Capital punishment is based on two flawed assumptions:
- People are infallible:
- Justice is fallible. Life is replete with examples of justice failing.Bought judges, judges with their own agendas, etc. The same conservatives that would argue judges are infallible will usually say that a gay judge can’t consider matters about gay rights, etc.
- The state is fallible. Not only is it not the case, but it’s only in repressive regimes such as China and North Korea that you’ll get situations where it is assumed that the state is infallible. If the state were infallible, you wouldn’t need the the “checks and balance” process with the legal system.
- A jury is fallible. Despite the best intentions, juries can be bribed, they can be swayed by their own personal opinions, and they can be swayed by lawyers who know their client is guilty but who are still obligated to argue their innocence.
- Police are fallible. This is not the case. Most police are good, hard working, honest people. But this is not guaranteed. History is replete with stories of crooked cops, or cops with agendas.
- Witnesses are fallible. (Suggested by mw1414 as an addendum). Legal cases are often premised around the notion of proving that witnesses are fallible, or might be mistaken, etc. If this is incorrect, then the testimony of any witness should simply be accepted as fact.
We can generally accept the risks of all of (1) if the judgement is reversible, or at least correctable. Someone may be incarcerated for 20 years for a crime they didn’t commit, but if justice prevails, they can be released, and likely compensated. If they’re six feet under, or their ashes scattered to the wind, nothing can be done.
Further, any country that advocates the separation of church and state cannot premise a punishment on the basis of it flinging someone on to a higher power for “ultimate” judgement. With that premise removed, it must be acknowledged that the ‘punishment’ is, in fact, state sanctioned revenge, instead.
Capital punishment is inherently evil.