a Capital Offense is a Murder
that...(THISVARIES FROM STATETO STATE!)
•is particularly vile, atrocious, or cruel
•has multiple victims
•occurred during the commission of another felony
•has a victim that was a police/correctional officer
in the line of duty
•offender was previously convicted of a capital
offense or violent crime
•offender directed an accomplice to commit
murder or committed murder at the direction of
Aggravating vs. Mitigating
• Aggravating Factor-
something that makes a
murder more serious, allows
prosecutor to ask for DP
• Mitigating Factor-
something the jury can
consider in favor of the
defendant, can lessen
•law enforcement- police, parole officer, firefighter, etc
•court officials- judge, lawyer, juror, witness
• age (under 18, over 75)
• another cause for death
• co-defendant spared DP
• cooperation with authorities
• extreme duress
• extreme mental/emotional disturbance
• impaired capacity
• mentally retarded
• minor participation
• moral justification
• no future threat
Ohio’s Revised CodeAGGRAVATING FACTORS
2.Murder for hire
3.murder while in jail, or after breaking out
4.purposeful killing or attempt to kill
5.victim was law enforcement officer
6.murder happened during other crime (kidnapping, rape, arson, robbery, other
7.witness to prevent testimony
•victim under age of 13
Severity of Crimes
• FIRST-DEGREE MURDER: committed with deliberate and
premeditated malice (also if victim is police officer or witness to a crime)
• SECOND-DEGREE MURDER: committed with malice, but without
deliberation or premeditation
• VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER: killing done in the heat of
moment, provoked by acts of the victim (such as violent assault)
• INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER (Criminally Negligent
Homicide) killing with there is no intention to kill, occurs when killing is
a result of another crime (robbery) or out of negligence (car wreck)
• JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE: intentional killing dones in accordance
with legal obligations (execution of criminals), killings necessary to
prevent a felony, or killings in self-defense
• Firing Squad
• Gas Chamber
• Lethal injection
• and more...
Topics for Debate...• Is it really Revenge?
• Proportionality to Crime
• Is it Barbaric?
• Use of DNA
• Public Opinion
• Executing the Innocent?
• Inconsistent eyewitness testimony
• Fairness between races and classes
• Religious Arguments
• Criminal Justice System
90%+ of death-row inmates are poor. Why is this? Don’t
rich people commit crimes?
•Poor legal representation (overworked, overwhelmed public
defenders... or new to the process of capital cases?)
•Police and prosecutorial misconduct (forced confessions)
•Perjured testimony or mistaken eyewitness testimony
•Jailhouse “snitch” (shorter sentence for new testimony)
•Suppression or misrepresentation of mitigating evidence
•Community or political pressure to solve cases
Can It Be Fair... To The Poor???
• more pre-trial preparation
• more pre-trial motions to file/answer
• more experts to hire
• usually 2 or more attorneys
• jurors pre-screened
• jurors sequestered during trial
• two trials instead of one, one for guilt and second for sentencing
• trial takes longer (estimated 3-5 times longer in length)
• series of required appeals
• Furman v Georgia 1972- DP is “arbitrary and
capricious”, violated ban on “cruel and unusual
punishment”... DP suspended in US
• Gregg v Georgia 1976- revisions in state laws
• Estelle v Smith 1981- mental
• Ring v Arizona 2005- only sentenced by jury
• Roper v Simmons 2005- min. age of 18
Should CP Be Banned? YES
1. Financial costs to taxpayers
2. It’s barbaric and violates the "cruel and unusual" clause in the Bill of Rights.
3. The endless appeals and required additional procedures clog our court system.
4. We have to move away from the "eye for an eye" revenge mentality
5. It sends the wrong message: why kill people who kill people to show killing is wrong.
6. Life in prison is a worse punishment and a more effective deterrent.
7. Other countries (especially in Europe) would have a more favorable image of America.
8. Some jury members are reluctant to convict if it means putting someone to death.
9. The prisoner's family must suffer from seeing their loved one put to death by the state, as
well as going through the emotionally-draining appeals process.
10.The possibility exists that innocent men and women may be put to death.
11.Mentally ill patients may be put to death.
12.It creates sympathy for the monstrous perpetrators of the crimes.
13.It often draws top talent laywers who will work for little or no cost due to the publicity of
the case and their personal beliefs against the morality of the death penalty, increasing the
chances a technicality or a manipulated jury will release a guilt person.
• It is useless in that it doesn't bring the victim back to life.
1. Gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much.
2. It creates another form of crime deterrent.
3. Justice is better served.
4. Justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims.
5. It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence.
6. DNA testing and other methods of modern crime scene science can now
effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence.
7. Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill.
8. It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system.
9. It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process,
which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system
Should CP Be Banned? NO!