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Why the death penalty is ineffective and should be banned by the house

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/31/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,838 times Debate No: 59776
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (2)




In this debate I will be arguing that the death penalty is ineffective and due to its ineffectiveness it should be banned by the house. The reasons that I will use will be that it's expensive, it causes racial disputes, it endangers innocent lives, and finally it doesn't deter crime rates.

This is how I will put it down:
1.Introduction of the debate (first round)
2.Opponent's statement that he/she will agree to debate.
3.Arguments from both
4.Rebuttal/or counter argument

1.Include sources of the information that you've used.
2.Vulgar language is obviously disallowed.
3.Follow the list on the top. Agruments first then counter arguments.
4.A minimum of a thousand characters is advised.
5.Have fun.

As you can see a maximum of 3,000 characters are supposed to be used. Also, sources are mandatory, so don't forget to include them.

-Thank you, I hope both of us will enjoy this debate.


I accept the challenge. I too disagree with the death penalty, but not for the reasons cited. I assume that if the cited reasons were not a factor than the death penalty would be acceptable to Pro. I will argue against the death penalty under any circumstances, primarily because:
> The U.S. legal system is corrupt
> Punishing for a crime by committing the same crime is fundamentally...well....insane
> The death penalty is the product of zealots who have pushed their agenda for religions and political reasons. and there is no sound basis for it.
Debate Round No. 1


Why the Death Penalty is Ineffective and should be banned by the House.
-I want to thank my opponent once again for accepting this debate.
Death Penalty is a punishment in the form of an execution. This punishment is given to people who have committed some sort of a serious crime. For example, murder is the most common one. While years and even centuries have been going by, the capital punishment/death penalty was becoming scarcer in many countries, and in fact, it has been abolished in some parts of the globe. But even until this day, the death penalty remains active. The most common place it is practiced in is the United States. All European Countries, Canada, Australia, Russian and Mexico have all chosen to abolish this type of punishment for various reasons. I believe that the death penalty shall no longer be active in the United States. There are various reasons this form of punishment should be abolished. Here are the reasons: Death penalty is expensive and tax payers waste millions of dollars on it. Ethnicity and race plays a role in death penalty. Death penalty does not minimize our crime rate. Lastly, death penalty endangers multiple innocent lives.
1.Death Penalty is expensive:
The reason for death penalty being expensive is because of the long judicial processes and investigations. The process of investigation exists in death penalty to make sure that innocent people are not executed, but sadly this cannot be fully avoided. A life sentence without a parole is much cheaper than the death penalty; it actually saves a lot of money. The millions of dollars that tax payers spend on the death penalty could actually be used to support and fix much broader problems in our society. For example, we could have spent this money on the homeless; the children in need, hospitals, construction, police, education, etc. etc. in California, taxpayers pay $90,000 per execution. In five years California could have saved $1 billion dollars if it was not for the death penalty. California spent over $4 billion dollars on the executions in 1978. Plus, $184 million are being spent on the trial process as well. According to researchers, they suspect that the death penalty will reach $9 billion by 2030. Due to the amount of California"s death row inmates, California spends $63.3 million annually on these inmates. The yearly cost of the death penalty system is $137 million. A life sentence would be $11.5 without parole.
2.Death Penalty is based on race:
The specific race of a death row inmate decides whether he lives or dies. A study has been done in 1990 by the General Accounting Office. The study has shown, "in 82 percent of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e. those who murdered whites were more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks." Senator Russ Feingold once quoted,
"We simply cannot say we live in a country that offers equal justice to all Americans when racial disparities plague the system by which our society imposes the ultimate punishment."
Here are the statistics:
3.Death Penalty does not minimize our crime rate:
A study called "DO EXECUTIONS LOWER HOMICIDE RATES?: THE VIEWS OF LEADING CRIMINOLOGISTS" by Michael L. Radelet in 2009 has shown that capital punishment does not minimize the crime rate in the United States. After the executions of many inmates, specifically, the ones that killed police officers have not stopped criminals from causing the same crime (killing police officers). "We find no consistent evidence that capital punishment influenced police killings during the 1976-1989 period. . . . [P]olice do not appear to have been afforded an added measure of protection against homicide by capital punishment." (W. Bailey and R. Peterson, Murder, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence: A Review of the Evidence and an Examination of Police Killings, 50 Journal of Social Issues 53, 71 1994). FBI Uniform Crime Report has concluded that the states with the least executions were the states where officers were least endangered. The south has an 80% execution rate, which is the most dangerous for police officers. California, the state with the most death row inmates is the state where most officers were killed (1998).
4.Death penalty endangers innocent lives:
In this section I will present the innocent lives of people who have been taken away by an execution. The people are: Carlos De Luna, Joseph O"Dell, and Leo Jones.
1.Carlos De Luna (Texas): Carlos De Luna was convicted in 1983 and executed in 1989. Carlos was of accused of stabbing a clerk at the store, Wanda Lopez and leaving her to die with critical wounds. In 2006 the Chicago Tribune investigation has reported that Carlos has been innocent and that the wrong man was executed. People began suspecting Carlos Hernandez, a criminal who had fairly similar crimes. Later, Hernandez confessed to the murder.
2.Joseph O"Dell (Virginia): Joseph O"Dell was convicted in 1986 and executed in 1997. Joseph O"Dell was charged with murder and rape. Soon, after his execution people began doubting that it was him because his DNA samples did not match. O"Dell"s wanted to prove his innocence by having a second DNA test, but it was revoked. After his death, his DNA was tested and it has proven that he was innocent.
3.Leo Jones (Florida): Leo Jones was convicted in 1981 and executed in 1998. Jones was charged for murder of a police officer in Jacksonville, Florida. While he was being interrogated, he was forced to sign a confession that it was him who was responsible for the murder. The policemen who forced him to sign a confession immediately lost their police licenses. People began pointing out that there were other suspects with similar crimes.


