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

The death penalty should be accepted under curtain circumstances

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/22/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,612 times Debate No: 25759
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




This debate is on whether or not society should have the death penalty. Now I believe the death penalty is accepted under curtain circumstances like serial rapist, serial killers, mass murders and if the suspect is not insane and/or is atleast 19+ years old. The first round is a introduction round. The debate should start in round 2. There are 4 rounds in total, voting period is 1 week, time to argue is 48 hours and argument max is 6,000 characters. Also another thing before we get started is if you say "life sentencing" it would be assumed that you mean imprisonment until death by old age. The reason why I state this is because in Canada life imprisonment = 25 years maximum.

serial rapist: sexually assault 2 or more people
serial killer: Murder 3 or more people with a time interval between one of the murders. For example Ted Bundy, John Gacy, ect...
mass murderer: Murder 3 or more people with no time interval between any of the murders. For example James Holmes.

No Trolling
No Profanity
Citing your sources is optional unless the your opponent ask for it.

My opponent is able to add any definitions or rules however can't change any of the definitions/rules already listed.


I will accept this challenge, although I am not staunch in my opposition to this punishment. That is, the punishment by killing. Perhaps this discussion shall help to stiffen my argumentation in the matter.

I don't know. But I want to thank my debate partner for proposing this discussion. I am looking forward to it.
Debate Round No. 1


Nick.Baros forfeited this round.


I certainly regret that my partner was unable to join this discussion over the last round. I hope that they are well, and will rejoin us soon.

As I am unsure as to whether or not they will be able to return, I shall keep my remarks concise:

The death penalty cannot be trusted to be inerrant; because it will always be administered by imperfect humans. Humans make mistakes. Among these mistakes cannot be the accidental killing of innocents - brought about by our allowing ourselves to become destabilized by rage.

Consider this lesson, learned during my attendance at a firearms safety class.

Students seeking training in firearms safety are taught to always "acquire your target." The target must be seen, and no target exists otherwise. The mere fact that we are quite certain that a deer is rustling those bushes does not mean that it is ok to fire into them; no target has been acquired.

Why is this rule in place? Because there is always the chance, however remote, that Bubba is using the bathroom in those bushes - and no deer exists. We could accidentally kill someone - and that is unacceptable to firearms safety instructors.

It is a good lesson, and should be applied in the case of accidents involving the death penalty. It must be a hard and fast rule that our society and culture do not accept the killing of innocents - even if we are quite certain that we aren't doing so. We are human, and we make mistakes. These mistakes are bound to occur, inevitable, and so we must not apply fallible human understanding to this irreparable and irreversible act.

Debate Round No. 2


Sorry about that I got carried away with my busy schedule.

1. The death penalty process makes it hard for an innocent person to be put to death
With today's modern technology like DNA test and such it is hard to accuse an innocent person and even if the DNA test was wrong or misdirected. The process to convict someone to death is complex to the point were the state has to be 100% sure that they commited the crime. Even so, it's hard to wrongfully convict a serial killer or a mass murder.

2. It's hard to rehabilitate a serious offender
If someone were convicted of one murder. I understand that they have room for rehabilitation, but if you got someone convicted of three or four murders then it's obvious (unless the person is mentally unstable) that the mass murderer/serial murderer knew that what he was doing was wrong and there going to be a chance that they would regret nothing. So putting them in jail for the rest of their life with no parole totally defeats the whole purpose of jail in the first place. Giving them the death penalty gets rid of a problem instead of taking a chance that this criminal would convict more crimes.

Note: Whether or not the death penalty deters crime or not is completely irrelevant. There are countries without the death penalty that have a high crime rate and there are countries without the death penalty that have a low crime rate. Same thing goes for countries with the death penalty.


I am glad to welcome my partner back to this discussion. I will now present my formal argument, and offer a rebuttal:

“Innocent persons should not be executed, and the safeguards that are intended to prevent the execution of innocent persons are inadequate. Therefore, the death penalty cannot be considered a safe method by which we should allow our government to kill us.”

I defend this argument axiomatically, granted, but I do not anticipate that my partner will challenge me on any of these propositions, excepting the “inadequate safeguards” clause. Essentially, my argument depends on the premise that we should strictly control the methods and circumstances by which we allow our government to kill its citizens. If this is found to be persuasive, then it must follow that the safeguards that prevent you and I from being killed by the state must be trustworthy. In my view, I would not be eager to trust my life to the current system. Therefore, I cannot credibly pronounce it trustworthy.

