The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

The death penalty should be abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/12/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 782 times Debate No: 82438
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)





The death penalty should be abolished. The Burden of Proof (Use its abbreviation, BoP, in case of future reference) is shared.


1. The first round is only for acceptance. This rule serves to confirm that my opponent has read, understands, and agrees to follow the terms of the debate. You may request an amendment to the terms of the debate. However, it should be done prior to accepting the challenge.

2. Minor trolling is allowed, as long as it is not done consistently.

Failure to follow these rules will result in a 7-point forfeiture.


Death Penalty - punishment by death. Any crime that is serious enough to warrant a death penalty is known as a capital crime or a capital offense.

abolish - formally put an end to

Debate Structure

R1 - Terms and Agreement
R2 - Opening Arguments
R3 - Rebuttals
R4 - Rebuttals
R5 - Conclusions

This debate structure should be strictly followed.

I look forward to a clean and friendly debate!


I agree to the terms and conditions and I look forward to a great debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I look forward to a great debate! According to your profile, you study the law. You have quite an advantage here. But not to say that you won't be challenged here.

Opening Arguments
1) Wrongful executions are irreversible
"Since 1973, 144 people on death row have been exonerated. As a percentage of all death sentences, that's just 1.6 percent. But if the innocence rate is 4.1 percent, more than twice the rate of exoneration, the study suggests what most people assumed but dreaded: An untold number of innocent people have been executed."[1]

Wrongful convictions are possibilities that must be considered when talking about punishment by death; executions are irreversible. If we can guarantee our citizens an almost perfect death penalty system, then it should be taken off our list of punishments for crimes. In this case, 1 in every 25 people sentenced to death are innocent. This study suggests have many have assumed, but dreaded: An untold number of innocent people have been executed.

2) Executions come at great costs
"Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. There are 714 inmates on California's death row."[2]

It costs far more to execute a person that to sentence him or her to life in prison without parole, which I believe would serve as a great alternative. All the money that is kept as a result can then be spent on other important causes, two being leukemia and clean and safe water.

3) Poor quality defense leaves many sentenced to death
"A study at Columbia University found that 68% of all death penalty cases were reversed on appeal, with inadequate defense as one of the main reasons requiring reversal."[3]

Inadequate defense can lead to death sentences. Some may have already been executed long before their cases were reversed on appeal. If these people had been sentenced to life in prison rather than death, they would have been freed from prison and would have returned to their families, saving their families the devastation of knowing that their loved ones have been wrongfully executed.

This concludes my opening arguments.




Hello, my name is Forever 23 and I am here to bring forth my premise which is that we should not abolish the death penalty. My ensuing roadmap will include divulging 2 assertions into the debate.

My first assertion is that the people put on death row have committed terrible crimes. What do people get on death row for? Not for small violations, but for felonies. These felonies can include murder, bombings or rape. Don't you believe that criminals should be responsible for their actions? According to Constitutional Lawyer and General Counsel to the Center for Law and Accountability, "The crimes of rape, torture, treason, kidnapping, murder, larceny, and perjury pivot on a moral code that escapes apodictic [indisputably true] proof by expert testimony or otherwise. But communities would plunge into anarchy if they could not act on moral assumptions less certain than that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Abolitionists may contend that the death penalty is inherently immoral because governments should never take human life, no matter what the provocation. But that is an article of faith, not of fact. The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense." The criminals should not be kept in the jails. They deserve to die, not live. Its a matter of fact that after these criminals murdered so many people, the US government should put then to death.

My second assertion is that people should get what they deserve. Once those men have committed a crime, they have done an unforgivable act. These men and women deserve to be punished by the government. Life in prison would not be enough. According to Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, "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... rehabilitation, protection, and deterrence have a lesser status in punishment than retribution."

