The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

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: 1/9/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 846 times Debate No: 68070
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)




Round 1-Acceptance

Round 2- Opening Statements

Round 3+4- Rebuttals

Round 5- Closing Statements
Debate Round No. 1


Hunts forfeited this round.


extend for ff
Debate Round No. 2


Sorry about the forfeit, I have been very busy with finals.

#1- It costs more for the death penalty than the cost of life in prison.

California has spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978. California spends an additional $184 million on the death penalty per year because of the additional costs of capital trials, enhanced security on death row, and legal representation.The study"s authors predict that the cost of the death penalty will reach $9 billion by 2030.

#2- Innocent while on death row.

The above link proves that inmates have been proven innocent while on death row, and sadly some have been killed and then later found innocent.

#3- Who gets the death penalty?

The above link shows that the majority of inmates are African Americans. Another part to the article shows that only people with little wealth who cannot afford a good lawyer get the death penalty rather than life without parole.

#4- Deterrence.

This link PROVES that the death penalty does NOT bring down crime rates. So why then would we implement a law that clearly is not working?

The below links show the many other problems associated with the death penalty.


I'll make my arguments in this round and respond to his contentions in this round.

1) Deterrent.

The one thing most people cannot deny is that the death penalty is in fact a deterrent. The issue is how much of a deterrent it is. Some studies have shown that the death penalty does not just decrease murder, but crime in general [1]. Some studies having the death penalty saving around 1,000 - 4,000 lives yearly [2]. When you are weighing lives, it generally far surpasses cost. The death penalty itself does cost a fair deal, but the amount it costs is offset by plea bargaining cost that reduce the amount greatly. When you factor in plea bargaining, it is actually cheaper to keep it than abolish it. The amount of deaths that come from it acting as a deterrent is by far the largest factor in this equation.

2) Justice

The best argument in favor of the DP is that serves justice to the people who do wrong. The main point in a justice system is actually to provide justice. Undermining the system and not serving justice actually will make the system come into question. There are people that murder children, torture then, go on sprees. All of this is reason to enact equal punishment. Our entire law system is based on the code of Hammurabi [3]. This is basically stating an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Proper punishment receives proper punishment. There should be a right to execute people who go above and beyond to commit heinous crimes.

3) Prevention of further crimes

What the DP also does is prevent people who cannot be rehabilitated from committing future crimes. Allow them to stay in prison opens up the chance for them to commit murders and other crimes in prison. While trying to rehabilitate people often results them committing more crime and going right back to where they were to start with.

4) Prison managmenet

Sticking people in prison for life makes the prisons harder to maintain. There has to be a certain amount of guards per prisoner which in turn costs money. IT also makes the prison have to get more food, stick more money into maintaining people that are there for life while achieving nothing. The prison system is already stretched out, adding more people to it does not help. Add this in with the justice argument and you have a solution. Killing someone provides closure and serves justice, while doing so also mitigates the amount of prisoners in prison and stopping them from committing future crimes. Overall its a win win situation.

Debate Round No. 3


"The best argument in favour of the DP is that it serves justice to the people who do wrong."- Really? So if you murdered someone let's murder you because of a mistake you made. PEOPLE make mistakes! So if I made a mistake I would want a second chance. Do not be mistaken I fully believe we need consequences for actions. However killing a person who has killed another person does not at all seem as a fitting punishment.

What crime needs to be committed in order for the death penalty to take place? Murder? Rape? Arson?

By arguing that even one crime deserves the death penalty, you are basically saying every single person who has committed on of those crimes deserves death.

"Killing someone provides closure and serves justice." Let's say someone committed a murder and you knew who did it but his lawyer got him to walk as a free man. Now would you be okay with killing that man because that would be serving justice like you said?

"Since the reinstatement of the modern death penalty, 87 people have been freed from death row because they were later proven innocent. That is a demonstrated error rate of 1 innocent person for every 7 persons executed. When the consequences are life and death, we need to demand the same standard for our system of justice as we would for our airlines... It is a central pillar of our criminal justice system that it is better that many guilty people go free than that one innocent should suffer... Let us reflect to ensure that we are being just. Let us pause to be certain we do not kill a single innocent person. This is really not too much to ask for a civilized society."
Russ Feingold, JD
US Senator (D-WI)
April 26, 2000

"In the course of my work, I believe I have reviewed every state and federal study of the costs of the death penalty in the past 25 years. One element is common to all of these studies: They all concluded that the cost of the death penalty amounts to a net expense to the state and the taxpayers. Or to put it differently,the death penalty is clearly more expensive than a system handling similar cases with a lesser punishment. [It] combines the costliest parts of both punishments: lengthy and complicated death penalty trials, followed by incarceration for life... Everything that is needed for an ordinary trial is needed for a death penalty case, only more so:
" More pre-trial time...
" More experts...
" Twice as many attorneys...
" Two trials instead of one will be conducted: one for guilt and one for punishment.
" And then will come a series of appeals during which the inmates are held in the high security of death row."
Richard C. Dieter, MS, JD
Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center
Feb. 7, 2007

