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The Death Penalty Should be Ended for ALL Cases

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/15/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 492 times Debate No: 77704
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
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Hello. I will be arguing that the United States of America should end the death penalty for all criminal cases. The rounds will go as follows:
1. Acceptance of challenge. Please do not include evidence to support your case.
2. Your case. This is where you will enter all of your supporting evidence.
3. Rebuttal. This is where you can discuss the opponent's case.
4. Final concluding arguments.
Good luck, and may the best debater win.


I accept the challenge!
Debate Round No. 1


I would first like to wish the best of luck to my opponent. My case will rest on facts mainly from Amnesty International.

First, to put into perspective the severity of the issue in the United States, consider the following: 141 countries (about two-thirds of the world's countries) have abolished the death penalty. Furthermore, the majority of executions take place in China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, and the United States. As you can see, America is one of the worst offenders in this regard.

One of the most serious issues facing the continued use of the death penalty is racial bias. Despite the fact that half of homicide victims are African-American, since 1977, 77% of death row defendants have been executed for killing whites. Why should we continue to let lives be lost because of racism?

One of the most well-documented issues is the possibility of making mistakes. Since 1973, 140 death row inmates have been released due to wrongful convictions. In that same time period, over 1200 people were executed, many of whom were likely innocent. Why should we continue to allow innocent people to die? People make mistakes, but there is no sense in letting people die because of that.

Many people believe that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to criminals. However, this belief is a myth. Data from the FBI shows that in 2008, the 14 states WITHOUT capital punishment saw homicide rates at or below the national rate. The South, a region of America that has seen 1147 executions since 1976 (the Midwest is second with 176), has also seen the highest murder rate. Why should taxpayers continue to fund an ineffective program?

Many will also argue that it is much cheaper to execute prisoners than it is to give them life sentences. However, with the costs prior to and during the trial, even excluding post-conviction proceedings, the death penalty would actually still be more expensive then alternatives. In Kansas, for example, death penalty cases are 70% more expensive than similar, non-death penalty cases. Why shouldn't taxpayers be provided with a cheaper alternative?

In conclusion, the death penalty is too plagued with racial bias and wrongful convictions, while remaining too ineffective and expensive to be applied to criminal cases today. I believe that the death penalty should be ended for all criminal cases in the United States.

Works Cited:


I thank my opponent for this debate, and I wish him or her luck as well! For my argument, I will use common sense and facts, with evidence, to support my own argument of why the Death Penalty should not be ended for "All" cases.

To begin my argument, let me bring up a real life scenario for the use of the Death Penalty. I am talking about the Boston Marathon Bombing; where one man has killed 3 innocent individuals, and harmed at least 260 people; for watching a race, just because he felt like harming the public. In his trial, he was obviously found guilty and was in determination for his punishment. His punishment being the Death Penalty, where he brought this upon himself; and no one else did. He may have not killed as many people, but the point is that he put harm into the public. So should we just get rid of the Death Penalty for good, or let this man have the "easy" way through prison? The Death Penalty is here for a reason, and that reason is to avenge those who have fallen within society.

The main argument that I like to bring forth to the table for this debate is "Self-Responsibility". Self-Responsibility is defined as "A concept of holistic health by which individuals assume responsibility for their own health"; stated under a quick google search for a Dictionary. It is an action that one decides upon for him or herself. No one else controls their body, but themselves; and this goes to any action. Even actions that involve crimes!

We can sit here and argue about different races doing different crimes later resulting in the Death Penalty, but the Death Penalty is not hinted towards any certain race. It is mainly aimed towards the "crazy" actions done by criminals in their life. Referring back to my self-responsibility argument, they decided to do those actions on their own; and they should suffer the consequences. To prove that it isn't racially bias, given the link here: it is seen that 56.6% of whites were executed with the Death Penalty, than a combination of Latino's or Black's.