Hello, thanks for a very thorough discussion.
While I agree that all of the points you mentioned, there are more fundamental reasons against the death penalty.

Corruption and zealotry in the legal and political system:
Cost should not even be a question, in my mind. We are talking about human lives and setting an example for society. I could, and probably should, cite a couple of examples of how corrupt police and prosecutors knowingly withheld or falsified data that would have proven a condemned person innocent of the crime the were convicted of. Many times these convictions were overturned, and many times they were not. Human Rights Watch has the most comprehensive collection of these cases (1). Some states, such as Washington State, have issued reprieves on death penalty cases due to the shear number of overturned death penalty cases. In Washington State, 32 death penalty cases have been overturned since 1981 (2). Nonetheless, some states continue to crank out executions despite indications of the number of faulty cases. I could site case after case, but I'm sure most have seen or heard of them...prosecutors withholding information, police setting people up, incompetent investigators, coroners, etc.

The Guardian published a lot of death penalty data for 2011 (3). I reviewed how they were analyzing the data but decided to download the data and do some analyzing of my own. I didn't do an exhaustive review. but I did see a moderate correlation between the top 10 most corrupt states and death penalties carried out from 1976, but a much stronger correlation between the degree of "religiousness" of states (according to Gallup) and death penalties (4). This was my own analysis so the correlations are my own, but you'd likely find the same result. The most religious states had the most executions, and the least religious states had the least executions. This was true for both total number of executions and for executions per million population (adjusted for state population).

One more note on this regarding Texas: It didn't make the top 10 list of most corrupt or religious states, but it is one of the most religious, has one of the largest populations, AND....has a history of having extreme zealot Governors, i.e. George Bush and Rick Perry. And this state has by far the highest execution rate. More on that later.

So, in my view, religious zealots in positions of political power and politicians pandering to the religions majority deserve a lot of scrutiny by allowing their states to legally murder people. For this reason alone the death penalty should be abolished.

Debate Round No. 2


-Thank you for such a well written argument. I could already tell that you are a deep thinker and a man that supports humanitarian ideas just like I do. I clearly instructed that a minimum of 1,000 words is required, but you have broken this rule, I will pay no attention to this because you were able to say enough. I am cancelling out that instruction, so don"t worry. Thank you once again for responding back, I respect your opinion.
Definition: Zealots and Zealotry:
I have noticed that my opponent has been bringing up a conversation about zealots and that most of them are responsible for these executions. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Zealotry is a, "Fanatical and uncompromising pursuit of religious, political, or other ideals; fanaticism." According to other definitions, Zealots could be Jewish activists from history, but I could clearly tell that you are speaking about the former (1).
Now, I am an atheist myself, so I"m unsure of the deal with zealots bringing out these executions, but I will try my best to explain this. According to the Blaze, Texas is a religious state, but it is not in the top ten (as you have mentioned before). Texas does carry out a lot of executions, but keep in mind that it is one of the most violent states in America, and it is not because of the zealots. Texas has a history of gang violence, and due to its large population it will have a high crime rate. But, take a look at Alaska. Alaska is also a pretty populated state, and it is the least religious one (4). Anchorage is ranked above Texas, which means it is the third most violent state (2). You have also been telling me that the most religious/corrupt states carried out a whole lot of executions in 1976. Take a look at California, it wasted $4 billion on executions in 1978 (source mentioned before), and yet it is not the most religious state out there; California still continues to carry out executions, but not as much as Texas; it has carried out much more executions than Texas during the late 70s.
Allow me to explain further. The South is the most violent territory in the states, and according to the FBI crime statistics they do not see that it is because of religion.
[1]: The first reason the South might be more violent than any other territory in the U.S. is because of their legacy of violence.
[2]: The second reason is the South is a place of rising poverty.
[3]: The third reason and this has been scientifically proved that the South is a very hot territory.
Lastly, you have been telling me that with a large population the South will carry out a lot of executions. Well, Texas is the most populated state there is in the South. But why are other states continuously carrying out executions? They are not very populated.
Defense of my point:
Personally, the problem is not the execution the problem are the people. Tod Burke, a professor of criminology at Radford University has said, "If you look at the philosophy in Southern culture, more likely than not, the people in the South believe in capital punishment, in executions," Burke continued. "They are more likely, again this is all statistically proved, they are more likely to believe in corporal punishment than other parts of the country. They are more likely to believe in military intervention abroad (5)."



