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The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Some crimes should be punishable by death, as long as a much higher standard of proof is upheld.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/15/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 12 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 564 times Debate No: 103211
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Round 1 is for acceptance only.


I accept the debate. I will be arguing against the penalty of death regardless of the crime.
Debate Round No. 1


First of all I would like to thank the Con side for taking the time to debate this topic with me, and I wish to thank all those adjudicating this debate for their time too.

The first main point I have identified in this debate are the societal benefits of punishing some crimes by death. There are 3 main societal benefits I have identified. The first is peace of mind. How would you feel if you knew there was an army of terrible criminals just waiting for an opportunity to escape into the community. Would you feel safe at night? I wouldn't. This is a perfectly feasible scenario if the death penalty isn't made an option for some crimes. The second societal benefit I have identified are deterrents. If you were a criminal planning to commit a murder, what would you feel like if that murder could well be the end for you. If I was a criminal, I would be extremely scared, and would almost certainly rethink committing that murder. If the death penalty is made an option for select crimes, this deterrent would be a reality. The third societal benefit I have identified is increased financial prosperity. Whether you are on the political left or the political right, you have to agree that there are clear benefits on having to spend less money on keeping people in prisons. Such a decrease in the money required to provide for prisoners due to decreased prisoner numbers will occur if the death penalty is made an option for select crimes. Clearly, there are great societal benefits to be had by punishing some crimes with death.

The second main point I have identified in this debate is the risk of wrongly executing people. This risk is the purpose of implementing a higher standard of proof for execution. This higher standard of proof would mitigate the risk of wrongful execution. Clearly, this risk is nowhere near as large a problem with the death penalty as many people think, as it can be easily solved by implementing a higher standard of proof.

I will focus on the morality of making some crimes punishable by death in round 2, as I believe the morality argument deserves almost a whole round to itself.

For these reasons, I am proud to affirm the topic that "Some crimes should be punishable by death, as long as a much higher standard of proof is upheld". Once again, I would like to thank the Con side for taking the time to debate this topic with me, and I wish to thank all those adjudicating this debate for their time too.


I wholesomely thank the pro side for presenting their arguments in a clear and concise manner. I shall be rebutting them one by one, and of course, I'll be putting my sources at the end of the post. Ladies and gentlemen, let us proceed:

Pro argues by saying that the death penalty offers social benifits; the first one being peace of mind. I agree that the possibility of a prisoner escaping exists, but statistics show that the odds of that happening are extremely low (1). '6,530 people escaped or were AWOL from state prisons. That was a littlemore than one-half of 1 percent of the total population of 1,100,224 state prisoners.'
It doesn't end there. Most of these "breakouts" are usually recovered. In average, 10000 escapees result in 9000 of these recovered within the same year (1). And that was statistical data from 1998. As for the present? It should be known that prison escapes are declining due to technology breakthrough (2):

As it is seen from this chart, there's in average FOUR escapes per TEN THOUSAND PRISONER (2013 data). That's a number so low, that the chances of being attacked by a prisoner that has escaped from detention are nigh ZERO (You may find the full chart with detailed numbers in the source n°2).

Now the question to ask is whether it is worth it to apply the death sentence when the rist of prison breakthroughs is so low. I will give my based opinion WHILE rebutting the rest of his aruguments.

The second argument provided is a classic. Ah, the theory of "example". Pro states that the death penalty serves as a deterrent for potentional criminals, and as an example to murderers. I completely and categorically disagree with that notion, and I will state why: Far, far from scaring away criminals and deterring murderers, the death penalty desensitizes the masses to death, and I have many anecdotal evidences, as well as scientifical and statistical evidence to prove that (more on that later). Not only that, but the "example theory" makes no sense whatsoever seeing how the death penalty is currently organized. If you really want the death penalty to be "deterring", it has to be seen by the masses. Bring back the medieval age, Farinacci, tormentors, dismembrements, public torching, yada yada; it is a requirement to make the theory work. But in the US and other countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty... you miserably behead or hang a poor man in a deserted boulevard with no one passing, no witnesses (aside from the family of the victim).
As for the evidence, let us look at a countries that practiced the death penalty, and how that practice has inevitably contributed to desensitize the masses: France. Not only did the death penalty not reduce the crime rates compared to its neighbour countries that did abolish it, but it resulted in extremely barbaric scenes due to to the desensitization of the masses. Victor Hugo, a french poet and the lead of the romantic scene, gave us a lot of temoinages of his time, alongside some other authors as well. 1832, 5 mars, during the execution of Louis Camus, the public who assisted (because capital punishment was public at the time) swayed towards the guilottine and started dancing around the headless body, and some were said to be "playing football" with the head. And that's only one temoinage, as he has left countless more as well. Bottom line, everytime there was a public capital execution, the people of France feisted, sold places to assist as if it was the country circus, dansed around the guillotine, et cetera (3).
ALSO; The scientific conclusion is clear. The death penalty does not deter homicide. No study has ever found a deterrent effect, no matter how skewed the research question was in favor the death penalty. Pro has failed to abide by the burden of proof because on study has found any connection whatsoever between decreasing criminality rates and the death penalty. I challenge Pro to prove me otherwise.
Actually, studies suggest the exact contrary! The brutalization effect suggests that when violence is condoned via the death penalty, more violence occurs. Homicide rates tend to increase around the time of executions, due to legitimation, desensitization, and imitation. The death penalty makes society more dangerous by further increasing violence through the brutalization effect (4).

