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

Capital Punishment Should be Abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/30/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,331 times Debate No: 78266
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




I as Pro will be arguing that Capital Punishment should be abolished. My opponent, Con, will be arguing that Capital Punishment should not be abolished. It should be noted that we will be arguing the current system of Capital Punishment, the one they use today. This means neither I nor my opponent can suggest that the system can be reformed in the future, for we are arguing whether the current system should go or stay, not whether to change it or not.

Full Topic
The current system of Capital Punishment should be abolished from the United States.

Round Structure
R1 Acceptance
R2 Opening Arguments
R3 Rebuttals

Capital Punishment- Also referred to as ‘The Death Penalty’, is the legal authorization by the government to execute someone as a punishment for a crime they committed.
Execute- to formally carry out a sentence of death.
Death-Row- a prison block for prisoners that are sentenced to death.
Criminal- a person who has committed a crime.

A forfeiture is an automatic loss.
No new arguments in any rounds except R2.
Maintain a respectful manner throughout entire debate.
No “kritiks”
BoP is shared.
Breaking these rules will result in a loss.

By accepting the debate, you accept all rules and conditions, I look forward to an interesting debate!


I as CON will be arguing that Capital Punishment should not be abolished. My opponent, pro, will be arguing that Capital Punishment should be abolished. It should be noted that we will be arguing the current system of Capital Punishment, the one they use today. This means neither I nor my opponent can suggest that the system can be reformed in the future, for we are arguing whether the current system should go or stay, not whether to change it or not.
Debate Round No. 1


C1) The Right To Life
Capital Punishment is a violation of the most fundamental principle of human rights; the right to life.

The right to life is protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), ratified by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Article 3 specifies the right to life as a human right:

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
see Article 3

Capital Punishment is a direct violation of Article 3, and therefore constituted as a human rights violation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Our founding fathers listed the right to life first for a reason. The right to life underpins every right we have; it is the fundamental building block of all our rights. Without life, you cannot attain liberty. Without liberty, you cannot pursue happiness. Without the right to life, nothing else matters.

C2) Innocence

Whenever irreversible acts are being committed, irreversible consequences arise. We can never be 100% sure a criminal is guilty of a crime, so committing an irreversible act is bound to end in tragedy.

Between 1973 and 2015, 148 innocent citizens were exonerated and released from death-row.

"Whether or not any innocent defendants have actually been executed, abundant evidence accumulated in recent years has resulted in the exoneration of an unacceptable number of defendants found guilty of capital offenses. The risk of executing innocent defendants can be entirely eliminated by treating any penalty more severe than life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as constitutionally excessive."
U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (Baze v. Rees)

Sam Gross at the University of Michigan Law School published a paper in the National Academy of Science, calculating that there is a 4.1% error rate in executions.

"...Since the reinstatement of the modern death penalty, 87 people have been freed from death row because they were later proven innocent. That is a demonstrated error rate of 1 innocent person for every 7 persons executed. When the consequences are life and death, we need to demand the same standard for our system of justice as we would for our airlines...It is a central pillar of our criminal justice system that it is better that many guilty people go free than that one innocent should suffer...Let us reflect to ensure that we are being just. Let us pause to be certain we do not kill a single innocent person. This is really not too much to ask for a civilized society."
-Russ Feingold (US Senator) Introducing the "National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2000"

Although the possibility an innocent person will be executed is small, the fact that there is a possibility at all, is reason enough to abolish Capital Punishment as a faulty system.

C3) Methods

Now, the method by which the current Death sentences are carried out is by lethal injection.

“Lethal Injection…all of the 32 states that have the death penalty use this method… Medical ethics preclude doctors from participating in executions. However, a doctor will certify the inmate is dead. This lack of medical participation can be problematic because often injections are performed by inexperienced technicians or orderlies. If a member of the execution team injects the drugs into a muscle instead of a vein, or if the needle becomes clogged, extreme pain can result. Many prisoners have damaged veins resulting from intravenous drug use and it is sometimes difficult to find a usable vein, resulting in long delays while the inmate remains strapped to the gurney.”

By the current method; lethal injection, there is a sizeable amount risk that could arise from the execution that would result in inhumane pain. The fact that there is any risk at all is enough to rule out Capital Punishment as a broken system.

C4) Prejudice

Capital Punishment enforces corrupt racial bias in its decisions; it targets people of color.
The National Death-Row population is 42% black, while the national black population is only 13.6%. The disproportion is represented by the graph.

David C. Baldus did a comprehensive study of victims on death row. Out of the 667 homicides in Philadelphia between 1983 and 1993, black defendants were 4 times more likely to receive a death sentence than whites.

Also, the same study found that defendants who were charged with killing whites are 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than defendants charged with killing blacks.

What you have here is a system that treats some lives as more important than others. Capital Punishment is a broken system and needs to be abolished.

C5) Lawyer Quality

Sometimes, it does not depend on what the criminal did; rather quality of the lawyer.

"I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial? People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty."
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg(April 9, 2001)

There have been times when lawyers appointed to a death sentence cases reported as sleeping through parts of the trial or under the effect of a hangover.

"Death row inmates today face a one-in-three chance of being executed without having the case properly investigated by a competent attorney and without having any claims of innocence or unfairness presented or heard."
(Lethal Indifference: The Fatal Combination of Incompetent Attorneys and Unaccountable Courts Pg. 10) (see

“26 Death Row inmates…have received a new trial or sentencing because their attorneys' incompetence rendered the verdict or sentence unfair, court records show…33 defendants sentenced to death were represented at trial by an attorney who had been, or was later, disbarred or suspended--disciplinary sanctions reserved for conduct so incompetent, unethical or even criminal that the state believes an attorney's license should be taken away.”

Criminals are not sentenced to death by the heinous of their crime, but by the quality of their representation. The Death Penalty is a broken system and should be abolished.


Capital Punishment is a human rights violation, slays innocents, racially biased, and corrupt. Because of these reasons, I conclude that we should abolish Capital Punishment. I would like to thank my opponent for debating me and wish them the best of luck in their opening arguments.


Cp1: It brings closure to victims

There are many victims of a single murder. The criminal gets caught, tried, and convicted, and it is understood that the punishment will be severe. But the person he has killed no longer has a part to play in this. Unfortunately, the murderer has deprived his family and friends of a loved one. Their grief begins with the murder. It may not end with the murderer"s execution, but the execution does engender a feeling of relief at no longer having to think about the ordeal"a feeling which often fails to arise while the murderer still lives on. A system in place for the purpose of granting justice cannot do so for the surviving victims, unless the murderer himself is put to death.
Cp2: it is not painful

When the condemned is fastened into the electric chair, one of the conductors is strapped securely around the head with the bare metal flush against the shaved and wet scalp. This permits the electricity to be conducted directly into the brain, shutting it off more quickly than the brain can register pain. Hanging causes death by snapping the neck of the condemned around the second vertebrae"instantly shutting off the brain"s ability to communicate with the rest of the body, and causing the heart to stop within seconds. The firing squad involves five men shooting the heart of the condemned with high-powered rifles. The heart is completely destroyed and unconsciousness follows within seconds
Cp3: It is the best answer for Murder

The justice system basically attempts to mete out punishment that fits the crime. Severe crimes result in imprisonment. "Petty larceny" is not treated with the severity that is meted to "grand theft auto," and the latter, consequently, receives more time in prison. So if severe"but non-lethal"violence toward another is found deserving of life without parole, then why should premeditated homicide be given the very same punishment? This fact might induce a would-be criminal to go ahead and kill the victim he has already mugged and crippled. Why would it matter, after all? His sentence could not get any worse. If murder is the willful deprivation of a victim"s right to life, then the justice system"s willful deprivation of the criminal"s right to the same is"even if overly severe"a punishment which fits the most severe crime that can be committed. Without capital punishment, it could be argued that the justice system makes no provision in response to the crime of murder, and thus provides no justice for the victim.

In the United States, the process of convicting and executing a criminal is an exhaustive and lengthy one which definitely lends a little validity to the fairness of the process. The vast majority of criminals sentenced to death have several avenues available to contest their condemnation, from their state"s governor, their states court of appeals, Amnesty International, and even the United States Supreme Court.Even after a criminal has been condemned to die, some have been known to appeal the decision for up to three decades before finally receiving a date of execution. Even then, the smallest technicality can result in a stay of execution, a commutation of the sentence, or as in Glen Chapman"s case, a full release from prison. While attitudes of the death penalty naturally vary from legal system to legal system worldwide, all legal systems generally acknowledge the value of a person"s life, and take the decision to end a human"s life very seriously. Errors will occur in any justice system, but the through due process of executions, above the process of any other punitive measure, may make the margin for error in capital punishment cases that much smaller. It"s far more likely that those facing death are actually guilty of their crime as a result. In the United States, the process of convicting and executing a criminal is an exhaustive and lengthy one which definitely lends a little validity to the fairness of the process. The vast majority of criminals sentenced to death have several avenues available to contest their condemnation, from their state"s governor, their states court of appeals, Amnesty International, and even the United States Supreme Court.