Sorry about the 1000 word rule. I wasn't paying attention.

I brought up Texas because both Bush and Perry in my view are political zealots, and Bush is a religions one as well. Both have had numerous death penalties come to their desk for review. An investigation reported in the Chicago Tribune in 2000 (1) found that George Bush's "certainty" about the soundness of the death penalty caused him to look the other way while people were executed based on convictions that were questionable at the time and later found to be faulty. It is a troubling report. Compare this with his views on religion and his behavior in Iraq. It is an uncompromising steadfastness in pursuit of religious and political ideals and deliberate ignorance of anything that might derail that pursuit. That's zealotry.

Regarding your second paragraph, I actually did not compare a states religiousness or zealotry to violence. I said that in general the more religions states (according to Gallup) also have the highest execution rates. But like I said I didn't do an exhaustive study into that. My theory is that the more religious states are more likely to have religious and political zealots in control who pander to the religious majority and will allow executions to proceed without review (i.e. see reference (1)). Religious zealots often believe people are guilty until proven innocent. The reasons for violence per se are very complicated and your arguments don't even come close to the socio-economic complexities. I'm not saying that disrespectfully, you touch on some valid points, but the real issue is much much deeper.

But It seems like you are going into things outside of the scope of our debate. I thought we were talking about different ideas about why the death penalty is ineffective and should be abolished.

So again, yes I agree the death penalty should be abolished, but not because it's ineffective, costly, etc. It should be abolished because zealotry and corruption allow innocent people to be arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death. It's very well documented. See reference (1).

Debate Round No. 3


To Opponent:

Thank you once again for your submission. Since we are running out of rounds, let's continue with the rebuttals for these two rounds. I could clearly tell that you have not paid any attention to what I have said. First off, let's review zealotry once again. I have given you the definition of a zealot, which is a religious fanatic. Zealots do not exist anymore, and I do not think it is worth arguing for. Zealot is an archaic meaning. The reason the U.S. Military Forces went to war with Iraq is because they suspected they had thermonuclear and biological weaponry (I will not bring in conspiracies). Afterwards, finding out they did not have any of that weaponry they just decided to help the people (1). Every governmental official is religious. Personally, I think that they advertise religion. You are getting both of us sidetracked on this information. Zealots do not have anything to do with executions whatsoever. The reason the South has executions is because it is something traditional for them (source mentioned before). The South has these executions is because of their rising crime rates, and the crime rates rise for various reason, such as, poverty, population, gang formations, etc. etc (source mentioned before). I am against executions, I think that there should be a more effective way to prevent these crime rates and executions. Unfortunately, it has not been solved yet.



First of all, both of us are arguing that innocent lives are in danger, and I was the first to bring it up. I understand that all of these death penalties are well documented. The reason that George Bush declares so many death penalties is not because he is a zealot. George W. Bush came from the South, and according to many leading criminologists the Southerners have a taste for executions in their blood. Religion has nothing to do with this (Source mentioned in previous round: Business Insider). I would really want to see a single source that targets religion and says it is cohesive with executions. In fact, there was a debate between many religious organizations and most Christian organizations debate that capital punishment is ineffective (1).




Pro, I have no idea what you want to debate anymore. I will just forfeit the rest of the debate.

Thanks for taking the time.
Debate Round No. 4


It would have been so much easier if you argued for death penalty.


DonRCavalier forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Samuel60 7 years ago
Con is arguing against my reasons for its abolishment
Posted by 9spaceking 7 years ago
wtf??? is Con arguing for or against the death penalty
Posted by Samuel60 7 years ago
I wasn't able to add a chart, but I have a source where you can find it.
Posted by Samuel60 7 years ago
The chart is a little bit messed up.
Total1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989
South292 293 224 322 431 28 29 31 32
West125 14 15 6 23 18 11 13 7 9 9
Midwest121 10 11 15 8 16 11 8 20 14 8
Northeast 80 3 7 10 8 12 9 8 7 7 9
Posted by Samuel60 7 years ago
okay, it's a deal.
Posted by DonRCavalier 7 years ago
I'm against the death penalty also, but wouldn't mind challenging you anyhow on the basis that I disagree with your reasons against it. Deal?
Posted by Samuel60 7 years ago
Posted by Samuel60 7 years ago
Here is a knew rule, if con skips two rounds con will be diqualified.
Posted by Samuel60 7 years ago
Sorry, Cold Mind. But I will not change my topic. But I thank you for asking.
Posted by Cold-Mind 7 years ago
@Wylted +1
@Samuel60 I am arguing that death penalty should be reserved only for people who admit doing rape or admit murdering person who has not previously harmed them. So I will be your Con if you change resolution to "Death penalty should be banned, and not applied in any case".
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: con forfeits. Even if we compare who argued better for the death penalty Pro takes the cake.
Vote Placed by lannan13 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture

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