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The Contender
Con (against)
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Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,181 times Debate No: 51209
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)




First round is for acceptance. Good luck!


I accept this debate challenge. Through PM, my opponent and I have agreed that NO scenarios shall be presented. Good luck to my opponent!
Debate Round No. 1


Case 1: Hemorabi got it right!

Have you ever heard the saying an eye for an eye? Hemorabi made that! In ancient Mesopotamia, Hemorabi was their ruler. He made a judicial system that went like this. You steal from me, I steal from you. You killed my family member, I kill you. The system worked to repel crime in Mesopotamia. It would be the opposite if we would ban the death penalty. People would not be afraid of the chair, and would commit more murders! They would think when they go to prison that they would rule it or escape!

Case 2: More Execution Made Murder Drop!

Puzzled by this discovery? You really shouldn't. It has been proven with sources such as The Bureau Of Criminal justice that more executions made murder take a substantial drop.

As you see from this graph, as execution was at an all time low, murder was at an all time high.

Here is another graph showing the correlation of murders and death penalties. The ultimately lower as the death penalty gets higher!

A quote from Ernest Van Deg Haag

"Common sense, lately bolstered by statistics, tells us that the death penalty will deter murder... People fear nothing more than death. Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than the fear of death... life in prison is less feared. Murderers clearly prefer it to execution -- otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to life in prison instead of death... Therefore, a life sentence must be less deterrent than a death sentence. And we must execute murderers as long as it is merely possible that their execution protects citizens from future murder."

Ernest Van Deg Haag
Late Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University
"For the Death Penalty," New York Times

Case 3: The Death Penalty Is Moral!

This is a quote from Bruce Fain, JD

"The crimes of rape, torture, treason, kidnapping, murder, larceny, and perjury pivot on a moral code that escapes apodictic [indisputably true] proof by expert testimony or otherwise. But communities would plunge into anarchy if they could not act on moral assumptions less certain than that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Abolitionists may contend that the death penalty is inherently immoral because governments should never take human life, no matter what the provocation. But that is an article of faith, not of fact. The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense."

Bruce Fain, JD
Constitutional Lawyer and General Counsel to the Center for Law and Accountability
"Individual Rights and Responsibility - The Death Penalty, But Sparingly,"
June 17, 2008

The death penalty is used for immoral people that committed a heinous crime. A crime that is not tolerated in modern day society. We call those people scum, garbage, filth. Well what do we do with garbage? We destroy it. A dog bites a child. He gets put down yet, you expect that if a human being kills a another human being, they should live?!?!? That is bull!

Case 4: Over Population

If the death penalty is banned, many prisons will start to become over populated. With the rise in crime and lack of space, this may let wardens get killed and inmates escape. They may also fake like they didn't commit murder, or another heinous crime, or say they are sorry for it. Then, they might be released and be free to kill again! Why take the chance? If they are willing to dish it out, they should be willing to take the punishment.

Ladies and Gentleman, I have proved that:

The death penalty deters heinous crime

The death penalty is moral justified

Removing the death penalty will have negative effects.

Thank you!



I thank my opponent for his arguments. I will proceed to make mine, then refute in the third round. I ask my opponent not to post too many rebuttals in the last round, as I have limited characters to refute them. Without further ado, let's get started!

==C1: The Cost==

The cost of the death penalty is no secret. In California alone, people spend $308 million on each execution, which totals up to about $4 billion over time for only 13 executions [1][3]. In modern times, it costs about 177 million dollars more [2] yearly to have the death penalty over LWOP in California.

There are 733 people in California on death row [4]. If we were to actually execute them all, it would cost us a little over $240 billion dollars. In contrast, that's more than 1/3 of the U.S military budget. If the death penalty was abolished in California, we would be able to spend the extra money on things that further deter murder, such as the police force, security, or even education. It seems inevitable that LWOP deters murders, and we could further add to that amount with the extra funds we would have.

In other states, the death penalty is not widely used (take Maryland, which only has 5 inmates on death row [4]). 5 executions over time costed a staggering $186 million. They took actions to then abolish the death penalty to save these costs [5]. To sum up, it would be much cheaper to simply use LWOP instead of the death penalty. With the funds we save, we could focus on improving police force, education, benefits, etc.

==C2: Deterrent==

The death penalty is not as much of a deterrent as it is advertised to be. A poll of experts revealed scary results. 88% believe it is not a deterrent [6], while 5% believe it is, and 7% have no opinion. If we need further proof that the death penalty does not deter murder or deters as less as LWOP, we can look at the state evidence.

The states that use the death penalty the most have a range of 5.1-12.5 murders per 100,000 [7], while states with LWOP have a range of 1.2-7.1 murders per 100,000, significantly lower than states with the death penalty. Thus, it seems that murderers are more scared of LWOP than the death penalty. Furthermore, most deterrence studies are very unreliable, as an analysis of data showed that a minor tweaking of instruments used to record data can show results from the death penalty deters 429 murders to that the death penalty makes 86 murders happen [8].

The evidence that LWOP deters more murders than LWOP does not stop at the U.S.A. All around the globe, there is solid evidence that the death penalty does not deter as much murder as LWOP. Take a look at the quote below:

“The five countries in the world with the highest homicide rates that do not impose the death penalty have nearly half the number of murders per 100 000 people than the five countries with the highest homicides rates which do impose the death penalty (United Nations Development program) [9]”

There is no clear evidence that the death penalty deters more murders (or any) than LWOP. The only evidence is quotes, which really are not evidence at all. There is no refuting hard data that shows LWOP is a better deterrent than LWOP.

==C3: Innocence==

It is irrefutable that once you put a man to death, there is a 0% chance he will live. It is also irrefutable that if you put an innocent man to death, there would be a 0% chance of that man being able to live the life he deserved. This both has happened and has come very close to happening. Take Jason O'dell for example. At the time he was put to death, there were serious questions regarding his guiltiness [10]. Then he was put to death, and the DNA tests were burned up afterwards. This was obviously because the U.S did not want to face an innocent execution, even though they did one.

Furthermore, 144 people have been released from death row [11.] This suggests that up to 3.5% of people on the death row are, and was, innocent. If we were to abolish the death penalty, there would be a 0% chance that an innocent man would ever get executed again.

I will now go on to refuting my opponent's arguments.

==Rc1: Hemorabi got it right!==

My opponent states a quote from about 3,000 years ago as evidence. He states that since it worked in ANCIENT MESOPITAMIA, THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION, it would work today. First off, times have changed and old quotes have gotten questioned. My opponent has no credible, modern evidence that Hemorabi got it right. One way it wouldn't work today is that "you kill my family member, I kill you." The only murder that is even justifiable is when you kill out of self defense, which is clearly not the case.

I have shown that people are less scared of the chair than of LWOP, so this makes your argument false. If we ban the death penalty, we would still have LWOP, and no more murders would be committed than when we have the death penalty. My opponent has no evidence for his bold claim that "prisoners think they would rule it or escape." If they really though that, so many crimes would be committed because each person wants a chance to escape and rule prison.

In conclusion, a quote from a dead man of a civilization 3,000 years ago with no evidence is just not credible. Until my opponent shows further evidence, this argument is completely false.

==Rc2: More execution[s] made murder [rates] drop!==

This argument is really just an example of my opponent not looking far down into the data. While murder rates have dropped in states with the death penalty, they have also dropped in states without the death penalty. This suggests that the police force is to credit for this drop in murder, not the death penalty. What my opponent's graphs failed to show in the murder relation between states with the death penalty and states without the death penalty. They only show the U.S.A as a whole, assuming that the whole entire U.S.A has the death penalty (which we don't.) Thus, your graphs are biased and not solid evidence.

What Ernest Van Deg Haag said may be flawed. The death penalty statistics show that LWOP is more feared. If people feared death the most, why do people do very stupid things? Why do people commit suicide? Why do people volunteer to be in the military? His logic is flawed when he said we must continue to execute murderers if it protects society. He fails to see that LWOP deters murders also.

I will have to end my arguments and rebuttals here. I eagerly await my opponent's response! Thank you!

[8] "The Death Penalty: No Evidence for Deterrence." Donohue, John and Wolfers, Justin. Vol. 1, p. 3.
Debate Round No. 2


Rebuttal 1:

Why not just do it with a firing squad? Let them donate the guns and ammunition to kill them. Let the family or concerned citizens execute them or you can just hang them or use the electric chair. All of these are cost efficient ways of executing the death penalty. My opponent may also state that the trial will take longer, but the trial is going to cost money anyways. Death penalty or no death penalty. We can shorten the trials. My opponent also needs to take into account how much money it takes to feed someone for life.

Rebuttal 2:

These are just taken by citizens who have not witnessed the death penalty and don't know the effect of the death penalty.

You also fail to understand the variety of states. States have different

Almost all of these non-death penalty states, are generally small states. You also have to take into account gun control and general crime in the area. Seriously who ever heard a serious news story coming from Alaska? Then you have Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, all who are against gun control. Here are the crimes committed in Texas. (1) with the crimes committed in Minnesota, (2) you will see that Minnesota have generally less crime, whether it be assault, or property, than Texas. You also give a compare country to country. You fail to take into account the general crime and culture of the area there!