cp5: It removes threats to society

Even though Saddam Hussein was captured and tried via an Iraqi tribunal in 2005, he still remained a threat; one of his tribunal judges was assassinated before the trial even began. Charles "Lucky" Luciano, possibly the most successful organized crime leader in history, didn"t retire after being deported to Italy for the remainder of his life; he continued to control American organized crime long after his exile. Pablo Escobar, a criminal so ruthless he allegedly mailed witnesses invitations to their own funerals, was not only able to control his criminal empire from a luxurious prison, but he was also able to escape with a disturbing level of ease. Some criminals are truly above the law, in that their influence can reach the outside world even if they are behind bars. For this reason, some criminals are simply too dangerous to live at all.

cp6: IT WORKS!

We could easily pass this attitude off as barbaric and unnecessary"if it didn"t actually work. The crime rate gap between Singapore and the United States is rather vast; in fact Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. In a country where smuggling over 50 grams of heroin is certain to result in the same punishment as slaughtering another human being, obviously, a criminal has to decide if breaking the law at all is really worth their life. The United States justice system does not guarantee death to a criminal in the same way Singapore"s justice system guarantees it. For a murderer with strong evidence against them, chances are there is no plea bargain to commute the offense, no twenty years of appeals, no governors who will swoop in at the 11th hour to grant clemency for the condemned. As evidenced by Singapore"s low crime rate, simply having a "law-bide or die" stance, backed up through examples, may be the most efficient and cheapest known way to prevent capital crimes.


"May the punishment fit the crime." At the risk of being biased, this is definitely the best definition of justice that has ever existed or ever will exist.A desire for justice is one of the inherent qualities of most humans, and it prevents society from falling into a despotic chaos where the average, peaceful person would be subject to the anger, violence, and madness of criminals. A society"s law, and the justice that is dispensed by its hands, is ultimately what keeps the citizenry of that society safe at night if anything does.In places where the death penalty is an option, it is one of the cornerstones of justice.For the sake of society"s stability, fair and swift justice must always exist, and the complete removal of people who would destroy that society through crime is absolutely necessary. The death penalty serves this purpose better than any other form of punishment, as it ultimately ensures that a criminal can never harm another person again. From the perspective of justice, the death penalty serves any given populace by erasing its worst element: the criminal one.

Conclusion: The Death penalty is in no way shape or form "inhumane" it provides a quick and simple way for these criminals to die. These criminals take other's lives dehumanize them and eventually murder them or do something to an extreme extent to them. and you mean to tell me they can take away someone's life but still have the right to their own/ I don't think so. You do the crime, you must have the correct punishment you take ones life you must have yours taken! put yourself in the mindset of a mother whose son was just murdered do you think that mother is going to say NOOO don't kill the murder. no she is going to be happy a scumbag punk sh** like that is off of this planet for good! OBVIOUSLY if this weren't enough Singapore send anyone to death for any crime and has the THIRD LOWEST CRIME RATE OF ANY COUNTRY. the reason why the U.S crime rate is so high is because all 60 states don't have this! BUT there is a reason MAJORITY DO!
Debate Round No. 2


R1) Closure To Victims

In this contention Con argues that Capital Punishment brings closure to victims of homicide.

closure: a feeling that a bad experience (such as a divorce or the death of a family member) has ended and that you can start to live again in a calm and normal way. Merriam-Webster

This claim is false, Capital Punishment does not bring closure to victims of homicide.

“The results show a significant increase in covictim opposition to capital punishment in the nearly two decades following the ascendancy of retribution and closure as the primary justification offered for the death penalty...the findings do signal that covictims are increasingly opposed to capital punishment and do not believe that the imposition of death brings closure.” Pg. 77

Con’s argument is directly negated by the evidence provided.

R2) It is Not Painful

Here Con makes the argument that Capital Punishment is not painful. This is entirely false. Con brings up three different methods, I will therefore explain each method separately.

Electric Chair:

Excecution by electric chair can result in dislocations and fractures as the victim’s limbs move violently.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan offered a description of an execution by electric chair that he witnessed:

“...the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner's flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire....Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber.”
quoted in

Execution by electric chair is an inhumane method of carrying out a death sentence.