Thank you, please vote for the opposition
Debate Round No. 2


1) The right to life
Whether or not morality is subjective or objective, a revelation has still yet to take place. Therefore, we must base our arguments off facts and not personal feelings or judgement.
"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..."[1]
The government's job is to secure our rights. Among those rights are life, liberty, and property. The states have the right to remove from society those whom choose to violate these rights. However, the states themselves can never take away these "unalienable" rights. For the states to take away one's life via capital punishment is for the states to function contrary to their primary purpose.
2) Death-Row inmates prefer death to life
"More death-row inmates have been volunteering for their executions: Between 1993 and 2002, 75 volunteered for death, compared to the 22 consensual executions between 1977 and 1992. (Gary Gilmore, the first prisoner put to death after the Supreme Court reinstituted capital punishment in 1976, "volunteered" for his execution in 1977 because he did not want to live the rest of his life on death row.)
Some critics argue that this shows that, contrary to popular belief, death is not the ultimate punishment for prisoners."[2]
Some see the death penalty not as a punishment, but rather an escape from punishment. Reasons vary between volunteers. Some do not want to live in guilt. Others may believe in an afterlife, and wish to reunite with their families. The people to who these inmates have done harm had lives to live and goals to achieve. They do not have an equal distaste for death. Therefore, these volunteers would not be paying a price equivalent to the harm they have done.

This concludes my rebuttals.


Hello once again, my name is Forever 23 and I am here in order to bring forth my premise which is that we must abolish the death penalty.

As the third opposition, it is crucial for me to repudiate the pros points.

Their first assertion was that many people are executed even though they didn't do the crime. That may be true, but there is no way a system can be 100% perfect. There will always be mistakes but at the end, we will surly catch the criminal. According to Prosecuting Attorney for Clark County Indiana Message on the Clark County Prosecutor "...No system of justice can produce results which are 100% certain all the time. Mistakes will be made in any system which relies upon human testimony for proof. We should be vigilant to uncover and avoid such mistakes. Our system of justice rightfully demands a higher standard for death penalty cases. However, the risk of making a mistake with the extraordinary due process applied in death penalty cases is very small, and there is no credible evidence to show that any innocent persons have been executed at least since the death penalty was reactivated in 1976... The inevitability of a mistake should not serve as grounds to eliminate the death penalty any more than the risk of having a fatal wreck should make automobiles illegal..." And therefore, the mistakes should not force us to completely abolish death penalty. Maybe we should just make our investigation systems stronger.

Their second assertion was that executions come at great costs. However, the statistic proposed my the proposition, not only had no source, it was also very inaccurate. The Director of Death Penalty Resources at Justice for All stated, "Many opponents present, as fact, that the cost of the death penalty is so expensive (at least $2 million per case?), that we must choose life without parole ('LWOP') at a cost of $1 million for 50 years. Predictably, these pronouncements may be entirely false. JFA [Justice for All] estimates that LWOP cases will cost $1.2 million-$3.6 million more than equivalent death penalty cases. There is no question that the up front costs of the death penalty are significantly higher than for equivalent LWOP cases. There also appears to be no question that, over time, equivalent LWOP cases are much more expensive... than death penalty cases. Opponents ludicrously claim that the death penalty costs, over time, 3-10 times more than LWOP." And therefore, the prices of keeping criminals in jail are larger than those of execution.

The propositions third and final assertion was that poor quality defense leaves many sentences to death. However, the attorneys do all that they can in order to save the criminal from death sentence. The attorneys hired are usually very professional and adequate. According to California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) , "Defense attorneys... routinely file all manner of motions and objections to protect their clients from conviction. Attorneys know their trial tactics will be thoroughly scrutinized on appeal, so every effort is made to avoid error, ensuring yet another level of protection for the defendant. They [death penalty opponents]... have painted a picture of incompetent defense lawyers, sleeping throughout the trial, or innocent men being executed. Their accusations receive wide media coverage, resulting in a near-daily onslaught on the death penalty. Yet, through all the hysteria, jurors continue to perform their responsibilities and return death sentences." Therefore, those put on death sentence really do deserve it and the reason they die should not be blamed on lawyers.

Thank you, please vote for the opposition.
Debate Round No. 3


PhysAcademicEquilibrium forfeited this round.


Forever23 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


PhysAcademicEquilibrium forfeited this round.


Forever23 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by PhysAcademicEquilibrium 2 years ago
Round 4 argument in the comment section
Posted by Forever23 2 years ago
Ok thanks.
Posted by PhysAcademicEquilibrium 2 years ago
Forever23, I never placed any restrictions on which points you can address. I suggest you address all that you can.
Posted by Forever23 2 years ago
Phys, I just have a quick question. So the 4th round I would refute the points you brought up in order to refute my points?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Vane01 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pros rebuttles were irrelevant. In the second refutation, he mentioned the reasons but did not touch the refutations. While cons refutations were thorough.