"Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders."
-Albert Camus, French philosopher
 
"I have never heard a murderer say they thought about the death penalty as consequence of their actions prior to committing their crimes."
-Gregory Ruff, police lieutenant in Kansas
 
"As if one crime of such nature, done by a single man, acting individually, can be expiated by a similar crime done by all men, acting collectively."
-Lewis Lawes, warden of Sing Sing prison in NY in the 1920s and 30s
 
"Crime indicates a diseased mind in the same manner that sickness and pain do a diseased body. And as in the one case we provide hospitals for the treatment of severe and contagious diseases, so in the other, prisons and asylums should be provided for similar reasons."
-Iowa State Supreme Court justice in the 1840s
 
"If Moses is our lawgiver [Old Testament prophet given laws by God] at this time let us obey him, not in part only, but wholly, and put every Sabbath breaker, blasphemer, and adulterer to death."
-Abolitionist in the 1840s
 
"How dangerous it is rashly to adopt the Mosaical institutions [Old Testament teachings of eye for an eye]. Laws might have been proper for a tribe of ardent barbarians wandering through the sands of Arabia which are wholly unfit for an enlightened people of civilized and gentle manners."
-an attorney general of Pennsylvania in the 1790s
 
"Imposition of the death penalty is arbitrary and capricious. Decision of who will live and who will die for his crime turns less on the nature of the offense and the incorrigibility of the offender and more on inappropriate and indefensible considerations: the political and personal inclinations of prosecutors; the defendant's wealth, race and intellect; the race and economic status of the victim; the quality of the defendant's counsel; and the resources allocated to defense lawyers."
-Gerald Heaney, former appellate judge
 
"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice."
-Desmond Tutu
 
"The most glaring weakness is that no matter how efficient and fair the DP may seem in theory, in actual practice it is primarily inflicted upon the weak, the poor, the ignorant and minorities."
-Pat Brown, former CA governor
 

"What says the law? You will not kill. How does it say it? By killing!"
-Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables

 
"I have yet to see a death case among the dozen coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial... People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty."
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
 
"When we don't fund Child Protective Services, there are consequences for all of us. Violence manifests itself. Mental health services in Texas are extremely poor. The answer is not to wait until they do something to get them help."
-David Atwood, founder of Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty
 
"In the US the overwhelming majority of those executed are psychotic, alcoholic, drug addicted or mentally unstable. They frequently are raised in an impoverished and abusive environment. Seldom are people with money or prestige convicted of capital offenses, even more seldom are they executed."
-George Ryan, former Illinois Governor
 
"[I am] haunted by the demon of error - error in determining guilt and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die."
-George Ryan, former Illinois Governor
 
"The punishment of murder by death is contrary to reason, and to the order and happiness of society, and contrary to divine revelation."
-friend of Benjamin Franklin's, Dr. Rush
 
"The reality is that capital punishment in America is a lottery. It is a punishment that is shaped by the constraints of poverty, race, geography and local politics."
-Bryan Stevenson, Death Row lawyer
 
"It can be argued that rapists deserve to be raped, that mutilators deserve to be mutilated. Most societies, however, refrain from responding in this way because the punishment is not only degrading to those on whom it is imposed, but it is also degrading to the society that engages in the same behavior as the criminals."
-Stephen Bright, human rights attorney
 
"I think this country would be much better off if we did not have capital punishment.... We cannot ignore the fact that in recent years a disturbing number of inmates on death row have been exonerated."
-John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
 
"Society may protect itself without putting a human to death as it would a wild animal. Since we believe each person has a soul, and is capable of achieving salvation, life in prison is now an alternative to the death penalty."
-Richard Viguerie and Brent Bozell, Tea Party supporters
 
"I've been haunted by the men I was asked to execute in the name of the state of Florida. This is premeditated, carefully thought out ceremonial killing."
-Ron McAndrew, was a prison warden in Florida
 

"I'm of the opinion that we should eliminate capital punishment. Having been involved with justice agencies around the world, it's been somewhat embarrassing, quite frankly, that nations just as so-called civilized as ours think we're barbaric because we still have capital punishment."
-Reginald Wilkinson, was a prison director in Ohio

 

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