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

The Death Penalty

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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/1/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 675 times Debate No: 90474
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I'll be arguing against the death penalty, while my opponent will argue for the use of capital punishment. BoP is shared.

Round 1 - Opening Statements from Pro
Round 2 - Rebuttals from Con, Defense from Pro
Round 3 - Opening Statements from Con, Rebuttals from Pro
Round 4 - Defense from Con, Pro Must Waive

1) No hate speech/ slander
2) No kritkiks
3) No plagiarism
4) No new arguments in final round
5) Please use citations
6) No forfeiture
7) No trolls

Voting Rules:
1) Vote Convincing Arguments
2) Only vote conduct if plagiarism, forfeiture, and/or slander is present
3) Only vote spelling and grammar if it's so poor it detracts from the arguments at hand

Thank you


Capital punishment is just for 19 crimes. What else is there to say?
Debate Round No. 1


Here are my rebuttals.

Actually, the U.S federal government lists 41 crimes that are punishable by death. These crimes are murder related to the smuggling of aliens,destruction of aircraft, motor vehicles, or related facilities resulting in death, murder committed during a drug-related drive-by shooting, murder committed at an airport serving international civil aviation, retaliatory murder of a member of the immediate family of law enforcement officials, civil rights offenses resulting in death, etc. [1]

There are even more arguments you could've made to support the claim that capital punishment should be allowed. Just because it's for only 19 crimes doesn't make it a sufficient punishment. Your argument is not only a bare assertion, it's downright false.

I look forward to your defense.

[1] capital offenses


My argument is as follows:

The state should punish crimess in ways that are just.
For 19 crimes, the only just penalty is death.
Therefore, the state should punish these 19 crimes with death.

Where do you see falsehood?
Debate Round No. 2


As my opponent as presented his defense, I'll respond to it after I share my opening statements, as that's the structure I've presented. Here are my opening statements.

A. Our Unalienable Rights

In The Declaration of Independence, we see this:

"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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." [1]

According to The Declaration of Independence, we are born with unalienable rights and we must secure these rights. One of those rights happen to be life. The Government shouldn't be able to take life through capital punishment as unalienable rights may not be taken away. [2]

B. Cost

The costs of a death row inmate are far higher than the costs of any other prisoner. Seattle University found that it costs $1 million more for a death penalty case than a case where a life sentence is the verdict. This is because of the costs for defense, prosecution, multiple trials, etc. [3]

This isn't unique to Washington though. California has spent more than $4 billion in death row since 1978 and they spend an additional $184 million a year. It's estimated that taxpayers in California pay $90,000 more per death row inmate. [4] California can save $1 billion every five years if the death penalty is abolished.

In turn, if these states were to get rid of capital punishment, they'd save a lot of money.

C. Innocents

No matter how good the defense is, we can never know for sure if someone is innocent or guilty. 144 people have been released from death row after being proven innocent. [5] They were the lucky ones. It's estimated that 4.1% of executed inmates were really innocent after further further investigation. [6]

This proves that even though it's a long process to sentence someone to death, it isn't a flawless system. When you make a mistake in a life sentence, you can always acquit the person and they'll be free. If you kill someone then you can't do that; they're dead.

D. Racial Prejudice

While some may argue that the severity of the crime you commit is a large factor in your sentence, race also takes hand in the verdict.

"While white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, as of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims."

"In April 2001, researchers from the University of North Carolina released a study of all homicide cases in North Carolina between 1993 and 1997. The study found that the odds of getting a death sentence increased three and a half times if the victim was white rather than black." [7]

This shows the prevalence of racism and how it can affect your sentence. This makes for an unbalanced system that favors one race over the other.

E. It Doesn't Provide Closure

Many of those for the death penalty provide the argument that it gives closure to the victim's family and helps the coping process. In fact, only about 2.7% relevant cases bring closure [8] because the aspect of revenge was later contemplated by the families.

In the case of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the remaining culprit Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death. Only 15% of Boston residents wanted him to be executed. [9] In another story, two parents who lost their 8-year-old son urged against it in an open letter. [10]

"We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed. We were there. We lived it. The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives. We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the lingering, painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which years of appeals would undoubtedly bring." [11]

In other words, they knew it would cause trauma to those who lost family in the bombing like themselves. It only extends the grief rather than cure it.

In conclusion, the death penalty should be abolished. Too many factors are involved with the sentencing, those that you wouldn't see in any other case.

Now here's my response to my opponent's defense.

In what 19 crimes is the death penalty just? Is this a fact of your opinion? Is there any source for this information? Sense you haven't brought them up, we don't know why or how it's just.

Just - based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair. [11]

Just is a subjective term, as is right or wrong. Again, we don't have the list of these 19 crimes so we can't sufficiently examine whether or not they're just.

Thank you. I look forward to your rebuttals.



Speaking of just powers of the state, one of them is the execution of criminals. The righ to life is no more anti-capital punishment than the right to liberty is anti-criminal punishment per se.

Part of the reason for the high cost us because those who hate justice have made it so difficult to put criminals to death. Last time I checked, a .45 to the head was about $0.25. But this is irrelevant. The only issue is justice. And you have run from that one.

There has never anyone who has been put to death that was not adjudged guilty in a court of law. Thus, no innocent person has been executed. Again, your argument is not anti-capital punishment, it is anti-any punishment. Nonsense.

