The Instigator
Con (against)
1 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

The Death Penalty Should stay legal.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/11/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,736 times Debate No: 35448
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Pro, I wish you a good debate.

The Death Penalty has been around for quite some time. It has had very extreme opinions put upon it and is thought of by some to be "Cruel/Unusual punishment." I'm here to say that I agree with the skeptics of the Death Penalty, because it is indeed corrupt and unpractical in our legal system. The Death Penalty is only used in top class crimes, however, why is it that since 1973 (in the U.S.), 138 people and counting have been released from Death row due to conflicting evidence being found? Not only this, but the cost of the punishment is horrendous. Why should taxpayers supply a system that sometimes doesn't even perform correct justice? Lastly, the Death penalty fosters the fact that killing is the solution to some problems, an awful role model to the younger generation of our society. When you're toying with another person's life, unfortunately, reasonable doubt is not enough of a reason to be sentenced to death.


Its ironic that i accepted this argument as pro when i usually argue against the death penalty but for the sake of enjoying a potentially good argument from a side i'm not accustomed to i shall adopt a different view

Now that all introductions are out of the way. Pro believes that the death penalty is necessary in any legal system as it acts as a deterrance against the commission of certain horrendous crimes For example first degree murder.

Reason would tell us that primarily the one thing peoturally fear tjhe most is death. We avoid the thoughts of death on a daily basis and avoid the discussion of such a topic because of the fear created by the uncertainty of death (we do not know what heppens after we die). I digress slightly but this prima facie "waffle" serve to prove that death= fear, therefore it naturally follows that the threat of death= the instillation of fear

Pro understands and acknowlegdes the research data Con may use to prove that the murder rate is lower in states and countries without the death penalty, but that is not entirely true, it is not universal and ignores certain factors such as th socio-economic structure of each country, the culture of each country and the general mindset of the populace (whether they were affected by racial segregation, such as in South Africa or whether drug dealers literally run the economy for example Columbia) as these factors play a very big role in determining the crime rate of a country.

Pro argues that it is logical to draw the conclusion that the threat of the death penalty would generally push people away from committing a crime as gruesome as murder.

A lot of murders are commited out of provocation or anger, or as it often referred to "crimes of passion". This occurs where one acts out of a sudden outburst of emotions and fails to think rationally about the consequences of his/her actions. Po argues that the death penalty even in such instances acts as a sort of deterrent as the fear of the possible trade off the commiter could face (trading his life for the commission of the murder), subconsciously inlfuences his/her actions

The mind is a powerful tool, pro argues that if one lives in an environment where the legal framework is designed in such a manner that it does not accomodate for the forgiveness of murders, the option to kill someone will arise in very very few instances (emphasis added)

Pro further argues that it generally better for the public to have a murder executed as he/she upon comission of such a crime proes to be incapable of having commited such an act in most cases proves to not value the sanctity of human life, whose to say then he/she will not commit the crime again when faced with a similar situation (for example if someone kills wife during a heated argument onger, whose to say that he will not lose control of his temper and commit the same crime against someone else). Pro therefore argues that the death penalty serves a greater good for society

Pro proceeds with an argument that putting a murderer in prison, more often than not does not rehabilitate them, it does not help reaclimate them with the norms and standards expected of a citizen in society

In certain cases prison hardens criminals, in certain instances they get involved in gangs inside prisons in order to be able to survive in the system. In so doing they have to commit more crimes and possibly kill more people in order to be accepted by those gangs. Is that something we want to promote by not administering the death penalty?

Debate Round No. 1


Now that Pro has presented his initial argument, I will go on and dive into a few issues I have with the presentation.

Pro's main argument appears to be that the Death Penalty will lower crime rates in certain areas, because of the natural human's imminent fear of death. This, in some cases, is true. However, as Pro mentioned in his argument, when faced with a situation requiring a quick (and sometimes impulsive) decision, the mind makes clouded decisions. Especially in our current court and legal system, Con argues that there would still be a considerable amount of instances where murder is committed because of an impulsive decision. Con also argues that being threatened with a life sentence would be more effective in the containment of crime rates, not using such an impractical technique to punish those who made decisions that weren't well thought through.

Con argues that being put to death is an unusually cruel punishment for a decision that wasn't consciously thought through. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that a mass murderer should be given a second chance in the real world because he made an 'unconscious decision.' However, in retrospect on most cases, murder was obviously not the clear decision that a normal human would make.

Pro argued that being faced by the Death Penalty would indefinitely lower crime rates. However, Pro holds no ground on this argument. It IS a fact that there is no credible evidence that the Death Penalty deters crimes more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that have the Death Penalty do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. Any claim that execution deters crime or murder rates have been thoroughly discredited through social science research.

Pro further argued that it would generally better the public community to have someone who got charged with murder executed. The problem with this claim, Pro, is that we do not live in that sort of society any longer. Pro's argument is that who's to say that the person won't commit the crime again? Well, who's to say the person WON'T commit the crime again? Think about this. Somebody gets charged with murder and has their life ended for a decision that wasn't clearly made, or maybe even never happened. As Con argued earlier, since 1973 (in the U.S.), 138 people (in 2008) and counting had been released from death row due to contradicting evidence that was found later. To put that into clear view, that is 1 innocent person for every 7 executed. Con stands ground that death isn't the solution to someone who has been charged with murder, as it only further shows that killing is the answer to a problem.

Pro stated that putting someone charged with murder in prison, more often than not does not rehabilitate them or enforce proper means of punishment. Con argues that a lifetime of imprisonment is an effective means of punishing someone convicted with murder. Not only this, but Pro failed to mention the cost of both means of punishment. Regardless of all methods, it is proven that the death penalty IS a net expense to the state and taxpayers. The process and cost for the Death Penalty is just impractical in our society compared to imprisonment. For a Death Penalty case:
-More Pre-trial time
-More experts
-Twice as many attorneys
-2 Trials instead of one are conducted: One for guilt, and one for punishment
-And of course a series of appeals during the containment of the inmates in death row.

This brings Con to the next argument: Attorneys. A whopping TWO out of three death penalty convictions have been overturned on appeal because of police and prosecution misconduct, not to mention incompetent court-appointed attorneys with little experience in capital cases. How is our country supposed to provide correct forms of justice when they cannot even supply attorney suited for the case?

Con holds all previous arguments made.


Apologies for the typos i made in my previous argument. I'm guessing my keyboard malfunctioned.

With regards to Con's first rebuttal please discuss briefly what you mean by "especially in our current court and legal system". Pro argues that threatening someone with a life sentence is not very effective in deterring crime. With a good attorney on your side, you actually have a chance of getting a reduced sentence, there is also a possibility of having a part of your sentence suspended for good behaviour. Furthermore if you are wealthy enough you are afforded with many added liuxuries which defeat the whole purpose of you beiing arrested (as a form of punishment). For example better living conditions, ipods and other gadgets

Pro argues that in prison murderers have the option to kill again. If they are imprisoned for life without parole, what exactly hinders them from killing again, what further punishment can be inflicted upon them besides a quasi-permanent solitary confinement (which on its own may be more "inhumane" than just killing the murderer). The mere fact that a person is in prison does not mean we should not recognize them as human beings who deserve as much protection from hardened murderers as anyone not in prison. Furthermore Con mentions the "impracticality" of the death penalty, please elaborate on this point.

With regards to Con's second argument Pro argues that humans have an inherent right to human dignity which is recognized by the Constitution of most civilized countries and the United Nations Human Rights Charter

According to this right the life of another human must be honoured and respected (which is broad enough to encompass the right to equality). This right gives a duty to other individuals to act in a moral manner towards other humans, By killing another person the murderer does not adhere to the principles laid down in the United Nations Charter, as such a punint proportionate to the crime he/she has committed is necessary. The term justice is defined as the quality of being fair and reasonable.