“If the rope is too long, the inmate could be decapitated, and if it is too short, the strangulation could take as long as 45 minutes...instantaneous death rarely occurs. If the inmate has strong neck muscles, is very light, if the 'drop' is too short, or the noose has been wrongly positioned, the fracture-dislocation is not rapid and death results from slow asphyxiation. If this occurs the face becomes engorged, the tongue protrudes, the eyes pop, the body defecates, and violent movements of the limbs occur.”

Execution by hanging is rarely a quick death and usually ends after a long painful death.

Firing Squad:

“If the shooters miss the heart, by accident or intention, the prisoner bleeds to death slowly.”

These methods have too high a chance of risk when we are talking about someone’s life. None of the methods Con proposed are in fact painless, his argument is defeated.

R3) It is the Best Answer For Murder

Here Con says that Capital Punishment is the only way to punish the crime, and this is how the justice system works. This is simply false; we do not punish rapists by raping them, we do not punish arsonists by burning down their houses, so I don’t see why we should punish murderers by murdering them.

R4) It is Fair

In this argument Con explains how the legal system gives the criminal a fair trial and the such. Yet innocents are still executed, criminals are still racially prosecuted, criminals are still inadequately represented. Look at the facts, research directly contest Con’s argument. (Look at my Round 2 statistics.)

R5) It Removes a Threat To Society

Con claims that criminals can still do crime from jail yet fails to provide any evidence of this claim. This argument is worthless until Con can provide evidence that criminals continue breaking the law from jail.

R6) It Works

Here Con attempts to relate the crime-rate of Singapore and the US. The low crime rate of Singapore could be from a variety of different sources; more funding to law enforcement, less citizens, higher education, different income levels, etc.

R7) Justice

In this argument Con claims that Capital Punishment prevents the criminal from harming society in the future. Yet prison from life does the same thing, makes the criminal unable to hurt society further. The rest of the argument is about Justice which is an extension of R3, which I have already answered.


I have answered and negated each of my opponent’s arguments, therefore finishing my R3 response. This will be the last you hear of me in this debate so I would like to ask the voters to take into consideration my opponent’s lack of evidence in his arguments that would give them validity. I would also like to ask my opponent not to defend his arguments at all and merely attack mine to keep the debate fair. Thanks!


R1) The right to life
In this argument my opponent says that sentencing criminals to death is a direct violation to Article 3 of basic human rights. Well criminals on death row typically murder and take away that right from another so therefore must have that right taken away
R2: Justice
Justice in the united states is a big deal my opponent took my words and twisted them by saying "we don't rape rapist." When the point I was trying to make is that BIGGER crimes deserve BIGGER punishment therefore he did not win any point on justice because he failed to prove that wrong.
R3: Innocence
In this my opponent brings up a very INTRESTING point about how innocent people may be convicted of this huge crimes they did not do, and even provides a static that 148 people were exonerated and released from death row which makes his argument on it not being fair COMPLETLY invalid this shows that it is fair that they had their chance to get off of death row prove their innocence and that's exactly what they did! Which should be a point to me!
R3: Methods
In this my opponent states that the methods are horrible and inhumane. I provided evidence in Round 2 showing how it is not and even if was just think about it they're dying anyway weather it last for seconds or hours, is that even comparable to the years of tortures families have waiting for justice?
R4: Prejudice/ Lawyer quality
I as a minority, understand prejudice all too well. but the fact of the matter is these people had a right to a fair trial and a lawyer. Which determining if a lawyer is good or not is simply opinionated he failed to say if these lawyers lost every case won every case, regardless of that even these lawyers went to school YEARS AND YEARS OF SCHOOL to get where they are today and you mean to tell me they aren't good? and that these death penalty inmates don't have a right to a good lawyer because they all went to school and got their degrees. Regardless of race you did the crime, sadly it just so happens that blacks have been tried and convicted for this more than that of their white counterparts.
My opponent failed to prove that capital punishment was wrong. He supplied us with mere moral arguments as to why it was wrong, which is a Kritik within itself and should be grounds for lose. Capital punishment is not a horrible thing it should be allowed I negated all of my opponents arguments! thank you opponent thank you voters. Vote for me :)
(P.s I know there are 50 states that was a typo)
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
>Reported vote: TinyBudha// Mod action: NOT Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: comments

[*Reason for non-removal*] The vote is more than sufficient providing an argument-by-argument breakdown of the debate and an explanation for the decision based on that breakdown.
Posted by TinyBudha 3 years ago
So ultimately I have to award the round to pro. Although con wins several arguments: best answer for murder and it removes threat to society, ultimately I have to weigh the prejudice, innocence and lawyer quality arguments as more. Even if the death penalty is the best answer proportionally to the crime what sticks with me is the innocence claims, that there is simply too high of a chance for the death of innocent people and it is an unacceptable risk. Therefore I must vote pro and say the current system would better be gone. I also don't want to keep prejudice and thus devalue life, and of course if the death penalty violates basic human rights I cannot conscientiously dis-affirm the resolution, I vote to get rid of the current system.