CON: "Ultimately, the moral question surrounding capital punishment in America has less to do with whether those convicted of violent crime deserve to die than with whether state and federal governments deserve to kill those whom it has imprisoned. The legacy of racial apartheid, racial bias, and ethnic discrimination is unavoidably evident in the administration of capital punishment in America. Death sentences are imposed in a criminal justice system that treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. 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
Professor of Law at New York University School of Law


Ill offer rebuttals in this round and this rebuild and summarize everything in the last. I will offer direct rebuttals to his contentions.

R1) Costs

My adversary states in short that the DP is costly, which is a valid critique. People that oppose the DP often argument as my adversary did , is that life in prison actually costs less than the DP when you are comparing the cost of capital and non capital trials. Using plea bargaining as a bargaining chip off sets that. If someone pleads guilty, the cost of a trial and all the other accompanied expenses are avoided. Most people take the plea bargain chip as it defaults to life in prison. So using the DP as a tool to get them to plea bargain forces does two things

1) Reduces costs
2) Serves justice

How does it serve justice? This seems like a counter productive point, but to get the plea bargain the person usually has to give up details about who the killed, what they did with the bodies, etc. This provides closure to the families and allows justice to be served. It's a different type of justice as killing the person would serve justice if they could not find the body or know anything about what happened to their loved one, but knowing and having their loved body at least provides closure. Plea bargaining is more often used than one would think and can cut costs by nearly half sometimes, so it would actually be cheaper to use plea bargains as a way to reduce costs and serve justice. [1]

R2) Wrongful convictions

The amount of wrongful convictions is so small that it is not even a factor. There have been around 15,000 executions in the US since around the 1,900s. With advances in technology, nearly 25 death row inmates have been released upon further evidence being found. With new forensics and biological examinations, it is way to easier to confirm if someone is guilty. Death row exonerations have actually increased greatly[2]. At this point there is a minimal chance someone will actually be convicted guily and executed innocent. The chance of a proper exoneration if someone is sent to death row guilty, in comparison to them being executed innocent are much higher. DNA and new technology does not lie, and it's almost impossible to execute someone that is innocent these days. Not saying it does not happen, but the rate of error is so small that it virtually has no impact.

3) Race

This is literally just false. Lawyers play a small part in people who receive the DP, and the people that generally get it as I stated above deserve it. African Americans normally get it because the de facto commit the most crime in the US and other places. In london the amount of crimes committed by African Americans are overwhelming and in the US they lead Caucasians substantially. Saying a certain race gets the DP more is not an argument if that race is committing the most murders. [3]

4). Deterrent

this my adversary is just wrong about. Almost any expert will tell you the DP acts as a deterrent. See my main contentions. The question is how effective of a deterrent. He is asserting that it does not work at all which is blatantly false. Each execution on average stops around 18 - 30 murders [4]

Debate Round No. 4


First off I would like to thank Valar_Dohaeris for debating this issue with me as I had lots of fun.

I would like you to please view the link to show how the death penalty does not act as a deterrent...

My main issues with the death penalty is the people who get it. It is the poor and blacks and this link shows that as well.

The death penalty should never be allowed because of the inequalities that come with it.


Ill just extend as my adversary just said thank you for the debate. I would like to thank him as well, and not use this last round for anything to extend him a fair debate
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
nvm, looks fun to watch
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
I'd accept if you made the debate only like 3 rounds long. Anything above that often is just a re-hash of ideas.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: cons main arguments were "refer to the following links", so any contentions there are irrelevant. The FF also leads me to have some bias against him. Pro cited multiple econometric studies supporting his position, whereas con cited think tanks. I vote pro.
Vote Placed by Beagle_hugs 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The Con's sources were better and more extensive than the Pro's. However, the Con's arguments suffered from often being mere assertions with a link. The Con's rebuttals were more substantial, but sometimes consisted of nothing more than expressing astonishment at the Pro's position, and at no time did the Con drill down into the sources to formulate his own argument--it was pretty much cut-and-paste with no discussion. The Con also failed to defend his arguments...for instance, he should have discussed the ample literature debunking the plea-bargaining argument. The only reason this is not a landslide is that the Pro's arguments, while more substantially rendered, were no more convincing and relied on untrue assertions.
Vote Placed by Geographia 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con FFs and basically pointed to a bunch of links and said "Look what they said!"