The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

The Death Penalty Should be Abolished!

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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: 10/6/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,171 times Debate No: 62694
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (43)
Votes (3)




Nobody vote on that other debate. This is the official one. We'll be copying from the last debate.
Rules are exactly the same as the other debate. This is my 205th debate, coincidentally.


I accept (Take Two)
Debate Round No. 1


1. The Death Penalty is Justified, but not entirely fair....
The Death Penalty has a good reason for its legality. It wants to punish the murderer in a way that never allows them to kill again. But think about it. If it's one for one life, yes, surely it is fair. But what about mass murderers? They're either insane or want to die anyways. Killing them would be an award, not a punishment. If we kept them alive, torturing them with boredom, terrible food, treatment, and extremely little ways to escape, then THAT would be a much better punishment than the Death Penalty.

2. Death Penalty costs much more than life sentence...and takes much longer
Death penalty costs "$186 million more than what those cases would have cost had the death penalty not existed as a punishment. " [1] Furthermore, "North Carolina could save $11 million annually if it dropped the death penalty." In fact, the most complete study on the death penalty shows that each execution costs (North Carolina) $2.16 million more than each life-time imprisonment. [2] Take into account that within trials it also costs much more, as in Indiana, it costs more than 10 times as much as life parole. Source [1] also tells us that the death penalty costs up to $449,887 in the average case, while life-sentence costs only $42,658. It also takes much longer than fact, it takes SIX TIMES LONGER on average as found in a study within colorado. [3] These cases take so darn long, they take more than 4 calendar years longer!! [3] We need not waste time on death-penalty cases. Just give these people a life sentence.

3. The Death Penalty can kill innocent people.....forever
What if there happens to be a break in the case one year after the execution? Then, you cannot go back. You cannot say "I'm sorry, I release you", as you could in a life sentence. Seriously. The death penalty is really unfair in some cases, as source [4]'s graph shows, these innocently killings do indeed happen. And although they might not add up to too much, this still shows how unfair the Death Penalty is. At least you can release these people any time you find a dramatic break through, and even if they might only have 5 years more to serve, the less the better. And keep in mind at least these people can live these 5 years normally.

4. Even more unfairness within discrimination
It has been found that an insanely large amount of the majority victims of those who were murdered were white. [5]

Although this might seem normal, these cases are very unfair against African-Americans. The American Bar Associator reported in 2007 that "one-third of African-American death row inmates in Philadelphia would have received sentences of life imprisonment if they had not been African-American." [6] Furthermore, a 2003 study from the University of Maryland shows that "prosecutors are more likely to seek a death sentence when the race of the victim is white and are less likely to seek a death sentence when the victim is African-American." [7] Finally, a study by the University of Yale shows that these African-Americans are far more criticized and worse treated, as "African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white." [8] All of this just shows how unfair the death penalty is.
(And yes, I'm aware sources [6], [7] and [8] can all be found within source [5]. I just love using sources! And besides, what if source [5] is striked to be incorrect? Then I have 3 other sources to back it up. :P)

5. We are already losing way too much people
Just counting the worst war of all, World War II, the world has lost 58 million people in total, with 300,000 American deaths. And with a total estimation, 82 million american soldiers have died within all the major wars. [9] And not only that, 2,515,458 people have been found to die by sickness. [10] We can't afford to lose more people to the Death Penalty. Which leads to my argument concerning....

6. Low cost labor
Not only can we punish those people with life-sentence, we can force them to labor at a low cost. This way, the courts can earn back some of the money spent on the trials and the imprisonment. These low-cost force labors can actually give companies benefits, especially during times of high unemployment, as a new source [11] shows us, prison labor indeed works out. In addition, source [12] shows that prison labor helps reform those crime-doers, so we could possibly even release them early from their life-sentences if they have really really good behavior, or punish them less and allow them to have perhaps better food or a cleaner cell. In fact, prison labor is so effective that the executive director of Maryland Correctional Enterprises claims that these laboring in-mates return to prison half as often as those who don't work in prisons. (also from source [12].)

