|I read Objectivism's position on the death penalty long ago: that it is moral but that the system may not operate well enough for it. Today, after several decades of representing criminal defendants and having tried hundreds of criminal trials, including several first degree murder trials, I have NO doubt but that the system isn't good enough. Just too many grandstanding prosecutors, lying cops, two-bit politico judges, incompetent lawyers, and emotional, prejudiced jurors. I believe that any Objectivist who had seen what I've seen in the system would agree.
I have a daughter who is a young trial lawyer. Recently she sat through a murder trial as an observer. She said that the state had very little evidence but that the jury not only convicted the defendant but also voted unanimously to recommend the death penalty--a recommendation the judge followed. By coincidence, my daughter is acquainted with the judge's wife (herself an attorney), and she knows from talking to her that the judge had grave doubts about the evidence against the defendant. But he sentenced him to death anyway, and this isn't the first time I know of that this judge has given a death sentence when he had serious doubts.
I could go on and on about this sort of thing. I've been seeing it for nearly 40 years. Almost any experienced criminal defense lawyer could tell you stories that would make your hair stand up. The criminal justice system up close and personal is not at all pretty. And it isn't a liberal/conservative thing among criminal defense lawyers, either, as most would concur regardless of their politics.