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The Contender
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The death penalty should NOT be allowed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/25/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,882 times Debate No: 78112
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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Hello and thank you for joining my debate I will be arguing in favor of not allowing the death penalty in the United States.

This is how the debate will be layed out:

1st round: Acceptence only (anything more will be an automatic forfeit)!
2nd round: Opening argument / statement
3rd round: first round of counterarguments
4th round: Final counterarguments and closeing statement

Any violation to the setup will result in an automatic forfeit.


I accept the challenge for the debate. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


1st round - Opening statement / arguments:

1. Too many innocent people: "The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online on Apr. 28, 2014, estimated that 4.1% of death row sentences (1 in 25) were wrongful, a "conservative estimate” according to the authors and twice the number of death row cases that were actually overturned."This means that a large number of people in the long run are going to be killed wrongly - and think of all the people we wrongly killed in the past. What happens when the mistake is discovered after a man has been executed for a crime he did not commit? What do we say to his children? Do we erect an apologetic tombstone over his grave? What good will that do?

2. There is racial and economic discrimination in application of the death penalty: "
About 99 percent of the death-row inmates are men. Of the 1,058 prisoners on death row by Aug. 20,1982, 42 percent were black, whereas about 12 percent of the United States population is black. Those who receive the death penalty still tend to be poor, poorly educated and represented by public defenders or court-appointed lawyers." This is a racist and sexist act that happens to frequently to be allowed.

3. The death penalty gives some of the worst offenders publicity that they do not deserve: "While the death penalty undoubtedly deters some would-be murderers, there is evidence that it encourages others— especially the unstable who are attracted to media immortality like moths to a flame. If instead of facing heady weeks before television cameras, they faced a lifetime of obscurity in prison, the path of violence might seem less glamorous to them." This gives the people who least deserve publicity, publicity that they earned by commiting a crime. What kind of message does that send to our country?

4. The death penalty involves medical doctors, who are sworn to preserve life, in the act of killing: In 1980 the American Medical Association, responding to this innovation, declared that a doctor should not participate in an execution - it is AGAINST A DOCTORS' OATH. When doctors use their stethoscopes to indicate whether the electric chair has done its job, they are assisting the executioner - dosen't this go against everythign what being a doctor is about? Saving lifes?

5. It is hipocritical: Why are we killing people for killing people? Why are we doing the same thing we are punishing others for doing? That is obsurd.

6. The death penalty is an expression of the absolute power of the state; abolition of that penalty is a much- needed limit on government power: "What makes the state so pure that it has the right to take life? Look at the record of governments throughout history—so often operating with deception, cruelty and greed, so often becoming masters of the citizens they are supposed to serve. "Forbidding a man's execution," Camus said, "would amount to proclaiming publicly that society and the state are not absolute values." It would amount to saying that there are some things even the state may not do." We are always complaning how the states are given too much power - why should they have control over killing people also?

7. There are strong religious reasons for many to oppose the death penalty: "
Mr. Viguerie wrote in a recent book, "that Christ would oppose the killing of a human being as punishment for a crime." This view is supported by the New Testament story about the woman who faced execution by stoning (John 8:7, "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone"). Former Senator Harold Hughes (D., Iowa), arguing against the death penalty in 1974, declared: "'Thou shalt not kill' is the shortest of the Ten Commandments, uncomplicated by qualification or exception....It is as clear and awesomely commanding as the powerful thrust of chain lightning out of a dark summer sky." Even preists and strong religious figures are against it for clear reasons - why should we effect religions for others' wrong doing?

8. There is a better alternative - life without parole: This sentence would make the criminals suffer every single day and be forced to think about what they have done. It is a more harsh sentence because they can not escape the negativity they created - they have to live with it each and every long, boring day. Killing the criminals is an easy way out for them - they will just think; "oh, if I kill people who I hate, then I will die and not have to deal with it." Wouldn't that encourage more criminals to act? This would make crime rates increase.

9. We pay many millions for the death penalty system: "In 1995 the trials for three Washington County murder cases cost more than $1.5 million. One was sentenced to death. The two others, one of whom was found guilty of four murders, are not on death row. In 2000 a fiscal impact summary from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services stated that the Oregon Judicial Department alone would save $2.3 million annually if the death penalty were eliminated. It is estimated that total prosecution and defense costs to the state and counties equal $9 million per year." It costs much more to execute people then to provide for basic needs of life - why do we need to pay more money for people who did bad things? Why do we have to pay money out of our TAX PAYER MONEY to kill people? Why do we have to pay for criminals we have nothing to do with?

10. Mentally ill people are executed: "One out of every ten who has been executed in the United States since 1977 is mentally ill, according to Amnesty International and the National Association on Mental Illness." This is discrimination and goes against the laws of our country.

(I am looking forward to your opening argument and then we will start round 2 with counterarguments - so don't worry about my arguments just yet - use this round to present as much evidence to support your side as you can ~ Sara)


1. Self-Responsibility upon the Individual: Whose fault is it for doing the crime? The criminal for doing the action of causing a threat towards society. He or she is the one responsible for their own actions, and should suffer the consequences. My opponent could argue about the potential mistakes about the Death Penalty, but stated under "US death row study: 4% of defendants sentenced to die are innocent", it states that only 4.1% of defendants, that are executed, are actually innocent. That is, in fact, a small percentage compared to the prison population in the US. And, I admit, that it is sad that a "mistake" happens with the killing of an innocent individual, but why was that individual in prison in the first place? Following the argument of self-responsibility, it was his or her mistake to be in prison in the first place; otherwise their death would not come.

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

3. Economically Beneficial: For this argument, let me please review the costs of the methods used within the Death Penalty. The cost for a Lethal Injection, stated under "Methods of Execution", is about $86.06. That is much cheaper than the most common method of the Electric Chair, which runs about $265,000. And as we know, technology is advancing within our society; and other methods for killing are being introduced. One example is that in a recent article from Ohio, a state that approves the Death Penalty, they are inventing new methods for it. The given example is the "Robotic Arm", where it decapitates the Criminal quickly and pain free. It also plays calming music so the Criminal is not suffering as much as compared with other methods. The pricing for the Robotic Arm would be expensive, but would be a one time buy. Some changes in machinery would be needed, but that is actually more economically beneficial than the other methods presented. As well as if we look at the costs, while a criminal is on Death Row, it shows that it is the result of costing more money, than actually saving money. Stated under "Costs of the Death Penalty", it states that the reason why people claim the Death Penalty is expensive is because of how long the execution takes. The prices, for trials and such, reach up to about 1 billion dollars. That is a lot, just to prove the "innocence" of a murderer!

4. The Bible Agrees with the Death Penalty: Stated under both the Old Testament and New, God agrees that the Death Penalty should be used as punishment for ones crimes. From Genesis 9:6, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man". This quote is simply referring to how many people put a focus more on human rights, than God himself; or if we do not want to get into a Religious argument, the consequence for a criminals action. Self responsibilty, or an "Eye for an eye". And to even further this argument, from Revelation 13:10, "
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints". Which simply means that if we have it, we should use it to bring justice amongst society.

5. The Death Penalty Brings Justice: for this argument, I wish to present the definition of "justice". Justice is defined as:"Just behavior or treatment". Basicvally, bringing a balance a good feeling towards society. The Death Penalty fulfills this burden by murdering the person, for taking another innocent civilians life. Stated under "A Just Society Requires the Death Penalty for the Taking of Another Life", it says: "When someone takes a life, the balance of justice is disturbed. Unless that balance is restored, society succumbs to a rule of violence. Only the taking of the murderer's life restores the balance and allows society to show convincingly that murder is an intolerable crime which will be punished in kind". Simple enough concept, but many argue about human rights,insteadof arguing about the fact of a criminal taking accountability for his or her own actions.

6. Promotes a Better Environment in Prisons: Imagine the feeling of being a prison guard, going through the cells and possibly being murdered. It is a scary feeling, and as a society, we need to bring safety to the guards environment. How? By the usage of the Death Penalty, which eliminates all the threats of murders within the prison. Quoted from the New York Times article "The Death Penalty can Create a Better Prison Environment", it says: "Surely the men and women who guard our prisons deserve society's respect, support and protection. The death penalty for certain crimes inside of prisons is one way of protecting them from being murdered on the job. The sooner we give them this, the sooner their ranks will grow to include more compassionate, better educated people truly able to reform the system at all levels". Are we at the point of neglecting the safety of the innocent, to the criminals because of the Death Penalty being horrid? The Death Penalty would prevent the possible murders within the prisons environment. Under the document "Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000–2012 - Statistical Tables", it states that in 2012 we had an 8% increase in murders within prisons, and is increasing as the years pass by. And most of these murders have occured within inmates who are on Death Row, and Mentally Ill Inmates. The percentage totaling up to 67%, which is a lot for an inmate about to get the Death Penalty. So once more, instead of taking the time to commence the Death Penalty; just do it when it is sentenced.

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

Given the arguments, we can see that the Death Penalty has its benefits towards our society.

Debate Round No. 2


First counterargments round:

Rebuttal for self responsibility: Self-responsibility should only be discusses when talking about crime as a whole - it has nothing to do with the death penalty individully. 4% is not a small number, think of the ratio (1 in every 25 people) and you will realize that if you took an average classroom amount of kids to jail for crimes - one of the kids in the class would be innocent. The criminals can be self-responsible for the crimes they committed by serving and taking a punishment for their actions - wheither death penalty is legal or not - the criminal will still be held responsible for his actions. So how would your point be relavent for this spacific topic since we are not discussing crime in general?
Rebuttal for deters crime: But the death pentalty is murder itself - either way, the government is killing people; and it actually does influence crime rate. Take this chart for example:

Deterrence: States Without the Death Penalty Have Had Consistently Lower Murder Rates
Year 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Murder Rate in Death Penalty States* 9.94 9.51 9.69 9.23 8.59 7.72 7.09 6.51 5.86 5.70 5.82 5.82 5.91 5.71 5.87 5.90 5.83 5.72 5.26 5.00 4.89 4.95 4.72
Murder Rate in
Penalty States
9.27 8.63 8.81 7.88 6.78 5.37 5.00 4.61 4.59 4.25 4.25 4.27 4.10 4.02 4.03 4.22 4.10 4.05 3.90 4.01 4.13 4.09 3.88
7% 10% 10% 17% 27% 44% 42% 41% 28% 35% 37% 36% 44% 42% 46% 40% 42% 41% 35% 25% 18% 21% 22%

As you can see, the states which prohibit the death penalty have lower crime rates then those who do.

"Indeed, 10 of the 12 states without capital punishment have homicide rates below the national average, Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows, while half the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above the national average. In a state-by- state analysis, The Times found that during the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48 percent to 101 percent higher than in states without the death penalty."

Rebuttal for economically benefitial: That is simply false - "Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population." Also, "Cases receiving a death notice are approximately $517,000 more costly during the trial phase, $147,000 more costly during the penalty phase, and $201,000 more costly during the appellate phase than a capital eligible case where no death notice was filed…. On average, a death notice adds about $1,000,000 in costs over the duration of a case."
Rebuttal for Bible:

Jesus taught believers to forgive:

  • "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Mat. 6:15

the New Testament teaches Christians not to judge:

  • "Judge not, that you be not judged." Mat. 7:1

Paul taught believers to:

  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse... Repay no one evil for evil... do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I Will repay," says the Lord."Rom. 12:14, 17, 19
Jesus also stated: thou shall not kill.

Rebuttal for justice: But that is hypocritical. We are killing people for... killing people! We are going against ourselves completely. We are saying to people: you cannot kill people or we will kill you (you cannot do it but we can). Dosent that give the government WAY more authority over human life then they should have? We can balance justice in other ways - life imprisonment is a MUCH harsher sentencing then being killed. In fact, more justice would be brought upon our citizens if we abolished the death penalty because, all criminals who would be killed before, would be rotting in their cells every day with no escape, thinking about what they did. "More death-row inmates have been volunteering for their executions: Between 1993 and 2002, 75 volunteered for death, compared to the 22 consensual executions between 1977 and 1992. (Gary Gilmore, the first prisoner put to death after the Supreme Court reinstituted capital punishment in 1976, "volunteered" for his execution in 1977 because he did not want to live the rest of his life on death row.)"


Rebuttal for better enviroment: Actually, it increases murder in prisons.

Death Penalty Retentionist States vs. Abolitionist States (data from Bureau of Justice Statistics):

• Between 2001 and 2007, states with the death penalty had considerably higher prison murder rates on average (4.25/100,000, with four of 38 states reporting no prison homicides in that time period) than those states without the death penalty (.92/100,000, with 7 of 12 states reporting no prison homicides).