7. It is religiously wrong

Many religious people as well as organizations have published many works that show the Death Penalty against faith, and against religion. [13] In fact, the Presbyterian Church said in 1959, "the use of the death penalty tends to brutalize the society that condones it." [14] Furthermore, the testaments are outdated. We have already eliminated the death penalty for homosexuality, pre-marital sex, adultery, blasphemy, etc, etc. We should eliminate the death penalty for murder as well. It's simply wrong, violence to dissolve violence. Not only that, a Quaker group also does not support the death penalty, and for a very good reason: the death penalty lowers the value of human life and supports the proposition in the need of revenge. As the Quaker group says, "(It) violates our belief in the human capacity for change....[It] powerfully reinforces the idea that killing can be a proper way of responding to those who have wronged us. We do not believe that reinforcement of that idea can lead to healthier and safer communities." [14] The evidence above all show that the Death Penalty is widely unsupported, especially by religion and religious people. We should abolish the death penalty.

8. Death Penalty is ineffective

Year 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Murder Rate in Death Penalty States* 9.94 9.51 9.69 9.23 8.59 7.72 7.09 6.51 5.86 5.70 5.82 5.82 5.91 5.71 5.87 5.90 5.83 5.72 5.26 5.00 4.89
Murder Rate in
Penalty States
9.27 8.63 8.81 7.88 6.78 5.37 5.00 4.61 4.59 4.25 4.25 4.27 4.10 4.02 4.03 4.22 4.10 4.05 3.90 4.01 4.13
42% 46% 40% 42% 41% 35% 25% 18%

See chart above. From [15]

In conclusion....
-Death penalty is morally unfair

-Death penalty is biased and discriminatory

-Death penalty costs way too much

-Death penalty= more deaths; we have too much deaths already

-We can use low-cost labor to earn money AND reform the prisoners! What could be better?

-The Death Penalty is widely against religion and many religious groups.

-Death penalty is ineffective


Thanks to Pro for his opening argument.
As outlined in Round 1, the burden of proof is shared. In order to negate the resolution, I simply have to show that there is adequate reason for the government to keep the death penalty as a criminal sentencing option.

Argument 1: Justice

First and foremost, the death penalty is necessary to uphold justice. It intuitively obvious to us that the most serious crimes deserve the most serious punishments, and the death penalty is *the* most serious punishment available, stripping a person of the very source of their existence as human beings. In many cases, anything less simply doesn't serve adequate justice. When one maliciously violates someone else's rights, he automatically forfeits those rights for himself, as he has failed to fulfill the most basic obligation that comes with possessing equal human rights: to respect others' rights just as he respects his own. Consider the following example:

"Christian and Newsom were abducted from an apartment complex parking lot. Over the course of the next several hours, the pair was beaten, raped, tortured and murdered. According to later court testimony by Knox County Acting Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, Newsom had been repeatedly sodomized with an object. His limbs were bound, he was gagged and blindfolded. At some point in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2007, Newsom was dragged outside to a set of nearby railroad tracks, where he was shot execution-style, in the back of his head, neck and back. His body was then set ablaze, Mileusnic-Polchan testified.

The medical examiner said Christian's last few hours on earth were also horrific and unthinkable.
The young woman, he said, was tortured for several hours and sustained injuries...She had been beaten about the head with an unknown object and raped. Afterward, bleach was poured over Christian's body and down her throat, in an apparent attempt to destroy DNA evidence. She was, an autopsy indicated, alive while the torture and degradations occurred. Christian was then hog-tied and covered with several bags before she was placed in a disposal bin, where she slowly suffocated to death, Mileusnic-Polchan testified." [1]

Can anyone honestly claim that the men who committed such atrocities deserve anything less than the most serious possible punishment that the government can feasibly administer? The death penalty must remain available as a sentencing option, or else the justice system risks being unable to fulfill its duties in the case of extreme crimes such as the one detailed above. This contention alone should be enough to negate the resolution. No monetary value can be placed on justice and human dignity.

Argument 2: Deterrence

Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to establish a firm connection between the enforcement of the death penalty and deterrence of crime, as there are many, many factors that play into an area's crime rate such as poverty rates, interracial relations, other demographic factors, state gun control laws, and the organization of the local police force. However, we *can* still establish two useful points, even given the limited available information.

a. At the very least, the effect of the death penalty on deterrence is neutral. To assert that the death penalty increases crime rates is logically absurd, as it is not feasible that the threat of death would motivate someone to commit a crime. At most, one could argue that the majority of criminals don't take legal ramifications into consideration when committing crimes and dismiss the deterrence effect on that basis. But even given that defense, we must realize that "most" does not equate to "all"...

b. There *have* been clear-cut cases in which the absence of the death penalty was taken into consideration by murderers and allowed them to commit crimes with much less apprehension: "Consider the tragic death of Rosa Velez, who happened to be home when a man named Luis Vera burglarized her apartment in Brooklyn. 'Yeah, I shot her,' Vera admitted. '...and I knew I wouldn't go to the chair,'" [2].
So ultimately, given those two observations, it is safe to assume that the DP does probably result in increased deterrence of crime, even if that increase is minimal.

