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The Contender
Con (against)
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The death penalty is the best way to punish criminals convicted of capital crimes

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,896 times Debate No: 69086
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)




Warning: This will be a strictly factual debate. If you accept and don't use facts, but morals and religion you automatically lose.
1. If you or I forefit, we automatically lose.
2. If you bring morals and religion into the debate you automatically lose.
3. If opponent doesn't propose any counter definitions, then they must accept my definitions.
4. If either side brings up new evidence in round four, than that side loses.
Other then that, good look.

Round 1: Acceptance and Definitions. If Con doesn't like my definition, they can propose theirs during this round.
Round 2: Constructive
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals and Final Points (No new evidence may be brought up here)

Death Penalty: The punishment of execution, administered to someone legally convicted of a capital crime. [1]
Capital Crime: A crime, such as murder, rape, or betrayal of one's country, that is treated so seriously that death may be considered an appropriate punishment.[2]
Criminal:A person convicted of a crime who serves time in a prison for their crimes.
Best way:
Best: most advantageous, suitable, ordesirable [3]
Way: manner, mode, or fashion[4]



I accept this debate and the definitions that PRO has set forward. After his constructive I will bring up my main ideas in this debate as well as begin to counter my opponent's arguments using my own. Best of luck to you in this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting. Good luck.

Contention 1: The death penalty is constitutional
Simply because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of 'objectively intolerable risk of harm that qualifies as cruel and unusual. Kentucky has adopted a method of execution believed to be the most humane available, one it shares with 35 other States [1] Kentucky's decision to adhere to its protocol cannot be viewed as probationer of the wanton infliction of pain under the Eighth Amendment... Throughout our history, whenever a method of execution has been challenged in this Court as cruel and unusual, the Court has rejected the challenge. Our society has nonetheless steadily moved to more humane methods of carrying out capital punishment.

Contention 2: The death penalty will deter capital crimes
Common sense, lately bolstered by statistics, tells us that the death penalty will deter murder... People fear nothing more than death. Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than the fear of death... life in prison is less feared. Murderers clearly prefer it to execution -- otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to life in prison instead of death... Therefore, a life sentence must be less deterrent than a death sentence. And we must execute murderers as long as it is merely possible that their execution protects citizens from future murder. [2]

Contention 3: The retribution factor
Society is justly ordered when each person receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order, for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order to give himself undeserved benefits. Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done. This is retribution, not to be confused with revenge, which is guided by a different motive. In retribution the spur is the virtue of indignation, which answers injury with injury for public good... Retribution is the primary purpose of just punishment as such... rehabilitation, protection, and deterrence have a lesser status in punishment than retribution. [3]

[1] Baze v. Rees US Supreme Court, in a decision written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Apr. 16, 2008
[2] Ernest Van Den Haag, PhD Late Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University. "For the Death Penalty," New York Times. Oct. 17, 1983
[3] J. Budziszewski, PhD Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. "Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice," Aug./Sep. 2004

Good Luck


Here are my three contentions:

1. The death penalty is expensive.

"A Seattle University study examining the costs of the death penalty in Washington found that each death penalty case cost an average of $1 million more than a similar case where the death penalty was not sought"[1]. The death penalty system as it stands now requires an extensive appeal process which results in the cost of well... millions. The reason for this is because in order to legally kill someone there needs to be extraordinary evidence in favor of the fact that the criminal did in fact commit the crime. There have still been cases where someone who died on death row ended up being innocent. Even more common are people who are found innocent while they are still waiting on death row or who have had their punishment changed to life imprisonment While new technological techniques have emerged for gathering evidence- it only shows how flawed the capital punishment system is. Life imprisonment allows the opportunity for those who are wrongly convicted to still have faith in the system and possibly one day go back to normal society. Death is final. By encouraging the use of the death penalty- you are only increasing the amount of people who will be innocent yet legally executed.

2. Life Imprisonment is a far better alternative

Imagine nothing. You think the prisoners who committed atrocious crimes will feel the guilt and pain when they're dead. I know that I personally would rather die than be locked up in prison for life. And I think that holds true for lots of other people as well. The death penalty does not deter crime. "There is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime. North Carolina"s murder rate declined after executions stopped. The death penalty has failed to deliver on the much touted promise that it makes the people of North Carolina safer." [2]. Life Imprisonment is cheaper, more effective in dealing with criminals, give the innocent a chance to live, and accomplishes the same task the death penalty accomplishes.

3. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind?

An eye for an eye is never a valid moral argument. Lets look at it from a logical standpoint.

p1. Pete raped my wife
p2. Since he raped my wife, he deserves equal punishment.
C. Therefore, I should rape Pete's wife.

What? This type of logic is absurd. And even in the context of this debate is not very practical. Seeing someone rot in jail for the rest of their lives is much more satisfying than to have them die. They feel no pain when they die. They will not suffer in jail if they die. Jail is the best place for them- no easy way out.

I have already touched upon my opponents 2nd and 3rd contentions above.

To briefly go over his 1st contention- I feel that it holds no purpose in this debate. An is does not imply an ought. My opponent is using a fact to dictate how we should do something. Just because lawful killing is constitutional does not mean that it ought to be constitutional. Just because capital punishment is legal doesn't mean it ought to be legal. I explained above why the practice ought to not be legal as it holds no genuine purpose. The method of life imprisonment is a far better alternative.


Debate Round No. 2


Thanks again for accepting my debate. I wish you the best of luck.

In this rebuttal I will be addressing my opponents arguments, and why they are void.

His Contention 1: "The death penalty is expensive."
I completely disagree. The case itself may cost on average 1 million dollars, but as does any othere case. According to [1] the average case costs on average 375$ per hour for both sides. This can add up very quickly. Making the statement that only death penalty cases cost a lot of money is a false and one sided statement.
Onto his next point, he says "There have still been cases where someone who died on death row was innocent. According to [2] there have only been 10 people of the 1,386 that have been executed [3]. This statement proves that point wrong.
His next point goes onto say, that these people deserve prison sentences, because maybe there is faith that these people will emerge back into the real world. This point is simply laughable. These people who kill, rape, and comitt crimes against the United States deserve to be put to death in the most humane way possible. These people don't deserve to eat up taxpayer's money to live in a cement box for the reset of their life. What they really deserve is to be put to death.

His Contention 2: Life imprisonment is a far better alternative.
He said that these people being sentenced to life is a better than the death penalty. He said that these people live with the guilt of their crimes. What about James Holmes? He killed numerous people in the Aurora Theatre Shooting, and is a psycopath. He doesn't feel guilt. He lauged while on trial about said shooting. He doesn't live with any guilt. He deserves to be killed.

His Contention 3: An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
I agree with the fact ath The Pete and His wife rape scenario is a little out of hand in the eye for an eye situation. My proposal is that those who rape do not deserve to be raped, but deserve to be slaughtered. The same way that they slaughtered the lives of the women (or man) that they raped. They deserve to have a punishment equal in damage as they did to the people the hurt. The only way to accomplish this is with the death penalty.

One thing that I would like to point out is my opponents lack of knowledge when it comes to what the definition of constructive means. Constructive means [4] "serving a useful purpose; tending to build up." In your constructive speech you are not supposed to refute arguments. I will refute the arguments that you put in.

You stated that just because something is constitutional doesn't mean that it "ought" to be implemented. This debate is not matter of ought. This debate is should the death penalty be around. According to the constitution, the Death Penalty is leagl and right and should be implemented. Not Ought. If a killer kills someone (redundency) then they should be killed. Not ought. Yes, it is legal and should be allowed to be used. Again not ought.

Thanks. I urge you to vote pro.


First I would like to say that I used to do high school debate and I was always taught to initialize the beginning of the rebuttal in my constructive if I was Con. Arguing over semantics in a debate has no real purpose. I did not bring up m whole rebuttal and only showed how the information in my contentions counter your information. To try to criticize my intelligence is simply argumentum ad hominem.

Now on to the actual debate. First I will extensively go into my opponents contentions and then respond to his rebuttal.

His contention 1: The death penalty is constitutional. First I direct your attention to this article [1]. "The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that a penalty must be proportional to the crime; otherwise, the punishment violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments.". What crimes constitute as proportional to the crime? My opponent says " My proposal is that those who rape do not deserve to be raped, but deserve to be slaughtered.". His definition of capital crime is defined as "A crime, such as murder, rape, or betrayal of one's country, that is treated so seriously that death may be considered an appropriate punishment.". To be honest- what constitutes something that deserves the death penalty. Does every rapist deserve the death penalty? Serial rapists? Rapists who also kill? Child rapists? My opponent has presented a vague definition and in turn has vague arguments. Okay. The supreme court does not believe that the death penalty is unconstitutional. I don't disagree with you there. However, there is no clear criteria for determining what makes death "considered an appropriate punishment" and what makes death "proportional to the crime". This part is unclear. Since earlier my opponent suggested that the man who had only raped 1 person- Pete's wife- should get the death penalty: He is saying that every rapist should get the death penalty- regardless of the severity of the crime.

