The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Should the death penalty be abolished

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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: 4/18/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 820 times Debate No: 112945
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)



pro starts. I truly believe there is no real reason to abolish the death penalty.


Hello everyone, and good luck to my opponent.


The death penalty, long acclaimed as a good form of punishment, starting from the ancient empires to the medieval times, is now one of the more controversial topics in the United States. It has been banned in many countries all over the globe [1], but still exists in the United States. But its continued existence serves no purpose and only continues to hurt our criminal justice system and our country as whole. Because of this, I take the position that the death penalty should indeed be abolished for the following three reasons: cost, discrimination, and wrongful convictions.

The cost of the death penalty cases is significantly greater than non-capital cases. According to a report done by "Seattle University criminal justice professors Peter A. Collins and Matthew J. Hickman and law professor Robert C. Boruchowitz.....on average, Oklahoma capital cases cost 3.2 times more than non-capital cases" After considering all the factors, the researchers concluded "It is a simple fact that seeking the death penalty is more expensive. There is not one credible study, to our knowledge, that presents evidence to the contrary." [2] This report took into consideration 15 state studies studying the cost of death penalty cases between 2000 and 2016 versus cases not seeking the death penalty with similar charges involved, an adequate sample size and variety of cases. And for perspective, the average death penalty case costs 3 million dollars[3]. The evidence presented here clearly proves that the death penalty is more expensive. The con may say that prosecutors don't have to pursue the death penalty.

But not only is it a lot more expensive, it also discriminates against minority groups, especially against African Americans. "Our death row population is more than 40% black", three times the amount of African Americans in the United States population"[4] We can see from this that African Americans are being unfairly discriminated and are more likely to receive the death penalty. And the end result of this racism is death, meaning that we are disproportionately putting African Americans to death with the death penalty, a practice that is clearly discriminatory and damaging.

Finally, the death penalty is leading to innocent people being unfairly killed by the death penalty. Even when it is required by law for all 12 juries to agree beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is guilty, mistakes in our criminal justice system happen all the time. "On death row, 1 in 25 are likely innocent, according to a recent study." [5]. This may not seem a lot, but considering the fact that 1473 people have been executed since 1976, that means around 60 innocent people have been killed from death row. Now, abolishing the death penalty wouldn't prevent wrongful convictions, but in other cases, once it has been discovered that a person has been wrongfully convicted, they are exonerated. Yet you can't exonerate someone who is dead.

Because of all these reasons, the massive cost, the racism present, and the innocent people killed, the death penalty clearly must be abolished.

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Debate Round No. 1


I do not necessarily disagree with my opponents points. There is a problem of discrimination. There is a problem of cost. There is a problem of wrongful convictions. But I disagree that these are problems inherent in the death penalty. In other words I do not believe that these problems are the fault of the death penalty itself. Let me start with his first point that the death penalty is expensive.
Because the death penalty can sometimes take 20 years to complete the process, the cost is great. As a matter of fact, at one point executions in California were costing 30 million dollars. But this is not the fault of the death penalty. The actual execution is very cheap. But the reason the death penalty is so expensive is because of the judicial system. If we reformed the death penalty, then we could make it where there is one trial, and in that trial the jury decides whether to sentence the person to death or not. If this happened the death penalty would be so much more cheaper than life imprisonment that we would actually be saving money by using the death penalty.
My opponents second point is that there is a racial discrimination. This isn't the fault of the death penalty, this is a problem with us as a country. If we don't discriminate against blacks and other races, then this problem won't be occurring. Even if we abolished the death penalty, racial discrimination will still be happening. It's not like abolishing the death penalty will cause racial discrimination to go away. The problem is us as a nation, not the death penalty.
My opponents third point is that wrongful convictions occur. This is true, and no matter how we will reform the death penalty, this problem will still be occurring. But the same problem will be happening if we abolish the death penalty. Let's say that we sent all killers to life in prison. In the year 1998 6,500 prisoners escaped and murdered again. This is huge compared to the small amount of wrongful convictions. If we abolished the death penalty, the amount of innocent people killed will only go up.
I look forward to your arguments :)


Your arguments are pretty interesting, and I will do my best to refute them and defend my case. Also, regarding sources, could you in the future put URLS at the bottom of your speech so I can check them out for myself. I'm not saying I don't trust your sources, but it would be nice to be able to look through them. Now, onto the arguments.

