The Instigator
Con (against)
4 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

The death penalty should be abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/27/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 683 times Debate No: 62338
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Welcome, Mopi! I chanced upon one of your previous debates and I felt that your opponent missed out on several points of importance. For that reason, I would like to invite you to a debate on this topic, with you taking the same position of abolition of the law, that you had taken the previous time.

The structure of the debate would be as follows:

Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Opening Arguments
Round 3 - Rebuttals and Counter-Arguments
Round 4 - Defence of Opening Arguments
Round 5 - Closing Statements

I am hopeful that you will accept. For our benefit, I shall define the death penalty as the punishment of execution, carried out on anyone convicted of a capital crime. This includes both the death penalty as a judicial sentence and the mandatory death penalty.


I accept your challenge. I would love to take the other side of the argument as I do consider the death penalty should be given for the guilty. Nonetheless, I love debating, so I shall be defending that the death penalty is not justifiable. Looking forward going against you.
Debate Round No. 1


Wonderful! I appreciate how sporting you are. I look forward to the debate. I will begin by presenting my points in favour of the death penalty. If of course, you are not comfortable taking this side of the debate, I welcome you to start another debate and take the side I have adopted. I will be more than willing to oblige.

Argument 1 - It keeps society safe

The death penalty is reserved, almost exclusively for crimes which the state and its laws deem to pose a major threat to a country and/or its people. These include crimes against humanity (e.g. genocide), espionage, mass murder, and drug trafficking, to name a few. All these crimes place society in danger, and the power to deal with them with the capital punishment allows the state to keep them at bay.

With most of such cases, a judge evaluates the case qualitatively and considers the remorse of the criminal and/or his/her potential of reform. A criminal who shows remorse or potential for reform is often given a reduced sentence of life imprisonment.

Argument 2 - It comes at a lower cost

To imprison someone for life incurs an immense cost to the average taxpayer in a country. Why should the average citizen pay for the sustenance of non-reformable criminals who pose a threat to his/her fundamental rights? Why should this money not go instead to furthering the prospects of people who have the capability of contributing more to society? This money could go towards education, research and development, aid for people in poverty-stricken countries, rather than spent on maintaining criminals.

Argument 3 - It acts as a deterrent

You will undoubtedly find countless sources that say that it does not actually deter criminals who are already prepared to commit such crimes. The capital punishment, however, acts not primarily as a deterrent to existing criminals, but to potential criminals. A criminal contemplating capital crimes would have a much higher opportunity cost, and would think many times before placing his life in such grave danger. Death penalties, which are swift and sure, such as the mandatory death penalty, are much more likely to have a strong impact.

Argument 4 - Anything less is unjust

Murder refers to when someone deprives another of their fundamental right to life. A punishment less than the same would simply be inadequate in terms of justice.

Argument 5 - It makes absolutely sure that the crime cannot be committed again

History is replete with examples of criminal network leaders maintaining their networks from prison, mass murderers killing other prisoners while in prison, or the criminally insane, who end up killing their caregivers in a mental asylum. Only the death penalty can make absolutely certain that these criminals do not repeat their crimes.

Argument 6 - It works

Countries such as Singapore which have used the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking and the death penalty for several other offences, can be observed to have some of the lowest rates of crime, especially serious crime, in the world. Drug trafficking, to draw a clearer link, is almost nonexistent in the country. The steep penalty plays a part.

Abuses of the death penalty are not covered by my arguments. These abuses include the death penalty for adultery or apostasy, unless sanctioned under legitimate state laws. My arguments refer only to the death penalty as sanctioned by a state.

For these reasons, I maintain that the death penalty should absolutely be kept in force. Please note that you would have to provide arguments along with counters to my points. I look forward to your responses.


I will chronically rebut every point you've stated and will justify on why the death penalty should remain abolished or be abolished in places where its legal.

1) Your first point you've stated on how it keeps the society safe, now let me bring to your notice on if keeping society safe is the aim, then life imprisonment will serve the purpose, now a person is sentenced to death only after committing a mistake, by your point, this person is a harm to the society, agreed., but if keeping society safe is our aim, then life imprisonment isn't the right option but the right option, the person has no more contact with society and hence cannot harm society. Your first point stands redundant.