Rebuttal 3:

You have one case where the U.S got it wrong. The burning of the DNA test could've just been an error. That is not a problem with the death penalty. it is a problem with the jobs the cops do on the trail, and can easily be fixed.

Rebuttal 4:

Well, I have to give him this statement because a lot has changed.... Nope! Murder was still murder back then, as it is now. For a source, read in a 6th grade history book.

Rebuttal 5:

MY OPPONENT HAS ADDMITED THAT THE DEATH PENALTY DETURED CRIME. In states with more murders, the death penalty has helped lower like Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. These are where many murders happen, and they have started to go down. So, a main chunk of that is the states with the death penalty.

Then I ask you this, why do criminals, when they go to court, ask for life and not death. People commit stupid things because YOLO. People commit suicide because they are depressed. people join the military to get out of trouble, for structure, and pride in our nation.

Ladies And Gentleman, I have proved that:

Murders do go down as executions rise

Death Penalty is cost-efficient

Removing the death penalty will have negative effects

The death penalty is morally justified

Thank you




I thank my opponent for his arguments. I will start by refuting more things from round 2 before refuting his round 3 rebuttals.

==Rc3: Death Penalty is Moral!==

I see you took that quote from this website [1] which has an easy rebuttal to it.

"Embracing a certain quotient of racial bias and discrimination against the poor is an inexorable aspect of supporting capital punishment. This is an immoral condition that makes rejecting the death penalty on moral grounds not only defensible but necessary for those who refuse to accept unequal or unjust administration of punishment." Bryan Stevenson, JD. 2004.

We do not destroy garbage. We toss it into the landfill to rot away, which is exactly the case of LWOP! When a dog bites a child, we do not kill him, just punish him. If a human kills another human being, they still have the right to live. This is actually shown by your two examples (garbage and dogs.) Their quality of life should drastically be taken away, but we do not possess the right to take away another man's life, no matter the crime.

==Rc4: Overpopulation==

This case is not a good case. Only 14 people have been put to death in 2014 [2]. This poses absolutely no effect to the jail population. In fact, if we only save 11 million dollars by abolishing the death penalty, we could build a new jail to house all of the people who would've been executed. If the death penalty is banned, microscopic to no effect would be seen. No murderer would be released in LWOP. There is a very, very, very small to no chance that this would ever happen, so we shouldn't take the chance.

I have disproved in rounds 2 and 3:

The death penalty deters murders more than LWOP
The death penalty is not morally justified
Removing the death penalty would have negative effects.

Now, on to my round 3 rebuttals.


My opponent states that we should just do it with a firing squad and have people donate guns to kill them. If this was really a smart idea, why is it not put into effect yet? We do not hang citizens or use the electric chair because it is unconstitutional. The Constitution states that no cruel or unusual punishment shall be used and that people should have right of choice. Thus, we go with the less cruel way of lethal injection and giving them the choice between lethal injection or electrocution.

I have taken into account how much it takes to feed someone for life in my examples. The studies take everything into account from cost of execution to cost of feeding an inmate. My opponent states we can shorten the trials, but how? We need to make sure that the evidence is absolute, and that takes a long time. When we shorten the trials, we further add risk to executing someone innocent.


My opponent states that the survey was taken on citizens who have not studied the death penalty. He obviously did not read it. They were taken from experts with reasoning available [3]. He also says I fail to understand the variety of states. then he shows us a graph that IS FOR MY SIDE. Even if all of the non-death penalty states are small states, what does it matter? It does not name the TOTAL murder rate, only the murder rate per 100,000, so the data is not biased.

Gun control is ineffective. If the death penalty is a big, solid deterrent like you state, then guns should not have to play a role in murders, as people would be scared enough of the death penalty. You show me this is obviously not the case, which just further goes against you. Minnesota and Texas are both big states, so they are comparable. Minnesota having less crime further adds to my case of the LWOP being effective.

As for the countries, refer to my states argument. If the death penalty is a big deterrent, the circumstances should not matter because people would be too scared of the death penalty to even think about committing a murder. LWOP shows less of this than the death penalty does. Thus, your rebuttal is easily turned into an argument for my side.


The burning of DNA was NOT an error. Please show me evidence stating it was an error. If the U.S got it wrong, this further shows problems with the death penalty. It shows the wide margin of error. If it an "easily be fixed," why hasn't the U.S.A taken courses of actions to properly fix it? If there are problems with the police and judges on the trial, then this further shows why the death penalty is bad. You can not have any error for something as serious as death.


