The death penalty should not be used as a form of punishment in the United States. The punishment that should be used is life imprisonment without parole. Not only is the death penalty immoral but it also is irreversible. The fact that innocent people have been exonerated leads one to believe that other innocent people may have been executed. If these people had been serving their life imprisonment sentences they would still be alive.
Statistics dating back to 1973 show that 121 people have been released from death row because new evidence was found that proved their innocence. From 1973 to 1998 there was an average of 2.96 exonerations per year. From 1998 to 2003 the average amount of exonerations per year has been 7.60. This shows that modern forensics is helping the truth to be told. With the increase in technology, an irreversible punishment like the death penalty cannot be used.
Any little bit of evidence found, even several years after the case, can possibly prove the persons innocence.
Another problem with the death penalty, which is linked to innocent people being murdered, is representation. Almost all defendants in capital cases cannot afford their own lawyers. This means that most of the people on death row have used public defenders. In many cases these public defenders are overworked, underpaid, and lack the experience needed for a death penalty case. It was even found that several of these public attorneys came into court under the influence of alcohol. With a lawyer like that it's almost inevitable that the defendant will be found guilty. Unfortunately not everyone is like O.J. Simpson and can afford the top lawyers in the country.
The final problem with the death penalty is the trials that are involved for sending a prisoner to death row.