You said regarding my contention regard cost that reform will be able to decrease costs. Yet the argument stands for the following three reasons. First, you fail to provide any evidence to prove your assertion that the reform you're promoting will indeed cut costs. When making a statement like this, you have to provide evidence to support this claim (IE. a statistic showing that reform will save money). Without any evidence to support your claim, this argument should be ignored since there is no way to determine whether the argument is true. Second, there isn't a way to cut costs for death penalty cases without increasing the risk of wrongful convictions. According to, "Capital cases are far more complicated than non-capital cases. Experts will probably be needed on forensic evidence, mental health and the social history of the defendant. Jury selection: Because of the death penalty question, jury selection in capital cases is much more time consuming and expensive"[6]. The reason why the trials take so long is because of the amount of proof the prosecutor needs to pursue such a punishment, since they have to be absolutely sure that the person is guilty, and if they wrongfully convict, there is no way to undo a death. Contrast this to life in prison, where a person can be exonerated if found innocent after the trial. Then, there is the cost of appeals, which if we were to strip away, we would run the risk of convicting innocent people yet again. So at the end of the day, if we were to cut costs on the death penalty, we wouldn't have as much evidence to prove that someone is guilty, and we will see a lot more innocent people being wrongfully killed. But if we keep the death penalty as it is, we will have to deal with the tremendous cost. Finally,

Moving on to the racial discrimination argument, you say that racial discrimination won't end by abolishing the death penalty. This is true, yet if there is racial discrimination happening, we should strive to stop it. If a teacher was being discriminatory towards a certain group of students based on their skin color, should we not fire him / her since we can't get rid of that person's racism. No, the right thing to do would be to fire them, because even though we can't stop the teacher from being racist, we should strive to promote an equal learning environment for our students. Similarly, if there is a something in our criminal justice system that discriminates, then we should get rid of it, to make our system promote as much equality as possible.

Finally, you argue that killing criminals will prevent them from escaping and murdering again. But the evidence you bring up is from 1998, almost twenty years ago. The evidence is extremely outdated considering the recent advancements in prison security. "In the five-year span between 2009 and 2013, just one inmate escaped from a maximum-security prison."[7]. In 5 years, only one inmate that could potentially be a murderer escaped from death row, and the article later talks about the number of people escaping from prisons being on the decline. All other escapees would be from lower level prisons and aren't murderers but rather low level criminals, so we wouldn't see these people killing innocent civilians. Prefer my evidence because it is a lot more recent and my opponents extremely dated. From this evidence, my statistic that 150 innocent people have potentially been killed still stands.

In summary, I have proven that the cost of the death penalty is necessary and any reduction in cost will lead to a higher chance of innocent people being convicted, abolishing the death penalty will reduce the amount of racial discrimination in America, and reinforcing the argument that innocent people are wrongfully convicted and killed by the death penalty. For all these reasons, it is essential that we abolish the death penalty for good.
Debate Round No. 2


Your arguments are interesting as well and I will do my best to defend my case.
Let's start with the issue of wrongful convictions. in 2013 there were 2001 people who escaped prison and murdered again. That is 2001 innocent lives gone. If we did make the death penalty cheaper by decreasing the time of the whole process, then it would increase the chance of innocent people being killed. However, in total 1450 people that have been executed could have been innocent. If we sped up the death penalty process, the percent of innocent people to be killed would most likely rise, but there is no exact way to know exactly how much it would rise. Even if it did rise, then it would most likely not go above 2001 people, as that is the number of escaped prisoners who murdered again in just one year. But it would seem that the number of wrongful convictions would really not change much either way. Even if there are sources that claim, either way, there is no way to no for sure as the future cannot be predicted correctly.
Now to the issue of cost. Even though the death penalty is expensive we could make it cheaper. Here is the source that makes this claim.
Now to the racial discrimination portion of it. Even if we abolished the death penalty, racial discrimination would not be happening in terms of the death penalty, but it would be happening in terms of life imprisonment. In other words, biased juries will be sentencing black people to life imprisonment instead of sentencing them to death. And honestly, rotting in prison for the rest of your life is really not much better than being put to death in a short quick manner. So in the end, racial discrimination will not end in those terms at all.
I would like to thank my opponent for a great debate and would ask him to only post again as to finish the debate that way we each get two rounds to argue. Otherwise, you will have argued your points 3 times and I will have defended them only twice.


