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Death penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 835 times Debate No: 97868
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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The death penalty should definitely not remain in place. What image are we portraying to others if we solve killing with more killing?


The death penalty should still be in place. Why? The death penalty is called punishment for a crime. If someone kills 10 innocent people that person doesn't deserve to live. By letting someone end up in prison for life is basically giving them kudos for ending someones life. Society is justly ordered when each person receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order, for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order to give himself undeserved benefits. Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done. This is retribution, not to be confused with revenge, which is guided by a different motive. In retribution the spur is the virtue of indignation, which answers injury with injury for public good... Retribution is the primary purpose of just punishment as such... [R]ehabilitation, protection, and deterrence have a lesser status in punishment than retribution."
J. Budziszewski, PhD
Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin
"Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice,"
Aug./Sep. 2004
Debate Round No. 1


Yes, the death penalty is a punishment for a crime. I must argue however, that the majority of the people receiving the death penalty, are psychopaths and sociopaths who were most likely abused during their childhood. They didn't know any better. They were sick. And they needed help.

And judging by the amount of executions that have been carried out in the U.S, the death penalty does not scare these people. If they really want to, they will kill anyways. Psychopaths and sociopaths do not feel fear the way people without these mental disorders do.

It is also possible for a murderer to frame someone else, if they are crafty enough. Just think about that. It is possible for a person to kill someone, and blame you. If you were found guilty and got the death penalty, the government would be putting you, an innocent man to death. Doesn't that scare you?

There have been many cases where an innocent man was executed. I got this story from the death penalty information center.

"Ruben Cantu Texas Convicted: 1985, Executed: 1993
A two-part investigative series by the Houston Chronicle cast serious doubt on the guilt of a Texas man who was executed in 1993. Ruben Cantu had persistently proclaimed his innocence and was only 17 when he was charged with capital murder for the shooting death of a San Antonio man during an attempted robbery. Now, the prosecutor and the jury forewoman have expressed doubts about the case. Moreover, both a key eyewitness in the state's case against Cantu and Cantu's co-defendant have come forward to say that Texas executed an innocent man.

Juan Moreno, who was wounded during the attempted robbery and was a key eyewitness in the case against Cantu, now says that it was not Cantu who shot him and that he only identified Cantu as the shooter because he felt pressured and was afraid of the authorities. Moreno said that he twice told police that Cantu was not his assailant, but that the authorities continued to pressure him to identify Cantu as the shooter after Cantu was involved in an unrelated wounding of a police officer. "The police were sure it was (Cantu) because he had hurt a police officer. They told me they were certain it was him, and that's why I testified. . . . That was bad to blame someone that was not there," Moreno told the Chronicle.

In addition, David Garza, Cantu's co-defendant during his 1985 trial, recently signed a sworn affidavit saying that he allowed Cantu to be accused and executed even though he wasn't with him on the night of the killing. Garza stated, "Part of me died when he died. You've got a 17-year-old who went to his grave for something he did not do. Texas murdered an innocent person."

Sam D. Millsap, Jr., the Bexar County District Attorney who charged Cantu with capital murder, said he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on testimony from an eyewitness who identified a suspect only after police showed him Cantu's photo three seperate times.

Miriam Ward, forewoman of the jury that convicted Cantu, said the jury's decision was the best they could do based on the information presented during the trial. She noted, "With a little extra work, a little extra effort, maybe we'd have gotten the right information. The bottom line is, an innocent person was put to death for it. We all have our finger in that." (Houston Chronicle, November 20 & 21, 2005 and Associated Press, November 21, 2005)."

There were about 12 other cases on this website with extremely sad stories. These people were put to death, and afterwards police were either suspicious or they realized that they killed the wrong guy. Here are the names of all the other innocent people listed on this website.

Carlos DeLuna Texas Conviction: 1983, Executed: 1989

Larry Griffin Missouri Conviction: 1981, Executed: 1995

Joseph O'Dell Virginia Conviction: 1986, Executed: 1997

David Spence Texas Conviction: 1984, Executed: 1997

Leo Jones Florida Convicted: 1981, Executed: 1998

Gary Graham Texas Convicted: 1981, Executed: 2000

Claude Jones Texas Convicted 1989 Executed 2000

Cameron Willingham Texas Convicted: 1992, Executed: 2004

Troy Davis Georgia Convicted 1991 Executed 2011

Lester Bower Texas Convicted 1984 Executed 2015

Brian Terrell Georgia Convicted 1995 Executed 2015

Richard Masterson Texas Convicted 2002 Executed 2016

I must also point out that life imprisonment is absolutely not giving people convicted of murder kudos for killing 10 innocent people. It is keeping a potentially innocent but most likely guilty person off the streets, so that they are unable to kill again.


