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

Should the death penalty be abolished?

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 381 times Debate No: 76097
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (4)




I believe the death penalty should not be abolished. In certain cases, it is necessary in my opinion. Such as if a criminal was involved in a murderous act. I believe if you were committed to such murderous act, you should be the victim of the death penalty. This would be fair. Why?

Well, let's say that you were a criminal. You killed a person for whatever reason it may be. You killed a person. You ended someones life. So your life ends as the consequence.

It doesn't matter if you hated that person until world's end or you really needed that promotion. YOU KILLED A PERSON.

There should be a big consequence.

If that person's family was still alive, maybe one of them might end their own life. Maybe there would be a chain of continuous ending of lives.

Think about it.

The only reason I would think otherwise would be if you killed a person because they killed a member of your family. With good backup evidence, you could win that court case. But then again, that case wouldnt have happened if the person didn't kill anyone in the first place.


I thank my opponent and all of that good stuff. Debate structure was never mentioned, so I am going to assume that this round is for acceptance and for constructive arguments, the next being for rebuttals. Because con gave a constructive speech, I assume that the onus is shared between the two of us.

Before I begin, I would like to point out that because this debate is about policy of a government (I will assume the USA because most users are from there), governmental and societal impact should outweigh moral or small impacts. This is because when you are debating a policy of government, you must keep in mind the societal and governmental impacts, because those are what are usually impacted. However, morals should not be disregarded, because the job of the government is to uphold general morals as well as to protect the people.

C1. Non-efficient cost.
A. General burden.

According to a study done by Loyola Law School [1], the state of California has spent over $4 billion on the death penalty since it was resumed in 1978, which equates to over $300 million for each of the 13 executions that were carried out in the last 37 years. While this may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but in 2010 the state of California had a debt that rang to the tune of nearly $800 billion [2]. This is money that is uselessly spent on state executions that could be spent on relieving the debt crisis that the state is currently in, and allow for a higher quality of life for the people of California.
And this is not only specific to the state of California, either.

Since 1997, the state of Washington spent $120 million on 5 prisoners, equating to a $24 million court system cost per person, while the state currently has a debt of just under $80 billion [3][4].

The state of Maryland spent $186 million over five executions, meaning that each execution cost taxpayers $37.2 million each [3]. The state of Maryland also has a state debt of over $94 billion [5].

I could go on and on, but I decide to stop here. What I am trying to get at is that all of these funds that are going towards the death penalty are not necessary; instead they could go to improving the financial crisis that each of these states have. They could go to improving the quality of life of all of their residents instead of killing people without a just cause. The job of the government is to protect people and to ensure the maximum amount of rights that are necessary, not to decrease the quality or quantity of life of its inhabitants.

B. Less efficient than life in prison.
I could not find any statistics about a nation-wide average for the cost of life in prison without parole, so I will be using California as my basis. If my opponent asks I can delve deeper into the web to find nation-wide averages, but I believe that California is a fine example place to base this argument on.

According to stastics that have been offerd by the Office of California's Nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, the average annual price for housing an inmate in a jail is over $47,000, while the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation finds that the average cost is just over $44,500 [6]. Whatever the actual number may be, which should logically be thought to be roughly $45,000, is lower than a death penalty process.

If we assume that the average life-in-prison prisoner gets placed in there around age 20 and live to be around age 70, we see a time gap of 50 years. Using basic arithmatic (45,000 x 50), we get a grand total of around $2 million. When we compare this to the average cost of an execution in the state of California, which was stated earlier at a whopping $300 million, the disparity of these two numbers is absurd. The amount for a life-in-prison prisoner is less than 1% the cost of a death row inmate, which as a government cannot be condoned.

C2. Morality.

A. Innocent death.
Innocence is not committing a crime that you are accused of, and in a society that holds onto justice such as the USA, if you have not committed a crime you are not expected to pay the dues of this crime.

However, as the Guardian explains in an article released on 28 April, 2014, the amount of innocent people that have been posthumously declared as innocent is at 4% [7]. "At least 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death in the US in the modern era are innocent", they explain.