Moving on,
2) Comes at a lower cost? by that statement you are implying that money is more valuable to you than a life of a human. No matter what crime a person has committed in the present world, you cannot compare his survival with money. Seeing that you are unaware, PRISONERS DO PAY TAX. They earn in the prison by doing petty works, they are paying tax too. They deserve the right to live. A nation has enough money if its economy is doing well to invest in research and other things. If that seems so important, research can be done on how you can improve and make the prisoners better human beings. Everyone can contribute to society, so people are forced to commit crimes, a lot of instances where people who've gone to prison, come out and changed the world. Your point is baseless if you are comparing the right to life with money.

3) Your point isn't very strong. People are are ready enough to commit grave crimes might think about the penalty but it wouldn't matter to them. If you are ready to the president of a country, you very well know what's going to happen to you, but people have already done it and continue to committee graves crimes, true that they might they about it. But most of the times, they do it. So installing fear in the minds is great. But its isn't working as it should. Crimes are still being committed, there are also countries which have established death penalty but there has been so significant changes. So there is no point if it isn't making a much of an impact. Send them to prison. For life time.

4) Your point 4 is highly amusing, there is a reason why that way isn't practised in most countries. By them violating a law, we will also be violating a law by taking their life, violating the very right to life. An eye for the eye makes the whole world blind said they great Mahatma Gandhi. By taking their life, it will be a shame on our side. Your point is baseless, taking another life just because they've made a mistake is unjustifiable.

5) I would love to rebut your 5th argument. True there have been instances where their leaders create a network and stuff. But what about using those " resources" as you've stated which are being used on prisoners, and also improving security in prisons and setting guidelines and make sure that does not happen. To make sure prisoners aren't getting the right contacts and are going through misery because of they grave mistakes they've made. And they are in life imprisonment, they cannot commit another mistake because they can't leave prison, if you justify this by saying the gangs and all that. Well I have justified it by strengthening security to the max.

6) Its funny on how you bring up Singapore. Singapore is a small country, things can be controlled in small countries, and the Singapore government has taken steps which have been effective, the crimes rates in Singapore have never been scarily high. Why not take the big countries? the places where problems actually do exist? what about the smuggling of drugs into the USA, the death pent Ly has been established in most states in the USA, but still, its the worlds largest consumer of Coke, there are so many crimes there. Its the size and the citizens of the country that matter.

Killing people is no solution, everyone deserves a second chance, by taking their life, we ourselves are violating the law. If their mistake are grave, prison them for life. They do not deserved to be killed.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your arguments.

Counter-argument (CA) 1: You posit that if keeping society safe is the ultimate aim, then life imprisonment (LI) "isn"t the right option but the right option" (?). Your reasoning also is unclear. I can only assume that you perceive LI to be a more "humane" method of dealing with serious crime, because it does not involve taking a human life. There is a serious flaw in the logic here. Both the death penalty (DP) and LI involve sending a person to his death. The difference is that the DP almost always does not inflict unnecessary pain on the death row inmate (especially in the case of death by lethal injection, see Source 1)

LI, on the other hand, condemns a prisoner to a torturous lifetime in prison with the presumed end that he/she would die there. It is assumed that these prisoners would die of old age the way the rest of society would. This could not be further from the truth. In 2009, 303 people committed suicide in American prison and 488 people died of disease. Given that you value human life so much, each of them is akin to sending a prisoner to a painful death. In prisons in England and Wales, in 2014, there were 60 deaths in prisons related to suicide and homicide. Clearly, prison is no more painless or humane a way of dying than is the DP.

1.Baze v. Rees, 553 U.S. 35 (2008)
2.U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014. . INQUEST, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014. .

CA 2: You say "you cannot compare his survival to money". The demand of LI, is that the average taxpayer pay for the living costs of someone else. I assume that you are quoting the U.S. Constitution, when you say that all human beings have the right to life. If that is the case, then I would put to you that all human beings also have the inalienable right to property, and if this property is being used in a manner that benefits other people unnecessarily, then it so follows that they are also unfairly being deprived of their right to their property. I would request you to substantiate your response, if you insist on making an ethical argument.

Prisoners do not pay enough tax to cover the cost of maintaining a prison, the balance is still paid for by the taxpayer. That point is irrelevant.

"A nation has enough money if its economy is doing well to invest in research and other things." I was merely giving examples of public and merit goods, which governments invest in whether or not the country is in good or bad shape. I would remind you, that the rate of crime increases when the country is in bad shape. That being the case, the marginal cost of prisoners increases, because each one adds to the list of people who are not contributing to the maintenance of prisons concurrently. Reform programs are in effect in prisons. As I mentioned in my opening arguments, prisoners sent to their death are deemed to have close to zero chance of reform. That being the case, costly reformatory programs are not wasted on them, and are instead tailored towards those with a higher chance of reform, including those not on death row.