My opponent's statement seems to be somewhat boastly. He states nothing has changed over 5,000 years. He states his 6th grade history book with no specific passages from the book that state this. Murder was NOT the same back then as it is now, as many didn't have a fair trial, DNA was not taken into account, basic laws were not available, etc.


I admitted the death penalty deters little to no crime. My main point you failed to take into account is that I said the death penalty does not deter as much crime as LWOP. If the death penalty really helped lower murder rates, then why are states without the death penalty lowering also? It seems this is just because law, order, police, and technology are making this so. He fails to notice that the U.S.A murder rate has gone down in the same rate, there being no evidence that the death penalty is responsible for this.

When people go to court, they ask for life and not death because they still have the right to life, and they see that. Yolo does not answer my question. If people were scared of death more than anything, they would take any measures to avoid it. If depressed people were so afraid of death, they wouldn't kill themself and try to life a life. If death was really the thing humans are most scared of, they wouldn't join the military to get out of something because they would be less scared of that said "something."

Thank you for reading. I eagerly wait my opponent's response!

Debate Round No. 3


Rebuttal 1:

Let me give you an example. You tell me if this person deserves to live. This is a real man. Not a scenario. Does he deserve to live? Look at is face. Does he show any remorse? Do you really want filth like that alive? I don't. If people don't care about the death penalty, then why do they always ask for life in prison instead of death? It is illogical to let scum like that live. Garbage gets burned in the incinerator, and most of the time, dogs get put down for biting someone.

Rebuttal 2:

Count the new offenders that don't need to fear the death penalty anymore and we'll see what happens.... You also forget my arguments about cutting costs.

Rebuttal 3:

It hasn't been put to effect yet because all of this controversy with the death penalty! You can cut trails by having less court time, more evidence required to convict them, and making jury deliberations a little bit shorter.

Rebuttal 4:

Experts are not criminals and have no way of knowing what a killer is thinking when on trail. They could be saying that now, but let's see if they would say it if they would be faced with death. I showed the graph to rebuttal it. You see the crime rates that aren't murder, then compare it to Texas, you see there is a big difference. Most of the non-death penalty states are small states.

It's easier to commit murder with a gun than a knife. That is why guns come into effect. Minnesota has less general crime as my opponent again fails to comprehend. it matters how much crime, not just murders, but general crime is in the area. I have shown that Minnesota has less general crime than Texas, so that shows they can't be compared.

Again, my opponent fails to understand the different cultures in the area.

Rebuttal 5:

Murder has changed, but if there is solid DNA evidence (I know DNA evidence was non-existent back then) Then the hemorabi system should be taken into account.

Rebuttal 6:

You fail to understand my arguments once again. States with the death penalty are often larger, and have a bigger population. A big chunk of that is states with the death penalty.

This overall last paragraph made no sense to me. I think the whole argument is in-valid.

I think I have proved my point that the death penalty:

The death penalty deters murders more than LWOP
The death penalty is not morally justified
The death penalty is cost-efficient

I also suggest my opponent has not filled his BOP that:

LWOP works better than the death penalty
The death penalty is not morally justified

The death penalty can never be cost efficient.

These are the reasons I think you should vote Pro. Con has not fulfilled any of his BOP's as shown above. Thank you.

Don't try "The BOP is no on me argument." never said who the BOP was on.



I thank my opponent for responding to my arguments! I will only do rebuttals, as my opponent can not response to any of my arguments.


My opponent says that he will give me an example of a real man, but failed to do so. He does deserve to live, as everyone has right to life, no matter their actions. It is not your opinion that decides the fate. I have already said why people ask for life instead of death in court.

My opponent says it is illogical to let a scum like that live. However, he shows no evidence for it being "illogical." Thus, he presents an empty argument that I do not need to refute. If garbage gets burned. it has a negative effect on the climate (pollution.) A dog does not get put down for biting someone. My opponent fails to provide evidence for that claim.

Furthermore, my opponent dropped these rebuttals:

-Bryan Stevenson's quote/argument
-That we do NOT possess the right to take away another man's life


Instead of directly refuting my arguments, my opponent has an empty claim with no evidence whatsoever. I looked back and I fail to see any cost arguments in your fourth argument of round two. My opponent fails to argue any of my arguments, thus he dropped the following points:

-He put out a graph specifically for my side
-It doesn't matter the conditions if DP is really a big deterrent
-Data is not biased, like he claimed
-LWOP is effective
-That his countries argument is ineffective.


My opponent states his idea has not been put into effect because of all the controversy. However, this is not a valid reason. If his idea would really work, the government would put it into effect to clear up the controversy and help the pro side of the death penalty, which they have, quite obviously, not done.

