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

The United states should abolish the death penalty

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,141 times Debate No: 98199
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




We will be debating 3 rounds this 1st round is just for me to say the rules. So to my opponent please don't use your 1st or 4th round for debating. Just say that you have skipped this round as we have agreed upon. Thanks. So onto the rules. Both sides have burden of proof. There must not be use of a 3rd party writing software. And please no forfeits in the actual debate once things get started. Thanks to my opponent and to whoever is judging.


Agree on the rules
Debate Round No. 1


I stand in the firmest of negation for the resolved: The United States should abolish the death penalty. I will go on to state my contentions on why the death penalty shouldn't be abolished

So onto my first contention which is the morality of the death penalty.

"[W]e reserve the death penalty in the United States for the most heinous murders and the most brutal and conscienceless murderers. This is not, as some critics argue, a kind of state-run lottery that randomly chooses an unlucky few for the ultimate penalty from among all those convicted of murder. Rather, the capital punishment system is a filter that selects the worst of the worst...

Put another way, to sentence killers like those described above to less than death would fail to do justice because the penalty " presumably a long period in prison " would be grossly disproportionate to the heinousness of the crime. Prosecutors, jurors, and the loved ones of murder victims understand this essential point...

Perhaps most importantly, in its supreme gravity it [the death penalty] promotes belief in and respect for the majesty of the moral order and for the system of human law that both derives from and supports that moral order."

Edward Feser, PhD
Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College
Joseph M. Bessette, PhD
Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College
"Why the Death Penalty Is Still Necessary,"
July 21, 2016

This piece of evidence is stating that while the pro side of this debate might say that the death penalty is very wrong and goes against our morals that the death penalty actually goes with our morals by bringing justice to the family of the victim. Also it's stating that the punishment given to criminals when the death penalty is abolished isn't severe enough.

So onto my next contention which is that the death penalty is constitutional. "Petitioners, sentenced to die for the crimes they committed (including, in the case of one petitioner since put to death, raping and murdering an 11"month-old baby), come before this Court asking us to nullify their sentences as 'cruel and unusual' under the Eighth Amendment. They rely on this provision because it is the only provision they can rely on. They were charged by a sovereign State with murder. They were afforded counsel and tried before a jury of their peers"tried twice, once to determine whether they were guilty and once to determine whether death was the appropriate sentence. They were duly convicted and sentenced...

[N]ot once in the history of the American Republic has this Court ever suggested the death penalty is categorically impermissible. The reason is obvious: It is impossible to hold unconstitutional that which the Constitution explicitly contemplates. The Fifth Amendment provides that '[n]o person shall be held to answer for a capital...crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury,' and that no person shall be 'deprived of life...without due process of law...

Historically, the Eighth Amendment was understood to bar only those punishments that added "terror, pain, or disgrace" to an otherwise permissible capital sentence...

I would not presume to tell parents whose life has been forever altered by the brutal murder of a child that life imprisonment is punishment enough."

Antonin Scalia, JD
Former Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court
Concurring opinion in Glossip v. Gross,
June 29, 2015

This piece of evidence shows that the death penalty is constitutional.

Now onto my third contention which is deterrence of the crimes being committed. "Some crimes are so heinous and inherently wrong that they demand strict penalties " up to and including life sentences or even death. Most Americans recognize this principle as just...

Studies of the death penalty have reached various conclusions about its effectiveness in deterring crime. But... the majority of studies that track effects over many years and across states or counties find a deterrent effect.

Indeed, other recent investigations, using a variety of samples and statistical methods, consistently demonstrate a strong link between executions and reduced murder rates... In short, capital punishment does, in fact, save lives."

David Muhlhausen, PhD
Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at the Heritage Foundation
"Capital Punishment Works: It Deters Crime,"
Oct. 4, 2014

So it's for these reasons and many more that I strongly urge you too vote con in today's debate.


Very well, I shall present my arguments on why the death penalty should be abolished.

In the first place, the death penalty has the "job" of decreasing crime rates, however, the murder rates have been throughout the years higher in the states with death penalties, the difference in the rates was 25% in 2015, and it peaked in a difference of 46% in 2006, with this, we can say the death penalty has failed to do its job.

The next piece of evidence I shall present proves that the death penalty isn't good for the American economy

"A new study by Lewis & Clark Law School and Seattle University that examined the costs of hundreds of aggravated murder and murder cases in Oregon has concluded that "maintaining the death penalty incurs a significant financial burden on Oregon taxpayers." The researchers found that the average trial and incarceration costs of an Oregon murder case that results in a death penalty are almost double those in a murder case that results in a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of years."
"Costs of death Penalty"

This shows that the american economy can be harmed with the death penalty, and that would be avoided if the convicts were sentenced to life. With that in account, the death penalty isn't good for states on which it's implemented

For my third argument, I"d like to point out there is no morality on the death penalty, for a variety of reasons:

"It isn"t accepted by most religions " It can often be mentioned as "playing god" and killing people before their time. Besides, religion would believe there"d be a chance for the soul of the criminal to be saved, against capital punishment.

"Human life is a right " Hence, a human should not be killed in any way, and therefore the state killing a human because he committed a murder is merely contradicting.

"It brings out a negative value for the society " If the state decides to kill a human, the human life value is decreased, if the human life is decreased it will be taken lightly, which will cause more homicides.

So with these first arguments and the remaining who will be presented in the remaining rounds, I urge you to vote pro in today"s debate.
Debate Round No. 2


So I will go onto attack my opponents arguments. His first argument says that the death penalty made murder rates higher, but it says that murder rates were higher in 2006 then 2015. This evidence actually shows a drop in murder rates so it is actually arguing for the con side. Onto his next argument that states it hurts the American economy. His argument only states evidence that is from Oregon no other states. That means he is only giving evidence that the death penalty hurts one state, but never shows evidence it hurts others, so that argument is actually very flawed. Another thing he stated was that Human life is a right. This is a correct statement, but a person on death row has most likely taken away another persons right to life. They have taken another persons right to live, so why shouldn't theirs be taken away. Also he wasn't able to attack my contentions on constitutionality and deterrence so these arguments still stand.

So now I will begin to rebuild my own case. So to my 1st contention which is retribution. "We have the responsibility to punish those who deserve it, but only to the degree they deserve it. Retributivists do not justify the death penalty by the general deterrence or safety it brings us. And we reject over-punishing no less than under-punishing. How obscene that aggravated murderers who behave well inside prison watch movies and play softball.

Regardless of future benefits, we justify punishment because it's deserved. Let the punishment fit the crime"

Opponents [of the death penalty] wrongly equate retribution and revenge, because they both would inflict pain and suffering on those who have inflicted pain and suffering on us.

Whereas revenge knows no bounds, retribution must be limited, proportional and appropriately directed: The retributive punishment fits the crime"

We should only execute those who most deserve it. And not randomly. Refine our death penalty statutes and review the sentences of everyone on death row. Release into general population those who don't really deserve to die. The rest we should execute " worst first."

Robert Blecker, JD
Professor of Law at New York Law School
"Q&A: Death Penalty Proponent Robert Blecker,"
Apr. 2014

Onto my second contention which is irrevocable mistakes. "Those in support of abolishing the death penalty point to the possibility of an innocent person being executed... The innocent can take solace in knowing 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.

Voters understand that the criminals on death row have been convicted of the most heinous crimes. Voters also realize that those left behind, grieving families throughout California and their loved ones, don"t deserve anything less than justice.

Justice is a reformed, not eliminated death penalty."

Michele Hanisee, JD
Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles and President of the Association of District Attorneys
"Justice Requires a Swift Death Penalty in California,"
Sep. 27, 2016

Onto my last contention which is cost of death vs. life in prison. "Much of the cost, indeed, much of the criticism of the death penalty, is attributed to 'decades of appeals.' It is unsurprising that the loudest complaints about death penalty delays come from death penalty opponents who have created them...

Claimed 'cost studies,' often performed by or at the behest of death penalty opponents, are frequently so incomplete as to be false and misleading. For example, they don't take into account the increase in the cost of life without parole cases if there were no death penalty. Criminal defendants who are facing the death penalty " which today must be pleaded by prosecutors up front " often want to make a deal by pleading guilty to first degree murder in exchange for a sentencing recommendation of life without parole. The existence of the death penalty as a possible sentence leads to guilty pleas that save the money spent on trials and limit the opportunity for appeals."

Robert B.Evnen, JD
Attorney and Co-founder of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty
"Local View: Thoughts about the Death Penalty: Correcting the Record,"
July 11, 2015

So it is for these reasons and many more that I urge you to vote con in today's debate.