"Everyone can contribute to society" As I have mentioned in my opening arguments, this is factored in during the judicial process that sends a person convicted of a capital crime to his death. Your point is also largely self-defeating. If in fact you are advocating LI in place of the DP, then there is still no chance for people to "come out and change the world". If that is not what you are advocating, then I look forward to examples of people convicted of capital crimes that have returned from prison and changed the world.

3. If someone is willing and able to commit murder, as you say, without a second thought, then I am very sceptical about any chance for reform. The DP serves as a deterrent not to all types of crime, but specifically the ones you have mentioned: premeditated crime. Your rebuttal makes very little sense. I presume that you are referring to genocide, in your example of the president of a country. In such a case, the crime is committed nonetheless because the President does not expect to be held accountable for his crimes, by virtue of his power. You may notice that this is the case almost exclusively in dictatorial regimes, such as the Sudanese or Cambodian genocides. The DP does not serve to deter crimes of passion, for example, but this is accounted for in the judicial process.

Studies have shown that the DP has a deterrent effect and even that between 3 and 18 innocent lives are saved by each execution, by deterring potential criminals. This effect is most pronounced in states where criminal execution is swift and sure. It must be noted, that many states fail to see the effects of the DP precisely because the long-drawn and uncertain nature of it eliminate the strictness of its effect, and leave the prospects of being executed relatively vague to the potential criminal.

If it is true that there is a deterrent effect, then to still favour abolition of the law is to prioritise the lives of criminals over the lives of innocent people who are killed by them. This cannot be any better than DP itself.

1.Mocan, H. Naci, and R. Kaj Gittings. "Getting Off Death Row: Commuted Sentences And The Deterrent Effect Of Capital Punishment*." The Journal of Law and Economics 46.2 (2003): 453-478. Print.
2.Liptak, Adam. "Does Death Penalty Save Lives? A New Debate." The New York Times [New York City] 18 Nov. 2014, New York Edition ed.: 11. Print.

CA 4: I am surprised that you would dismiss my point as "highly amusing". I might remind you that countries do not legislate by quoting Mahatma Gandhi. To make the distinction clear to you, practically any punishment is unconstitutional if given to an ordinary citizen. Imprisonment, for example, denies a civilian his fundamental right to liberty. Your point, unsubstantiated as it is, makes zero sense. Statutes have an exception clause saying "right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice". These distinctions are drawn by courts.

I will substantiate my own points nonetheless. I quote Ernest van den Haag, late Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Policy at Fordham University, as saying the following: " also the only fitting retribution for murder I can think of." This might convince you that my point is not irrational.

1.Johansen, David. Property rights and the constitution. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Research Branch, 19911992. Print.
2.van den Haag, Ernest. "The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense." Harvard Law Review 1986 (1986): -. Print.

CA 5: What you are suggesting once again is increasing the tax burden on the taxpayer, thereby punishing the taxpayer economically, for a crime committed by another person. It is a fundamental tenet of justice that one does not pay for the crime of another. Yet you advocate exactly this.

CA 6: "The crime rates in Singapore have never been scarily high". You are mistaken, Singapore"s had high crime before legal reforms in the 1950s-60s. I took Singapore as an example, because it allows examination of DP without the multitude of pressures that affect legislation and judicial proceedings in large countries (e.g. national ideals) that are not universal. As mentioned earlier, deterrence is not observed in USA because the process of implementation of the DP is long, drawn out, and open to appeals. States such as Texas which have implemented swifter measures have seen pronounced results.

1.Singh, Jarmal. "COMMUNITY POLICING IN THE CONTEXT OF SINGAPORE." The United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI). N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014. .

I thank my opponent for his arguments once again and anticipate his responses. I have defended and hence reiterate all my original points.


Mopi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Aw man, Mopi forfeited. This is going to be a whole slew of forfeits isn't it?


Mopi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


I extend my arguments intact to the final round. I conclude that the death penalty should not be abolished.


Mopi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Atmas 3 years ago
He probably ran out of arguments since he was for the other side to begin with. It's hard playing devils advocate.
Posted by republicofdhar 3 years ago
I kinda wish Mopi hadn't forfeited. He's clearly an experienced debater and I was looking forward to this :(
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture