Ramesh, I’m as pro-life as anyone but I see the death penalty a little differently. I agree that the way it’s administered makes its use ridiculous as either a punishment or a deterrent. The one way it is very useful though is as a bargaining chip for prosecutors. Many unsolved crimes are resolved through admissions by a killer who’s been offered life in prison instead of the death penalty, in exchange for his cooperation. Such resolutions are no small matters to the families involved.
I understand that. But this consideration can’t, I think, overcome the moral point, at least not by itself; you could easily come up with terrible punishments we wouldn’t want to see employed but would act as useful bargaining chips for prosecutors.