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Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/27/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,867 times Debate No: 25877
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




1,188 people were executed in the US from 1977 through 2009, primarily by means of lethal injection. Most death penalty cases involve the execution of murderers although capital punishment can also be applied for treason, espionage, and other crimes.

Alright today's topic is the Death Penalty...... All challengers are welcome.....


Rounds: 5

Voting Period: 3 days

Time to Argue: 72 hours

Argument Max.: 8,000 characters

Thank you.......


Thanks for this topic and I look forward to debating with you. I would also like to add these rules.

Round one is acceptance.
Round two is presentation of argument.
Round three and four is rebuttal.
Round five is conclusion.
No cursing, slandering, racist remarks.

Please go easy on me. This is my first debate.
Debate Round No. 1



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.


Death is... an unusually severe punishment, unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its enormity... The fatal constitutional infirmity in the punishment of death is that it treats 'members of the human race as nonhumans, as objects to be toyed with and discarded. It is thus inconsistent with the fundamental premise of the Clause that even the vilest criminal remains a human being possessed of common human dignity. As such it is a penalty that subjects the individual to a fate forbidden by the principle of civilized treatment guaranteed by the [Clause]. I therefore would hold, on that ground alone, that death is today a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Clause... I would set aside the death sentences imposed... as violative of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.


There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates. The death penalty has no deterrent effect. Claims that each execution deters a certain number of murders have been thoroughly discredited by social science research.


Retribution is just another word for revenge, and the desire for revenge is one of the lowest human emotions " perhaps sometimes understandable, but not really a rational response to a critical situation. To kill the person who has killed someone close to you is simply to continue the cycle of violence which ultimately destroys the avenger as well as the offender. That this execution somehow give 'closure' to a tragedy is a myth. Expressing one"s violence simply reinforces the desire to express it. Just as expressing anger simply makes us more angry. It does not drain away. It contaminates the otherwise good will which any human being needs to progress in love and understanding.

Irrevocable Mistakes-

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.

Cost of Death vs. Life in Prison-

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.


Despite the fact that African Americans make up only 13 percent of the nation"s population, almost 50 percent of those currently on the federal death row are African American. And even though only three people have been executed under the federal death penalty in the modern era, two of them have been racial minorities. Furthermore, all six of the next scheduled executions are African Americans. The U.S. Department of Justice"s own figures reveal that between 2001 and 2006, 48 percent of defendants in federal cases in which the death penalty was sought were African Americans" the biggest argument against the death penalty is that it is handed out in a biased, racially disparate manner.

Income Level-

Who pays the ultimate penalty for crimes? The poor. Who gets the death penalty? The poor. After all the rhetoric that goes on in legislative assemblies, in the end, when the net is cast out, it is the poor who are selected to die in this country. And why do poor people get the death penalty? It has everything to do with the kind of defense they get. Money gets you good defense. That's why you'll never see an O.J. Simpson on death row. As the saying goes: 'Capital punishment means them without the capital get the punishment.

Attorney Quality-
A shocking two out of three death penalty convictions have been overturned on appeal because of police and prosecutorial misconduct, as well as serious errors by incompetent court-appointed defense attorneys with little experience in trying capital cases. How can we contend that we provide equal justice under the law when we do not provide adequate representation to the poor in cases where a life hangs in the balance? We, the Congress, must bear our share of responsibility for this deplorable situation. In short, while others, like Governor Ryan in Illinois, have recognized the flaws in the death penalty, the Congress still just doesn't get it. This system is broken.

Physicians at Executions-

The American Medical Association's policy is clear and unambiguous... requiring physicians to participate in executions violates their oath to protect lives and erodes public confidence in the medical profession. A physician is a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life... The use of a physician's clinical skill and judgment for purposes other than promoting an individual's health and welfare undermines a basic ethical foundation of medicine " first, do no harm. The guidelines in the AMA Code of Medical Ethics address physician participation in executions involving lethal injection. The ethical opinion explicitly prohibits selecting injection sites for executions by lethal injection, starting intravenous lines, prescribing, administering, or supervising the use of lethal drugs, monitoring vital signs, on site or remotely, and declaring death.


The death penalty provides closure to families, it cost less to shoot a guy than to house a guy in prison, and then if he was left on parole, he might endanger someone else.
Debate Round No. 2



"The death penalty provides closure to families"

Although we rightly anguish over the brutality to the victims, and the lasting effect on the families of the victims, and making the punishment fit the crime; it seems clear that this principle can still be satisfied through alternatives, such as life imprisonment without any possibility of parole.
Although true closure is never really possible for the families, studies have shown that the continual process of appeals necessary to insure due process, along with the returning to court for many years, force families to confront the gruesome details of the crime many times over, making it impossible to get on with their lives as difficult as that is. The question is whether the victims" needs are met effectively by killing someone else and causing another family grief and pain as well as adding to the cycle of violence.
Revenge is no way to live your life. "An eye for an eye" shows no humanity whatsoever.

"it cost less to shoot a guy than to house a guy in prison"

Various state governments estimate that a single death penalty case, from the point of arrest to execution, ranges from $1 million to $3 million, and could be as high as $7 million per case. However, cases resulting in life imprisonment average approximately $500,000, including the cost of incarceration.

"then if he was left on parole, he might endanger someone else"

You don't get left on parole, you are sentenced to an imprisonment, with or without possibility of parole.
So therefore the criminal is tried, convicted, and sentenced.

My opponent seems to be making up incompetent information with no theoretical background. That can easily be refuted as you have seen here.
Vote Con!



dfinn475 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Vote Con......... Come on you know Capital Punishment is wrong ;)


forget it I lost
Debate Round No. 4


My opponent is admitting defeat......Vote Con


dfinn475 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by emospongebob527 5 years ago
Posted by dfinn475 5 years ago
are you for or against the death penalty
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit, failure to debate.