My opponent failed to get my rebuttal to the "less court time argument." His idea would pose way more risk for the innocent people, as the evidence would not be looked over so well due to the faster court times. His last idea directly contradicts the former argument. Having more evidence to convict them would make jury time longer, as there would have to be a more through evidence search. He also states NO valid ways to make the trial shorter, making his argument not strong and easily refuted.

My opponent dropped the following arguments:

-Death Penalty is unconstitutional
-We add risk [of executing someone innocent] when we shorten the trials


My opponent states that experts have no way of knowing what a killer is thinking, and thus are not right. The experts have studied the death penalty inside and out, analyzed the people on death row, etc. To say they so not know something about the death penalty is simply not credible. If you read their reasoning [1][2] you would understand how they know. My opponent also shows no evidence that they would be thinking differently if they faced death themselves. Thus, his argument is empty. I have already refuted that the size of the state does not matter, as the data is shown not in the total murders, but murders per 100,000. Plus, some countries (some in Africa, for example) have much higher murder rates than bigger countries.

I have already refuted that if the death penalty deters like you said it did, guns would not have to come into effect. Crime rates that aren't murder shouldn't have an effect if the death penalty is such a big deterrent, as you state. The different cultures in the area (again) shouldn't need to come into effect if the death penalty is such a big deterrent like you state.

My opponent has dropped the following arguments:

-It doesn't matter if the states are smaller or bigger (murder rate is per 100,000)
-Gun control is not relevant because he states DP is deterrent
-Minnesota having small crime rates means LWOP is effective.
-Drops my countries argument entirely


I do not see much to refute in this rebuttal that I have not already refuted. He concedes that murder has changed over 5,000 years, and that means the Hemorabi system may be somewhat flawed, now that we have fair trial, laws, etc.

My opponent dropped that back then people did not have a fair trial and basic laws, which leads to the conclusion that the Hemorabi system is weak or not strong.


I have already refuted that if the death penalty is as big of a deterrent as you state, then variables such as size and population do not have to be accounted for. My opponent does not even TRY to refute my last paragraph.

My opponent dropped:

-Death penalty does not deter as much crime as LWOP
-Why are states without DP have lower murder rates if DP is accountable for drop?
-Drops my argument that death is not the most feared thing.

I have shown that the death penalty is of a very high cost. In not one state does LWOP cost more, which means I have fulfilled my BoP that the death penalty can never be cost efficient. I have shown through states and countries that LWOP may work better than the DP, which means I have fulfilled that part of my BoP. I have also proved that through the Constitution, the death penalty is not just because "no cruel or unusual punishment shall be used." My opponent's three things that he states I did not fulfill have actually been fulfilled.

My opponent never proved the death penalty deterred more murders than LWOP (he never cited any studies, experts, solid data, etc) like I did. He also states he proved the death penalty is not morally justified, which is my BoP. He has clearly not shown that the death penalty is cost-efficient. He never refuted that the California death penalty costs 308 MILLION dollars, more than 300 MILLION MORE THAN LWOP IN TOTAL. The BoP is shared, not solely on you or me.

Thus, I believe I have won this debate. I thank you for reading, and I thank cooldudebro for an awesome debate!

[2] (Alternative)

Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Guarneer 2 years ago
Hey Cooldudebro,
I will be brief. You mentioned Hemurabi. Let me tell you this, 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.'
Posted by Allthenamesaretacken 2 years ago
I cant say Ive read through the debate but I do believe that there are monsters out there that are classified as humans who definitely deserve to die. Whether the justice system is a appropriate judge is up for debate.
Posted by Allthenamesaretacken 2 years ago
I cant say Ive read through the debate but I do believe that there are monsters out there that are classified as humans who definitely deserve to die. Whether the justice system is a appropriate judge is up for debate.
Posted by Cooldudebro 2 years ago
OMG I DIDN"T MEAN TO WRITE THA!t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: CON showed that LWOP is more cost effective and a better deterrent than the DP. He also did a better job of citing all of his sources.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO's arguments reduced to: an ancient mesopotamian dude had this figured out, the death penalty has a deterrent effect and the death penalty is just because it respects human dignity and but for the death penalty we face a risk of overpopulation. CON turned every one of those arguments, and also argued most compellingly that due to the potential for innocent people to be executed and the nonexistence of a deterrent effect the death penalty is not a just of efficient measure of punishment. So, arguments to CON.
Vote Placed by Dakota-Hiltzman 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: It's very bothersome that Pro is supplying graphs without actually citing their source. Con makes strong arguments for the use of LWOP instead of CP.