In a just society, we should not be putting the innocent to death. Having any innocent deaths is atrocious and undermines the values of justice -- which according to Kant is a respect for the right (or innocent, in this case) [8]. Posthumously announcing that one is innocent does not give them the respect that they deserve, instead it declares that the system was wrong and that the system is not based upon justice, instead retribution.

B. The death penalty is based around retribution, not justice.
As I touched on in subpoint A, the death penalty is based around retribution instead of justice of any kind.

The need for retribution of families that are touched by an act that may warrant the death penalty is not justification for the death of someone. The revenge that they seek is often irrational and not based around what happened, but around their grief and their anger. As the Death Penalty Curriculum elloquently puts it: "[t]he emotional impulse for revenge is not a sufficient justification for invoking a system of capital punishment" [8].

The United States is based around justice -- it is even in our Pledge of Allegiance. However, making decisions that will end the life of another person because of your own emotional grief is not enough. We are based around the preservation of the right, not the ending of a life of those that we don't like. The need for justice to stay in place in the US outweighs the need for retribution of those impacted by the death of a loved one.

Sub-subpoint A.
It has been studied that, while many proponents claim they do, loved ones of victims of actions that may warrant the death penalty do not actually want the criminal to die, because it brings up even more grief within them. This has been noted in the case of Julie Welch, who was killed in a 1995 bombing. The family of Julie did not want any sort of vengeance against the criminal, only actual justice, because vengeance is not why the law was made.



**Note: I haven't had any formal debate education apart from one year of a mix of debate and speech. If there are any errors with the above formatting, please let me know so I can learn from it. Thanks!

Back to you, con. P.S. nice picture.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, pro.

Life in prison does seem like a good alternative but in many cases, that isn't always chosen as you may know. In such cases, the most the guilty party will get would be an average of 16 years sentence. One in nine people get fewer than ten years. After their sentence, the majority of people sentenced for murder will be back in jail after approximately three years. Life in prison however requires inmates to rot in prison slowly and painfully. Way different than the death penalty which uses a fast drive instead of having to live through years of your life dying inside and soon, as all inmates sentenced to life experience, they are dead by the average age of 70.

As of financial causes, I believe that for no more financial crisis's to occur, that less human crisis's should occur. The first paragraph supports this statement because of the high statistical polls regarding to this topic. Again, people are let out of jail because of murder, they commit a crime again landing the government to pay the expenses.

Indeed, it would be easier if nobody killed at all but accidents do happen. I do not support the death penalty in this case however and never will but suspicious activity may lead the jury to think otherwise and landing them in an unfair life in prison or a death penalty which is not deserved.

Again, certain cases call for certain measures.

Back to you, pro.


Thank you con.

My opponent employs a large amount of circular logic in her first contention. She says that the reason that we should keep the death penalty is because we killed a person, and the punishment for all murder is death, without ever explaining it. She also places a huge emphasis on the value of life, yet she is advocating for the death of other people, which completely counteracts the idea that life has a value that we should respect.
P1. Life has value
P2. Governments kill people
C1. Governments do not value value.
By placing an intrinsic value on life in her constructive case, she is effectively saying that the government does not value morality/value/ethics at all, and that would lead to government illegitimacy.

In my opponent's (presumably) second contention, she says that we have to kill criminals because a victim's family member may commit suicide and, again, life has a huge value, and there will be a chain of ending lives. However, this is a HUGE slippery slope fallacy, where she says that because thousands of people will die, we should not abolish the death penalty.
A lot of the time it takes 20+ years for someone to be executed by the state. By that time, if a family member was going to commit suicide, they would have many years before. This claim is wildly false because of this very reason.

My opponent says as a note that if someone kills your family member, you can kill that person. However, this completely undermines the value of human life criteria that she was talking about earlier in her case. I can't rebut against this point any further because it is not a valid point (offensive or otherwise) that makes a voter want to vote for con or not vote for me.

Debate Round No. 2


TheWishingFlower forfeited this round.


extend due to con forfeiture
Debate Round No. 3


TheWishingFlower forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by tajshar2k 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits by Con, so conduct to Pro. Since Con forfeited half of the debate, all of Pro's arguments stand. Pro also showed how Con was contradicting themselves, by using the value of life in their arguments, while advocating for execution. Due to most of Pro's arguments standing throughout the debate arguments to Pro. Sources were only used by Pro.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff