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

The United States should retain Capital Punishment for murder.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,685 times Debate No: 17405
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (3)




I already debated petersaysstuff on this exact same topic, and just got finished. It was an extremely fun, and interesting debate so I'm going to post it again!

First round: We both present our cases, no rebuttals.
Second, third, and fourth round we make rebuttals. Cross Examination is permitted.


"A murderer deserves death penalty because he has trespassed against the whole society by killing one of its members."-unknown.

Seeing as I agree with the above quote, I strongly affirm this resolution. I offer the following contentions in support:

C1. Capital Punishment saves innocent lives.

SPA: Capital Punishment keeps a killer from striking again.

There have been many instances in our justice system where a murderer has reoffended, in fact a study from the U.S. Department of Justice finds that of prisoners released in 1994, 1.2% of those convicted of homicide were arrested for another homicide within three years of their release.[1].

There are also many specific examples, such as Kenneth Mcduff. In 1966 a Texas jury ruled for him to die in the electric chair for his brutal murder of two boys and a girl. However his sentence was commuted to Life Imprisonment when the Supreme Court struck down the Death Penalty. Mcduff was later released, and ended up killing at least 9 more people. Thankfully, he was executed by lethal injection in 1998[2]. He will never kill again. Had he been executed the first time at least 9 innocent lives would've been saved.

Another example is the recently executed Lee Andrew Taylor. While serving a life sentence for his brutal beating and murder of an elderly couple Taylor fatally stabbed another inmate after a "racial tension" incident occurred[3]. Thankfully, he was executed by Texas in 2011, never to kill again.

Yet another example comes from Clarence Ray Allen. Allen was serving a sentence of life without parole for murder, when he conspired with his fellow inmate Billy Hamilton to kill the witnesses for his crime. When paroled, Hamilton tracked down the witnesses and killed one of them, along with two other people[4]. Allen was, thankfully, sentenced to die for this new crime, and executed by the state of California in 2006.

These are only some of many examples of murderers who later murdered again. In many cases, anything less than the Death Penalty simply isn't good enough. The recidivism rate for an executed murderer is 0%.

SPB: Capital Punishment has a deterrent effect.

Many different studies provide many different results, some examples:
  • Studies from Emory University stating that each execution prevents between three and eighteenmurders. [5]
  • A 2006 study from the University of Houston, stating that the Illinois moratorium on the Death Penalty led to 150 additional homicides [5]
  • A University of Colorado at Denver study showing that for each execution five muders were prevented.[6].

These are just some of many studies showing the deterrent effect. As Researcher Karl Spence from of Texas A&M University states (speaking about the moratorium on Capital Punishment from 1972-1976):

"While some death penalty abolitionists try to face down the results of their disastrous experiment and still argue to the contrary, the...[data] concludes that a substantial deterrent effect has been observed...In six months, more Americans are murdered than have killed by execution in this entire century...Until we begin to fight crime in earnest by using the death penalty, every person who dies at a criminal's hands is a victim of our inaction."

Observation: While the argument that an innocent could be executed is a very compelling one, the murders committed by prior offenders and the deterrent effect of Capital Punishment outweighs this small risk.

C2. The Death Penalty is a better punishment than Life without Parole.

SPA: Life without parole does not always mean life.

If the Death Penalty is abolished, the next thing to go will be life without parole. Already some European countries like Norway, Greece and Spain have abolished it [7]. There is already a movement to abolish life without parole in the United States for juveniles and even for adult offenders! [8][9]. While no one can truly know if these movements will gain traction, the evidence in Europe speaks for itself, sentences for murder in Europe are much lighter than those in the United States.

The law can also change, take for example the tragic case of Pamela Moss: "In 1962, James Moore raped and strangled 14-year-old Pamela Moss. Her parents decided to spare Moore the death penalty on the condition that he be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Later on, thanks to a change in sentencing laws in 1982, James Moore is eligible for parole every two years"[10]

Laws change, Governors change, sentencing changes, and people forget the past. The only way to truly know if a murderer will not ever be released is to execute them.

SPB: Prisoners view the Death Penalty as a harsher punishment than Life without parole.

One argument against the Death Penalty is that it does not force criminals to truly pay for their crime. While at first this seems to be a compelling argument, the evidence speaks against it. Criminals have the right to waive the appeals on their death sentence, very very few do. Executions in 2011: 23 so far, 1 waived appeals. Executions in 2010: 46, 1 waiver. Executions in 2009: 52 executions, 2 waivers. Executions in 2008: 37 Executions, 3 waivers.[11]. Nearly 96% of those executed in the past four years have fought to escape their sentence.

C3. Capital Punishment is not unconstitutional.

There isn't much to be said on this point, so I'll make it brief. The Supreme court has upheld the constitutionality of Capital Punishment many times in the past, most recently in Bazes v. Rees.[12] Also, usage of the Death Penalty is contemplated in the 5th Amendment of the U.S. constitution when it states: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury..."[13].

Well, that's all I have to say for now. Good luck to my future Opponent, and I urge a Pro vote!



I thank more opponent for initiating this debate and for his well thought out arguments. As per rules I will not offer any rebuttal in this round. Some of my contentions may seem like rebuttals, but that was unavoidable.

I apologize that this is last minute, but I've been busy these past few days and was gone all day today as well. I will try to reply sooner in the future.

C1) Death penalty more expensive: [1]

While it may not seem so at first, the death penalty is much more expensive than life imprisonment.

This is due to the fact that the constitution requires a long and complex judicial process for cases of capital punishment.