I will grant your request of no arguments in my round to keep this debate fair. I would like to thank my opponent for taking the time to have this wonderful debate, and the reader for reading through the entirety of the round.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by tanner_1230 3 years ago
I think the racial discrimination point is not a good point. Mainly because there is already racial discrimination in the justice system as a whole. 37% of prison inmates are African American, and your statistic says 40% of death row inmates are african american. So the problem with this may not inherently be with the death row system, so it fails to be a compelling argument.
Posted by Nd2400 3 years ago
True. But we already know who did the killing of these 17 high school student in Florida. And many others we know with a 100%. And that what my proposal system would target mainly. Not everyone else...
Posted by ZzRanger 3 years ago
Nd2400, I agree with what you say to an extent. Ideally, this would be nice. However, we have to remember that everyone in the United States is entitled to a fair trial, so speeding up the process would violate this principle, which is essentially for our criminal justice system to work.
Posted by ZzRanger 3 years ago
I forgot to put sources, sorry. They are below

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Posted by Nd2400 3 years ago
So no one will comment what i said earlier?
Posted by DeletedUser 3 years ago
Here's my sources
Posted by Nd2400 3 years ago
Here something to think about...

What I'm proposing here is this. We should only focus on mass murdered, serial killers, and persons who torture children. We should have one trail for these individuals who commit these crimes. The death penalty is reach on unanimous 12-member jury finds "beyond a reasonable doubt" that they were met. Given the carnage in the Florida Parkland shooter here and the callous manner in which the shooter went about causing it, the prosecution would not have much difficulty meeting the burden. So once the jury find this person guilty of these crimes. The death penalty then should be in place immediately. After a week or two he should be sentenced to death by lethal injection.

One. It will diminish the cost of the trail dramatically.

Second. It will save the taxpayer millions, on the trail and incarnating that person.

Third. These cases would be special. Meaning it will only be for these mass murders and persons who torture children.

Fourth. It would be a universal law. Meaning the federal government will be hearing it. It would be for all 50 states.

Fifth. "Prosecutors can identify at least three such factors here, where Cruz: 1) created a grave risk of death to many people; 2) acted in a way that was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel; and 3) committed the act in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner."(1)

Sixth. If the government can start a war and stop a war. Then why can't they step in on serious heinous crimes. Such as mass shooters?

Seventh. Why should these mass shooters, or serial killers stay alive? What is the point for them to stay in jail for the rest of their lives?

Eighth. Other countries has a more affected way of handling big crime. Like "China has the largest population on Earth with 1.3 billion people; 5,000 executions would mean one in every 260,000 residents."(2) they also use lethal injection.

Ninth. "EYE for an EYE" "mean we can punish, or even take revenge upon, someone in the
Posted by asta 3 years ago
Switch the question to "Is the death penalty good?" and the side with pro because double negatives can make it seem your against the death penalty.

Also, the death penalty should be a punishment for more than just murder. It also should be the penalty if you escape jail multiple times because if any jail your put in won't work, then jail isn't viable because the prisoner would just escape and while they are in jail, they may teach others to do so.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tanner_1230 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Both opponents had fair enough conduct and grammar so I will leave that a tie. Pro clearly had better citations (5 > 1 and pretty reliable). As a debate on a whole Pro had a better argument than Con's. Also Pro shut down all the points con tried to make. No real fallacies that I saw, but con should have cited the 2001 escapees statistic. That would have made this choice much harder.

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