1. It is morally reprehensible to take a life, and it is especially reprehensible for the state to do so.
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." –Mahatma Gandhi
2. Executing innocent people outweighs any logic behind the death penalty.
Between 1973 and 2001, 89 death-row inmates were found to be innocent and subsequently were exonerated, escaping death by hours in some cases (The Nation, January 8-15, 2001).
3. Race is often a defining factor in death-penalty cases.
The United States favors prosecuting when the victim is white. More than 80 percent of completed capital cases involve a white victim, even though nationally 50 percent of murder victims are white (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org).
Jurors are far more likely to recommend the death penalty for people of color. Between 1995 and 2000, 75 percent of the federal cases in which juries recommended the death penalty involved black or Latino defendants (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org).
4. Whether or not the death penalty is applied depends largely on the quality of legal representation for the accused, and most death-row inmates cannot afford decent representation.
The Texas Defender Service concluded that defendants in that state have more than a one in three chance of being executed without benefit of competent appellate attorneys (Washington Post, January 4, 2002).
5. The death penalty does not deter crime.
The United States has a murder rate three times higher than that of European countries, all of whom have abolished capital punishment (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org).
There is no solid evidence that the death penalty decreases crime. Former Attorney General Janet Reno says, "I have inquired for most of my adult life about studies that might show that the death penalty is a deterrent. And I have not seen any research that would substantiate that point" (Reuters, January 21, 2000).
6. It is impossible for the death penalty to ever be administered fairly, given our legal system, and it is therefore unquestionably unconstitutional, because defendants often do not receive a fair trial.