: NJ, while in my heart I believe some horrible murderers deserve the death penalty, intellectually I know that it demeans the nation which practices it, and does not deter crime and, most importantly, is applied in a prejudiced and classist way and, even more importantly, can be applied erroneously, thereby executing an innocent man.
But EVERY punishment, in the society we live in, is going to be applied in a prejudiced and classist way. The way to fix that is to change society, not the punishment. Make all lawyers work for teh state, thus giving everyone an equal shot at getting a good lawyer. That's an argument for changing the circumstances of trials, notthe eventual punishment. Is it OK if lots of people are unjustly imprisoned for life?
: In my criminal law class, my professor arranged the following: while he was lecturing, a young man burst into the lecture hall, ran down the steps, squirted a water pistol in the professor's face, and ran out the side door. There were dozens of witnesses to the awful crime...and dozens of differing descriptions of the perpetrator. I need go no further in explaining why the death penalty should not exist.
What about when people confess?