Make capital punishment mandatory and race becomes irrelevant.

Closure is irrelevant. Justice is all the matters.

And justice is not subjective. But nice try.
Debate Round No. 3


Here's my defense against my opponent's rebuttal.

Here's a list of the powers of the government. My opponent says that one of those powers is executing criminals. Take a look at this list.

National Government andState Government

* Print money
* Regulate interstate (between states) and international trade
* Make treaties and conduct foreign policy
* Declare war
* Provide an army and navy
* Establish post offices
* Make laws necessary and proper to carry out the these powers
* Issue licenses
* Regulate intrastate (within the state) businesses
* Conduct elections
* Establish local governments
* Ratify amendments to the Constitution
* Take measures for public health and safety
* May exert powers the Constitution does not delegate to the national government or prohibit the states from using
* Collect taxes
* Build roads
* Borrow money
* Establish courts
* Make and enforce laws
* Charter banks and corporations
* Spend money for the general welfare
* Take private property for public purposes, with just compensation [1]

Executing criminals is not on the list, as far as I can see.

Liberty - the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views. [2]

According to the definition, you're still able to provide liberty with the a life sentence. Why take one unalienable right with the death penalty when you can keep life and liberty with a life sentence?

There are many reasons why the cost for the death penalty is so high. It's most likely because of lawyers, judges, multiple trials, housing, etc. [3] I'd like to see the sources of this claim that those who hate justice are the ones to blame. It isn't a matter of hating justice, it's a matter of trying to be right with their results, which is often ineffective, like I said in my opening statements.

You are right on one thing; every single person who has been put to death was said to be guilty in court, but that doesn't mean that no innocent people have ever been executed.

Here's a make believe scenario to put this in perspective. Let's say your brother put a bag of weed in your room. Your mother finds that weed and questions you about it. All the evidence seems to point towards you. In reality, like I said earlier, your brother put the weed in your room. Later, she accuses you to be a drug addict after she finds a bong and sends you to rehab. With the insider information, you know that you're not guilty, but the judge (your mother) says you're guilty. Just because you're accused of a crime doesn't mean you committed it.

To get back to the statement, you say I'm anti-punishment. I never mentioned being against life sentence. That's the better alternative to capital punishment, as there are less factors to consider.

Next, you say that if you make capital punishment mandatory race becomes irrelevant. How exactly? Race would still be an issue, as it shows how unfair the system is when it comes to the sentencing of such criminals. If you looked at the statistics I presented in the last round then you would've seen the striking difference between the sentencing of white-on-black murder and black-on-white murder.

And exactly what does "Make capital punishment mandatory" mean? I'd like an explanation, as your wording is quite confusing.

And now I bring myself to mention the next argument that closure is irrelevant. Death impacts the entire family, whether it be the victim's family or the criminal's family. So your saying that you shouldn't consider the families involved? Trauma of the family doesn't matter? A life sentence as a far less negative impact than the alternative.

Finally, I'll end on the last argument that justice is not subjective.

Justice - just behavior or treatment. [4]

If you saw the definition of just last round, then you also saw the part where it says "morally right and fair."

Morality - principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. [5]

Morality is quite subjective. Some say that abortion is immoral, others say the opposite. Same thing for gay marriage, sex before marriage, etc. Good and bad isn't always black-and-white, there's a grey area too, just like justice. One may seek justice through death, others through life, and some go to that grey area. Every person has a different idea of what just behavior or treatment is.

You may either waive the next round or answer the questions I asked. I'd still like to see those 19 crimes, though with a valid source. Thank you for your time.



I encourage you to read the 5th Amendment. Enough said.

Nope, for prison by definition takes away Liberty. Thus, if you wish to cite the DOI against capital punishment, it also allplies to all criminal sentences.

Actually, yes, it does. Everyone put to death was guilty.

if capital punishment is mandatory, it becomes irrelevant who the criminal is. Once the jury says guilty the sentence is death. Thus, it does not matter who the victim is or who the criminal is. To make capital punishment mandatory means that it is the only sentence that can be imposed for certain crimes.

No, the families involved are irrelevant. Only justice matters. And no, morality is not subjective.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by missbailey8 2 years ago
I see your point. No offense is taken. :)
Posted by blamonkey 2 years ago
I would like to see ViceRegent use points politically speaking as opposed to moral objections. He might have some points if he weren't too focused on the moral implications. I mean, they are important, but one must weigh toward the side that provides evidence and points that further debate as well as discussion. I say this since Bailey has attacked the moral question posed so I don't see why ViceRegent wins since he still does not provide the points necessary to counter the main argument made by Bailey and simply resorts to Biblical knowledge and morals. The purpose of the debate anyways seems to be one of policy and implementation. This is simply my opinion. No offense to either side.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by blamonkey 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con provides unrefuted points as Pro looked entirely toward moral objection and never answers the original argument. Not only this, but Pro does not reference any evidence and uses entirely his own brand of logic. This would be fine, but he states things that seem to need some sort of evidence, such as "no innocent person has ever been executed." Con convinced me with the cost and innocent people being executed points. Pro, work on citing evidence and extending points as well as being less abrasive. You seem to give a very child-like impression sometimes when you dismiss points as irrelevant. I would like to see more weighing arguments as well on both sides without a moral context.