Argument 3: Recidivism

This is probably the most substantial utilitarian benefit of the death penalty-- one who has been sentenced to the death penalty will never be able to commit any crimes ever again (duh). On the other hand, those who are imprisoned often go back to committing crimes, with 76.6% of aall prisoners released from US state prisons from 2005-2010 being arrested again within 5 years [3]. In Great Britain, twelve murderers who were released from prison after exceptionally long sentences all committed murders again within the next decade [4]. Clearly, the rehabilitative "benefits" that come from imprisonment aren't very significant, and the complete lack of such repeated offenses that comes with the death penalty renders the DP to be the preferable form of punishment.

My opponent may argue that life-long imprisonment also offers similar benefits regarding recidivism. However, this is false because what doesn't end up manifesting itself in the outside world ends up manifesting itself inside the prisons themselves, as evidenced by the fact that murder rates in prisons are roughly as high as murder rates in the average American town [5].
The fact is, that the death penalty's absolute prevention against recidivism is certainly a plus point for it in terms of practical value, and it even further demonstrates the DP's importance to the justice system, since anti-recidivism contributes to the justice system's secondary role of preventing future crime.


I have given several arguments showing that there is more than enough reason for the government to continue utilizing the death penalty as a criminal sentencing option. Not only is it a necessity in terms of upholding justice, but it also has great practical benefits such as its complete prevention of recidivism and limited deterrence of crime. The death penalty should most certainly *not* be abolished.
The resolution is negated.


Debate Round No. 2


Excellent arguments, Uchi. I will now rebut every one of them.

1. The Death Penalty is Fair?
Now, as I said before, one life for one life might be fair. Might, not is. The death penalty might be fair for those who have only murdered one person, but what about one life for 10 others? 15 for that matter? Then....the quote from Escape Plan comes in and applies to this situatio:. "Taking a man's life is nothing. Taking away his family....that's everything." (See video for source) You see, it's simply not enough to kill a mass murderer of many. He must have a greater punishment. And taking away his family is the gravest punishment possible, much greater and more fair than the Death Penalty. You are torturing him from the inside, letting him suffer for all his horrid deals, and you let him live, the real punishment, instead of simply letting him die. The death penalty is just too quick, too fast, it's nothing in comparison to keeping him in prison and taking away his family.

"Can anyone honestly claim that the men who committed such atrocities deserve anything less than the most serious possible punishment that the government can feasibly administer?"
See? Even my opponent agrees. This argument, I agree and rest my case.

2. Deterrence

a. DP effect is neutral? It might be, but life sentence is obviously more leaning towards the positive side.

b. DP deters crime? Then why is it less effective than life sentence somehow? There is some morals and philosophies at work here. Either those other states have amazing police (which is likely not the case), or those crime-commitors actually fear the life sentence more.

3. Recidivism

My opponent tries to talk about the release of prisoners. But--have these people been forced to labor in the prisons? No? Then I rest my case concerning prison cheap labor.

My opponent also talks about the murder rates within prisons the same as in the average American town. Well, if the Death Penalty was justified for these dudes anyways, these prisoners actually saved us money. Thank you, thank you. My case is still sleeping here.


I've effectively rebutted my opponent's case, and my previous massive round (extroardinarily effectively using up the character space all the way until only about 20-or-so characters) still powerfully remains strong, buff, and gloriously shining on the mountain of awesomeness. Death Penalty is still unfair, it still costs way too much, it can kill the innocent, is discriminating, does not help to contribute to the deaths, and labor would be able to punish these evil-doers even further while earning back the funds we spend on prisons and the federal cases.

The end.

PSYCH!! That's not it. Uchi has yet to rebut my religious arguments, and the fact that all my sources point toward the ineffectiveness of the death penalty. Just in case my source is attacked in my opponent's rebuttal, I shall, right here, provide another source clearly showing how ineffective the death penalty really is.

Tada!! There we go, a professional law attorney upping what I said about the death penalty releasing the murderer rather than actually giving him a punishment. In fact, most prisoners actually prefer death to life sentence as my source confirms.

