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Capital Punishment (Death Penalty)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,036 times Debate No: 45279
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




The following debate will go as follows:

Round 2: Opening statements
Round 3: Rebuttals to opening statements
Round 4: Closing statements

I look forward to debating this topic.


The death penalty is morally justified. My value is vengeance. I define vengeance with the definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary; the act of doing something to hurt someone because that person did something that hurt you or someone else. I will be speaking specifically of capital punishment in America throughout the duration of the debate, although will cover capital punishment in general. The death penalty, with revisions, can cost far less than life in prison, and is morally justified and properly justifiable.

The death penalty should still stand, though under laws regarding the five California Propositions on capital punishment by Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Paula M. Mitchell; in particular the fourth and third. The problems with the death penalty, is that it is expensive. That is the only viable argument extended by those who oppose it. This can be cut, dramatically if we follow propositions 3 and 4. Proposition 3 is, in its essence, narrowing the number of death eligible crimes. This will remove many persons from death row. Proposition 4 is stating that video and/or scientific evidence is required for the accusation to stand against the defendant. Eye witness accounts are very unreliable, as many times they can relate to viewing a silhouette, or viewing someone in the dark (as seen in the Mark Zimmerman case).

When I regard proposition 3, I propose that death-eligible crimes be limited to first degree murder, second degree murder, and third degree murder, not manslaughter, and all other matters where a person purposely ended the life of another, without proper justification, such as in regards to self defense of he who is convicted of murder.

The cost of the death penalty in California has been the following: Pretrial and trial costs, summed, are 1.94 billion dollars, Automatic Appeals and State Habeas Corpus Petition, 0.925 billion dollars, Federal Habeas Corpus Appeals, 0.775 billion dollars, and last but most certainly not least, cost of incarceration, or 1 billion dollars. This costs about 170 million dollars more than life in prison. This can easily be fixed to be cheaper and plus efficiency. You can cut costs dramatically with propositions 4 and 3, by putting fewer people there to begin with, and faster trials (caused of course by scientific or video evidence needed). That is the economical portion of this case.

The death penalty is purely human. If you were to have your family killed by a man, would you want to see that man in prison for life, where he would receive free medical care, longer life than your family in general, access to the ability to experience (sunlight, taste, well-rested day, feeling in general), or for the person to be properly taken action upon, as you would feel best fit naturally, as a dead man? This is the reason for wars. To kill and avenge those who are dead and cannot fend for themselves. This is not a violation of human rights. This is the vengeance for human rights succeeded by this criminal of whom you say does "not deserve death".

Capital punishment is not "wrong" or "evil", it is not hanging a given person for speaking up against an ideal, is not a punishment for graffiti, nor is it such as for vandalizing a store. It is for punishments we feel are especially harmful to our society. This is not a tyranny, and shall not be ruled as such. This is a republic based on the idea that all men are created equal! We cannot do with one committing murder, as he had not treated the victim as such equality as framed by our forefathers, and by such an action he shall be treated equally as his victim, with death and nothing lesser.

Capital punishment being nonexistent and replaced with life in prison without possibility of parole, is unfair to he who may have been killed by the criminal. For such a strongly cynical action against that person, if not against the American people in general, is it not best for us to penalize these people so harshly that no others dare make the mistake. Is it truly well to show those who may commit murder that the penalty is not just spending a large to meek remainder of their life in prison? All this truly would be is being separated from society. That is it. I could kill someone. I could go to jail, and not receive capital punishment as my opponent believes. I could live significantly longer than my opponent, speak with peers, have foodstuffs provided, have medical assistance, and even see daylight! Prisoner-committed acts of violence is the small price to pay for life.
Debate Round No. 1


The death penalty is a process in which convicted criminals are executed by government authority. While many countries have stopped this act, the United States continues it to this day. This penalty is virtually useless at a deterrent. It also is prone to error, killing wrongfully convicted people. The Supreme Court should rule the death penalty as cruel and unusual, prohibited by the eighth amendment.

Because the death penalty is often used in an arbitrary manner where it is allowed, the capital punishment has been reduced dramatically. Even so, it still uses a tremendous amount of money. Capital punishment also fails to deter major criminal activity, as evidence has shown. The connection between more/less frequent use of the death penalty and major criminal activity show no relationship.

Would you feel okay if the man who tortured and killed your family was simply and painlessly killed, only to escape the mental anguish having to be dealt with in prison, where the people there won't be very kind to you?

The death penalty is unconstitutional, violating the eighth amendment as cruel and unusual punishment, and the fourteenth amendment, which guarantees equal protection and due process, as ruled in the 1972 case of Furman v. Georgia by The Supreme Court.

Statistics show that people who murder white people are much more likely to be sentenced to death than those whose victims were not white, and that black people who kill white people have the greatest chance of receiving a death sentence.

The death sentence system is far from the most effective system we the people can use to get crime off our streets!


The death penalty does not cost as much money, as to situations in which we simply followed previously listed propositions 3 and 4. Video and scientific evidence are far more reliable when compared to eye witness reports, which are unreliable, and most likely what you are referring to. My opponent's economic argument is therefore invalid when placed alongside propositions 3 and 4.

My opponent argues that life in prison is worse than death. In prison, your family members can still visit you. Can family members visit you when you are in a coffin? When you are in prison, you live. Life is far more valuable to any given person than is being mocked and occasionally hurt by peers. You can still form friendships in prison. You can have dreams in prison. You have consciousness in prison. It is for these reasons that I state that life in prison is not as bad as death.

My opponents' statistics are questionable as they do not have a proper source or study cited, and are therefore invalid.

The death penalty, unlike what my opponent stated, is constitutional. The 5th Amendment to the Constitution states: "No person shall be ... deprived of life ... without due process of law." The 14th Amendment states: "No state shall ... deprive any person of life ... without due process of law.". Not only do these amendments support the death penalty, but the Supreme Court noted that when the Eight Amendment was written regarding cruel and unusual punishment, capital punishment was a common sanction in every State. The US Supreme Court, for over 200 years, repeatedly declared the death penalty to be constitutional (except for the time span between 1972 to 1976).

Fear is a strong deterrent. Death is a greater fear than an environment in which you are not in peak physical condition and are socially unaccepted by some others, just as you will see in the rest of the United States (only with less violence outside of prison).
Debate Round No. 2


Although the cost of the death penalty can be reduced to only be sentenced when video/scientific evidence is shown, the conclusion is inescapable. Charles M. Harris, JD, Senior Judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Florida, said on April 18 2012 (only less than two years ago) in an opinion piece for The Gainesville Sun: "...[D]eath by execution is excessively expensive. Most people who support the death penalty believe it is more cost effective than life in prison. Perhaps at one time, when executions were swift and sure, this may have been the case. It is not now. Most people knowledgeable about the subject will agree that the delay now built into the system, more trial preparation, much longer time to get to trial, much longer jury selections and trials, much more complicated and far more frequent appeals, and continuous motions, have increased the cost of capital punishment so that it is now many times the cost of keeping a prisoner in prison for life."

My opponent claims that death for criminals is a better deterrent than life imprisonment. Prison is not a place where you can kick your feet up and relax, chatting with your good ol' prison buddies and family at your leisure. The people you will encounter in prisons where murderers go to aren't very friendly. Some could, and often, want to rape, assault, and even kill their other prisoners. Plus, your surroundings will not be pleasant to your expectations. The prisons in the US aim for punishment and exclusion rather than rehabilitation. If I were a felon, I sure would rather not experience such conditions.

You're right, fear is a strong deterrent. Especially fear of being more than just "socially unaccepted." Prison is sick, nasty, and the perfect place for a murderer to be. Not underground, at peace.


Video/scientific evidence can end trials far quicker, and cut costs of incarceration dramatically if implemented. The video/scientific evidence also assures that the correct person is executed. My opponent uses as an argument, the words of a judge, who states, "have increased the cost of capital punishment so that it is now many times the cost of keeping a prisoner in prison for life.". First of all, the cost is not many times that of the cost with proposition 4. 170 million dollars over the course of the past 30 years is the difference between the two, in California anyway. May I remind that 1 billion dollars in that thirty years was spent on cost of incarceration alone. Straightforward evidence being required by proposition four could make the death penalty cheaper for tax payers than life in prison without parole.

My opponent states, "You're right, fear is a strong deterrent. Especially fear of being more than just "socially unaccepted." Prison is sick, nasty, and the perfect place for a murderer to be. Not underground, at peace.". My opponent fails to mention what happens after death and/or how scared humans are of death. These are only a few consequences of death. My opponent, throughout the duration of his argument, failed to mention the consequences of death in comparison, just that death is death, as if it is nothing to fear, just a process of peacefully being drugged. There are many days before death, I can assure you. There is much waiting to die.

My opponent's argument is that life in prison without parole is worse than death itself. Death itself, having committed murder, is in many religions with rather negative consequence. I can assure you that most versions of afterlife for criminals are terrible, ranging from a torture pit to nonexistence. I can assure you that life being cut short is no pleasure. Regardless of possibility of death in prison, you still have life. You have won if you have life. You have won if you outlived your victim. You have won if you had not met their same fate. The question of which is the greater punishment, well that quite honestly depends. It could just be 30 more years in hell if the guilty person were to die. Therefore either way could be worse, and there is no way of assuring. Therefore one cannot say that one is worse than the other, without firm knowledge of what happens after humans die.

In the quotation my opponent uses as an argument states that, "much more complicated and far more frequent appeals" when speaking of the death penalty. The appeals are far more frequent because there are more people in the United States than in the past. There are also more taxpayers in the United States than in the past.

