matthew wrote:I'm going to draw with broad strokes.
I support capital punishment in the USA in specific cases of murder which there is one or more of the following: extreme scale, extreme cruelty/sadism, established premeditation and/or a recurring pattern of less heinous murders.
Has it been or will it be always applied appropriately in the USA? No, obviously. But this is not a reasonable argument to abolish it.
This is precisely why it needs to be abolished. If the state incorrectly "applies" the death penalty to an innocent person, there's obviously no way to undo it. There are instances where this has almost certainly happened in the U.S.
Even if you think killing someone is a perfectly appropriate punishment for their having killed someone—something I absolutely disagree with—there is always the possibility, given our inherently flawed justice system, that the state will kill yet another innocent person. This is not acceptable.
By the by, I realize that you probably meant "not applied to people who deserve it" when you said "[not] applied appropriately."
matthew wrote:You might as well abolish the criminal justice system in the USA all together then, because it's far from perfect as a whole. I simply don't see why, say, a convicted, remorseless, brutal serial rapist/killer should not receive the death penalty because another guy in another case might receive unduly. I don't see the logic in that. Do criminal justice systems break down? Sure they do! But my point is only about the death penalty and its proper application, not the current state of affairs of a given criminal justice system.
Capital punishment and the criminal justice system are intrinsically linked in places that practice capital punishment. I don't understand separating the two, even hypothetically.
matthew wrote:How do you proposed to redress a particularly brutal, heinous, premeditated murder? Lock the person up for good so he or she can "think" about their crime?
Yes. Nothing can bring back the dead. Keeping the perpetrator locked up for life ostensibly prevents him or her from murdering again—prison murders notwithstanding, and if someone is wrongfully imprisoned, they can still be released. Their quality of life may be shot to hell as a result of the prison time they're served, but they're still alive.