To even add more upon my case, I like to show a statistic about the number of individuals within our current prisons. State under the article, "The United States Has The Largest Prison Population In The World " And It"s Growing", it states that within our country 1.57 million inmates are occupying any sort of cell. The most common crime, taken in 2013, involve physical harm. Stated under "Criminal Victimization", the highest number of crimes involve mostly any physical harm to the victim. Examples being rape, assault, or even murder; and the scary part is that at least 1/3 of the inmates are involved in this sort of crime. This is a high number for prisoners and needs to be reduced, hence the reasoning of why the Death Penalty should be used. The Death Penalty will lower the overpopulation of inmates, and actually have room for inmates that deserve to be in prison for drug abuse, and or other charges. As well as protect the more "innocent" of the inmates from the aggression of these violent criminals actions or influence. And also bring along more protection for the public.

Stated under another article titled: "52 Percent of Released Prisoners Returning to Incarnation", it states that at least 10% of the 52% of people released were still murderers; and murdered more people than before. Interesting enough, 30% of the prisoners released initially, whose crime was typically Drug Abuse", were arrested with the charges of some violent crime. An example being assault and or murder. In numerous interviews, it was concluded that the people were influenced with the violence within prison. The violence always coming from those who were charged with any assault based crimes. With the allowance of the Death Penalty, the idea to reduce the violence in prison; which can later reduce the possible crime of the public.

In conclusion, the Death Penalty is a method the avenge those who have fallen. It all is about self-responsibility, and if the murderer did the crime, he or she will need to face the consequence. It is like anything, you are responsible for your own actions and nothing else. Are we going to let a murderer go "home free" because the Death Penalty is to "harmful", even though it was his or her choice to do the crime in the first place? Certain crimes, I am against the Death Penalty; but for the given debate, we are arguing if whether or not it should be abolished for good. The Death Penalty should only be used to those who have taken a life from another!

Debate Round No. 2


First of all, I am a big supporter of life without the possibility of parole, and I disagree with my opponents characterization of that as an "easy" way through prison. I have already established that the death penalty costs less money then this alternative, and criminals spending their life in a maximum security prison are obviously unlikely to escape and harm people.

My opponent is also incorrect in stating that race does not affect the likelihood of being sentenced to death. In fact, the very website he/she cited ( contained this: "In 1990 a report from the General Accounting Office concluded that "in 82 percent of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e. those who murdered whites were more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks."

I would also like to point out that the death penalty is a very ineffective way of reducing prison population. According to, only 35 offenders were executed in 2014. As for protecting the other inmates, this can once again be achieved through segregated prisons. Besides, according to, the average death row inmate waited over a decade for his/her execution.

I would also like to point out that reducing options for parole would reduce the defendants who can be released to commit crimes. Besides, I have already established that states without the death penalty have a lower homicide rate.


To begin my argument, I will rebuttal against my opponents claim. My opponents first claim that he or she brought was that our country is in the top 5 for being "aggressive" with the Death Penalty. I must ask how this is bad? Isn't it good we have a country that is aggressive, which makes us stand stronger out of the rest? Lets look back at a past President named Ronald Reagan. He was considered one of the most aggressive presidents, and got stuff done. He ended the Cold War and brought jobs among the people. So is it still bad to be an aggressive country? The other countries, my opponent has presented, are already typically; but lets look at China. China is about to past us economically wise, and they are already aggressive; and use the Death Penalty heavily. If my opponent claims that the Death Penalty does not benefit us economically wise, then why is China about to past us?

The methods that China uses for the Death Penalty, stated under "Death Penalty Worldwide", include a Lethal Injection and Shooting. Both are actually cheaper and more humane and quickly on killing the individual The cost for a Lethal Injection, stated under "Methods of Execution", is about $86.06. That is much cheaper than the most common method of the Electric Chair, which runs about $265,000. And of course there is shooting, but in China; the shooting is actually one individual at a time, than all at once. That is actually more humane, than inhumane! In a recent article from Ohio, a state that approves the Death Penalty, they are inventing new methods for it. The given example is the "Robotic Arm", where it decapitates the Criminal quickly and pain free. It also plays calming music so the Criminal is not suffering as much as compared with other methods. The pricing for the Robotic Arm would be expensive, but would be a one time buy. Some changes in machinery would be needed, but that is actually more economically beneficial than the other methods presented. The debate should more be about the methods of the Death Penalty, than if it should or shouldn't be banned given the cheaper and more humane options of ending ones life.