Voter one is the following two sentences. In the first paragraph of my opponent's "Round 2" writings, my opponent states, "This penalty is virtually useless at a deterrent." does not grammatically work, as deterrent is not a place, and if it were, is not capitalized properly.

My opponent argues that, "Prison is sick, nasty, and the perfect place for a murderer to be.". Voter two is the following. My opponent would prefer death instead of life imprisonment, as stated in "Round 3", paragraph 3, in the ending sentence. The argument is invalid, as my opponent's hypothetical situation has no point of reference that can cause one to believe in such an event, aside from arbitrary assumptions of my opponent. My opponent has never been in this situation and has no way to determine what my opponent would do if my opponent were, or as to what my opponent would prefer. This leaves a large gap for assumption and no evidence connecting my opponent's hypothetical situation to reality, therefore the argument is invalid.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent uses the argument that convicted criminals are more terrified of death than prison, as stated "Death itself, having committed murder, is in many religions with rather negative consequence. I can assure you that most versions of afterlife for criminals are terrible, ranging from a torture pit to nonexistence." I can assure you that most convicted criminals of such felonies are not, in fact, religious. Even if so, the crimes would usually be done in honor of their higher power. So if anything, the felon would look forward to the afterlife. My opponent also uses the argument that "life being cut short is no pleasure. Regardless of possibility of death in prison, you still have life. You have won if you have life. You have won if you outlived your victim. You have won if you had not met their same fate." I can assure you that I would much rather have death than life imprisonment, which my opponent claims I know nothing about. I can tell you that there are an extraordinary number of articles and documentaries you can read and watch across the Internet about life in prison. Also, if a family member were to be imprisoned, I could be informed about it via them.

May I point out the incorrect use of grammar correction done by my opponent, as "This penalty is virtually useless at a deterrent," does not refer to the word "deterrent" as a place, and was intentionally not capitalized. I'd also like to point out that my opponent also incorrectly uses quotation, placing his/her punctuation marks after the end quotation, as they should be placed just before the end quotation.


The human will to live is an instinct outdone by absolutely nothing. Every human wants to live. Every human can say they do not want to live, but they are instinctually programmed to. Amnesty International states "In-depth report on United States' executions of the mentally ill. Includes definitions of terminology, explanations of common and relevant mental conditions, primary-source quotations, current national and international statistics, and recommendations by an American Bar Association task force. The report finds and provides startling new information such as that 5-10% of today's Death Row inmates suffer from serious mental illness; it also draws unique connections between certain states' mental health funding and execution rates." This serious mental illness can interfere with instincts, as their minds are not oriented as the rest of the population of the United States of America. This would mean that they would think slightly differently, and therefore 5-10% is the maximum number of persons in death row who could be lacking the instinctual will to live, and therefore my opponent's argument about death being preferred by alleged death row eligible criminals over life imprisonment without possibility of parole is invalid, and death is a stronger deterrent than life imprisonment without parole.

When my opponent states "the crimes would usually be done in honor of their higher power" yet fails to give any example of an alleged criminal who could be sentenced with the death penalty, or had been, who had a religion of the such that the person would experience grace in the afterlife, or as my opponent argues "the felon would look forward to the afterlife".

When my opponent states "I can tell you that there are an extraordinary number of articles and documentaries you can read and watch across the Internet about life in prison." I could certainly as well. The word can is invalid in making an argument. I can say "I can tell my opponent the National Security Agency is not justified," being granted freedom of speech by the Bill of Right's First Amendment, without limitations from other laws regarding free speech, but that does not mean my statement is true, which is why his statement is invalid.

Following on "felon would look forward to the afterlife." What does not matter is what the felon thinks shall be waiting for him, though what is, which is undecipherable by any living human, therefore unreliable as a source, and therefore invalid.

My opponent argues that life imprisonment would scare a potential criminal worse than death. My opponent argues that he would rather have death than life imprisonment. This is invalid as previously explained in my Round 3 argument against my opponent's hypothetical situation. To summarize the paragraph, my opponent cannot be placed in a situation that my opponent has never experienced.

I once again point out that my opponent misused the word "deterrent" when argued "This penalty is virtually useless at a deterrent," as this is incorrect grammar. The grammatically correct version would be ""This penalty is virtually useless as a deterrent".
Debate Round No. 4
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: To put it simply, Pro's argument is more logical. I don't at all agree with it, and I feel there are a number of holes in it, but so long as it stands, he's easily winning this debate. Con needs to do far more in explaining a) why the death penalty defies the eighth amendment, b) why we should view it as morally harmful, c) why it's still more expensive following implementation of Pro's case, and d) who is otherwise harmed by its implementation. I don't hear enough on any of these, and therefore I don't see offense on Con's side, just some small mitigation. Therefore, I pull the trigger for Pro.

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