I suggest both debaters work on their rebuttal effort. Try as hard as possible to just destroy your opponent's arguments, and try to attack from more than one angle. This would greatly help you both. I vote pro.
Posted by TinyBudha 3 years ago
Con Contention 1(CC1):Closure
Here con argues that killing the murderer brings closure to the families, and although pro's arguments are very good against this I still can't consider this argument because you never tell me why exactly this means I keep the current system. As far as I know this has nothing to do with the resolution.

CC2:Not Painful
Again this argument is irrelevant to me

CC3:Best answer for murder
Pro's arguments against this are incorrect because they don't argue against what con is actually says, so this argument must go to con. It is the best answer for murder.

CC4:Its fair
This argument is directly refuted by pro's won arguments about the unfairness of these court trials as well as prejudice which clearly is not fair.

CC5:Removes threats to society
I agree with this argument, its clearly is true from a basic standpoint but con also fails to show me how significant these threats are, perhaps he should have shown how many lives are saved by executing one person on death row. Pro's response is insufficient as con clearly gives evidence that criminals con continue their activity from prison.

CC6:IT works
This argument is pretty lame. You simply cant draw causality from a comparison of two countries.

Pro points out that the prisoner can't hurt society from behind bars, I agree.

I continue.
Posted by TinyBudha 3 years ago
This is probably pro's weakest argument. Even if I accept that the death penalty is excruciating, you never give me a reason that this means I vote pro besides just an intuitional approach that pain is bad. Thus I reject this argument. I would recommend that Con should try and point this out to the judge.

This is an OK Pro argument. He argues that there are huge prejudices within the system which enforce racial lines and thus devalue certain members of society as less than others. This is true logic, so long as the evidence backs this which I feel Pro's didn't do that well, however, again, con does a terrible job of trying to point this out and instead tries to argue that because public defenders have law degrees that they somehow must be great. Con should have attacked Pro's evidence here. Pro's only real good evidence is that blacks are convicted more often when they kill whites than other races, as con you should try to argue that there are other causes for this. So this argument goes also to pro.

Another strong pro argument. He shows that lawyer quality has a drastic effect on the outcome which reinforces the prejudice argument. Perhaps con should have argued how those innocent people who are still in prison may be doomed by bad lawyres and it might be better in those people's opinions to die than suffer in jail. con's arguments here are the same as above and dont meet. This goes to pro.

I continue
Posted by TinyBudha 3 years ago
Pro Contention 1(PC1)
Here pro argues that every person has a right to live and therefore by killing them we deprive them of this right, which would imply this is wrong. I have to say that this isn't my favorite argument however this goes to PRO. Pro clearly lays out that a right to life is something everyone has and bases this on evidence. Con's only response to this is that by killing someone else you forfeit this right. I have heard this argument before and I actually might agree with it, except in this case it was simply asserted, meaning I cannot consider it. It is just a warrant less claim, meaning I default back to pro being correct. To con. I would have argued about what the word "life" really means.

This is the best argument in the round. He argues that 1 out of 7 people executed are innocent, which I find outrageous. Its probably not entirely true, but its not argued against so I stick with it and pretend I am in a world where this is true. Being that this is the case this is a huge weighing factor in the round. I completely agree with PRO that we should favor the small chance of innocence over the guilty inmates. CON's only argument is that the number 148 shows that the sytem is actually working and there is nothing wrong. I can't accept this because again it isn't warranted and also it just doesn't even make sense. The fact that a few escape doesn't prove that there is an airtight system for proving people innocent and PRO's other arguments about inequality actual serve to back this claim. Thus this argument also goes to Pro.

I continue
Posted by TinyBudha 3 years ago
I'm on this
Posted by hldemi 3 years ago
Looking to see if those are gonna be standard arguments:

Pro: If state execute someone and evidence later on prove that Hes innocent how are we gonna bring them back to life.

Con: Why should be pay for food of those depraved maniacs. They also can kill other prison mates. Also death penalty shows to other potential criminals to think twice.

Lets see something different please :D
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TinyBudha 3 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: comments