This implies that a retributive stance must be adopted especially when dealing with crimes that greatly infringe on society's rights (it also infringes on society's right to safety and security). It therefore follows that a criminal must be punished for the wrongs he has committed and the punishmnent inflicted must meet the crime that has been committed. People must not be seen as a mere means to an ends, as such the lives of innocent victims must be valued. If we allowed justice to fall away human life in general would hold no value in this world. Is this the world we want to live in?

Please refer to the part where Pro stated that penalty would "indefinitely" lower crime rates. Pro ponders on whether or not you fully read and understood pro's first argument:
"Pro understands and acknowlegdes the research data Con may use to prove that the murder rate is lower in states and countries without the death penalty, but that is not entirely true, it is not universal and ignores certain factors such as ...

Let's not create words and statements which have not been used

"we do not live in that sort of society any longer."
Which society are you referring to and what society do we now live in?

"Well, who's to say the person WON'T commit the crime again?"
The source referred to above is a list of repeat offenders who upon release went on to kill again, although this is only a short list it serves as evidence supporting Pro's argument

Appeals are a natural process in legal proceedings, the fact that 2/3 death penalty convictions have been overturned on appeal serves to show that justice is indeed fair and if someone remains in death row after appeal it is likely that he actually committed the said crime
Debate Round No. 2


4,000 CL is killing me, sorry for my short handedness on words. Also, excuse my misreading of your quote, I'm sorry. Also, the same sources were used as my previous arguments.

I'll jump right in to my next rebuttals. In answer to Pro's first question "in our legal system" I am referring to the system of reasonable doubt. America's judicial system, as shown in many cases, says that if there is a reasonable doubt heavy enough on one side of the case, with no conflicting evidence and no evidence to be further found, then the conclusion is drawn that the victim is charged with the crime. As Con stated before, the Death Penalty is nothing to play with. It is possible to reverse a jail sentence, not an execution.

Con further argues that the Death Penalty lowers crime and murder rates no more than the life sentence, according to social science research. It is agreeable that with a good attorney on your side you have an advantage, however, a key point in the Death Penalty is that the poor are the ones more affected. Con puts emphasis on this statement:

The poor are the ones who suffer from the Death Penalty. The poor are paying for the outstanding costs, the poor are the ones dying. The poor are the ones who cannot afford good defense, and instead are appointed a usually incompetent state attorney. "Capital punishment means those without the capital get the punishment."

Con argue's against Pro's statement: "If they are imprisoned for life without parole,.... (which on its own may be more "inhumane" than just killing the murderer." Con argues that murderers have no motivation to kill in prison. If they have the chance of getting out on parole than they would not deter that chance. Also, there is not an adequate enough supply of resources in prison. Con argues that death is a more inhumane punishment then lifetime imprisonment. The Death Penalty treats members of the human race as nonhumans, or toys to be discarded if they appear to serve no purpose. Con puts heavy emphasis on this quote:

[The death penalty treats ]"members of the human race as nonhumans, as objects to be toyed with and discarded. [It is] thus inconsistent with the fundamental premise of the Clause that even the vilest criminal remains a human being possessed of common human dignity." (Quoted: , Furman v. Georgia [1972]). Standing on the ground of that quote and my previous arguments, Con argues that the Death Penalty could even be considered (on a limb) as a direct violation of the eighth amendment. That is what is impractical about the Death Penalty, to answer Pro's question.

In regards to Pro's next argument, this is a direct contradiction to what Con has stated before, as it is read in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." (Quoted: ).

As quoted by Pro, "This right gives a duty to other individuals to act in a moral manner towards other humans, By killing another person the murderer does not adhere to the principles laid down in the United Nations Charter,..... The term justice is defined as the quality of being fair and reasonable." Con directly argues with this statement, that being 'fair and reasonable' does not include killing another human being for a decision that may have not been clearly made.

Pro asked the question, "Is this the world we want to live in?" To answer that, Pro, a world of punishing someone charged with murder the same punishment is a world of corruption, by all means. It is common knowledge that killing is never the answer.

To wrap up Con's argument (character limit), the Death Penalty is not a beneficial solution of punishment. It fosters that killing is a good solution, and is a negative expense to this country. Reasonable doubt is not enough reason to be killed. Prison is reversible, execution is not.


The pricniple you speak of is reasonable doubt or more appropriately proof beyond reasonable doubt which means that the state in criminal matters bears the onus of proving the accused's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. If there is any reasonable doubt as to whether someone for example murdered person A then he cannot be found guilty of the crime in question. I'm not quite sure how this helps your argument, if anything it would seem as though you are arguing on my behalf.

I shall proceed with the point you raised ("rebuttal"). The fact that this principle that the state must prove that the accused committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt further serves to protect the accused against being wrongfully convicted. This further strengthens the argument that if someone has been sentenced to death chances are he actually committed the crime in question. (Which invalids a possible argument that we run the risk of executing innocent people)

Furthermore it is possible to reverse a death sentence, this is the reason why the courts acknowledged ones right to appeal against a sentence laid against him/her

The Poor are the ones more affected
This also rings true for life sentences, Pro fails to understand the point Con is attempting to convey. The judicial system by virtue of its function is inherently unfair to the poor, they have less access or rather no access to good lawyers who tend to cost a lot of money. But that's a fact of life, that doesn't mean we should stop punishing people for the wrongs they do simply because it appears to be unfair to some. How long will the victim card be played, many things on this planet are unfair; healthcare and education included. One of the few fair things is the principle that if you commit a crime you must be punished for it, proportionatley to the magnitude of the crime committed.

Pro further argues that murderers may not have motivation to kill, but circumstances may easily arise where they have to to prove their loyalty to prison gangs, which more often than not literally rule the social aspect of prison life. Pro argues that no man is an island, as such in certain instances joining such a gang for the convicted murderer may be the difference between life and death. Pro further argues that death by lethal injection is far from inhumane it is actually a quick and painless procedure.

Con argues that the Death Penalty could even be considered (on a limb) as a direct violation of the eighth amendment
"Punishments are cruel when they involve torture or a lingering death; but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used in the Constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous, something more than the mere extinguishment of life".
Wilkerson v. Utah, 99 U.S. 130, 135

"...this court holding that the Eighth Amendment did not apply to state legislation. It was not meant in the language we have quoted to give a comprehensive definition of cruel and unusual 371*371 punishment, but only to explain the application of the provision to the punishment of death. In other words, to describe what might make the punishment of death, cruel and unusual, though of itself it is not so"
In re Kemmler, 136 U.S. 436, 447

a world of punishing someone charged with murder the same punishment is a world of corruption,

Death sentence and corruption are 2 very dissimilar concept, one regards punishment for a wrong committed the other is on its own a wrongful act, we cannot make such comparisons as there is no basis for comparing these two very contrasting words

It is common knowledge that killing is never the answer.
Armies kill to defend nations, people kill to defend their lives against imminent threats (self-defence).This is common knowlegde

Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by DaFarmerProject 4 years ago
This was my first debate. It was pretty fun lol. Im glad I have things I can improve on
Posted by Emmo 4 years ago
everytime i challenge a newbie it ends in endless forfeits another tie to ruin my record cause no one bothers reading and voting on the debate. This is taking a leap, but i'll give you the benefit of the doubt
Posted by JustinAMoffatt 4 years ago
Ah... might've taken. But you're a first timer. Sorry, but I'll wait to see if you decide to stick with the site, and take it seriously, before I debate you. God bless, though! :D
Posted by bcckid1118 4 years ago
Although i am new here as well this is a topic i would like to discuss as it is one that interests me. i personally do believe in it and can debate this topic well. i hope you choose a good intellectual discussion over a convenient one.
Posted by Noctan 4 years ago
I'm new here and want to get in a debate, but can't find one I don't agree with, and if I do find one, I don't want to talk about that topic. But anyway, I agree.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: While I agree with CON, he just didn't argue the case well.