-By replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment, California could save $1 billion over five years.
-Californian taxpayers have to pay 90,000 more on those waiting to be executed per year than on normal prisoners.

C2) Repentance of the crime.

Sometimes the ones who do the worst crimes can in the end do great works after repenting of these crimes. Such as the case of Stanley "Tookie" Williams[2] who was convicted of four murders. After five years of incarceration he became a Christian. He wrote many books and founded programs to promote peace and fight gang violence.

With life imprisonment those convicted have a much better chance of repenting, and after repentance have a much longer time too do good works, instead of until executed, such as with the Williams case.

C3) Not as much a punishment, or not punishment at all.

With the death penalty the convicted don't suffer as much punishment as they do with life imprisonment. They don't have much time to reflect on what they did and thus won't feel as guilty.

In fact capital punishment hurts the family of the prisoner more than it hurts the prisoner.

In some cases victims don't even mind death. They may think that they are dying for their cause, or may be crazy enough to not care.

C4) Makes members of the jury less inclined too condemn the guilty.

If the jury knows there is someone's death on the line they may be loathe to condemn the criminal. The reasons for which could be that either they don't support the death penalty, or the possibility that an innocent man might be put to death makes them more hesitant when making the decision. Thus making it more likely that guilty men may not be tried innocent.

C5) Possibility of the innocent being executed.

There is always the chance that the person being convicted is innocent. Even when there is what seems strong evidence, it may only mean that the convicted man had something too do with the crime, not the murder. There are of course many other possible explanations why someone tried guilty might be innocent. Those sentenced to life imprisonment have the chance to be proven innocent before they die.

C6) Life imprisonment is just as effective removing from society someone who would cause more harm.

C7) Religious/Christian perspective:

1. Jesus taught much on forgiveness. Too kill someone because they killed someone is not very forgiving.

2. Serving out their time in jail, the prisoner has the chance too repent and become a Christian. Christians should support life imprisonment and try to get murderers too repent. With the death penalty they have no such chance.

C8) Violates the right to life.

My last contention but one of the most important, the right to life, and the irony of the death penalty.

Now of course the one being condemned has violated anothers right to life, but does that mean he loses his right to life as well? When one man takes away someone else right, it does not mean that man taking away the right should also have his rights taken away. It is the same concept as an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth. For one thing it teaches revenge and is wrong.

-A decent and humane society does not deliberately kill human beings.

-How can we teach something is wrong by doing the exact same thing that we are teaching is wrong? This is what makes the death penalty so ironic.


Debate Round No. 1


Thank you to my Opponent for his response.

C1. Cost.

--> Even if this is true, no impact. Justice should not be sold to the lowest bidder. A 20 year sentence would be cheaper than a life sentence, but it certainly isn't as just.

--> He only mentions California, California does not have a true Death Penalty (referred to as "DP" from now on to save space), they have sentenced over 700 individuals to die but have only executed 13 people since 1976.[1].

--> This cost analysis ignores the use of the DP for plea bargaining, according to a report from Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, defendants plead guilty 10% more in DP states than non-DP states, saving the cost of an entire trial.[2]

--> Here's a (admittably biased, but the cost calculation is still reasonable) cost analysis showing that life w/o parole is: "" $1.2 to $3.6 million" more expensive that the DP.[3].

--> The public pays for the criminal justice system, and prefers the DP over life.[4]

C2. Repentence

--> No impact argued, who cares?

--> Feeling remorseful to a crime should not allow you to escape punishment. I wonder what my Opponent would say if I was to advocate the release of murderers because they claimed to feel guilt.

--> Only one example, this point is massively outweighed.

--> This contradicts your third point. If the DP is a lesser punishment, wouldn't it more more merciful for us to execute this man rather than force him to live life imprisonment?

C3. Not a punishment

--> His opinion only, no true evidence.

--> Contradicts his second contention.

--> Evidence shows this point to be untrue, 96% of prisoners sentenced to the DP fight to have it moved to life w/o parole.

--> So what? Public safety is more important than punishment, and the DP is safer.

--> As sad as it is that the prisoners family suffers from the DP, we must remember who got them into that position in the first place, the prisoner. We must focus on justice and public safety, not emotions.

C4. Jury less likely to condemn.

--> No evidence.

--> Death sentences are not mandatory, the jury could sentence them to life w/o parole if they are not comfortable with the DP. Sentencing takes place AFTER guilt/innocence has been established.

--> This point is outweighed by the lives saved from the DP.

C5. Innocence.

--> Very compelling point, however it is massively outweighed by deterrence and the lives taken by prior offendors.

--> He's given no specific examples, most likely because there aren't any. And if cases of true innocence do exist, they are excedingly rare.

--> The DP is a social good, which comes at a risk. Why impose a standard of perfection only on the criminal justice system? Why can we accept the thousands of people who die in car accidents for our own selfish convience, but we cannot accept the slight possibility that an innocent might be executed for a much less selfish thing like justice/public safety?

C6 Life w/o Parole is the same.

--> See my Contention 2.

--> No justification for this claim.

C7. Religion.

--> No impact, we are not, and have never been, a Christian nation.

--> The Bible supports the DP in the Old Testament, and while some of what Jesus said seemed to go against this, he also states "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. for assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."-Matthew 5:17-19

So, he does not come to abolish God's law, which strongly supports the DP, rather he came to fufill it.

C8. Right to life.

This is by far my Opponents best point, so I will do my best to take it down.

--> Outwieghed by the innocent lives saved by the DP.

--> The physical similarites between the DP and Murder do not make them anywhere near similar morally. The DP is reactionary, based on a crime committed.

--> A murderer is killing an innocent person, with the DP we are executing a guilty person.

--> He speaks that it's vengeful, essentially saying "why kill to say killing is wrong." Using that logic, we also kidnap people to show that kidnapping is wrong, and Police should not be allowed to excede the speed limit to pull over a traffic violater.

--> I agree with the English philosopher John Stuart Mill in his statement:

"Does fining a criminal show want of respect for property, or imprisoning him, for personal freedom? Just as unreasonable it is to think that to take the life of a man who has taken that of another is to show want of regard for human life. We show, on the contrary...our regard for it, by the adoption of a rule that he who violates that right in another forfeits it for himself and that while no other crime that he can commit deprives him of his right to live, this shall."

--> The right to personal liberty is taken away with life imprisonment, how can we justify taking away this right if we can't justify the DP?

--> He states that: "A decent and humane society does not deliberately kill human beings" using that logic, no (or very very few) societies are decent and humane, because most societies engage in war, which is the deliberate killing of humans.

--> We are protecting the right to life by A) saving lives with the DP and B) giving the ultimate penalty to those who violate it.

=Expansion of deterrence=

More evidence for this point can be found through raw statistics. Lets take Texas as an example. Texas performed very few executions until the early 1990's. How did the murder rates respond?

According to JFA (Justice for All), the Texas murder rate in 1991 was 15.3 per 100,000. By 1999, it had fallen to 6.1—a drop of 60 percent. Within Texas, the most aggressive death penalty prosecutions are in Harris County (the Houston area). Since the resumption of executions in 1982, the annual number of Harris County murders has plummeted from 701 to 241—a 72 percent decrease.[5].

In the United States as a whole, since the passing of the Death Penalty act of 1994, murder rates have declined significantly.

William Tucker elaborates:

"By the beginning of the 1990s, however, states that wished to reimpose the ultimate penalty had fought their way through the endless thicket of appeals and restrictions imposed by the courts. In 1991, 14 murderers were executed while 2,500 waited on death row. By 1993 the figure had risen to 38 executions, then 55 in 1995, and 98 in 1999, a level not seen since the 1950s. At the same time, murder rates began to plummet—to 9.6 per 100,000 in 1993, 7.7 in 1996, and 6.4 in 1999, the lowest level since 1966. To put the matter simply, over the past 40 years, homicides have gone up when executions have gone down and vice versa. "[6].

Clearly, a deterrent affect has been observed by the use of the DP. All moral arguments brounght up by Opponent are massively outweighed by this, because the government has a moral obligation to protect its innocent citizens.

Thank you to my Opponent, I urge a pro vote, and I look forward to our next round!



5. . Lowe, Wesley. "Consistent and Swift Application of the Death Penalty Reduces Murder Rates."
6. Tucker, William. "Capital Punishment Reduces Murder Rates."


Because of the set up of this debate, viewers please keep in mind that it was impossible for me to respond completely to all of my opponents second round rebuttal.


I will first address my opponents first contention "Capital Punishment saves innocent lives. SPA: Capital Punishment keeps a killer from striking again."

I will address this argument in two ways.

1. Life imprisonment is almost, if not just as effective in saving lives.

2. Capital punishment contrarily ends innocent lives.

Defense of first premise:

First, my opponent says there have been many instances when a murderer has re-offended. Yet when he shows the figures it is only
1.2%. Now I do not support at all murderers being released. I don't think the solution is the death penalty, the solution is not too let them go. I don't know why they would release murderers, but how often does it even happen? Not much.

Life imprisonment needs to be strongly enforced. If so than it is almost just as effective as the death penalty in saving lives. The only cases when someone serving a life sentence can kill someone is when he kills his own inmate as my opponent has shown. However life imprisonment could also be just as effective in which I will show in my defense of my second premise.

Defense of second premise:

The death penalty ends innocent lives. This was one of my arguments in the last round. There have been instances when the convicted has been executed but latter proved innocent. I will bring up some instances in my latter rebuttal. Let me also point out to the viewers, and to my opponent that there have undoubtedly been cases in which the innocent have been executed but have not been proved innocent afterwards. This is without doubt true, because for one after being executed there is usually not much need to for someone to try too prove the innocence of someone who is already dead. So there are undoubtedly instances in the past where we have executed an innocent man but did not know so, and still do not know.

So with life imprisonment we will have criminals murdered. With the death penalty we will have innocent people murdered, and wrongly accused.

Response too "SPB: Capital Punishment has a deterrent effect."

My opponents first example: It appears his link only leads to a website. Not any article or study. I cannot properly respond to this if my opponent does not provide an article of the study that was done. Also I very highly doubt those statistics are right.

My opponents second example: See above.

And it appears my opponents third example is just the same....

How can I respond to statistics my opponent has shown if we don't even have any link to an article or study?

I ask the viewers to drop these statistics until my opponent has properly supported them.

Response to "SPA: Life without parole does not always mean life."

First my opponent again posts sources to the home pages of websites, but not to articles. Even his Wikipedia source is only the homepage. So I would like to again point out to the viewers that I can not properly respond.

//There is already a movement to abolish life without parole in the United States for juveniles and even for adult offenders!//

There are movements for a ton of things. Doesn't mean it will happen.

Reply to "SPB: Prisoners view the Death Penalty as a harsher punishment than Life without parole."

The prisoners don't have much time to reflect upon their guilt with the death penalty. Also addressed latter.

Reply to "C3. Capital Punishment is not unconstitutional."