I will point out a few examples of it failing to adequately protect the law abiding public from falling victim to the death penalty system in the rebuttal section.


1. The death penalty process makes it hard for an innocent person to be put to death With today's modern technology like DNA test and such it is hard to accuse an innocent person and even if the DNA test was wrong or misdirected. The process to convict someone to death is complex to the point were the state has to be 100% sure that they committed the crime.

This argument was based on three main premises:

1. There are safeguards such as DNA testing, and requirements that jurists are “100% certain” of the guilt of the offender.

2. (Implied) These are always used, and are always effective.

However, this is demonstrably false: Although few juries are intentionally homicidal, many are quite retributive and vindictive.

Here are a few examples of wrongful convictions, taken from the Amnesty International website:

Roy Krone spent 10 years in an Arizona prison for a murder that he did not commit. He was released from death row in 2002, becoming the 100the person to be released since 1973. Although DNA testing eventually proved his innocence, it was not available to him in time to prevent significant emotional trauma.

Madison Hobley, Aaron Patterson, Stanley Howard and LeRoy Orange, were pardoned in 2003 after it was learned that their convictions were based on confessions extracted through the use of torture. Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and two other officers had used, besides torture, false data to secure the convictions. DNA evidence was not used.

Jonathan Hoffman was sentenced to death for the murder of a store owner – based on the testimony of his cousin, who lied under oath to “get even” with the defendant for stealing money from him. Hoffman was exonerated in 2007.

These are examples only, and may not be representative. However, they are real examples of real men who would have died but for
profoundly fortunate luck. We cannot rely on any system managed by fallible humans, to never make any mistakes under any circumstances. Yet that is precisely what we ask the death penalty to do: never make an error.

Some common mistakes that occur in the implementation of the death penalty are

1. Police and prosecutor misconduct

2. Inadequate legal representation

3. Racial prejudice

4. Suppression of mitigating evidence

5. Community pressure to solve a case

2. It's hard to rehabilitate a serious offender

This argument was based on two premises:

1. Serial murderers are obvious

2. Life imprisonment is no guarantee that an offender will never be released

I cannot argue against these propositions, I suppose. However it has little bearing on my argument, since I am essentially making the case that “innocent persons should not be executed, and the safeguards that are intended to prevent the execution of innocent persons are inadequate. Therefore, the death penalty cannot be considered a safe method for by which we should allow our government to kill us.” Considering the thrust of my argument, I do not think I am well advised to allow myself to drift off-topic into a discussion as to whether or not serial killers or potential parolees should be killed.

My concern is whether or not maintaining the death penalty is safe to operate – for law abiding citizens who must live nearby such a
system. I have shown examples of how it is not. Further, I am not convinced that it can ever be corrected and reformed to offer society the assurance that innocent persons will not suffer death or the loss of loved friends and family as a result of operating the death penalty. I maintain that the failure rate of the death penalty safeguards, if applied to a private company or even an entire
industry, would be unacceptable to the public. I argue that rage is the main motivator, the main “selling point” for the death penalty industry – but that this is inadequate to justify allowing it to continue to operate. “I was mad at a serial killer, so I killed your little brother, who did not do anything wrong, but I still want to keep killing serial killers, so I will continue accidentally killing little brothers in order to get revenge on serial killers” is simply not a valid argument.

On the other hand, the same argument that suggests that it is unsafe for society to allow serial killers to be paroled due to the possibility that these offenders may kill an innocent person - is exactly my argument against the death penalty: it kills people who do not deserve to die.


Debate Round No. 3


I'm sorry to say this but I am stumped. You win.


This is a first, and I am grateful for it. It is rare to encounter humility in this format. It borders on chivalric.

I thank my partner for presenting this challenge, and any voters who have followed our discussion to this point. I do regret that we so anticlimactically ended the contest, but the novelty of such capitulation more than makes up for it.

I wish my debate partner well, and hope to see more of him in future contests.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by KuriouserNKuriouser 5 years ago
For future reference, when someone forfeits any round, at the debate's completion it will not be displayed for everyone to see and vote on. You have to post a link to the debate at this forum:

That way other DDO members will be alerted that someone is needed to vote on the debate. Otherwise, it will just expire unvoted.
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
Murder 1 also constitutes DP..... just saying you forgot one.
Posted by RationalMadman 5 years ago
Nick knows justice for what it is.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by KuriouserNKuriouser 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.