As for the cost arguments, I must say that Pro is flat out wrong. The death penalty is quite expensive and life imprisonment can be cheaper (5). Over the lifetime of a case, executing prisoners can be three times as expensive as life in prison, primarily due to the higher costs of capital punishment trials, automatic appeals, and the heightened security on death row with lower staff-to-prisoner ratios. Commuting all death sentences to life in prison would save hundreds of millions of dollars per year in the U.S. and many billions over the coming decades.

sources are here:
Debate Round No. 2


First of all I would like to thank the Con side for taking the time to debate this topic with me, and I wish to thank all those adjudicating this debate for their time too.

To begin, I wish to rebut some of the arguments the Con side has made. First of all, the Con side has pointed out that the rate of prison escapes has decreased drastically. Though I cannot argue with the statistics that Con side has given me, I believe the actual occurrence of attacks by escaped prisoners (which is correlated to the number of prisoners who have escaped) is far less relevant than the perceived occurrence of such attacks. With the implementation of the death penalty, people feel as if the issue of attacks by escaped prisoners (however prevalent they actually are) is being tackled head on, and thus they believe the perceive a decrease in the danger of such attacks, resulting in increased peace of mind. It's just like locking your door before you go to sleep. Sure, it's really unlikely that anyone will actually try opening your door, but it is still beneficial to people's peace of mind to lock their door before they go to sleep.

Secondly, the Con side has argued that it is more costly to execute prisoners then it is to imprison them for life. However, the source where they got the statistic that life imprisonment is cheaper than execution isn't listed. Even if it is true that is the life imprisonment is cheaper than death in the US justice system, that doesn't mean it has to be that way. All the death penalty would have to encompass is a third "Guilty at the standard of proof required for the death penalty" option for jurors when they are delivering a verdict on charges that are punishable by death. Then, if the jurors all agree, the death penalty is made an option in sentencing. If the death penalty is selected, all the defendant has to do to get the sentence commuted is prove that there is enough doubt on the charge they have sentenced to death on that the standard of proof isn't met in a specialised appeal hearing held soon after sentencing. If they are successful in that appeal, the matter is put to bed and the death penalty is ruled out. If they aren't successful, the death penalty is definite and the execution is scheduled. This drastically simplifies things, and would be far cheaper than life imprisonment. Clearly, the cost argument still applies when it comes to the death penalty.

As for brutalisation, I have looked into the fine print, and only 3 out of the 5 studies that have been done on it have found that brutalisation occur. Now 3 out of 5 might sound ok, but think about this way: what if a doctor told you there was only a 3 out of 5 chance the medication you are being prescribed will actually do anything. Ruling out the death penalty over this issue is just like that.

Now that I have rebuttal out of the way, I will address the morality of the death penalty. First of all, I have a statement I challenge Con to disagree with me on: those who kill or otherwise commit heinous crimes against innocent civilians are the cancer of society. Now what does mankind do when we discover a cancerous tumour? We cut it out and get rid of it. I believe the same principal should be applied to the cancer of society. The death penalty is the cancer removal surgery of society. Like cancer removal surgery, the death penalty is unpleasant, but it is a better alternative than just letting cancer run wild. Therefore, the death penalty is moral as it is a necessary evil in pruning the worst people out of society.

For these reasons, I am proud to affirm the topic that "Some crimes should be punishable by death, as long as a much higher standard of proof is upheld". Once again, I would like to thank the Con side for taking the time to debate this topic with me, and I wish to thank all those adjudicating this debate for their time too.


I will start by apologizing to the pro side and to our precious readers for failing to provide a source for the cost argument. Here it is:
I was too hasty, and I am extremely desolated. I will pay more attention from now on.

I won't be rebutting the rebutals of the pro side, as I am interested in dedicating round 3 to his main argument which is the morality involved in the death sentence. I shall leave it to our readers to decide whether pro has successfully rebutted my arguments (round 2) or not. Let's begin.

Pro has stated that "those who kill or otherwise commit heinous crimes against innocent civilians are the cancer of society." I am not going to focalize on the cancer tumour analogy claiming that it does not fit in order to rebut his argument. In fact, I shall be embracing it and using it against pro. Read thoroughly:

Before doing that, I shall adress the ideology of "punishment & vendetta" which states that that justice, or/and the law has the duty to punish criminals and to get rid of an individual that has harmed society and may harm it again, and that it has to avenge victims of heinous crimes. I believe the morality behind this ideology is corrupted and misses the true goal and design of justice. But, it goes on, 'it is necessary that society should avenge the victims, that society should punish.' - Neither: To avenge is of the individual, to punish is of God, and Society/law/justice is between the two in the hiearchy.

Society's duty is to correct and ameliorate. Not to punish, and not to avenge.

You treat crime as a malady, as a sickness. That's the right way to do it. But the sickness, or the cancer as you put it, doesn't reside in the criminal or in the crime he has commited, but instead resides on the origin of the crime, or in other words the motives of the person and what has lead that said person to commit murder, steal etc. Crime has always existed. And it still exists. It's clear that we are dealing with crime the wrong way, focalizing on the crime instead of the source of the crime. Because this is where your analogy goes wrong: research done on medicine, and the scientific breakthroughs achieved in that field aren't to develop new ways to physically extract cancer from the body, they are done to develop ways of eradicating the source of the disease altogther, to make us immune from it, to heal us from it.
Sickness has to be treated with care, with attention, and most importantly it must be studied thoroughly, it has to have its source identified, eradicated. Our readers must have noticed by now that I am centering the debate on not the crime or the criminals themselves, but on the source of the said crime, because it is a requirement in order for us to eradicate crime. Just like how you deal with sickness in medicine, you have to go to a prison, and observe the inclination of each prisoner, gather data, understand why person A was lead to murder that innocent civilian, or why person B had to steal from that store. Are criminals actually guilty, or is it that the society itself is guilty?
Because yes, society itself bears a part of guilt whenever an innocent civilian has been murdered. Fact is: poverty and misery leads to crime, and to get rid of crime is to get rid of poverty. Poverty is justice denied: this needs to change. (1 & 2). No matter how many people you hang, crime is never going to stop, because the problem lies on society and on government, and not on the individuals themselves. To kill an individual for something he has no power over is senseless, defies the bases of justice, and is straight up barbary! Educate, enlighten, heal, and correct the heads, and you will not need to cut them.

Not to mention mental sickness and psychology, but perhaps I can leave that to another round since I am lacking space to properly develop my ideas.

"You teach people to not kill, but how?... by killing." This quote from Victor Hugo shows the hypocrisy of the penalty of death, and with that that said, I affirm my stance. I thank Pro for his time, I am thoroughly enjoying this debate.


Debate Round No. 3


First of all I would like to thank the Con side for taking the time to debate this topic with me, and I wish to thank all those adjudicating this debate for their time too.

To begin, I wish to debunk the Con side's point about society having a duty to correct and ameliorate rather than punish and avenge, thus meaning the death penalty is immoral as it only punishes and avenges instead of correcting. Now though I tend to agree with correcting and ameliorating when it comes to petty criminals, I believe those who commit crimes worthy of the death penalty are too far gone, and it is far better simply to execute them and put the resources that would have been used on them into the next generation. Just as it is sometimes cheaper to throw something out and buy a new one, it is cheaper to execute the worst criminals and put the resources that would go into them into the next generation. When cancer is terminal and death is imminent, it is better to simply put people out of their misery with a little excess morphine then it is to let them suffer and die a long painful death. The Con side said that poverty and misery leads to crime, and to get rid of crime is to get rid of poverty. The death penalty would aid in this by allowing more resources to be funnelled into the next generation. Yes, killing an individual who has been shaped into a terrible criminal simply by circumstance may sound immoral at first, but it is for the greater good, a future where such a tragic outcome is rarer. Clearly, the death penalty is moral, even if it may seem counter intuitive at first.

Next, I wish to rebut the Con side's point about hypocrisy. Yes the death penalty is hypocritical, but so is imprisonment. The law says that we should not hold people against their will, yet imprisonment does exactly that! Additionally, the same goes for fines. The law calls the forceful taking other's money theft, yet the law so often forcefully takes money from those who have done wrong. If the hypocrisy of the death penalty is morally wrong, you must also conclude that these punishments are all unjust too! Clearly, the hypocrisy of the death penalty is not morally wrong!

To conclude my final round in this debate, I wish to thank all those adjudicating this debate for their time. I would also like to give a very special thank you to the Con side for debating this matter with me, as it has been incredibly enjoyable and has offered me a good challenge. I wish the Con side all the best for future debates, and though I am hoping the adjudicators side with me, I know the Con side is also greatly deserving of a win in this debate.


Since this is the ending round, I will start by thanking the Pro side for this respectful debate. I'm looking forward to the next one! I'd like to thank our readers for their attention as well. I too, think that my adversary is very deserving of winning this debate.

I highly affirm that the penalty of death is immoral, criminal and barbaric.

The penalty of death is immoral: It is against the highest moral standards and universal human rights; as human life is to be valued more than anything else, whether it be material profit or else thing.
The analogy used by the Pro side "Just as it is sometimes cheaper to throw something out and buy a new one, it is cheaper to execute the worst criminals and put the resources that would go into them into the next generation." is proof of the immorality of the penalty of death as it values resources over living beings that could be rehabilitated into the society. Every person can be rehabilitated unless they are mentally sick, and in this case, the said person need proper medical care. Killing them is immoral. The penalty of death won't help with poverty either, as crime itself is caused by mental sickness; and/or improper distribution of the resources, and NOT a lack of resources (1).

The penalty of death is criminal: Most people seem to entirely focus on the crime, and on the criminal, as if the said criminal was entirely secluded from the society and its members. That is false. It should be known that a lot of the executed offenders have families, relatives, friends and most importantly children.
Executed offenders leave behind mothers, children and wives; three of which are now orphans albeit of different kinds... Mothers grieve, wives are left without a supportive income, children are often lead to crime due to the poverty ensuing, as mothers most of the time are not able to provide the critical needs for their children. It's a vicious circle. The penalty of death leads to crime and more crime.

The penalty of death is barbaric: "He has committed a criminal act, and now he will be put to death, voilà-tout", is said. I wish this was true, but unfortunately there is more to the penalty of death than we think. It's not an easy process, especially for the offender who is a thinking, breathing human being. To know that you are going to be killed in two weeks is an insanely painful insight, and it is an excruciatingly monotonous wait, whence every second passing feels like years... and it just doesn't stop there; motion sickness, puking, the absolute mental torture involved in knowing that your life is going to have end to it. Many of these so called criminals have consciousnesses, they have loved ones, they believe in the Christ (I am not taking into account psychopaths, which are maladive states and shouldn't be subject to criminal law in the first place imo). There are many temoinages as well as diaries left by the offenders with descriptions of of unimaginable mental grief; but that is never taken into consideration "he will be guiotined, it will be quick", is said.

I will leave you with a website documenting the last words of executed offenders in Texas. Not for the faint hearted:

These people feel regret. They feel remorse. They CAN be rehabilitated. Given a second chance, they would totally take it. They could've been working civilians, productive members of the society. But no, "ecce lex". This is the law. Just an example among many others:

"I hope this will bring you peace and I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering. I'm sorry it went on for a terribly long time. I'm sorry to you especially Grace Kehler. To the Kehler, Johnson and Crain family, I pray that you won't hate Jesus, the letter will explain more. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I hope that my death will bring you peace and closure. I pray that maybe someday will bring you peace. I hope that you could forgive me, but if you don't I understand. I don't think I could forgive anyone who would of killed my children. I'm sorry for your suffering you've had for a long time. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I love you Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus."

To say that this person (or the many people found on that website) is "too far gone", is an overstatement.

Not to mention that most criminals and most violent crimes are not intended to be evil (2). The exclusion here is psychopaths and mental cases.

As for Pro side's rebuttal about hypocrisy, it's a non sequitur. Pro admits that the penalty of death is hypocritical, but since all other accepted law penalties are hypocritical as well, then the death penalty should be accepted as moral too. It's a logical fallacy. I could argue that imprisonment is immoral as well, and using your logic, we can assume that the death penalty is also immoral.


To our readers and to the Pro side, thank you. This was a debate worth every second I've dedicated to it. I've also learned a lot of things. To Pro, good luck!
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Lilieze 12 months ago
Because I didn't have space left. (Character limitations)
Posted by PowerPikachu21 12 months ago
Why'd you link your sources to pastebin?
Posted by Lilieze 12 months ago
I had a lot of fun, but I wish I could write more, I think 5k characters is a little reserving

Still, great debate :P
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by devinator534 11 months ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Wow what a great debate! At the end of this, I am casting my vote for Con. Here are a few reasons: Cost: I originally agreed with Pro on this. I mean simple, right? Death means less time in prison meaning less taxpayer dollars. But wait, what about the higher level of guards needed until the person dies. The exclusive attention these people receive in their jail cell. These are all things that common prisoners don't take into account. Flows Con Escaped prisoners: Obvious Con win. Simple data and stats win this argument Decreased crimes: Once again Con. Statistics show this to not be true. Con pointed this out by saying the only way to do this would be to make it public. To go back to the Dark Ages. What happened at that time was wrong and simply should not be reinstated. Moral: This is the biggest argument in my opinion. Con wins this once again. Con turned your example of a cancerous tumor and showed ur need to address the root. Con swept my ballots! Go