 262, "The Law of Capital Punishment."
I. The primary purpose of punishment is to deter, not to reform.
II. Capital punishment is the best deterrent.
(a) The most fitting punnishment is the one similar and equal to the injury sustained, the crime instantly suggesting the nature and magnitude of the punishment.
(b) Were the death penalty removed the heinousness of murder would be relatively diminished. (1) The absence of any aditional penalty for murder would make murder sometimes (e. g. burglars) expedient for the criminal. (2) Punishments for other offences would have to be diminished.
(c) Other punishments than death offer hope of escape or pardon, and are not sufficiently deterrent.