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

Should the death penalty be outlawed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 789 times Debate No: 65683
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




P1: As a member of society, one is bound by a social contract. It is in consensus that if one behaves wickedly and/or inflicts harm on others, whether intentional or not, such agreement is voided and a punishment that matches one’s crime ensues.

P2: The death penalty serves as a severe method of punishment that can be used in extreme cases in which individuals have committed heinous crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, and even genocide, either towards many individuals or society at large.

C: The death penalty should not be outlawed in the United States.

Kania, R. R. THE ETHICS OF THE DEATH PENALTY. Justice Professional, 12(2), 145.

Zhu, X. DEATH PENALTY: ANOTHER VIEW. Economic and Political Weekly, 33(19), 1071


P1: As citizens of the United States of America, people are granted rights, but when convicted of a crime are disbarred from specific rights. Even though people commit heinous crimes, they should never have to give up their life as a sentence for their actions. In the case of crimes being committed unintentional, in self-defense, by one with a mental illness, or in any situation; there are institutions created for people to endure time long sentences for their crimes. The famous phrase "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" is referenced from the Code of Hammurabi, and relates to the death penalty, because these people in charge of torturing "criminals" or taking their life away are committing similar crimes. They are murdering these citizens, but since they are seen as people making a "positive difference" for society, the death penalty becomes justified, which is not right.

P2: The death penalty is designed to force criminals to pay the ultimate price for their crime(s), but is just an easy escape from being institutionalized, which is the appropriate ultimate price. If one is charged with committing crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, or even genocide, they should be sentenced to life in prison. According to, prison is "...a building (or vessel) in which people are legally held as a punishment for crimes they have committed". The death penalty is a pre-historic absurd conviction, and the innovation of prisons was to confine these criminals. Acting as an individual who believes they have the right to remove someone from this earth is unreasonable, and unjust.

P3: Ricky Jackson and Wiley Bridgeman were two African-American men accused of murder, but then found not guilty and released after serving nearly 40 years in prison. There are cases in the United States, in which individuals are wrongfully sentenced. If these unfortunate and innocent men were given the death penalty for this crime that they did not commit, the government would have been on trial itself for murder in the first-degree. The death penalty is a drastic conviction that should never be taken into consideration when sentencing a person.

C:The death penalty should be outlawed in the United States.
Debate Round No. 1


Our rights as citizens of this country are automatically violated once another human being decides, for whatever reason, to exploit, inflict psychological and physical harm, and ultimately steal what is considered precious to many of us, even to the convicted themselves. One’s choice to deviate from the norm sets the precursor to allow others to deviate as well, whether it be the state or another individual. In other words their actions serve as a message within itself; the conscience decision to consciously commit any heinous act, upon another human being, one chooses to forfeits the “right” to live. In respect to a claim of self-defense, the defendant or attacked victim justifies the act of killing the other person for this very reason, and can be viewed as a form of the death penalty as well.

An example of an ideal that is still followed even after many centuries is The Bible. This book, made up of many stories related to the concept of morality, even refers to the punishment of death to those who actively participate in the aforementioned crimes (murder, manslaughter, and genocide). In the story of Genesis, God punishes the wicked with the elimination of their lives via The Flood; he also spares the lives of Noah and his family who chose to live by a righteous code. One can argue that the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime is death, not confinement. Life within itself is a gift, the experiences one lives throughout their existence; even when confined one can still relish in such experiences and have a sense nostalgia everyday up until their death. Why then, should the convicted have such a right after their actions against another human life?

In the case Ricky Jackson and Wiley Bridgeman, their conviction occurred in 1975, a time when forensic science and technology lacked what exists in our modern age. In this day in age there exist methods and constantly improved science which offers certainty with each conviction. The fact that both individuals have been released is a testament of such improvement. There are new techniques used in how evidence is examined and handled which eliminates the error of wrongful convictions.