So Ray Breslin was right. Taking away your life really IS nothing if all you did was take a life. However, taking away your family....

that's everything.

Back to you, Uchi. You'll have to try harder than your last round to rebut my round AND restrengthen your arguments. Good luck.


Thanks, 9space.
Aplogies in advance for any S&G/formatting errors; I had only my phone to write this and did not have time to revise.
Since my case overlaps quite a bit with Pro's case, I will be using this round for both rebuttals and counter-rebuttals to avoid redundancy.

A1: Justice

Pro agrees that the people who commit the most serious crimes deserve the most serious punishments; what we disagree on is what that 'most serious punishment' is. I argued that death is the most serious because it strips a person of the source of their existence-- without life, one cannot experience pleasure, pain, or anything, really. There is no more chance for happiness, no more chance for fulfillment, no more chance for a future; for that, it is the ultimate punishment. There is a reason why the fear of death is and has always been universal across the human race [1]. Pro's alternative, while harsh, simply does not have the same effect as the death penalty does. A person can still find happiness and fulfillment in some form even in jail, especially with the ever-rising standard of living in prisons [2]. If death was really preferable to life in prison, then logically, the vast majority of criminals sentenced to LWOP would commit suicide, yet no where do we see this trend.

A2: Costs

First of all, cost shouldn't play a role in this debate at all. Justice is about what a person deserves for their crimes; we can't decide what punishment to use by seeing which one is the most cost-effective-- we can only decide based on what they actually deserve, and as I showed in A1, that would be the death penalty. Furthermore, keeping the death penalty legal has its own economic benefits, coming in the form of plea bargaining. We can use the threat of the death penalty to obtain a guilty plea from the criminal early on (in exchange for taking the death penalty off the list of potential sentences), thus completely dodging the costs of the trial process and balancing out the costs of the DP appeals process to the point that there is no substantial difference between the costs of the DP and the costs of LWOP [3].

A3: Innocents

Pro argues that the irreversible nature of the death penalty renders the execution of innocents to be a grave injustice. Firstly, such occurrences are now virtually non-existent because modern developments in forensic science such as the advent of DNA testing have allowed for the guilty to be identified as such with greater accuracy than ever before [4]. In fact, Pro's statistics simply support my point by showing that we are capable of distinguishing the innocent from the guilty before it is too late. Pro's claim that innocent executions probably still occur without our noticing is complete speculation; he must provide definitive evidence of such a thing happening relatively recently (e.g. postmortem exonerations). The huge amount of focus given to ensuring the guilt of death row prisoners actually underscores a weakness of imprisonment: without the pressure of imminent death, there is not nearly as much effort put into the the post-conviction exoneration of LWOP subjects, and combined with the overall lower standard of required evidence necessary to imprison someone, there is significantly higher likelihood of there being innocent people spending their lives in prison than there is of an innocent person being executed under the modern justice system.

A4: Discrimination

Pro's argument, here, is non-unique; it applies to ALL forms of justice because racial discrimination is not just a problem with the death penalty-- it is an underlying problem of society which needs to be fixed independently. Once the actual problem of racial discrimination is solved, the trends that Pro has pointed out will cease to exist. Until then, we will see such trends of racism in all forms of punishment, including normal imprisonment [5].

A5: Death

This argument is absurd. One of the death penalty's plus points is that it gets rid of people who the rest of humanity would be better off without. If someone deserves to die, then they should die; the observation that lots of people die is wholly irrelevant. What does Pro even mean by "too many"? He has presented no objective standard by which we can evaluate how much death is too much.

A6: Cheap Labor

Again, I must assert that justice must take precedence; if someone deserves death, then they should die, regardless of how much material gain we could reap otherwise. But besides that, this form of punishment is entirely unfeasible for the state to administer. It is one thing to seize someone's rights as a matter of justice (i.e. death penalty or imprisonment), but it is something else to take advantage of those people who have had their rights seized to have them do forced labor, reducing them to the status of slaves and stripping them of all dignity. The state simply doesn't have the right to do such a thing; it can only do to its citizens that which justice requires, and extracting cheap labor from them does not fall under that category.

A7: Religion

Pro's argument is based in a violation of one of America's central political principles: the separation of the church and state. If we were to buy religious arguments for governmental policies, our law books would be completely riddled with contradictions from trying to incorporate the doctrines of all major religious and non-religious groups. We are clearly better off rejecting any such arguments, including this one. Pro ends off by claiming that the majority of people are openly against the death penalty, yet he provides no support for this. In reality, support for the death penalty has always been rather high in the United States [6].