The death penalty is considered the best punishment for all rapists? Death is proportional to the crime? Where's the lic in that? Not to mention that rape is a very grey area in the sense that it is hard to prove that someone is indeed a rapists. How many allegations have there been against men raping women only to turn out to be false? In my university alone there have been 2 popular stories of guys who have had their lives ruined because of fake rape allegations. There have been football stars that were on their way to the NFL who had their lives ruined because of fake rape allegations. Under my opponents suggestion- they would all be dead.

Contention 2: The death penalty will deter capital crimes. I have already went against this argument in my own constructive. Since then my opponent has not brought in any new information. This contention has been proved wrong.

Contention 3: The retribution factor. I have already touched upon this earlier in my first rebuttal against his first contention and I have touched upon this in my constructive.

Now let me respond to my opponent's remarks.

My opponent brings up the statistic that it costs $375 per hour for a case. He says that its wrong to say the death penalty is more expensive than other cases- ignoring the whole appeal process involved in death penalty cases. The appeal process is so extensive that often times inmates spend at least a decade in prison before they get executed. Many on death row have spent time there for over 20 years. The number of time spent on death row before execution only continues to grow- in such a manner that it would be pointless to spend so much money on the case if the inmate is already in lets say his 50's. [2][3]

I would also like to point out that my opponent says "These people don't deserve to eat up taxpayer's money to live in a cement box for the reset of their life". Yet, he still ignores the statistics I gave in my constructive which state that the whole death penalty process costs more money for taxpayers than life imprisonment does. You CANNOT use the argument that taxpayer's money is being eaten up for life imprisonment when it costs more money in a shorter period of time to execute a criminal that will spend around 20 years in prison anyways.

"What about James Holmes? He killed numerous people in the Aurora Theatre Shooting, and is a psycopath. "

This is another problem I have with the mentality of the opponent. It is highly likely that James Holmes has mental issues. What is the solution to treating mental patients? Therapy? Drugs? Rehab? Any sort of mental health services? No. My opponent believes they should be put to death. Mental health is a serious issue. And we should not be killing the mentally ill- we should be using our resources to help them to prevent them from doing things like this. With proper medication and/or treatment we can prevent capital crimes from occurring- not killing those who have serious mental illnesses after their lack of treatment.

The last thing I would like to point out is that my opponent says "This debate is should the death penalty be around." Should is a synonym for ought. I do not know what he is trying to say here.

Also I urge everyone to look at the evidence, logic, and the arguments presented in this debate. Please do not get caught up in definitions of what a proper "constructive" argument is supposed to be and whether or not I added a paragraph too much in my constructive. I urge people to make a judgement based on the arguments presented in this debate. I will hand things off to Pro for the conclusion rounds.
Debate Round No. 3


In this round I will defend my case one last time, and then show you why you should vote Pro.

My first contention: The death penalty is constitutional. My opponent said that the crime must be proportional to the crime. I agree with this. My opponent said I provided a vague definition of rape, I disagree. I showed that rapists, ALL rapists, deserve capital punishment. My opponent brought up the NFL football stars. This honestly makes me laugh. The NFL players were accused of rape, but none of them were actually convicted and charged with rape. Therefore that point is void.

My second contention: Deter Method
My opponent says that he already proved this to be void in his constructive speech, but I beg to differ. He proved one study in which North Carolina didn't have a decrease in crime rights. According to this [1] North Carolina still has a death penalty and has an okay crime rate.

His arguments against my points:
He says that it is unfair for us to make prisoners serve time in prison waiting for a sentencing. I disagree, people like James Holmes, deserve to wait in prison until a jury decides to put him to death.

According to [2] it says that on average it costs 57.5 million dollars for a life in prison. If we take the wait around, and once they're convicted put them to death, then we would save more money than a life sentence in prison.

He said I can not use taxpayers money as an argument. Yet, mental patients will require more money of taxpayers. We will have to pay for treatment, medicine, and the overall running of the facilities will cost taxpayers money. People like James Holmes don't deserve a mental hospital, they deserve to be put down. Why not kill him, when he is just going to rot in a mental facility.