Rebuttal for overpopulation: Prison overpopulation is currently not an issue since not a lot of people are currently in prison. Think about it (1.8/314 million people are in prison) That is less than one percent of the population. So currently, we do not need to worry about overcrowding because every prisoner currently has a cell - and prisons currently are not struggling finding cells for prisoners. So why make this a concern when it is not? The government can always just build more prisons - why should we have to MURDER people instead of actually doing some work to build prisons and cells (even though they are not needed at the moment) they can save lives in the long run.

I also wanted to point out how imprisonating people instead of killing them stops them from doing crimes in the near future.




For this round, and final round, I will rebuttal against my opponents arguments for the Death Penalty. I will do this by going in order from 1-10 for the arguments.

1. Too Many Inocent People: In the previous argument, I brought up the fact of how the chances of a "mistake" is at a low. My opponent argues about killing an innocent individual for a crime that he or she has not done. I will admit its sad if something happens like this, but I must ask whose fault is it to me in jail in the first place? The criminal him or herself, which falls under my argument of "self responsibility". They made the decision to do the crime in the first place, so they should suffer the consequences. For mistakes that happen, it can happen any where. Take this for example, you are walking down the street and a driver hits you by mistake because of sneezing for one second. Its a mistake that took someones life, but does that mean we should ban drivers because of someone possibly getting killed by mistake? No, that would be idiotic; and it is the same scenario as the Death Penalty. Mistakes happen, but we move along in society. And my evidence still stands strong where the mistake is only 4%, stated under "US death row study: 4% of defendants sentenced to die are innocent". And my opponent even agrees that the number is low with the given quote "The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online on Apr. 28, 2014, estimated that 4.1% of death row sentences (1 in 25) were wrongful".

2. There is Racial and Economic Discrimination in Application of the Death Penalty: This is a common form of argument to use within the given topic. People can argue that it is "racist" for the Death Penalty, but I will prove otherwise. The evidence my opponent revealed is actually very ludicrous because of the high numbers, one number being 99% which is factually impossible, and not being able to find the evidence given my opponents sources. I, on the other hand, will provide evidence to prove that the Death Penalty is not racist or discriminatory. To prove that it isn't racially bias, given the link here: is seen that 56.6% of whites were executed with the Death Penalty, than a combination of Latino's or Black's. That is very different, then my opponents "ludicros" number that he or she presented.

3. It may be true that the Death Penalty can give publicity, but what is wrong with that? Stated under "Media Influence in Capital Pumishment", it states that the showing of the Death Penalty actually puts more fear into people, than encouragement. The Death Penalty helps show what not to do in society, and actually was said to "cure" up to 67% of people from commiting crimes. The highest being murder, so this disproves my opponents point. And so what if it is gettiong publicly noticed, people see the horrors of what can come if they do not become responsible with themselves.

4. Because of time, i will quickly rush through these. Medical Doctors actually choose if they do or do not want to put the Death to someone. Stated under the Death Penalty website itself.

5. Once more, self responsibility. If you don't want to get in trouble, than don't do it; and it is not hypocritical when someone takes the life of an innocent individual. Follow the saying "An eye for an eye".

6. This is debatable about government havin too much power, but that is not the main focus on the Death Penalty. Just do not do the crime, once more!

7. We both provided evidence about the Death Penalty being in the Bible. Some lines for, and others against. This can be a clash of evidence, but we would not get anywhere if we keep talking about the Bible for, or against, the Death Penalty.

8. And there is another better alternative, don't do the crime!

9. The cost for the Death Penalty is actually cheaper, the reason why it costs a lot is because of the pricing for trials. I brought this argument in the previous round, where we spend about a billion dollars a year for an ongoing "goose chase".

10. Mentally ill people have a small chance of happening within prisons.

Also to conclude the argument, my opponent neglects my argument about making the Death Row instant; and resolving mot of the issues witrh the Death Penalty.

Sources (All):
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by SnaxAttack 3 years ago
Before I post my argument, do you want this to be a rebuttal round, closing argument round, or both?
Posted by SnaxAttack 3 years ago
Before I post my argument, do you want this to be a rebuttal round, closing argument round, or both?
Posted by sara_ann_dee 3 years ago
Sorry about the round errors guys - you know the basic idea
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