A8: Deterrence

Pro's response is entirely insufficient; I acknowledged that in general, the deterrent effect of the death penalty is minimal, but still existent due to the existence of several specific instances in which the death penalty obviously has deterred crime. As I stated before, the statistical correlations cited by Pro regarding deterrence rates are relatively meaningless because of all the other, more important factors that play into crime rates.

A9: Recidivism

Pro gives virtually no response to this argument. He claims that LWOP offers equal recidivism prevention, a notion which is refuted by my pre-empt regarding in-prison homicide, and then addresses my pre-empt by claiming that prisoner deaths are a good thing. But this contradicts the stance Pro took up in A1-- that death is an "easy way out" for convicts and cheats society of proper justice being served. Pro cannot continue along this line of argumentation without conceding A1 (and by extension, the entire debate).


All of Pro's arguments have been refuted. The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 3


1. Justice
My source here: that people do in fact suicide a load, as told from many many people's viewpoints. (Just jump to "Suicide Thoughts and Attempts" to get to the point)

Cost: "we can't decide what punishment to use by seeing which one is the most cost-effective..." Actually we can...the economy is a very important role in our society. As for your source, have you even read it? It's trying to show how horrible plea-bargaining is; it's "perverse" and does not work out, as the paper even goes to say that plea bargaining "entails a reduced sanction", and mentions an excellent quote that points out the unfairness of plea-bargaining, which, when paraphrased, basically means "Judges care about how much convicted ultimately plead guilty, as much as a batting average matters to a baseball player." This suggests that nowadays, people are striving for better records so as to "win re-election or earn promotion", as the paper says. This shows how unfair the death penalty's forcing can be, if this really is the amazing torture-force-you-to-plead-guilty-card, then the judges will play it every single time. Again, with those innocent people...You can always rescue them within life sentence, but death penalty? Nope.

Ah, here we go. My opponent tries talking about the weakness of imprisonment compared to imminent death and the effort put into those trials and cases. But why then, do they take so much darn longer? The death penalty trials might as well be life sentence for these guys!

Without the death penalty, at least the innocent's family has time to sue or go for a re-trial. With death penalty, if they scramble and fail to find the evidence in that short time frame, BLAM. Innocent is dead forever forever dead.

You're right, I was absurd. I was only trying to throw you off with this argument.

Cheap Labor:
What do you mean? Once you say it's alright to take away their rights of happiness and further contentment by taking away their lives, the other second you say you cannot strip them of dignity and turn them into slaves. Either way you're stripping them of most/all rights, and the latter at least they can be productive to society. -.-

My opponent is incorrect. More people support life without parole plus restitution. (Cheap labor is probably the best way to restitute, as I contended).

In fact, even police chief think the death penalty ineffective and dumb.


As I stated before, why have the ineffective death penalty? Those other states without death penalty are actually living better.
Yet another poll showing police thinking the death penalty very ineffective, from the same source mentioned above:

See? Death Penalty simply ain't enough. Other things are much better and more effective, the death penalty does not really help to deter crime, even in the polices' eyes.

Recidivism: This is a tough choice. Conceding this argument would give my arguments a big hit, yet argument number one is indeed my crucial core battery holding my arguments together.
Let me phrase my rebuttal in a way that manages to hold BOTH ARGUMENTS UP.
Okay, so I mentioned how my opponent made a straw-man argument in that he could not counter my prison-labor argument. As none of those escaping prisoners are from prison-labor, they do not apply to my counter-plan and do not help him case. I was surprised to see Uchi NOT rebut this argument or try to rebuild. Now, my opponent, my argument can go two ways. Voters, note this very very carefully. If the death penalty is really justified and you really win your argument about how it is the better punishment for prisoners, then you still lose because your own source suggests that they will die in prisons as much as people die in the average american town, which means that life sentence is not only as justified as death penalty, it is more moral because it takes a shorter time with its trials and costs less than the death penalty. Therefore, if you win the DP justified argument, life penalty will automatically be better.
But what about the other way around? Yes, my opponent mentions how I contradict myself. Let us assume that in fact my opponent concedes the Death Penalty Justification argument, because if he wins that argument he only pushes forth life penalty, so he'll probably not want to win the DP justified argument. However, if death penalty really is "the easy way out", and life penalty also allows the "easy way out", which one do you want? Well, once again, life trials take shorter and cost less than the DP trials, as my sources suggest. Thus, although both are immoral (if we assume Death penalty isn't justified), Life penalty is still better because it's more efficient, and thus, in an ultitarianism perspective, more moral in comparison to the death penalty.

You lose, UchihaMadara.


Thanks, 9space.
It's been fun.
I will now proceed to finish off what's left of your arguments ^_^

CA1: Justice

Pro basically concedes this argument. He only provides a broken link which supposedly shows that LWOP convicts commit suicide. Even if this is true (which we have no basis for believing), it would not adequately address my rebuttal, because if death was really preferable to life in prison, the *vast majority* of people with long-term prison sentences would commit suicide, which even Pro doesn't claim his source shows. I have, indeed, demonstrated that death is the ultimate punishment. This contention *alone* wins me the debate-- if the purpose of the justice system is to serve justice, and the death penalty is necessary to serve justice, then the death penalty is necessary and cannot be abolished. The resolution is negated.

CA2: Cost

Pro totally ignores my initial and most crucial rebuttal to this argument: that no monetary value can be placed on justice. If someone deserves to die (which my opponent has conceded does happen) then they should die-- the cost of administering that necessary punishment is irrelevant. By failing to address this point, Pro has already lost this contention. As for his response to my secondary rebuttal regarding the savings obtained from plea bargaining, his only substantial point is that judges might abuse plea-bargaining to increase their 'guilty plea rates', but this is patently false because the death penalty IS legal as of now and plea-bargaining IS widely used, yet no such notable trend actually exists. Pro cannot claim that "X policy would result in Y" if X policy has already been enacted and does not result in Y at all...

CA3: Innocents

Pro's rebuttal here makes no sense and misses all the most damaging parts of my rebuttal. Not only does he fail to address my point about the hugely increased accuracy rate of forensic investigations, but he also neglects to actually provide examples of postmortem exonerations occurring in modern times to back up his assertion that the execution of innocents is an inevitable result of the DP. All he does is give an incoherent mess of a rebuttal (I literally have no idea what he is trying to say) to my less vital point regarding how it is more probable that there are probably some innocent people that have died in prison.

CA4: Discrimination

Pro attempts to argue that the irreversible nature of the death penalty makes cases of unfair racism-based sentences more damaging, since those who have been imprisoned can still make appeals. However, this actually serves as a plus point for the death penalty because the numerous appeals involved in any death penalty sentence greatly minimizes the chance of such racially biased judgments actually being administered. And anyways, one could argue that other punishments are similarly irreversible because if the court that passed the unfair sentence is racially biased, then it is highly unlikely that the sentence will change upon appeal.

CA5: Deaths


CA6: Cheap Labor

Once again, Pro neglects to address the main defeater of this argument: that justice should be served regardless of the potential benefits that could be reaped otherwise. But besides that, Pro largely misses the point of my ethics-centered rebuttal; the point is that taking advantage of a convict's lack of rights and virtually enslaving them for cheap labor goes far beyond what the state is empowered to do, which is simply to serve justice-- there is a significant difference between stripping someone of their rights in order to serve justice, and taking advantage of someone who has had their rights stripped for material gain.

CA7: Majority Rule

Pro drops his original contention about religion, shifting the focus to trying to show that the American public as a whole is against the death penalty. Firstly, I will note that information from an unaffiliated source such as Gallup Polls should be regarded more highly than information from an organization which specifically aims to collect anti-DP statistics such as the Death Penalty Information Center. Pro has done nothing to convince us that we should accept his statistics over mine, which clearly show American popular support *for* the death penalty. Secondly, even according to his own source, there is only a 6% difference between those who support LWOP and those who support the DP, which can hardly be considered grounds for rejecting the death penalty on its own-- it is more or less insignificant.

CA8: Deterrence

Pro's point about police chiefs ranking the Death Penalty last in terms of crime prevention is irrelevant. I never once argued that the death penalty is the best way of reducing crime, or even a highly effective way; in fact, I have readily admitted from the outset that the deterrence effect of the DP is minimal. But logic and evidence indicate that the effect *is* existent, and that observation does serve to bolster the practical benefits of keeping the DP legal.

CA9: Recidivism

Pro's offers two arguments. His first argument operates on the assumption that my justice argument holds up, claiming that since some people die in prison, being sent to prison is somehow the equivalent of the death penalty, in which case imprisonment is preferable due to its lesser costs. But there is a major flaw with the notion that imprisonment is the equivalent of the DP because of in-prison deaths-- sending all death-deserving criminals to prison does not even come close to ensuring that all of them will actually die! Thus, the central premise of this argument is completely false, rendering the whole of it to be invalid. Pro's second argument is also based on the fallacious idea of the DP and LWOP being equivalent, and should be rejected for the same reasons as the first.


The resolution is first and foremost negated on the basis that Pro has failed to refute my argument regarding the DP's necessity in properly serving justice-- the most serious crimes deserve the most serious punishments, and death is definitely the most serious punishment (both points were basically conceded by Pro). Furthermore, each and every one of Pro's arguments against the DP have been completely refuted, especially since the precedence-of-justice argument has gone untouched by Pro. Lastly, I have demonstrated that there are some practical benefits of the death penalty's implementation (besides the general sense of security people get from knowing their government will properly deal with the scum of society), neither of which Pro has been able to cast sufficient doubt upon.

The resolution is negated.
Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 9spaceking 3 years ago
hmmm....alright, I may have lost this debate. But I'll get you back in that Roy debate!
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
It just takes a lot of research. You should look at the well known think tanks like Brookings or CATO as well as sites specific to the issue. For the death penalty the death penalty information center, while biased, has a lot of stats. There's also a national exoneration registry.

Your school also probably has access codes to really good online research tools.
Posted by UchihaMadara 3 years ago
That's true. I have a really hard time finding reliable stats in general. How do you generally go about getting your's? A google search usually yields nothing of value
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
Oh, so you did. I must have missed that--I only read through the debate once. Had I voted I would've gone over it again.

Still, without stats the argument lacks a lot of the power it otherwise could have.
Posted by UchihaMadara 3 years ago
I actually did try making a similar argument:

"The huge amount of focus given to ensuring the guilt of death row prisoners actually underscores a weakness of imprisonment: without the pressure of imminent death, there is not nearly as much effort put into the the post-conviction exoneration of LWOP subjects, and combined with the overall lower standard of required evidence necessary to imprison someone, there is significantly higher likelihood of there being innocent people spending their lives in prison than there is of an innocent person being executed under the modern justice system."

I guess I didn't emphasize it enough...
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
Hmm it looks like things may have changed a bit from when I researched this topic in depth in 2011ish. There are a ton of states that have had several executions in 2014 including states that barely executed back then like Missouri and Florida. On the flip side, Virginia hasn't executed anyone in the past year and has basically cleared its death row
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
And I guess Florida too, although they aren't nearly as efficient at executions as the three states I mentioned.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
I was going to vote, but I think whiteflame and blade have got this one covered (I was voting Con on lives btw. Pro won cost savings but without a trade off analysis it can't outweigh).

I will, however, point out that this debate in my mind highlights the futility of debating the death penalty in the United States/give a little feedback. As far as I'm concerned, only three states seriously have a death penalty (Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma) in the sense that they routinely hand down death sentences and carry them out. As a typical example, Pro cited North Carolina as having an expensive death penalty--well yeah. According to a google search, North Carolina hasn't executed anyone in over 8 years despite having nearly 50 people on death row. Since death row inmates get so many appeals, *of course* this costs a lot of money.

Uchicha didn't make the argument I'd hoped he would make against innocence--that life without parole might actually be worse for innocents as they are forgotten and their cases get pushed aside. They also do not have access to the same appeals process as death row inmates do. It's for this reason that exonerations of innocent people given life sentences are *much* less likely statistically than those on death row even though juries are much more likely to hand down a life sentence on sketchy evidence than they are a death sentence so there is almost certainly a larger percentage of innocent people thrown into life imprisonment than sentenced to die. And unlike their peers given death, they rarely get out.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
I get decent ideas for one liners from time to time :P
Posted by UchihaMadara 3 years ago
In that case, I stand in total awe of your tremendous powers of one-liner comedy
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro get's sources in this debate through the provision of more sources and the provision of visuals. Arguments to Con as many of the contentions that were argued in this debate were either dropped or seemingly roled over and Con eventually pointed it out. I feel as though Con had won all the contentions outside of Contentions 3&8, so even if we gave those to Pro Con still wins the debate. If you need any clarifications of this RFD feel free to ask.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Given on comments.