The constitution says every man has a right to life, so yes it does, or at least contradicts itself. (I'll try to bring up more latter).

Too save space the R's represent reply.

Defense. Cost:

R1st point: My opponent says that justice should not be sold to the lowest bidder. I agree, but life sentence is even more just as well as less costly. Or is killing someone for killing someone more just?

R2nd point: The article makes clear that the main reason the DP is more expensive is because of
the, "long and complex judicial process" necessary for capital cases. Not because of how many inmates there are on death row. Also my opponent uses Wikipedia as a source which is not credible, so we can't be sure these statistics are accurate.

R3d point: Actually I don't think that's true. The source says, "
The federal court system spends approximately $12 million on defending death row inmates in federal court." This sounds very much like it's taking everything into account unlike what my opponent says.

R4th point: This source seems to rest solely on the fact that the anti-death penalty movement is a fraud. Here's a quote from the article.

"The culture of lies and deceit so dominates that movement that many of the falsehoods are now wrongly accepted as fact"

This all assumes that the the anti-death penalty statistics as the article says "specializes in the abolition of truth". This is ridiculous. We see that facts show other wise, we need proof that the statistics are lies to consider this.

R5th point: I accept these statistics to be reasonably true for now, but reserve the right to latter bring up contrary evidence.

But still a large portion do not support it, and I think it's most likely that a large amount are not even aware that the DP require them to pay more. I myself did not know that until recent because at first it would seem that life imprisonment would require more payment.

Additional point: Those serving life sentences are able to help pay off their costs by working while those executed obviously cannot, being dead.

Defense. Repentance:

R1st point: We should give everyone the chance to repent for the good of man kind.

R2nd point:
My opponent misinterprets me. If I made it seem this way I apologize, but I do not at all support for those who repent of the crime to be set free.

R3rd point: Why is more than one example needed to make a point? My opponent only uses a few examples for some of his arguments. Nevertheless I will show another example.

Karla Faye Tucker murdered a man by striking him 28 times in the head with a pick axe, and latter even expressed that she received sexual gratification each time she struck. [2]

She underwent conversion and her last words were;

“ Yes sir, I would like to say to all of you — the Thornton family and Jerry Dean’s family — that I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this. Baby, I love you. Ron, give Peggy a hug for me. Everybody has been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I am going to be face to face with Jesus now. Warden Baggett, thank all of you so much. You have been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you. ”

R4th point: It's not a contradiction at all. That man was happy with his life. He felt guilt of course, but he was not guilt torn like murders can become.

Defense. Not a punishment

R1st point:
Not opinion, logic.

R2nd point:
See two responses previous.

R3d point.
Evidence? Also it's natural to run away from death, but that doesn't mean they don't suffer more in prison.

R4th point:
Life imprisonment is just as safe.

R5th point:
Unnecessary suffering. With life imprisonment the family can at least now he's alive, can visit him, and if they think he's innocent no that, one there's a possibility it will be proved and two he at least won't have been killed wrongly.

Defense. Religion.

I found this one to be the only one I had enough space to respond too.

More than 60% of people are religious, thus I have given a reason for more than 60% of the people in America to not support it. [3]

Note about source. I don't know how accurate that figure is that is why I lowered it to 60%.

I will try to defend C.4, C.5, C.6, and C.8 in future rounds. [1] [2] [3]

Debate Round No. 2



Con is 100% correct when he states that my sources do not lead to the actual articles. How this happened, I have no idea but I will repost them. I am very sorry.



Life imprisonment V. DP.

Life without parole does not keep a killer from striking again as well as the death penalty. Here's some examples:

Donald Dillbeck- sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1979, escaped in 1990 and murdered a woman while attempting to steal her car.[1]

James Prestridge-sentenced to life w/o parole for murder, escaped from prison and murdered his fellow escapee (serving a sentence for robbery)[2].

The Texas 7, I do not know what their sentences were, but they were in a maximum security prison and still escaped, and went on a crime spree killing many innocent people, showing that escape is always possible.[3]

Martsay Bolder, sentenced to life imprisonment and murdered his cellmate.[4]

These are only some of the many examples.

Innocent lives are saved by preventing future murders. The recidivism rate for executed offenders is 0%.

My opponent contends that innocents have been executed. He has provided no examples, but he said he would in his next rebuttal so I will leave this point for now.


I appologize for the link issues, but now since my Opponent (and the judges) can see my sources, this point again stands.

With deterrence there are two logical scenarios. If we execute murderers, and there is no deterrent affect than we have a bunch of dead murderers. If we do not execute murderers and there is a deterrent affect, than we have a bunch of dead innocents. Surely it's better to risk the former than the latter.

Life does not always mean life

Again, I am sorry for the link issues. However now that I have re-posted them, this point again stands. He has not responded to the Moore example, and thus I extend it. He states that just because there are movements to abolish it, doesn't prove it will happen. True, however the likelihood of its abolition is much more likely because there are current movements. I have also established a historical precedent using Europe as an example.

Prisoners prefer life

The raw statistics make it astonishingly clear that prisoners prefer life w/o parole to the DP. If life was truly a worse punishment, than we would see large amounts of prisoners committing suicide. While suicide rates in prison are higher than the national average, the vast majority do not commit suicide.


Con states that "The constitution says every man has a right to life" In this statement, I believe he is referring to the famous "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" line from the declaration of independence. If we were to accept Con's argument, we would have to abolish prisons and fines too because the violate the rights to liberty and pursuit of happiness respectively.

=His Case=


--> He claims that life is more just than the DP. Again, only his personal opinion. Life gives a prisoner a chance to strike again. I have given specific examples of killers who killed again so this does not outweigh.

--> He falsely equates executing a convicted killer, to brutally murderering an innocent. Here's an example:

Here is an account of how the victims of the murderer Peter Cantu died:

"As the teens cried and struggled, six gang members took turns raping them.

Finally, gang leader Peter Cantu told Medellin, "We're going to have to kill them."

Gang members Derrick O'Brien and Raul Villarreal looped a belt around Jennifer's throat, pulling with such force that the belt broke. Cantu, Medellin and Efrain Perez strangled Elizabeth with a shoelace. Then they stomped on the girls' throats for good measure."[5].

Here's an account of Cantu's humane execution:

"At this point the warden asked the prisoner if he wished to make a final statement. Cantu, staring straight to the ceiling, replied defiantly "No!" The hope that many people had that this murderer would show some remorse or accept some reponsibility for his crimes was gone with one short word. With that, the warden instructed the executioner to begin the flow of lethal drugs. Cantu closed his eyes and breathed in deeply before exhaling heavily. He would not move again."[6]

Are we really supposed to believe that these two actions are morally similar? Even if the DP is immoral to claim that murder and execution are the same morally is simply absurd.

--> Rather than attacking my rebuttals, Con often just attacks my sources.

--> He brings up the federal government, which again is like California. Populated death row, few executions.

--> I admitted that the source was biased, but rather than attack the cost analysis, he again attacks the credibility. So my evidence stands.


--> Risking innocent lives to try and rehabilitate a brutal murderer is simply absurd.

--> His argument could just as easily be used to justify releasing those condemend to life w/o parole, why is the line drawn at the DP?

--> He ironically gives an example of a repented murderer, however if you read his source it shows that those were her final words before execution. Thus this example supports my side showing how people are more willing to repent when death is imminent.


This, I believe, is Cons most ironic point. Con tries to show that the DP is not a true punishment. While this point is dubious at best, and massively outweighed, his religion argument contradicts this. Indeed, if he is truly interested in punishing murderers, than why keep them on Earth? God could dish out an infinitely worse punishment in purgatory/hell than we could ever imagine! So you can see that Cons true goal is not to punish criminals. This point falls.


Interestingly enough, Con tries to use religion as a tool against the DP. Here are some examples, showing how Christianity supports the DP.

“‘Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. They are to be put to death." Numbers 35:31

"Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it." Numbers 35:33

"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." Genesis 9:6

"eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." Exodus 21:24

Remember, Christ did not come to abolish God's law.

I think I've made my point, although I will bring more verses in later if need be.

Thanks for an excellent response Phantom, and I strongly urge a pro vote.




Viewers keep in mind I will first be finishing addressing my opponents round 2 rebuttal.

Defense: C.4, Jury less likely to condemn.

I would like some evidence that the jury are able to choose the sentence of the criminal, because I've been searching for it but can't find it.

The DP saves only the lives of criminals being murdered, besides cases when murderers are let go with should not happen. The DP sometimes kills innocents.

Defense: C.5, Innocence.

Here's a case in which a man was framed by the police. [1]

This source says that well over eighty people in the past quarter century have been condemned but then released before execution [2]

This source shows accounts of 11 innocents being executed. [3]

Here is a quote from one study taken.

" In my current research into probable innocents that have been executed, I have uncovered at least 74 cases in which wrongful executions have most likely taken place." [2]

Let me also add what I said in the previous round. There have undoubtedly been cases in which the innocent have been executed but have not been proved innocent afterwards. After being executed there is usually not much need for someone to try too prove the innocence of someone who is already dead. So there are undoubtedly instances in the past where we have executed an innocent man but did not know so, and still do not know.

With life imprisonment there is zero chance of killing an innocent man.

Defense: C.6, Life imprisonment just as effective removing those who cause harm.

The only people murderers can harm is their fellow inmates, assuming they were not sentenced to solitary confinement. This is far outweighed by the fact that executing innocents is a much bigger a problem than murderers and rapists killing each other.

Defense: C.8, Violates the right to life.

1. Not outweighed: The lives saved by the DP are the lives of rapists and murderers. The lives saved by life imprisonment are the lives on innocent people wrongly condemned.

2. "Not comparable morally": The murderer of course has no right to take another mans life. So what makes it right for us to take his life?

3. Murderer is guilty, but not deserved of death: What makes it right for the guilty person to be deserved of the same thing he's being executed for? Of course he's guilty, but life imprisonment is a better means of punishing the guilty.

4. DP Vengeful: My opponents analogy's are faulty. His first analogy doesn't even make sense because what he's saying is it would be absurd to kidnap someone to show that kidnapping is wrong. I agree that would be absurd, which is why killing people to show killing people is wrong is also absurd. His second analogy is completely wrong because cops don't punish those who speed by speeding.

5. Violating anothers rights does not deprive you of your own: John Stuart Mill is essentially saying the "eye for eye tooth for tooth" concept is right. Proving that the DP is vengeful. This concept is widely accepted as wrong.

6. I'm not sure exactly what my opponent means by personal liberty, but putting a man in prison for murder is easily justified while the DP is not.

7. The fact of whether war is justified is completely another matter.

8. "Protecting the right to life": Every time the DP is used the right to life is violated. As for lives saved, see my first point.


It is fallacious reasoning to assume that, because murder rates were dropping at the time the DP was used that means it was because of the DP.

The only way life imprisonment causes murders to happen is by inmates killing each other. This is out weighed by the fact that innocents get executed with the DP.

Round 2 has been cleared up so now on to round 3.

Escaping and murdering again:
It is exceedingly rare for those confined in prison to escape. It was reported that 0.5% of inmates escaped.[4] The number of murderers who escaped would be even less as that includes all inmates. Also those statistics were from 1998, the amount would be even lower now. Experts are saying that prison escapes are becoming less common. [5]

As for my opponents last sentence I have now shown many examples in which innocents have been executed.


Study shows that there there is not enough evidence to support the fact that the death penalty does not act as a deterrence. [6] [7]

Quote from source:

"When one considers all the evidence the empirical support for the proposition that the death penalty deters is at best weak and inconclusive."

"Life does not always mean life"

1. This is mere speculation. No convincing evidence.

2. Just because there are movements for something doesn't mean we should be worried about it. In politics there are movements going on for tons of things.

"Prisoners prefer life"

I think that it all depends for different people.

Being locked in a single small room in solitary confinement for years on end is certainly not very pleasant.


Although allot of people don't know it, the Bill of Rights is legally considered part of the original Constitution. [8] This is true and so my point still stands.


1. My opponent states that it is only my personal opinion. I showed substantial evidence to support my claims so I don't know why my opponent claims this.

I have given specific examples of killers who killed again so this does not outweigh.//

I have given many examples of innocents being executed which in turn outweighs this or at least cancels it out.

My opponent posts two examples. One of a gang raping and murdering some teens and one of an execution.

He then says;

Are we really supposed to believe that these two actions are morally similar? Even if the DP is immoral to claim that murder and execution are the same morally is simply absurd.//

Everyone in those examples have the right to life. This is what we disagree on. It is certainly worse to rape and kill someone than to execute someone by use of injection, or some other means. But does this make it right to kill them back? The whole point is even the murderer has the right to life, and is deserved of having the rest of his life to have the chance of repenting.

Rather than attacking my rebuttals, Con often just attacks my sources.//

Not necessarily true. In the example of cost I attacked the study that was done, and showed that it is likely wrong. In other cases my opponent unintentionally didn't post the article, but only the home page of the website. In these cases I made it clear that I could not properly refute my opponent without proper sources.

//He brings up the federal government, which again is like California. Populated death row, few executions. //

I'll ask my opponent to elaborate more in the next round, because I'm not sure what he means and have no idea which argument or rebuttal I even used this for.

//I admitted that the source was biased, but rather than attack the cost analysis, he again attacks the credibility. So my evidence stands.//

False. The source itself states that the studies taken say the DP is more expensive, but that the anti death penalty movement is full of lies and deceit and that is why these statistics are wrong. Evidence show the DP is more expensive. The study does not show how these statistic lie nor how the anti death penalty movement is full of lies and deceit.

I've run out of characters so will try to respond to the rest in the future.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Debate Round No. 3


=Impact calculus=

My impacts will be bolded, my Opponents will by underlined. This is paraphrase, not actual quotes. I will make it quite obvious that my points outweigh.

"The DP is proven to save innocent lives be keeping a killer from striking again."
v. "take my word, and the word of the websites I've linked over the word of the court who is actually qualified to assess guilt/innocence, innocents have been executed."

"The DP has a deterrent effect, and based on evidence, prisoners fear it more than life imprisonment." v. "Murderers need to suffer by sitting in prison, and theres a greater chance for them becoming a christian if they live."

"The DP values the right to life by imposing the strictest punishment on those who violate it." v. "everyone has a right to life."

"The constitution and public opinion supports the DP." v. "the public is misinformed, and the declaration of independence gives the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and we must take this to condemn the DP because it violates the right to life, however impriosnment doesn't violate the rights to liberty and pursuit of happiness."

"The DP saves innocent lives through deterrence and prevention." v. "the DP costs more."

Ok, now I'll go over his case and attack it, starting with his most important point.


Con claims innocents have been executed. Notice, he hasn't given any type of credible court source, or a government acknowledgement of innocence. Rather he links us to the sources "", "the-slammer" (which, here's a quote from it's homepage: "The-SLAMMER is dedicated to all the people that spend time behind those doors in that other world — the inmates, former inmates,..." and if you read the website, it is staunchly anti-death penalty) and "".

So, basically Con wants us to accept the word of innocence from known anti-DP sources rather than the veridict from the court system. Logical? Hardly.

The only decent example Con brings up is Kevin Cooper. His anti=death penalty source claims that Cooper was "framed by the poice." K, let's look at an actual CREDIBLE assessment of his guilt. Here's a quote from the district court case denying his petition for Habeas Corpus. "As the district court, and all state courts, have repeatedly found, evidence of Cooper's guilt was overwhelming. The tests that he asked for to show his innocence 'once and for all' show nothing of the sort."[1]

In Con's source, it gives several quotes from one of the judges in this very case, in his dissenting opinion. Con wants us to value the thoughts of the minority opinion rather than the majority.

Oh, and let's also look at Coopers prior criminal record:

"On October 8, 1982, Cooper burglarized a Pennsylvania home and kidnapped and raped the high school student who interrupted him. He was convicted of two other burglaries in Los Angeles and began serving his sentence at the California Institution for Men (CIM) in Chino on April 29, 1983, under the alias David Trautman. On June 1, he was transferred to the minimum-security portion of the prison and escaped on foot the next day."[2].

Jurors less likely to condemn

Con wanted a source, so I will link him one. You can clearly see that sentencing is covered under POST CONVICTION matters.[3] This point falls.

Right to life

Con wants us to believe that the right to life is violated by the DP. He wants us to value his opinion over the vast majority of Amerians (65%) who believe the DP is morally acceptable.[4] Con fasley states that everyone killed by prior offenders is a "rapist" or "murderer" and we shouldn't concern oursleves with their deaths. Con is dismissing out of hand the lives of murderers, which completely undermines his entire argument about the right to life! This is not even a valid claim, because if you look at my examples, many of them were not about inmates. Con wants us to believe that because we don't have the right to take the life of another person the state shouldn't have the right to. We don't have the right to take other peoples money, but the state does through taxation and fines. We do not have the right to speed, but police do to catch speeders, we do not have the right to imprison people, but the justice system does. Unless Con is advocating anarchy, and giving no unique rights to the state, this point falls. Con gives no reason why the right to life is uniqye among the rights our justice system can take away.

He also rejects my kidnapping analogy out of hand, so to elaborate:

Kidnapping is the forced taking of someone by another person, violating their right to freedom, to a place of their takers choice for the benefit of the taker.

Arrest/imprisonment is the forced taking of someone be the state, to a place of the states choice for the benefit of the state. Using Con's own logic, this would not be morally acceptable because of the physical similarities between crime and punishment.

Con states the concept of an eye for an eye is unjust. Ok. If you look at the account of murder I gave, and compare it to the account of execution, the suffering from the execution is nowhere near similar. If the DP was truly an Eye for an Eye, Peter Cantu would've been raped and strangled and had his throat stomped on. He wasn't. The DP is not an eye for an eye, and even if it was the physical similarities between crime and punishment does not make them morally similar.

As for the liberty violation from imprisonment, liberty if defined by merriam webster as "the power to do as one pleases". Prison takes away this power. By Cons logic, we are unjustified in imprisoning anyone.


Con states that it is false reasoning to correlate dropping murder rates to executions. Murders reached an all time high in the 1990's.[5] The government passed the DP act of 1994, making use of the DP much simpler and executon numbers climbed. Murder rates have almost been cut in half since. Con states that there is not enough evidence to support that the DP deters, and cites DPIC and "", two staunchly anti DP sources. This is nowhere near enough to dismiss a deterrent effect.

He ignores my studies, and the stastical evidence brought in. Extend this evidence.


Con shows that .5% of inmates escape. That in no way invalidates my argument, because this proves prisoners DO escape, abliet rarely, and I've given an example (clarence allen) oh a man who's actions caused the killing of innocents WHILE he was imprisoned. I've also given specific examples of escaped prisoners, so it does happen despite what Con wants you to believe.

Con also falsely claims that he's shown innocents to be executed. He has not provided a single example of innocents being executed from a source qualified to decide. I'll take the veridict of the court, supported by the states board of paroles and pardons, the governers of the state and the Supreme Court, over some dubious writings on the internet.


Con states "the Bill of Rights is legally considered part of the original Constitution". If this was supposed to be an attack on my contention, I don't see how.


Con continues to cite evidence from states that do not actively execute criminals. He's brought up California and the Federal Gov't so far. California- 13 executions, 697 on death row. Federal govt- 3 executions, 59 on death row[6]. It takes only common sense to realize that the reason executions are so expensive in these cases, is because they happen so rarely!

Also, Con again attacks the credibility of my source not it's cost analysis.

Con, it has been a true honor debating you. Judges, I urge a pro vote.






1. "Absurd". It would be absurd if this was the only reason to be con DP, but It helps support my main points.

2. I don't at all agree with them being released. I don't know why pro thinks that.

3. It is irrelevant that the prisoner in this case was executed. I showed it to give an example of a prisoner who had repented. I was aware that he suffered execution, but I didn't think it mattered.


1. Ths argument applies to any religious person not just Christians. So proving that the Bible does not condemn the death penalty is not fully refuting me.

2. There are many laws in the old testament that Christians do not follow today. Christians tend to look to Jesus as an example, not to old testament laws. Jesus taught to forgive and to "turn the other cheek." The opposite of the DP.

3. In those cases in the Bible when people were killed there was a %100 insurance that they were guilty because God was the judge and God knows all. In modern times this is never the case.

I will number and address each of my opponents comparison impacts. I will put my opponents impact on the left and my impact that he put down on the right.

1. A) DP keeps killer from striking again. v. (B)Innocents have been executed.

A. The only cases in which this can happen are when the prisoner kills his inmate, when the prisoner is let go, or when the prisoner escapes.

First case will happen but B easily outweighs that.
Second case should not happen. Letting murderers go should never happen, but the DP is not the solution.
Third case I have shown to be astonishingly uncommon.

B. I have shown many cases in which the innocents have been executed. I have brought forth the argument that there have undoubtedly been innocents who have been executed without us ever finding out and perhaps never will find out.

Conclusion: Easily out weighed.

2. A) Deterrence/B)prisoners fear DP more than life in prison. v. (C) Murderers suffer more in prison/D)Religion.

First, I think it was unfair of my opponent to compare his biggest point to some of my least important.

I have shown that there is simply not enough evidence to support the argument of deterrence.
Pro has also used fallacious reasoning to support this fact.

I showed that at least 60% of the population are religious. Thus I have given a reason for 60% of the population to not support the DP.

Also the right to life outweighs this.

Conclusion: There is not enough evidence to support the deterrence argument, the right to life outweighs it, and for every innocent executed the deterrence argument is being outweighed.

3. A) DP values the right to life by imposing the strictest punishment on those who violate it. v. (B) Everyone has the right to life.