Yes I will agree with you that there have been innocent people blamed and executed, and yes some of these people do have mental illnesses but sometimes they just can't be helped. A study published a few years ago found that simply giving a judge information about the biology of psychopathy could lead to a reduction in the sentencing of a diagnosed psychopath (compared to a judge not receiving that information), even though the information didn't indicate psychopathy was treatable (in fact it implied the opposite). However, with or without information about the associated biology, a diagnosis of psychopathy may still add years to a sentence, as judges are more likely to consider the convict a continued danger to society.And when your on death row your not executed the next day. The length of time prisoners spend on death row in the United States before their executions has recently emerged as a topic of interest in the debate about the death penalty. The discussion increased around the execution of Michael Ross, a Connecticut inmate who had been on death row for 17 years, and has been spurred by the writings of two Supreme Court Justices who have urged the Court to consider this issue. They have plenty of time to try and have there case appealed and more evidence to be presented. A murder can't blame someone as easy as you make it. They need the evidence present to convict the person they frame and if the person being blamed has a alibi that can be proved there immediately eliminated as a possible suspect.

Death row inmates in the U.S. typically spend over a decade awaiting execution. Some prisoners have been on death row for well over 20 years.

During this time, they are generally isolated from other prisoners, excluded from prison educational and employment programs, and sharply restricted in terms of visitation and exercise, spending as much as 23 hours a day alone in their cells.

This raises the question of whether death row prisoners are receiving two distinct punishments: the death sentence itself, and the years of living in conditions tantamount to solitary confinement " a severe form of punishment that may be used only for very limited periods for general-population prisoners.
Debate Round No. 2


Sometimes 10 to 20 years on death row isn't enough time to present new evidence. All of the cases I mentioned above proves this. People realized that they may have executed the wrong person, after they were executed. This is the main reason I am against the death penalty. It is proven above that clear, solid evidence is not always presented to courts. Juries often make their decisions based on intuition rather than solid facts. Witnesses can be pressured into fingering the wrong guy, and courts can make their decisions based on bias.

This is why life imprisonment is a better option. That gives someone who was found guilty by the courts their entire lives to present new evidence.

Also, if you wanted these killers to get punished, isn't life imprisonment a pretty decent one? As my opponent mentioned above, death row prisoners spend relatively 23 hours in their cells every day. That gives them plenty of time to think about what they did.


My oppenent is a worthy foe and i respect whoever they are but The death penalty needs to stay.Yes i will admit that innocent people have been executed but Since 1973, 151 people have been released from death rows throughout the country due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 wrongfully convicted defendants were released from death row.ONE IN 25 SENTENCED TO DEATH IN THE U.S. IS INNOCENT,

Factors leading to wrongful convictions include:

Inadequate legal representation
Police and prosecutorial misconduct
Perjured testimony and mistaken eyewitness testimony
Racial prejudice
Jailhouse "snitch" testimony
Suppression and/or misinterpretation of mitigating evidence
Community/political pressure to solve a case

List of Pros of Death Penalty
1. Death penalty costs the government less as opposed to life imprisonment without parole.
Proponents say despite expenses incurred by the government from imposing capital punishment, death penalty is still cheaper compared to the costs of life without parole. Although there is no contention that the cost of the former is high, life imprisonment is accumulatively higher given the expenses for food, health care and other costs of sustaining the lives of incarcerated individuals serving life.

2. It deters would-be criminals to commit felonies.
Advocates of death penalty cite examples on how imposing the death sentence or abolishing it have affected crime rate. According to a study conducted in the late 1960"s, there was a 7% crime rate increase on the years when this law was abolished. On the other hand, fewer crimes were committed with the increase in number of inmates in the death row who were executed each year. Proponents say that these figures clearly indicate the efficacy of capital punishment on deterring crimes.

3. The absence of death penalty is synonymous to crime rate increase.
As reported by time magazine, an estimated 2,000,000 people in the United States have been victims of crimes, from assault to murder. With insufficient laws to address this problem or the lack of teeth in these laws, criminals become careless and bolder to commit heinous crimes because of the leniency in punishments and loop holes in the justice system. For these reason, there is a need for death penalty.

4. It is constitutional and does not violate the Eight Amendment which prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, fines and cruel and unusual punishments, including torture.
Advocates of death penalty say that the pain associated with the execution of a death row inmate is not improbable. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the Eight Amendment challenge which stated that the drug used to render the criminal coma-like unconscious before injecting the lethal drug is not capable to do so completely. The Supreme Court was firm on its stand that any method of execution definitely will inflict some pain and states with capital punishment have already adopted more humane methods to carry out executions.

5. Death penalty is a just punishment for crimes committed against the rights to life, freedom and safety of victims.
It is the right of an individual to live peacefully and be free from harm. Unfortunately, crimes like murder, rape and assault are committed by perpetrators who have no regard for life and property of others. Since they violate other people"s lives, it is but fair that they are brought to justice and suffer the fate they rightfully deserve. People who are for capital punishment also talk about free will wherein an individual is given the right to do things in his or her own volition and he or she is responsible for his or her own fate.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by n.vaughan 1 year ago
Though both arguements bring up great points of why or why not the death penalty should be kept or demolished, the con side had made an arguement that most of the people on death row are mentally ill or unstable but did not include any statistics to back up their argument thus leaving the statement just an assumption. I believe pro was the winner of this debate, because of the points they chose to argue.22
Posted by warren42 2 years ago
Since this debate seems theoretical, I will accept if you were to debate it only on those grounds and we operate under the following assumptions: everyone convicted is, in fact, guilty, and monetary cost is irrelevant.
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