Completely in support of the death penalty.
To all of those who are so against the idea of a "state" having the right to exercise the death penalty: THE STATE, and the state alone, guarantees your life, "rights," and property.
In the absence of a state, the anarchic "state of nature" rules. What this means, essentially, is that you can be killed or robbed at any time, for any reason, and you have no recourse whatsoever except for what your own personal might allows.
In other words, "the state" is (among other things) a condition of possibility for your very life. We very much take for granted that people are not allowed to simply murder us and steal all of our possessions. But what prevents or deters them from doing this? THE STATE.
That's the reason, for example, that a compulsory military draft, while unfortunate, is justifiable. The state is justified in demanding your service, potentially costing your life, because it is the state that has guaranteed and made your life possible in the first place. You owe the state, however much you may dislike the idea and shirk your responsibilities as a citizen.
When a person makes himself an enemy of the state and threatens its well-being (usually by breaking one or more of its more serious laws, such as murder), the state is justified in taking the life of that individual (in much the same way that murder by self-defense is justified if someone is trying to kill you). A person's "right to life" is only guaranteed by the state, and if he forfeits his relationship to that state, he also forfeits the rights that were guaranteed thereunder.
The death penalty is not so much an act of "revenge" as it is an act of purging a state of the enemies that threaten it's well-being.
Rousseau lays all of this out far more elegantly than I ever could in The Social Contract. Highly recommended reading for all of the childishly confused subversives in these forums who haven't the foggiest idea of the political reality that envelops them.
You talk of the state as if it were some sort of god-like element. The state is no stand-alone thing. It is the result of a given society's wish to organise themselves and create an institution that will have the monopoly in exercising universal legislation and executing it.
Whatever principle we cause that institution to operate under is not unappealable, but subject to the principles of that society. You may say you hold the view that, since the state is obliged to safeguard a person's life, it is therefore its prerogative to take that life away under certain circumstances. You're entitled to it, but don't make it sound as if it ought to be a universal truth. It is merely one position, one that I happen to disagree with.
As I see it, it is the state's obligation to guarantee an individual's right to live at all times
. Life is to me an inalienable right; to you, a legal right.