I'm a proponent of the death penalty in theory, but not in application. In theory, I think a sentence of death is justifiable for murderers, rapists, child molesters. The problem is, as Go Barbaro pointed out, that there have been far too many people who have spent 10, 15, 20 years on death row only to be found innocent. Once you execute a person, there's no going back. Also, the death penalty is applied unfairly. If Gary Ridgeway (aka The Green River Killer), one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, can avoid the death penalty, how can you justify sentencing anyone else to death? So much of it depends on the quality of your legal representation, the state in which you commit the crime, the mood of the jurors, and whether you have something to deal or not.