I shall as well attack my opponents" arguments. In his first argument he claimed the death penalty was about "retribution", however, this is simply talking about law, by saying that "punishment fits crime". Morally, both the acts were simply killing, this being, morality is again not found.

The second argument is widely subjective; the jury system doesn"t help the death penalty at all. As my opponent mentioned in his argument there IS a possibility of killing the wrong person, being so, the jury can be much more reluctant about finding a candidate to the Death penalty guilty, this being, the process is not as selective as my opponent mentioned. It"s really a matter of chance, as we can easily find a vicious serial killer versus a reluctant jury, or a convict who committed few murders against a jury who wouldn"t think twice about putting him down.

As for his third argument, he mentioned that, the existence of the death penalty would save money on trials and limit the opportunity for appeals. However that is literally saying that those who can be sentenced to death penalty should have less opportunities to defend themselves, and therefore, an argument saying the death penalty is not so costly is matter-of-factly emphasizing a sense of few morality.

For my first argument, the death penalty is rather unfair. Among the executed, there are many poor people, as well as mentally-ill people. As for the poor people, it"s hard to find a lawyer who accepts a case with a low compensation. For the mentally-ill patients it"s not fair to kill them for a crime, in this case the jurors usually don"t have an option of life without parole, being so, the death penalty is also taking an easier way for mentally-ill patients, as instead of working for a rehabilitation, they merely kill them.

For my second argument, we must talk about the FAMILY of the convict. Their family is hardly affected in a way that wouldn"t happen if he was simply put to life without parole. The family rarely would have anything to do with whatever crime their loved one was charged for, and yet they must:

"face "a prolonged period of anticipatory grieving" and must live with the shame that their family members "have been formally . . . judged unworthy to live"
Secondary trauma of executions

With this in account, we can say the death penalty doesn"t just affect those who get executed.

Finally, my third argument was already mentioned beforehand in this round, I"m talking about the chances of a mistake. As a matter of fact, there have been, throughout the years many people who were convicted by murder, and yet were innocent, these cases were not executed anyhow, so they could easily be forgiven, however, we can"t forgive a corpse. The trial can last forever, the jury can be as smart as it wants, but there"s never a chance of a perfect verdict, so there is a problem here, that could also be solved with sentences to life without parole.

With these arguments, I can say the death penalty is, if anything, unfair. With all of these arguments and the final ones for next round, I appeal to all of you to vote "pro" in today"s debate.
Debate Round No. 3


I will begin by making my final arguments against my opponent. His 1st argument is that the death penalty is unfair too ill people and poor people, but with mentally ill people they will be checked before the trial to see if they are mentally ill, and if they are they could get out of the punishment and go to a psychiatric facility. Also for his argument that poor people can't afford a lawyer. You are assigned a lawyer if you can't pay for one to represent you by the court. That means his entire contention has fallen. Onto his 2nd argument which talks about how it is unfair to the convicts family. He is comparing the pain of the victims family to the pain of the convicts family. The victim was innocent and they were taken away from their family because of the convict. The convict is guilty and took away another persons life. They deserve whatever punishment the jury seems fit and if that's the death penalty then that is what the jury saw fit. The convicts family shouldn't be more important then the victims. His 3rd argument was that there is chances of mistakes, but I have brought up information against it. While yes the information says a mistake can happen. The chances are lowered with a jury. He also didn't bring up many contentions I showed like my contentions in my 1st speech. These contentions all still stand.

So onto my 1st contention which is race. "Death penalty opponents state it is inherently unfair and racially biased. The facts, I believe, are otherwise...

The racial breakdown for those sentenced to death since 1977 is as follows: 48.6 percent white; 40.9 percent black; 8.9 percent Hispanic; and 1.6 percent other. The race of defendants executed in the U.S. since 1976 is 56 percent white; 35 percent black; 7 percent Hispanic; 2 percent other.

The reason for the discrepancy in the execution rate between blacks and whites is that juries deciding whether to impose the death penalty have concluded in more cases involving black defendants that there were extenuating circumstances militating in favor of a lesser penalty...

The American public still supports the death penalty, notwithstanding the hammering capital punishment receives each year... I"m glad the American public does."

Edward Koch, LLB
Former Mayor of New York City
"Statistics Show Death Penalty Not Racist,"
Sep. 27, 2011

Now onto my 2nd contention which is closure for victims family. "Whatever your feelings are toward the death penalty, one thing most people will never know is the pain experienced when a family member, or in my case, family members are brutally tortured and murdered. In 1984, my mother, sister and two nephews were cold-heartedly shot to death by an 18-year-old gang member named Tiqueon Cox...

Tiqueon was sentenced to death by a jury of his peers and has been on death row for 30 years after exhausting all of his appeals at both the state and federal level... Cox, while on death row, attempted a violent takeover of the Super Max Adjustment Center at San Quentin with a goal to kill as many guards as possible.

I urge a no vote on Prop. 62 and yes on Prop. 66 to ensure the worst of the worst killers receive the strongest sentence. A yes on Prop. 66 brings closure to families while saving California taxpayers millions of dollars every year."

Kermit Alexander
Former NFL player and President of the NFL Players Association who lost his mother, sister and two nephews when they were murdered in 1984
"Letters to the Editor, Oct. 1,"
Sep. 30, 2016

Onto my third and final contention which is physicians at executions. "We expect physicians to offer comfort care to the dying, even if the treatment, like morphine to dampen end-stage cancer pain, will inevitably hasten death. These physicians are not killing their patients; they are comforting them in their final moments of life...

Death row inmates have certain parallels to dying patients. Death is coming. A physician can do nothing to change that. All that can be offered is professional care during the final moments of life. And that should be of comfort to the condemned...

The idea that physicians may participate in executions does not mean that they must do so. But it should be an option for those who believe that they have a duty to ease suffering and that this duty includes caring for those who will die at the hands of the state...

Physician involvement in lethal injection can make capital punishment less grotesque, more palatable, and even routine. But so long as the state uses the tools of the physician to kill its citizens, those who wish to step in to ensure that executions are, at the very least, competently handled should have the option to do so. Anything else is death penalty politics at the expense of the condemned. And no matter where you come out on capital punishment, no one should be sentenced to a botched execution."

Kenneth F. Baum, MD, JD
Partner at Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, LLP
Julie Cantor, MD, JD
Attorney Of Counsel at Goldman, Ismail, Tomaselli, Brennan & Baum, LLP
"Doctors Can Ease Suffering, Even in Executions,"
Apr. 30, 2014

It's for these reasons that I strongly urge you to vote con in today's debate.


Though the time isn"t the right, I shall start by making arguments against my opponents" first speech. In his first argument, he claimed the death penalty wasn"t a state run-lottery that blames the unlucky ones, but as I mentioned before, they are "surrendered" to the jury"s subjectivity and reluctance into sentencing someone to death penalty.
About the constitutionality, the 8th amendment may allow the death penalty, however, as I mentioned before: human life is a right, and the 14th amendment clearly forbids the states to restrict the basic rights of citizens, hence it isn"t constitutional.
Last but not least, regardless of the deterrence of the crime, life without parole is always a more proper punishment then death penalty.

For the arguments on my opponents" last speech: For his first argument, there isn"t an actual link between race and death penalty, so I shall skip it.
For the second argument we can say there is, indeed, a suffering from the victims family, however, the death penalty is not bringing the victim back, it will just pass the suffering from one family to two families, which is just unnecessary.
For the third argument, no matter how it"s done, capital punishment is still cruel, even if morphine is applied before death.

For my first argument, I"d like to say that I believe the death penalty is rather totalitarian, and if America is a democratic country, it doesn"t make any sense to have a system such as the death penalty implemented, and for a first world country in the 21st century, something like the death penalty is simply barbaric.

For my second argument: What does the convict learn? Nothing, he learns nothing, there is absolutely no rehabilitation, unlike the rest of the world where you can get a hard and long stay in jail, but you receive rehabilitation. For instance, the UK reoffenders rate has been quite low, without ever being necessary a death penalty.

For my last argument, capital punishment is against that natural rule of law, being it arbitrary and irrevocable, it doesn"t provide any type of justice, It simply murders a person who could be rehabilitated, as I mentioned before.

For all of these arguments, I appeal to all of you to vote "Pro" on this debate

To finish, I"d like to thank colester112 for the, shall we say, "fun" debate, and wish him luck in the votes.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by godsend221 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument of "human life is a right" did not adequately combat the Con argument that death is the only rational justice that can be given to families of children who have been murdered. Pro's arguments that it costs more to have a death penalty versus life in prison may be true, but this argument is really about morality and rights, not about financial cost.