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The Death Penalty Should be Abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/14/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,280 times Debate No: 118975
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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Round one will be accepting the debate.


I believe the death penalty shouldn't go anywhere. If a person has committed a capital crime such as murder, Treason, Or crimes against humanity, They don't deserve to live. It costs the government less money to give someone the capital punishment than to give them life in prison. It arguably deters crime, Since most criminals would be less likely to commit a crime if it meant death.
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to begin by thanking Evan for taking this debate on a fairly controversial topic.

I'll begin by breaking down your comment in order as you wrote it.

First, The reasoning for the death penalty would of course be crimes that are against humanity. We must ask ourselves first if committing a crime means they deserve to die. Who get to, Or has the right to decide that someone no longer gets to live? The death penalty is really the same thing as life in prison, The punishment is just shortened. What would be the real punishment?

Second, A common misconception is that it costs the government less to execute inmates than keep them for life without parole. But like I said, That's a misconception. There are a lot of unavoidable costs that make a death sentence far more expensive than a sentence of life without parole. Most of these costs result from the unique status of the death penalty within the US justice system. Because it"s the only truly irreversible form of punishment, The Constitution requires a long and complex judicial process for capital cases, Including several levels of mandatory review after a death sentence is issued. The appeals process takes decades to complete. Studies of the California death penalty system, The largest in the US, Have revealed that a death sentence costs at least 18 times as much as a sentence of life without parole would cost.

Third, It is highly debatable if it deters crime. With no real studies performed it's almost impossible to know for sure, But I find it unlikely someone committing a crime finds the death penalty more terrifying than spending the rest of their life behind bars with other criminals.

Now my strongest reason behind abolishing the death penalty is the fact that many have been falsely accused, And convicted of crimes that resulted in them getting the death penalty. Like the reasons I've stated above, I believe that life without parole is actually a worse punishment for those who are guilty of the crime but it gives the wrongfully convicted a second chance at life through appeals of the courts. By abolishing the death penalty it could prevent a guilty person of being executed, But it could also save an innocent man's life.

One person being wrongfully accused, Convicted and executed is one too many.


The first point of yours I would like to address is what crimes should get the death penalty. I believe everyone has the right to live, But I also believe you can be stripped of that right if you take another person's life. Some crimes are so heinous and inherently wrong that they demand strict penalties The punishment should fit the crime.

Second, If you take a very dangerous criminal's life, Then there is no possible way for them to commit more crimes. If they have a life sentence, There is still a chance that they could escape, Kill/rape another inmate, Or harm guards/anyone who works at the prison.

Third, Regarding innocent men being executed, They should know that a unanimous jury of 12 citizens must render the death verdict after an exhaustive trial where the accused murderer is represented by two highly competent attorneys and overseen by an independent judge who ensures a fair trial. I do realize innocent people are going to get killed sometimes, But the changes of that happening are very slim, And the very small chance of executing the wrong person is balanced by the benefits to society of putting off other murderers. Even if you take away the death penalty, Innocent people will still get life sentences, Which you said is a worse punishment. In regard to "giving them a second chance", I think the likelihood of them being found innocent after the first rigorous trial is very slim to none.
Debate Round No. 2


Nobody should hold the power to end someone's life. A popular way of thinking is that the death penalty is the "ultimate punishment, ' but it isn't so much of the punishment rather than the end to a punishment. Like I previously stated, The death penalty is the same punishment as life without parole, Just shortened. Once someone is executed they are no longer being punished. They no longer get to think about what they've done or work towards rehabilitation. Everyone deserves a second chance to better themselves. Not everyone deserves forgiveness but everyone deserves empathy.

To respond to the second point in your argument, There is absolutely a chance a guilty man could commit more crimes if returned to the general population of the prison they are being kept in. That being said, When someone is on death row they are kept away from the general population. They are kept in a separate housing unit and are held in a solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is not kept in place strictly for death row inmates, However. General population inmates can land themselves in confinement as well; and with no evidence to support the idea that the death penalty deters crime, It's no reason to bring up the act of continuing crime when referring the death penalty as a solution.

The system we currently operate in has room for error. It is not uncommon nor is it a secret that people have been wrongfully convicted and executed on a crime they didn't commit. One such popular case is the case of Cameron Todd Willingham (referenced at the bottom of this argument. ) Mr Willingham was accused of murdering his three daughters by lighting them on fire. He was given an "exhaustive" trial where he was represented by a "highly competent" attorney and overseen by an independent judge to ensure a "fair" trial, And a jury of 12 citizens rendered the unanimous verdict of death. He was executed in 2004.
After his execution, Many questions and several investigations have arose regarding the forensic evidence in this case that lead you to the inescapable conclusion that Cameron Todd Willingham was not guilty of the crime he was executed for.

