Instigator / Pro
Points: 49

Resolved: The US should abolish the death penalty

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 7 votes the winner is ...
Virtuoso
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Society
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
Points: 10
Description
Structure
R1: Opening statements
R2: Rebuttals
R3: Defense
R4: Close
Round 1
Published:
Thank you, press, for accepting this debate. I will now provide my opening speech. 

====

Definitions

  1. Should: used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
  2. Abolish: formally put an end to (a system, practice, or institution).
  3. Death penalty: the punishment of execution, administered to someone legally convicted of a capital crime.
Proposal

I propose commuting all death row inmates to life without parole. 

C1) The DP is immoral

Sub-point A: The death penalty is too powerful

The government ought not to have the power to kill its citizens. The death penalty ultimately violates the proportionality principle of justice, namely that the punishment ought to fit the crime. As the ACLU notes [1]:

When the government metes out vengeance disguised as justice, it becomes complicit with killers in devaluing human life and human dignity. In civilized society, we reject the principle of literally doing to criminals what they do to their victims: The penalty for rape cannot be rape, or for arson, the burning down of the arsonist's house. We should not, therefore, punish the murderer with death.
Sub-point B: The DP makes irreversibly mistakes

Since the death penalty was reinstated, more than 150 people were exonerated. To put this number in context, for every 10 people executed, 1 person was set free [2]. Another study shows that 4% of defendants sentenced to die are innocent [3]. Quite a few of these convictions were quite recent. For example, Rodricus Crawford was convicted in 2013 for murder and given the death penalty. He was exonerated just a few years later [4]. Derral Wayne Hodgkins was convicted in 2011 and exonerated in 2015 [5]. It is impossible to know how many innocent men were executed since the '70s. 

Sub-point C: The DP causes the innocent to plead guilty.

Picture this: you're on trial for murder and the prosecution has flimsy evidence. In order to secure a conviction, they offer you a plea deal where if you don't plead guilty, they will seek the death penalty. Do you accept this bargain? According to the innocent project, at least 31 people plead guilty to serious crimes like rape and murder to avoid long sentences and to avoid trial. These innocent people served a combined total of 150 years in prison [6]. In the case of Robby Ray Dixon, they pled guilty to a 1979 Mississippi rape and murder they didn’t commit. After the two men were threatened with the death penalty, they testified against a third innocent defendant (ibid). 

C2) The DP is failed policy

Sub-point A: the DP fails to deter 

There is a clear scientific consensus that the death penalty fails to deter. Indeed, the threat of execution is unlikely to deter someone who is angry and about to kill. In fact, states without the death penalty have lower rates of murder than states with the death penalty [7]. In fact, Justice Marshall in Furman v. Georgia, 1972 wrote: "In light of the massive amount of evidence before us, I see no alternative but to conclude that capital punishment cannot be justified on the basis of its deterrent effect." [8]

Sub-point B: Cost

The death penalty is significantly more expensive than life without parole. As an example, Amnesty International finds [10]:

  • A 2003 legislative audit in Kansas found that the estimated cost of a death penalty case was 70% more than the cost of a comparable non-death penalty case. Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution (median cost $1.26 million). Non-death penalty case costs were counted through to the end of incarceration (median cost $740,000).
I'll conclude this section with what blamonkey wrote in my debate with him [11]:

The amount of waste that could be solved by switching to a life-without parole sentence, which is what I would favor, eliminates the inordinate amount of wasted funds that are not benefitting the people. Remember, we only promote the general welfare by using our funds to pose tangible benefits to the people. If alternatives are available that safeguard the public, we should pursue those instead. Moreover, by keeping people in jail instead of killing them, we have more time to commute their sentence if they are innocent.  
Conclusion

In light of the massive evidence before us, the death penalty is wholly immoral and fails as legal policy. I see no option but to abolish the death penalty. 

Sources

Published:
As the sun rises, and the townspeople awaken to the cries of the roosters, a horrid sight afflicts them. To the town’s dismay, a burnt-out pyre with the charred skeletal remains of a corpse bounded with scorched rope occupies the center of the town square. As the townspeople look around, they notice that Lunatic was absent. Eventually it dawned upon town that Lunatic had been burned at the stake. Outraged at this horrendous act, the townsfolk sought to bring the perpetrators to justice. However, no one knew who had committed this act. 
 
Lynched Last DP:
SupaDudz - Town - Vanilla
 
Died in the Night:
Lunatic - Town - Vanilla
 
Graveyard:
SupaDudz - Town - Vanilla
Lunatic - Town - Vanilla
 
Living Players:
  1. Drafterman
  2. Speedrace
  3. WaterPhoenix
  4. GreyParrot
  5. irontoaster
  6. Virtuoso

Round 2
Published:
Wrong copy and paste? Lol 
Forfeited
Round 3
Published:
Extend my arguments as I have nothing to rebut. 
Forfeited
Round 4
Published:
Vote pro
Forfeited
Added:
Thanks =)
#12
Added:
--> @Discipulus_Didicit
LOL! I love your RFD
Instigator
#11
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Oops. Thought I was awarding penalties ;)
#10
Added:
--> @bmdrocks21
I think you cast your vote for the wrong side
Instigator
#9
Added:
First oromagi, now PressF4Respect. I'm beginning to think the key to winning debates is to copy/paste mafia analysis into them.
#8
Added:
you guys playing mafia without me?
#7
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
I apologize for this silly mistake lol
To make it up, I will provide both opening arguments and rebuttals in the next round
Contender
#6
Added:
--> @AKmath
If we let the murderer live, we can take their blood and that can save hundreds of more lives per murderer. So lets abolish the death penalty.
#5
Added:
"Rapists don't get raped."
The stupidest thing a proponent of no death penalty can say. They're right, rapists don't get raped, just like murderers don't get murdered. That's right, you heard me right, MURDERERS DON'T GET MURDERED UNDER THE DEATH PENALTY. We do not murder murderers, rather we KILL them. It's murder vs. kill, there is a big difference and too few people know what it is.
#4
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
I used to support the death penalty, but I favor life in jail without parole and the convict must donate blood every 3 months to save more lives. They killed 1. Now, they should save dozens more.
#3
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
Cuz I like a challenge
Contender
#2
Added:
--> @PressF4Respect
Why?
#1
#7
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Full forfeit. Con does not provide a relevant argument.
#6
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Cons argument for the death penalty is primarily an emotional appeal in light of the recent tragedy which befell our late friend Lunatic. However cons very argument also shows the darker side of the death penalty as it is currently applied, as the death penalty was applied the previous DP and how did that turn out? The one who was lynched flipped town.
Must we answer one tragedy by creating another?
#5
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
tencharacters
#4
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
full forfeit THATS POOR CONDUCT
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Full forfeit. Atrocious conduct on Con's part.
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Full forfeit.
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Full Forfeiture. Granted, that was a sweet bit of mafia narration.