My opponent says that ought and should are the same.
Should: used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness.
Ought: used to indicate duty or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
Ought and should are two different things. Therefore the statement that ought and should are the same is a fallacy.

I urge a pro vote in today's debate, because my opponents inability to bring up real points. For example his point talking about tax payers is incorrect. The next reason is the fact that my opponents arguments against mine have all been proven wrong, whereas my opponents have been proven wrong. The end

Thanks one more time


First I would like to clear some things up because it appears my opponent misunderstood some of my points.

First he says " The NFL players were accused of rape, but none of them were actually convicted and charged with rape. Therefore that point is void." I mentioned that I was referring to people on their way to the NFL but ultimately got their careers ruined due to false rape allegations. The one case in particular that I was referring to was Brian Banks. He was on his way to play football for USC- a very good school for college football- when he spent more than 5 years in prison until it was found out the rape allegations were false. If it was never found out that the allegations were false- he very well could have spent much more time in his prison cell. [1]

Secondly my opponent says that the solution to the huge cost of the death penalty would be to completely get rid of the appeal process and just put them to death right then and there. Not only would that mean that Brian Banks along with many other innocent people would have died- but it also contradicts his contention about the constitution. Would it not be cruel and unusual to kill people right after a trial, without an appeal process, without 100% certainty that they committed the crime? You make the call.

Also my opponent seems to not care at all about the mentally ill. Sure those who are mentally ill shouldn't just get away with things- but my point was that if someone like James Holmes was treated BEFORE he committed his crimes- then he wouldn't be known as the mass shooter that he is. The solution to the problem is not to kill them after they commit crimes. The solution is to prevent the crimes from happening in the first place- something my opponent does not seem to understand. He also seems to think that taxpayer's money is more important than the treatment of a mentally ill patient. I would like to think that America is a country that does not kill its mentally ill because they are a burden to the hard working taxpayers of America.

My opponent has not proved anything in this debate. Rather, he asserts claims that can be proven wrong. He misunderstood many of my points in this debate- and focuses and small definitions to try and be right in every aspect. At the end of the day my opponent is proposing an appeal-free process of the death penalty to save money. This will only lead to the killing of innocent people convicted of crimes on false terms (especially rape crimes since there is never clear evidence in some of those cases). He suggests all rapists should die and under an appeal-free death sentencing system- this would mean that anywhere from tens of thousands to millions would die- just under the rapist category. Is this practical and is this a system that we should enforce?

I urge everyone to vote for the person with the best arguments- the arguments that were more convincing, more logical, and more factual. Thanks for reading this debate and thanks to my opponent for debating with me.

Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
Konstanben. 3 points to Con (arguments). Removed because: failure to provide RFD. Saying "RFD later" or merely "if you have questions, ask me" is not a sufficient RFD. The explanation must be offered immediately and in the RFD itself.

Reasons for voting decision: Ask me if you would like details

-bluesteel (voting moderator)
Posted by Paelrider21 3 years ago
AWWW what? my teacher makes me find 5 sources for both sides. He sais that if you got all yo info from on source and your opponent used those websites too then they would know all your arguments.
Posted by JP_Hatecraft 3 years ago
@dirtygabbchez666 That doesn't solve the problem... My issue is that if you are punishing them you are disciplining them for breaking a law which was put in place for a reason. Laws aren't arbitrarily created, and they aren't enforced for no reason. Their enforcement serves a purpose, which is usually to prevent future breaking of the law.

Also, your comment includes morals. The fact that you want them to feel pain for their crimes is a moral decision.
Posted by chrisjachimiak 3 years ago
Can I have details on why you voted the way you voted? @KonstanBen
Posted by dirtygabbchez666 3 years ago
e.g. reducing recidivism, saving state money, ect is not punishment. the best way to PUNISH people guilty of capital crimes is to keep them alive so that they can feel the pain as they are being tortured.

That is counterproductive though. I think the question should focused on the best criminal justice system. I say we stop using Great Britain as a model and instead use the Nordic Prison System as a model.
Posted by JP_Hatecraft 3 years ago
How can you have a debate without morals? The topic only says "best way" so the goal (e.g. reducing recidivism, saving state money, ect.) has to be determined by the debaters. But a goal has to be established with morals, e.g. we want to help people, we want to be efficient, whatever. I just don't get how this debate is going to work.

Cool topic by the way.
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