The Instigator
Con (against)
6 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 633 times Debate No: 54415
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




I noticed jp was in a debate with someone over this topic, but his opponent didn't respond. It's been a while since I've done this topic, and now I'd like to revisit it. Thank you in advance for accepting, assuming you do.

Anyways, one clarification. I am for the death penalty in extremely specific, and likely hypothetical circumstances. If someone keeps breaking out of prison and killing people, he should be put to death (imagine the Joker as an example). Otherwise I am opposed.

Additionally, we must keep our arguments centered around the current form of execution in the US. This debate is not about reform.

First Round is for Acceptance. Any questions, ask me in the comments before you accept.


I see that the Death Penalty is bad in some ways. Such as if a person is wrongfully executed, and someone like Charles Manson is not, then their is a problem
Debate Round No. 1


One of the main arguments for keeping the Death Penalty is that it deters crime. However, there has been no evidence found to support this.
"Our results provide no empirical support for the argument that the existence or application of the death penalty deters prospective offenders from committing homicide... Although policymakers and the public can continue to base support for use of the death penalty on retribution, religion, or other justifications, defending its use based solely on its deterrent effect is contrary to the evidence presented here. At a minimum, policymakers should refrain from justifying its use by claiming that it is a deterrent to homicide and should consider less costly, more effective ways of addressing crime."
--Tomislav Kovandzic, PhD, Associate Professor of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas[1]

Not only is there a lack of evidence to support Death Penalty's deterrence, there is actually correlative evidence that shows Death Penalty states as having more crime[2].
click="document.location='/MyDinosaurHands/photos/album/3417/22416/'" src="../../../photos/albums/1/4/3417/118348-3417-hs96b-a.jpg" alt="For debate 'Death Penalty' Shows lack of deterrence for the Death Penalty." />

As we are human, and thus imperfect, we are bound to make mistakes with sentencing people to death. According to an extremely recent study, 1 in 25 inmates on death row are innocent, and this is the study's conservative estimate[3]. Many proponents of the Death Penalty like to say that our criminal investigations become more and more accurate with the better technologies we have today, but as we can see with this study, the advancement of our criminal investigation technology doesn't matter.

Not only are the innocent at risk, but so too are the mentally handicapped. It is conservatively estimated that between 5-10% of those on death row are mentally handicapped[4], and thus not actually responsible for their crimes. Not only does it violate logic to sentence someone who has no control over their actions, it also violates the UN's international laws[5].

Given that in America courts are constitutionally bound to go through extremely lengthy legal proceedings in a Death Penalty, it ends up costing a lot more to put a person to death than it would to just hold them the rest of their life. It turns out that per year, it is 134 million dollars more expensive to have a Death Penalty case[6]. This is money that could be going back to your state in a helpful manner, providing better roads or education, for example. For a sentence that shows no ability to make society safer, this is a waste of money.

Going back to the deterrence section of my argument, I would speculate that this is why states with the death penalty have a higher crime rate. Focusing 134 million dollars a year at one person in your state has to reduce funding for things like your police force. A poorly funded police force leads to higher crime. Perhaps if we stopped funding Death Penalty cases, there'd be less instances in which we would have had one.

Even after all the information presented, there may be some who still say the criminals in question deserve death, because their crimes are so heinous. I realize that this is a mentality that comes from opinion. It is the kind of opinion that I cannot change with a fact, it is just something that some people believe, and others don't. All I can do is argue against it with its own logic.

If you say those on death row deserve death, you are the kind of person who believes people 'deserve' things. You believe that you are capable and worthy of passing judgments on what people deserve. So when we talk about people deserving things, ask yourself this: do students all around my state deserve to have money taken away from them every year just for one person? Do the facilities in my state for the mentally ill deserve to have funding taken away for one person? Do the mentally ill on death row deserve to be wrongfully executed for one man?

You can believe that certain people deserve death, but I suggest you realize that with that brings a lot more negative to a lot of people who don't deserve it.

