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

Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2014 Category: People
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,337 times Debate No: 55944
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Actually according to Edwin H. Sutherland, PhD, late President of the American Sociological Society, and Donald R. Cressey, PhD, late Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the 1974 revised edition of their book titled Criminology, wrote:
"It is not cheaper to keep a criminal confined, because most of the time he will appeal just as much causing as many costs as a convict under death sentence. Being alive and having nothing better to do, he will spend his time in prison conceiving of ever-new habeas corpus petitions, which being unlimited, in effect cannot be rejected as res judicata. The cost is higher."

This therefore proves the death penalty costs less than then L.W.O.P (Life Without Parol)


This is a very interesting challenge. There are many reasons why I don't think the state should be allowed to kill people. But since my opponent has not really put any points forward that state why the death penalty is a good idea, other than to save money, I'll criticize that point then include one of my own.

My opponent supports the death penalty for the worst possible reason - to silence a voice. The kind of ethics that led my opponent to the conclusion that the main reason we should have the death penalty is because the victim might appeal or attempt an appeal later on astound me completely. Keep in mind that in the United States, where this barbaric practise continues, over 140 people have been exonerated and freed from death row since the death penalty was reinstituted there in 1976 (1). This is supposed to be a rare story - but it isn't. 140 people have had that phone call from the governor. Does this not make one stop to wonder how many innocents didn't get the call?

As for the argument that this practise will save costs, my opponent bases this argument entirely on a study in 1974, with no cited statistics. This was before the death penalty was reinstated in the US. The amount of assumptions my opponent makes, including his assertion that prisoners on death row will have enough money to continue funding appeals and that there are an infinite number of new habeas corpus petitions to go round, are also unsubstantiated. Even if this were the case, would it not be a problem with the American legal system rather than a matter of "just killing them?".

I don't have the death penalty in my country. I'm glad of it. Why? Because the history of the state is one of complete devaluing of human life. The most oppressive states, (Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Maoist China) also have a history of using the death penalty the most. Is this a coincidence? My opponent, by the way, is welcome to challenge me on this and I will be glad to provide some figures.

This brings us to the core of the issue. Most people would agree that you should not kill a person unless it is absolutely necessary. This is common sense. Even in muggings, robbers most often do not arbitrarily shoot people. It is unethical and leads to a less peaceful society. So why does the state have this right to arbitrarily kill people who have broken a specific code that it has agreed on? Is there any evidence that the death penalty decreases crime rates? If not, why is it in existence? Even statists usually agree that the function of the state is to rectify the situation of the people using reasonable methods.

Usually the real meaning of the death penalty has something to do with revenge and justice. What justice? Will the state killing an individual somehow rectify the fact that that individual has killed someone else? I leave my opponent to answer the aforesaid question as s/he is able to.

Debate Round No. 1


You say my opinion is based on silencing a voice. Silencing the voice of a criminal more or less. These people are performing inhumane crimes. Yes, it is true that it is not necessarily
a deterrent. But death is everyone's fear. According to
Many, if not most, people are afraid of dying. Some people fear being dead, while others are afraid of the actual act of dying.
I know many people who fear the thought of just growing old. Imagine the fear of forced death. This, however; could be the deterrent of the death penalty. My apologies if I did not answer any of your questions.


I appreciate my opponent's politeness, but I also fear that he has ceded the debate to myself.

My opponent has not refuted any points here. Yes, it is the voice of a person who was tried in a criminal court. That does not make them any less human. Once more, we should not resort to killing people simply because our legal system may have flaws.

My opponent cedes the point that death is "not necessarily a deterrent" to crimes that might involve the death penalty. This is true.

The debate here obviously should go to Con.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent speaks no form of fact or statistic but morally on his/her opinion. I could sit here and talk about how I think the death penalty is good. But i'm not using facts or sources.
If you need a reason on why the death penalty is a good idea; here are a few.
One small but important reason on why the death penalty is a good idea is that it decreases the prisoner population, which saves even more tax payers money.
Another reason why the death penalty is a good idea,
Once a criminal is executed, he cannot kill again. The case for this would be Kenneth Allen McDuff who was on Death Row when the death penalty was declared unconstitutional in the 1970's. His sentence was commuted to life and he was eventually released on parole and killed again. He has since been executed
My final reason for this round is that the death penalty is actually a very good deterrence.
If you look at this link:
You see a chart.
The chart is documenting the number of yearly homicide rate per 100,000 population.
The chart also documents the years 1950-2002.
Lastly, the chart documents the yearly number of executions.
The death penalty is actually considered a deterrent.
My mistake.


My opponent begins by bashing the very morality that he should be trying to use to win this debate. If morality doesn't exist, then why have a government in the first place? Isn't the point of the justice system to provide justice? My opponent assumes that the only reason that I might be against the death penalty is due to costs. This is a very Americentric viewpoint. I live in a country where the death penalty is not used. The idea that the government should be allowed to kill has the burden of proof upon it. Government, by definition, is an act - "to be governed" is not the natural state of humanity. Therefore you must prove that something is a good thing for the government to do before you get the government to do it.

Apparently the death penalty is a good idea because it "decreases prisoner populaton". Not only is this of minimum importance in terms of costs, it is a repetition (once more) of a kind of presumed morality I cannot understand. Until my opponent can prove why it is a good idea to kill people to save costs, I will not explore this rather nihilistic point further.

My opponent makes another point entirely dependent upon the state of the the justice system. If a prisoner is executed, he cannot kill again. My opponent here points me again to the exact same pro death penalty website he has cited before, yet the specific case he mentioned is not there. Even if there was a case where a prisoner was released and killed again, I can give you (I repeat) 140 people who survived after going to death row, which points to the obvious fact that there must have been more who were innocent and did not survive.

My opponent now continues to argue a point that he has ceded, with evidence that is as flimsy as his flip flop argument. He points to homicide statistics since the 1950s, which went up until the 1990s, when it went down considerably. There are many explanations for this curve, but what my opponent's source completely forgets is that these statistics involve not only homicide, but rape, assault, and overall violent crime. (1) I challenge my opponent to take a look at the actual statistics for crimes where the Death Penalty was not involved at all.

If my opponent wishes to pursue this point further, I would be happy to find statistics for plenty of other western countries that do not have the death penalty, that also show this curve. Why does this curve exist? There are many different conjectures. Is it specific to the death penalty? Absolutely not. Look it up for yourself.

In summary, my opponent refuses to make moral arguments in favour of what is clearly a moral issue. My opponent fails to provide any meaningful statistics to prove that the death penalty is helpful. What cause my opponent does provide for his views seems to be roughly statist or fascist, that is, the state should minimize costs by killing or leaving behind those it cannot be bothered to feed. Yet once more, my opponent does not provide evidence for why the rights of the state trump the rights of the individual. I will be interested to hear my opponent argue for that.

Debate Round No. 3


lilianhunter forfeited this round.


Forfeit - Debate goes to Con.
Debate Round No. 4


lilianhunter forfeited this round.


Another forfeit. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Numidious 7 years ago
Thanks for providing your arguments. I really appreciate your civility - I could probably afford to be less confrontational in my own arguments.
Posted by lilianhunter 7 years ago
oh man i have to forfeit. That was incredible
Posted by lilianhunter 7 years ago
May the best debater win! Good Luck!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro hasn't made a clear resolution. Pro forfeited.

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