My opponent then claims about the "racism" given the Death Penalty. In my previous argument, I brought upon a statistic that more whites were given the Death Penalty, than Blacks. Here is the link to the following website that I used: In this round of arguments, my opponent claims that this website states that in 1990 that there was discrimination. To rebuttal against my opponents statement, lets take a look at the official fact of how long one can use a source and claim it "credible". Stated under "Stylebook", it states: "For many disciplines, the currency of information is vital when presuming an argument or some form of essay. The source should at least be 8 years old to be claimed as creditable". So if my opponent is using a source that was taken in 1990, that is not creditable for being too old; especially a source that was used over 10 years ago. While if he scrolls down to the pie chart with the title "Race of Defendants Executed", it shows that more whites are executed, than blacks. So at this point, the Death Penalty is not racially bias; but more so on the criminal doing an action with loads of consequences. Referring back to my previous argument of "self-responsibility". And also stated under the article titled: "The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives", it says: "There is little evidence that the federal capital punishment system treats minorities unfairly".

Then my opponent brings up the possible "mistakes" that can be made with the Death Penalty. I think me and my opponent can both agree that mistakes happen, and we move on from it; an it happens in life. But my opponent is claiming that the Death Penalty actually makes numerous mistakes, even though they truly do not. Stated under the article "1 in 25 Given Death Penalty Sentence Are Likely Innocent", it is stated that only a minority of inmates receive the Death Penalty; even though they are innocent. That is a really small number, and if my opponent continues to claim that it happens often; then why isn't there more current news stories about the mistakes? Where I actually have recent evidence to rebuttal against my opponents claim.

Then my opponent claims that the Death Penalty does not deter crime. I will disprove my opponents claim with two resources. The first, taken from the article titled: "The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives", it says: "Criminals are no different from law-abiding people. Criminals rationally maximize their own self-interest (utility) subject to constraints (prices, incomes) that they face in the marketplace and elsewhere. Individuals make their decisions based on the net costs and benefits of each alternative. Thus, deterrence theory provides a basis for analyzing how capital punishment should influence murder rates. Over the years, several studies have demonstrated a link between executions and decreases in murder rates. In fact, studies done in recent years, using sophisticated panel data methods, consistently demonstrate a strong link between executions and reduced murder incidents". To even further support the given evidence, state under another article titled: "Do more executions mean fewer murders", it states that each execution would help prevent at least 18 murders of innocent civilians. And also claims that the reason why it seems like the idea does not deter crime is because of how slow the executions take to get into effect. The article claims that if one murderer is executed instantly, it would prevent at least 1 murder of any civilian. So technically, the Death Penalty does deter crime; but the issue is how long it takes for the Death Penalty to take effect. In reality, the Death Penalty should be an instant action, instead of a long drawn out session when the final decision was made.

In conclusion, my opponent makes strong claims about the Death Penalty; but uses "rehashed" arguments, than my own. My opponent does not bring a rebuttal to most of my arguments, while I brought more rebuttals to my opponents arguments. My opponent did not argue about the self-responsibility of the criminal, nor the situation of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Because the Death Penalty should not be banned for all cases, only should be used for some.

Debate Round No. 3


First of all, I would like to address my opponent's claim that the death penalty helps the economy. How is this even possible? Good economic policies and the industrial jobs in China have helped its economy, not murdering people. He/she also ignores the intention behind my statistic that America carries out a large number of executions, as it was merely to show that the death penalty is an important issue, and nothing more. My opponent also claims that the death penalty is cheaper, and the cost of execution is quite cheap. However, the legal process and the decades criminals are on death row make it the more expensive choice. It is also quite clear that racism influences the death penalty. According, "Such a study was recently conducted in Philadelphia. The results are dramatic, particularly for a state outside of the deep south, a region where racial disparities in the criminal justice system have a long history. The researchers found that, even after controlling for case differences, blacks in Philadelphia were substantially more likely to get the death penalty than other defendants who committed similar murders. Black defendants faced odds of receiving a death sentence that were 3.9 times higher than other similarly situated defendants. My opponent also is claiming that mistakes happen, and therefore it is okay that a few innocent people are executed. I must ask, how would you feel if you were on death row for a crime you didn't commit? What about a family member? Finally, my opponent ignores the fact that states without the death penalty have lower homicide rates. In conclusion, the death penalty is a racially biased, mistake-filled, ineffective, and an expensive alternative to life imprisonment. I rest my case, and may the best debater win.


To begin my closing argument, I will put down some points my opponent did not address in the conclusion. To begin, my opponent claims that the death penalty does not economically benefit us at all, when in fact; it does. Stated under "Costs of the Death Penalty", it states that the reason why people claim the Death Penalty is expensive is because of how long the execution takes. In my previous argument, I stated that the Death Penalty's execution needs to be done instantaneously to provide the effect of saving money, and actually deter crime. Quoted by myself, in the last round, I stated: "If one murderer is executed instantly, it would prevent at least 1 murder of any civilian. So technically, the Death Penalty does deter crime; but the issue is how long it takes for the Death Penalty to take effect. In reality, the Death Penalty should be an instant action, instead of a long drawn out session when the final decision was made". And my opponent even agrees with this, with the given quote in this round: "However, the legal process and the decades criminals are on death row make it the more expensive choice". The cost to keep doing constant trials for the determination of the Death Penalty is what is holding us back for a more economic solution; while my opponent just claims it does not benefit the economy, without any evidence to support his or her argument. As well as there are other methods to achieve the death of an individual, which my opponent ignores, and also denies it on being cheap; even though he or she does not have any evidence to support his or her own argument once more.

Then, my opponent claims that I ignored the statistic of the United States being within the top 5 of most other countries with the highest amount of deaths. I did not ignore it and did address it, stating that it makes us a more aggressive country then. I even asked my opponent with the following quote: "So is it still bad to be an aggressive country"; and he or she did not answer my question. Because of this, my opponent has no true argument within this section of the argument.

My opponent also continues to strain the racism point of view within the Death Penalty; by a constant push within the argument. To counter argue, I wish to bring up numerous statistics in disprove my opponent. Stated under "Does a Person's Race Affect the Likelihood of Him/Her Receiving the Death Penalty", many doctors and psychologists claim that there is not enough evidence to make a "strong argument" for racism within the Death Penalty. Most just say that in hopes to save themselves and, or loved one. And many of these claims are made within this website, as well as within this PDF file ( it states that 55.5% of whites have been executed for their crimes, compared to Blacks and Latinos which, in total, make about 42-43% of executions. That is a much different fact, than what my opponent perceives. My opponent really only used one source of evidence, while I used three within the whole debate.

And my opponent, in this round, still tries to argue about the possible mistakes with the Death Penalty. Previously, I brought up a static that only 1 in 25 inmates are actually executed accidentally. My opponent claims that this should not happen at all, even though its a low chance of happening in the first place, because no one deserves death for being an "innocent" inmate. I must ask then, why are they there in the first place? Referring back to my first argument of "self responsibility", it is the fault of the inmate for committing any crime in the first place. If they did not want to be in the position of possibly being "mistaken" as a death row inmate, don't do any crime. You are responsible for yourself, and no one else! My opponent also asks me a question if I was in a situation of being in death row, even though I did nothing. I, of course, would be afraid; but I wouldn't be in jail in the first place. I would stay away from any sort of criminal action, to the best of my ability, and not do anything "idiotic". Such a simple concept, yet no one understands it.

Finally, my opponent claims that I have "ignored" his case on the Death Penalty for not lowering crimes. I did, in fact I did it once in this round already at the beginning, and in the previous round. In the previous round, I provided two sources on how it deters crime. The sources being: "The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives" and "Do more executions mean fewer murders"; clearly more sources than my opponent. And within these sources explain that the Death Penalty can reduce the rates of crime by striking fear within criminals. The reasoning why many claim that the effect doesn't work is because of the amount of time before an execution does get taken into effect. If the time was shortened, it is expected that the Death Penalty will benefit us from crime and economically wise. I did not ignore this argument of my opponent, who is just making up claims without looking at my evidence.

To conclude the argument, I will discuss how the debate went and who you should vote for. In the first round, my opponent provided an alright case; as did I. But in the second round, did not put all his or her rebuttals within the argument; while I "negated" all of my opponents claims and arguments. And in this round, my opponent makes false accusations of me ignoring his or her arguments, even though I addressed them in the second and this round of the debate. I provided plenty more resources to disprove my opponents argument, while he or she only provided a source here and there. And my opponent did not argue about the event of one man killing loads of people, presented with the Boston Bombing example, which shows that point was dropped; while I "pursued" against my opponents arguments. The Death Penalty should not be eliminated from all cases!

Voters, who do you vote for? My opponent who provided few arguments with really no evidence, and only focused on one part of his or her argument; or myself who provided strong arguments, counter arguments, and loads of evidence to support my arguments. Thank you for debating with me my opponent, and I thank those for watching (or reading)!

Sources (All):
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Kelseyhill 1 year ago
Pro is correct entirely.
Lets explore these cases; somebody has a mental illness, was raised in an abusive home etc. They murder someone and society finds it so disgraceful that a being could be capable of stealing a life that we.... take theirs as well. Society should have moved forward from this need for vengeance. It achieves noting. at all. As for keeping us safe you will find that people in prison often get help for their psychological issues/ mental issues. people rehabilitate and actually have a whole new outlook on life thanks to the resources and influences of prisons. The people committing crimes are generally poor. This means low education, violent upbringing etc. For example in Australia Aboriginals are 3% of the population and yet commit almost 30% of crime. Im not even going to touch what percentage of American prisons contain dark skinned prisoners. People are not born criminals, they are raised criminals. Their family influience and location are all factors that contribute to their future. So why is it that we feel we have the right to take another's life because of a mental illness, or because they are part of a minority that we discriminate so much that they feel crime is all they are worth or because they were raised in an environment that encourages crime. And furthermore that we have the right to rob them of their chance of rehabilitation, to convert to a religion that saves them as they regain faith in humanity,and extensive therapy for psychological issues. seems pretty ignorant to me.
Posted by Felony_Jayne 1 year ago
When a criminal who has been irrefutably proven guilty on major offenses such as murder or rape gets released back into the public over and over again - repeatedly landing back in jail before being released to hurt more people; at what point does it become enough? Maximum jail sentences only keep the rest of us safe from these cretins for a few years before they are dumped back into our communities along with a newspaper article and mugshot warning the public that a dangerous convict is in free in their neighborhood and is highly likely to repeat another crime.

Yes, the legal costs associated with the death penalty are high. But compared to the cost of jail cell room & board, and after release the police monitoring, probation officers, ongoing social assistance payments to the criminal, legal aid lawyers fees for the criminal and police safety publications it's peanuts.
More important than any monetary considerations: What would you say the cost should be estimated at for the next victims that the criminal hurts or destroys? Will their lives and the lives of those who love them be less important than the cost of having put that low-life piece of garbage to sleep before it had a chance of parole and the opportunity to hurt them?

It's difficult to come to terms with the fact that some people are monsters and no amount of rehabilitation or compassion can change them. They're broken beyond recognition and nothing is going to stop them from hurting other people. How would you feel if someone in your family was raped and beaten by a criminal who had already done this to a dozen others before, each time within days of being released from prison for the last assault? It could have been stopped, but it wasn't.
Posted by mentalist 1 year ago
I agree with Pro...he's put forth an excellent case so far.
Posted by Lsumichiganfan 1 year ago
No votes have been placed for this debate.