Now I shall describe my personal moral code in regards to this issue. You don't have to subscribe to what I say to be on the same side as me however, I have presented plenty of factual reasons for you to oppose the Death Penalty.

My thoughts on killing: One should not kill unless it prevents further death or harm. Simply killing someone because you think they deserve it is something we should avoid, for a couple reasons.

First, look at the parallels here. If you're putting someone to death for killing someone, that does make you a bit of a hypocrite. You're killing someone... for killing someone. What? The criminal killed whoever they killed because they believed that person deserved it. We then kill that criminal because we believe they deserve it. How are we any better?

Second, it is just the height of arrogance to assume that you are capable of passing judgment on what someone 'deserves' for their crimes. I believe there is nothing wrong with acting to prevent further harm from occurring, but simply acting to hurt someone for hurting others, when it doesn't actually save anyone from harm, is just arrogant. What about you is so great that you know when someone deserves death?

Thanks for reading.



One who causes death shall expierence actions taken against them. See, the death penalty should only be used on the worst criminal, such as Charles Manson. These men have torn families apart, and it would be nice to have a solution. The Death penalty is not the solution to everything, but Charles Manson's erratic behavior is quite annoying and he has been imprisoned for over 40 or more years. Charles Manson purposley goes to parole hearings just so he can show how crazy he is, it would be nice to have this problem dissapere.
Debate Round No. 2


It seems that my opponent's main argument is Charles Manson, and that he is annoying in courtrooms. For the reasons I have already outlined, I think we can all see that the disadvantages of having a Death Penalty in place. All of those reasons should not be overturned for Charles Manson, who is not still killing people or anything, he's just being annoying in courtrooms. If you really don't like Charles Manson, don't dignify him by putting 134 million dollars of attention towards him. Be above Charles Manson.


As I said in the previous round, the death penalty is only good for the worst criminals. Death penalty does waste alot of money and the case of wrongful execution. But these criminals who have murdered others are sick and twisted. Electric chair and gas chamber are money wasters, but I think a lethal injection would be a safe way to bring justice to families
Debate Round No. 3


"Death penalty does waste alot of money and the case of wrongful execution. But these criminals who have murdered others are sick and twisted."
Here my opponent admits that the death penalty kills innocents. He seems to justify this with the idea that some criminals are just really bad. This is not good enough, because killing them allows for the death of innocents. Given that we can just hold these criminals as the alternative, we should just do that.

"...I think a lethal injection would be a safe way to bring justice to families"
I think my opponent is trying to say that lethal injection would be a better method than the electric chair and gas chamber. I don't see how. All require lengthy and expensive judicial processes and all have risk of improper administration, which leads to what is constitutionally defined as cruel and unusual punishment. Cruel and unusual punishment is illegal.

Also, the concept of justice to families. This is derived from the thought that the death of their family member's killer will bring them retribution. First, I'd like to say that this concept will not hold true with all families. Some may not feel any better afterwards. All people are different and react differently. Secondly, what is more important, retribution for a select few, or important funding for the entire state, possibly the police force, to help prevent further crime?

Thanks for reading. Vote Con.


In closing I shall say this. The death penalty is good for certain situations. Everything has pro's and con's, but the death penalty seems like a way to have criminals pay for they have done.

Thank you for reading. Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Tie. Both members upheld proper conduct towards one another throughout the debate. S & G - Con. There were several misspellings and grammatical errors made by Pro. These are found in R1, R2, R3, and R4. Sources - Con. Pro failed to use any source to further validate his claims, whereas Con presented several sources while making his main contentions. Arguments - Con. Pro not only conceded to Con's contentions on Innocence and Cost, but also failed to ever rebut the deterring crime and 'deserving' points. Pro based his entire argument on Charles Manson, which Con rebutted in R3 by showing how putting him to death would only cost more. The last argument raised by Pro was that lethal injection would be the best method. He fails to really show why, and also has that point successfully rebutted by Con when he again showed how the cost and method are both undesirable and ultimately not good. Ultimately, Con's arguments remained standing and had rebutted each of Pro's points.