The rights of a citizen are indeed partially tarnished when convicted of a crime, such as the right to vote, take part in jury duty, and bare arm. Nevertheless, the act of being deviate in this sense, should not determine the lost of every basic human right. In the case of committing an unlawful act, the only charge against an individual should be incarceration for a certain amount of time, including life in prison. The court system has rules in place for those who commit a crime in defense to ones own life, their family, or home. The death penalty serving as a “severe method” should not be applied to those who are measly protecting themselves. Also if death is such a heinous crime, then it should not be done in the government’s courtroom.

The bible is an inadequate and illogical book that should not be referenced to, especially when considering court cases. The bible is used to follow the “will of God”, but is not even written by this All Mighty Being, instead by almost 40 different contributors. If one was to use the death penalty in the way of God, then one must also put to death everyone who curses his or her parents, has premarital sex, works on Sabbath day, and every male who had sexual relations with another male. These are clearly not as “heinous” as the crimes supposedly deserved to consequently be punished by the death penalty, but according to God, are. Humans have evolved physically and mentally, and one must not place judgment based off a book written centuries ago, and use similar cruel punishment. People change, and so should the court systems sentences.

The case with Ricky Jackson and Wiley Bridgeman does indeed prove the point that science and technology has improved in our modern age. Just as technology has changed to better society, so should the punishments and reasons for the death penalty. The mindset, and moralities of people change over time, so one should realize that the death penalty is a brutal punishment, and should be banned from all the United States of America.

Debate Round No. 2


The act of deviation within itself, from societal policy, in reference to the sequestration of another person’s life nullifies one rights as a citizen of the state and ultimately the country; as a citizen you are in agreement of such rules and policies. In other words, the conscience choice to take the life of another human being voids the right one has to vote, take part in jury duty, bear arms, and in due course their own right to live. The penal system exists to punish individuals based on the severity of their crime(s), in which case the punishment is equivalent to the crime; a life of confinement cannot be compared death.

As aforementioned The Bible is a book of many stories related to the concept of morality and is an example of an ideal righteous path, the fact that it has 40 different contributors, as you have mentioned, provides support for such a statement. Of course it would seem illogical if taken in a literal manner; “God” is not a physical entity but a system one chooses to follow which helps the individual decide right from wrong. The justice and penal systems, as well as the “The Bible”, are analogous in regards that both are systems of belief which guide the behavior and choices of others. In essence, God punishes those who go against a commandment with a punishment that matches; one is not automatically put to death but is punished accordingly. Many civil and criminal codes were originally founded on such religious texts, such a foundation has permitted reformation and change.

With such improvements in science, there may be innovative ways to make such a punishment less brutal and more efficient.



The penal system’s laws concerning the death penalty within the United States of America are morally wrong. If the government is stating that murder is a crime, then how is the death penalty excused? One cannot instate a law about murder being illegal, yet committing that same illegal action to sentence another individual. In this case the government only proves to be a group of hypocritical officials.

Religion should not be someone’s characteristic or moral standing, and should not be a person’s essence for their perspective on deciding an individual faith in prison. The understanding of life, punishment, and the justice system stated centuries ago, by almost 40 men, would not be the same understanding of it now. The bible, God, or any form of entity one chooses to refer to for moral standing, should not be the only source for deciding the faith of someone’s life. If one commits a crime that is so cruel to humanity, the punishment should proceed as life in prison.

Science should not be investing time and money to learn waya to make the death penalty “less brutal”, but how to make life longer fr humanity. Criminals are criminals, and they should spend time in jail or prison, based on their crime. There is no science needed after declaring someone is guilty, because the citizens of the this country pay their taxes to keep these criminals behind bards, not in caskets.

Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by magic123 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: In cons last argument you stated that the government is a group of hypocrites for killing as a punishment for murder. Those are completely different things. 1.The killing of another person without justification or excuse, especially the crime of killing a person with malice aforethought or with recklessness manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. 1.The act or action of causing death, as of a person. So are soldiers who kill someone in war, or someone defending themselves committing murder?