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Affirmative Position This position must have a strong moral position.

Killing another person, no matter who that person is, is wrong and must not occur. Governments especially must never kill their own citizens. Affirmative debaters will find a great deal of information on the Internet about abolishing the death penalty and there are many countries around the world that do not use it. In fact, relatively few countries still use the death penalty. One very important argument an affirmative debater can use is to show the differences in violent crime rates among countries that do or do not have capital punishment. Also especially important will be the "2 wrongs don't make a right" argument. How can a society say that killing is wrong but kill its citizens if they commit certain crimes? In addition, the affirmative debater must research cases where a person was convicted and sentenced to die but years later was proved innocent after new evidence was discovered. There are many cases like this, especially in Illinois and Texas. Another aspect of this resolution will be the issues of executed the mentally ill and children who commit extremely violent crimes. (Arguments from our juvenile justice debate may come in handy here). Another strong contention will be the argument that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment; something prohibited by the Constitution. Some forms of the death penalty are worse than others but what could be more cruel or unusual that killing a human being? Also a possibility will be an economic argument in that it costs the government more money over time to execute a person than it does to put them in prison for life. Negative Position The negative has a difficult position but not an impossible one; prove that the death penalty can be imposed justly. One possible argument is changing the standard of proof for conviction and execution. Currently in the United States, a person must be proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." Current forensic and medical science has become advanced to the point where things can be proven with more certainly, particularly with DNA evidence. In addition, more and more cities have cameras that can record events in almost any place. (Reference city of London for more information). The strategy can be that there are some crimes that are so depraved, so horrific, that the person who commits that crime should forfeit their life if the crime can be proved beyond ANY doubt. This will counter the affirmative argument "what if a person is executed and we discover later they were actually innocent?" The negative debater must focus on ways of reforming the death penalty to ensure innocent people are not executed and bring up past cases of extremely violent crimes

where the person who committed them was executed. You will need to specify exactly what crimes should be eligible for the death penalty. Debaters will also need to come up with effective counter-arguments about the methods used to execute people around the world. Another strategy you might employ is the possibility that if a person is sentenced to "life in prison" there exists a possibility that the person might be released some time in the future. The negative can raise the issue that the person would likely commit more horrible crimes if released. Defining Terms Debaters will need to have effective definitions for these terms and words in the resolution;

"Just Society" - Create your own from dictionary "Ought" - Black's or other dictionary "Death Penalty" - Black's "Punishment" - Black's

Values Justice will likely be a value on both sides of this debate, though they will be different views of what justice means. Justice is possibly the strongest for the negative, especially since there are not many other values available. On the affirmative side, debaters may use values such as "life", "morality", "humanity", or others similar in nature. Criterion On the affirmative side, the criterion must be a moral standard; a bright line that must never be crossed. One suggestion is that killing is wrong, and if someone is convicted of murder, the government will not murder you but you will forfeit your freedom for the rest of your life. We won't take your physical life, but we will take your life away by placing you in prison. Criterion on the negative will be the standard set for being eligible for the death penalty and being convicted beyond any doubt. Summary This debate will likely be a very emotional one. We will be discussing horrific crimes and the taking of human lives. Affirmative debaters must avoid trying to make the judge feel sorry for the criminal instead of the victim while the negative must make us

feel sorry for the victim and demand justice against the criminal. The negative must avoid making the society seem cruel by emphasizing the limited criterion for the death penalty.