First, I am against capital punishment in general.
The reason that there have been people that have been wrongly convicted of crimes, and been exonerated later after more evidence has come to light. The justice system is not infallible by a long shot, and the poorer you are, the less educated you are, the more likely you are to be convicted, rightly or wrongly.
That being said, there is an old Texas adage that "some folks just need killin'". And under certain very specific circumstances, there are certain individuals that may make us better off as a society if they were to be removed from the gene pool. I'm being very judicious in my choice of words, because the circumstances that I have in mind don't depend on the crime itself so much as the individual circumstances of the case.
For as much as the rape of a prepubescent child is a heinous crime on its surface, It is a category of crime that is by definition broader than the individual circumstance of the case. Judgement based on category is not a good idea (nor is mandatory sentencing, but that is an entirely other argument); for example, while the concept of "rape" implies violence, when it comes to children it is not a necessary component for conviction. And quite frankly, in my opinion, there are other crimes that are more heinous than the rape of a child. Not a lot of them, but they're there.
And really, allowing the death penalty for a classification of a crime rather than the circumstance smacks of vengeance, which is not a good reason to implement it.
But there is also the issue of State's Rights, where the constitutionality of a decision by the supreme court is called into question. Should the supreme court have jurisdiction over a crime that is not federal or interstate by nature? The strict answer is "no, it should not": the federal supreme court should not be able to make decisions that supercede the rulings of the state supreme court for laws which pertain solely to the domain of that state.
Then again, there should be a reasonably comprehensive set of guidelines across states for similarity of punishments. I kow that's a pipe dream, but hell, I'm a dreamer.
So I'm torn.
An aside: there are currently two different judgement standards. The first is "beyond a reasonable doubt", which is the most common for criminal cases. The second is "by a preponderance of the evidence", which is used in some civil courts like small claims. To justify the death penalty, it is my opinion that the criminal should be convicted to a degree beyond either of these (one that does not currently exist) with unambiguous physical evidence (such as DNA) and be classified as "irredeemable", that it can be shown that there would be more harm in keeping the criminal alive than dead. And if it is determined that they are indeed irredeemable, that the method of death should be the surgical harvesting of their organs for use in the medical field, either in organ replacements for those that need them or for research if they're somehow tainted.
Whatever's left can be used to feed the homeless.
I suspect that there may be comments to this post. Try to avoid name-calling if you would. Civil discourse people!