This is just one of the countless examples of someone being executed, Murdered for a crime they did not commit. Cameron Todd Willingham, Carlos Deluna, Larry Griffin and many others should not have to die for crimes they did not commit simply because we are trying to kill them to keep a barbaric practice alive. The thought and acceptance of, "I do realize innocent people are going get killed sometimes, " is an astonishing statement that most of society has found it okay to kill any innocent person so we can continue to kill those who are guilty. We should not accept, Or even okay with the deaths of innocent people in a system that is obviously flawed. You also speak on the likelihood of someone being falsely executed or the likelihood of an innocent man getting a second chance but it has been shown that it does happen and to think we don't want to give the innocent even a chance to save their own lives, Or even get the chance to walk free just so we can keep a false practice of killing people to stop or deter crime shows such a lack of empathy for the fellow man.


It's crazy how you took my saying "I do realize innocent people are going to get killed sometimes" and interpreted it as 'it's ok for innocent people to be killed'. It is never ok for innocent people to get killed. No matter what the punishment for any crime is, Innocent people are STILL going to get convicted. It's terrible, But a small price to pay for the 1, 000, 000+ violent crimes that happen every year.

I heard a story a few weeks ago about a child being murdered, And the father felt so much better knowing the terrible person who did that was dead. It gave him a sense of closure. I started looking in to it, And founds many other stories like his. The victim's family/friends always feel better when the killer is killed.

I don't believe everyone deserves empathy. You can't try to empathize with a mass murderer, It's just not going to happen. Someone as despicable as a murderer doesn't deserve empathy, Happiness, Respect, Or life.
Debate Round No. 3


Before we begin the next and final round, I am NOT against the punishment of those who commit crimes against humanity. But I do believe in the current system there is too much room for error that can get innocent lives killed.

Saying, "I do realize innocent people are going to get killed sometimes, " is not being interpreted as you thinking its okay for people wrongfully convicted to be murdered. You are correct that no matter the punishment, Innocent people will still get convicted but the difference, As you know, Is that when wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death you no longer get a chance at life due to something you did not do. There is too much room for error in the current system to play with the lives of innocent people. The lives of innocent people being taken is not a, "small price to pay, " when of the '1, 000, 000' violent crimes that happen every year, Very few get the death penalty. If one innocent person gets executed, That is not a small price to pay. Nothing is more valuable than life and we shouldn't play with the lives of innocent people to keep a practice of "punishing" already convicted inmates.

I understand the idea behind murder victims family getting some sort of closure behind the execution of someone convicted of the murder of their loved one. Being able to find multiple instances of them feeling better is possible, But so is finding several against it. The idea that they "always" feel better is not true, However.
"Taking another person"s life does not stop violence, " says Taylor. "There"s a contradiction in responding to murder by executing people. " (ACLU of Northern California, "Family of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty")
Also, The families of those falsely convicted will never receive any sort conviction for the death of their loved one. When showing empathy we must show to all those who have lost the family member to the negligence of other human beings.
Like I have said before, The death penalty is not something that you can take back. It is a permanent "answer" that is not always correct and has many times in the past killed the wrong person, An innocent person.

Also, There is no credible evidence to suggest that the death penalty deters crime, In fact it shows the exact opposite. States without the death penalty showed to have 25% less murders than states with the death penalty in the year 2016 per Deathpenaltyinfo. Org. Since Canada had abolished the death penalty the murder rate has steadily declined with 2016 being the lowest it's been since 1966.

The death penalty is a barbaric practice that, While helpful for closure in some cases, Puts many innocent lives at risk. In the current system there is too much room for error that comes with the death penalty and when wrong means the death of an innocent man. Keeping the death penalty around is irresponsible and dangerous that models the behavior it is trying to prevent.

To recap and give final facts:
- The death penalty models the behavior it seeks to prevent.
- The wrong person can be killed.
- The death penalty does not reduce murder rates.
- The death penalty violates the 18th amendment.
- The death penalty costs more than life in prison.

[1] American Bar Association (2007). ABA study: State death penalty systems deeply flawed. Retrieved from http://apps. Americanbar. Org/abanet/media/release/news_release. Cfm? Releas. . .
[2] http://www. Deathpenaltyinfo. Org/innocence-and-death-penalty
[3] Virginia man, Who narrowly escaped the death penalty, Exonerated by DNA evidence to be released after serving 33 years. Innocence Project. Retrieved from http://www. Innocenceproject. Org/news-events-exonerations/virginia-man-wh. . .
[4] It's time to kill the death penalty. (n. D. ). Retrieved from https://www. Psychologytoday. Com/us/blog/get-psyched/201401/it-s-time-kill-the-death-penalty


Evan_Hermes forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Thoht 3 years ago
Would you like to debate someone whose opinion on the matter would be that the death penalty and life sentences should not be abolished, But more rarely carried out with some other nuances, Or do you want someone who is a pure advocate for the death penalty?
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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