How on earth is killing someone valuing the right to life? Life imprisonment does a much better job of valuling the right to life, because one, it punishes the person who violates anothers right too life. And two, after everything's finished there is less dead people than with the DP.

4. A) Constitution/public opinion support DP. v. (B) Public unaware/constitution does not support it.

-My opponents argument was that the DP was not unconstitutional. However the bill of rights is part of the constitution[1]. And therefore it is.

-The public opinion is not always right I think everyone would agree. For example president Obama was very popular during the election but now only 28% of American voters strongly approve of his performance as president, and 42% strongly disapprove.[2] Most Americans are probably not aware that the DP is more expensive, and do not have an idea of how many innocents have been executed.

Innocents being executed:

My opponent attacks my the credibility of my sources saying "he hasn't given any type of credible court source, or a government acknowledgement of innocence." Well first off it is hard to find a non bias source with that information however I do think at least some of the articles clearly prove their innocence.

Here's one example of an innocent executed. [3]

69 inmates on death row released since 1973 (Source is 1997 so would be higher now). [4] This clearly shows the risks of the DP. Risks which are completely unnecessary and should be gotten rid of immediately.

My opponent has also completely ignored my argument that innocents have undoubtedly been executed without us yet gaining the knowledge that they were innocent. Voters please consider that argument conceded.

Right to life:

The right to life is the ultimate right. The most important right that a human being can possess. Yet my opponent thinks that we should leave it up to the state to decide who has this right. Without out this right we lose all other rights as well.

We must also remember as stated earlier that it is not only the condemned that suffer from the DP. All of the mans family and friends may suffer much as well.


My opponents response to my statements that his reasoning is fallacious, is simply to restate what he said earlier. Hardly a refutation.

My opponents reasoning:

1. Murder rates were at an all time high in the 90's.
2. The DP act was passed in 1994.
3. Murder rates have been cut in half since then.
Conclusion: The DP act was the cause of the murder rates decreasing.

This is very poor reasoning and lacking in evidence. There is zero proof that it was the DP act that made the murder rate decrease. There could be countless of other reasons why it decreased.

"Sources nowhere near enough to dismiss a deterrent effect." This is hypocritical because my opponent numerous times attacks my sources, yet attacks me when I do it. It would be next to impossible to find a non bias source that dismisses the deterrence argument. Simply claiming that my source is staunchly anti DP is not enough to refute the fact that the evidence for deterrence is lacking.


As shown previously:
1. 0.5% of inmates escape.
2. Probably most of those weren't murderers which lowers it even further.
3. That was a fairly old source an I have shown security is improving bringing it further down.
4. Most of those that escape don't commit murder afterwards bringing it further down.

That is extremely low an therefore the point should not be considered a serious argument argument and should be discarded.

My opponent again attacks my sources, however his reasons for doing so are because they are biased. Most of my opponents sources have been biased, so if we discard my sources we should also discard all of his.


//If this was supposed to be an attack on my contention, I don't see how.//

My opponent said the DP was constitutional. I said it was not because of the right to life. My opponent responds by saying the right to life isn't in the constitution. I respond by proving that it is because the bill of rights is legally considered part of the constitution.
I don't see how my opponent does not got my argument, but I apologize if I was vague.


Pro falsely asserts that I continue to, " cite evidence from states that do not actively execute criminals." I did that once in the debate. I proved that it is overall more costly to America. I only used the California example once.

Pro hypocritically says that I simply attack the credibility of his source instead of the analysis. That is what my opponent has continually been doing to me and even more often than I have done it to him! Also when my opponent attacks my sources credibility his reasons are usually because of the bias of my source. I attacked the article because most statistics show the opposite and the article makes a bunch of ridiculous claims.

Thank you pro for this truly enjoyable debate and for your prompt responses! [1] [2] [3] [4]

Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
alright, i wont accuse you of dropping anything until we reach the last round
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
This is impossible to respond to everything, so keep in mind I will do so in future rounds.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
its up to you, if you want to respond to just my case then go for it, if you want to do both than go for it
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
I have a question. Do I respond too round 2 and 1 in round two? Or do I just respond to your round 1 arguments in round 2, ignoring your round 2 rebuttal?

Because responding to two rounds worth of arguments in one round is a bit much.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
don't worry about it, i understood what you were trying to say and I'm sure the judges do too :)
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
Crap, typo!

At the end of my fourth contention round 1 I said.
"Thus making it more likely that guilty men may not be tried innocent."

It should have read "Thus making it more likely that guilty men may be tried innocent."
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
yeahh normally i wouldnt ask you to not do any rebuttal, but since this issue has soo much evidence and arguments for both sides, I didn't want my opponent to get an extra crack at my case, you know?
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
You too :)

Should be fun. I've never done a debate where we post our arguments in the first round without any rebuttal.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
alright good luck :)
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
alright good luck :)
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by ohnoyoulost 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were simply more convincing. Con lost badly on deterrence, and his impacts were all outweighed. I agree with what Roy said.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: A good debate that covered a lot o ground. Con left too many of Pro's arguments unanswered, and Pro had more and better sources to support his claims. The religious arguments by Con were unconvincing because they are circular: if you start believing the DP is wrong, then it's wrong. Religious people differ so a broad claim is unjustified. I really like sentences that include verbs, and while neither side likes them a lot, Con had a few more.
Vote Placed by PARADIGM_L0ST 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I thought both debaters laid out a clearly articulated case, but ultimately I thought it was better argued by Pro. Pro's points and counterpoints were well-researched and well-articulated. Very convincing, even though I ultimately disagree with his views.