Quotes About Capital Punishment

Quotes tagged as "capital-punishment" (showing 1-30 of 40)
J.R.R. Tolkien
“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Joe Abercrombie
“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.”
Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged

George Bernard Shaw
“Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.”
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Friedrich Nietzsche
“There is a certain right by which we many deprive a man of life, but none by which we may deprive him of death; this is mere cruelty.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

Victor Hugo
“But secondly you say 'society must exact vengeance, and society must punish'. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.”
Victor Hugo, The Last Day of a Condemned Man

Albert Camus
“But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.”
Albert Camus

Clarence Darrow
“I would not tell this court that I do not hope that some time, when life and age have changed their bodies, as they do, and have changed their emotions, as they do -- that they may once more return to life. I would be the last person on earth to close the door of hope to any human being that lives, and least of all to my clients. But what have they to look forward to? Nothing. And I think here of the stanza of Housman:

Now hollow fires burn out to black,
And lights are fluttering low:
Square your shoulders, lift your pack
And leave your friends and go.
O never fear, lads, naught’s to dread,
Look not left nor right:
In all the endless road you tread
There’s nothing but the night.

...Here it Leopold’s father -- and this boy was the pride of his life. He watched him, he cared for him, he worked for him; the boy was brilliant and accomplished, he educated him, and he thought that fame and position awaited him, as it should have awaited. It is a hard thing for a father to see his life’s hopes crumble into dust.

...I know the future is with me, and what I stand for here; not merely for the lives of these two unfortunate lads, but for all boys and all girls; for all of the young, and as far as possible, for all of the old. I am pleading for life, understanding, charity, kindness, and the infinite mercy that considers all. I am pleading that we overcome cruelty with kindness and hatred with love. I know the future is on my side. Your Honor stands between the past and the future. You may hang these boys; you may hang them by the neck until they are dead. But in doing it you will turn your face toward the past... I am pleading for the future; I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men. When we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man.

...I am sure I do not need to tell this court, or to tell my friends that I would fight just as hard for the poor as for the rich. If I should succeed, my greatest reward and my greatest hope will be that... I have done something to help human understanding, to temper justice with mercy, to overcome hate with love.

I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar Khayyám. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:

So I be written in the Book of Love,
I do not care about that Book above.
Erase my name or write it as you will,
So I be written in the Book of Love.

Clarence Darrow, Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom

Nancy Reagan
“I believe that more people would be alive today if there were a death penalty.”
Nancy Reagan

Robert A. Heinlein
“Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?”
Robert A. Heinlein

Bryan Stevenson
“Why do we want to kill all the broken people?”
Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Anton Chekhov
“The State is not God. It has not the right to take away what it cannot restore when it wants to.”
Anton Chekhov

Bryan Stevenson
“The death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The real question of capital punishment in this country is, Do we deserve to kill?”
Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Helen Prejean
“[T]here are some human rights that are so deep that we can't negotiate them away. I mean people do heinous, terrible things. But there are basic human rights I believe that every human being has. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the United Nations says it for me. And it says there are two basic rights that can't be negotiated that government doesn't give for good behavior and doesn't take away for bad behavior. And it's the right not to be tortured and not to be killed. Because the flip side of this is that then when you say OK we're gonna turn over -- they truly have done heinous things, so now we will turn over to the government now the right to take their life. It involves other people in doing essentially the same kind of act."

(PBS Frontline: Angel on Death Row)”
Helen Prejean

Cesare Beccaria
“The murder that is depicted as a horrible crime is repeated in cold blood, remorselessly.”
Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishments

Charles Dickens
“What a fine thing capital punishment is! Dead men never repent; dead men never bring awkward stories to light. The prospect of the gallows, too, makes them hardy and bold. Ah, it’s a fine thing for the trade! Five of them strung up in a row, and none left to play booty or turn white-livered!”
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Christopher Hitchens
“In effect, nobody who is not from the losing classes has ever been thrust into a death cell in these United States.”
Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

Victor Hugo
“It is wrong to become absorbed in the divine law to such a degree as not to perceive human law. Death belongs to God alone. By what right do men touch that unknown thing?”
Victor Hugo

Ernst Jünger
“The (capital punishment) controversy passes the anarch by. For him, the linking of death and punishment is absurd. In this respect, he is closer to the wrongdoer than to the judge, for the high-ranking culprit who is condemned to death is not prepared to acknowledge his sentence as atonement; rather, he sees his guilt in his own inadequacy. Thus, he recognizes himself not as a moral but as a tragic person.”
Ernst Jünger, Eumeswil

Hannah Kent
“Agnes: "I have a question for you, speaking of truth. You say God speaks the truth."

Tóti: "Yes."

Agnes: "And God said: 'Thou shalt not kill.'

Tóti: "Yes. Tóti said carefully."

Agnes: "Then Blondal and the rest are going against God. They're hypocrites. They say they are carrying out God's law but they are only doing the will of men.”
Hannah Kent, Burial Rites

Milan Kundera
“I also think of those daily slaughters along the highways, of that death that is as horrible as it is banal and that bears no resemblance to cancer or AIDS because, as the work not of nature but of man, it is an almost voluntary death. How can it be that such a death fails to dumbfound us, to turn our lives upside down, to incite us to vast reforms? No, it does not dumbfound us, because like Pasenow, we have a poor sense of the real, and in the sur-real sphere of symbols, this death in the guise of a handsome car actually represents life; this smiling death is con-fused with modernity, freedom, adventure, just as Elisabeth was con-fused with the Virgin. This death of a man condemned to capital punishment, though infinitely rarer, much more readily draws our attention, rouses passions: confounded with the image of the executioner, it has a symbolic voltage that is far stronger, far darker and more repellent. Et cetera.

Man is a child wandering lost—to cite Baudelaire`s poem again—in the "forests of symbols."

(The criterion of maturity: the ability to resist symbols. But mankind grows younger all the time.)”
Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Not long ago I was much amused by imagining—what if the fancy suddenly took me to kill some one, a dozen people at once, or to do some thing awful, something considered the most awful crime in the world—what a predicament my judges would be in, with my having only a fortnight to live, now that corporal punishment and torture is abolished. I should die comfortably in hospital, warm aad snug, with an attentive doctor, and very likely much more snug and comfortable than at home. I wonder that the idea doesn't strike people in my position, if only as a joke.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

S.A. Tawks
“I guess having one hundred and four condoms full of heroin in your guts and the thought of a firing squad in your head make will make most things seem insignificant.”
S.A. Tawks, Mule

“Death Penalty' in rarest of rare cases, should adorn criminal justice system in India,which would operate as a detterent mechanism. Abrogation of capital punishment and it's obliteration from the law, would be a great folly. In the human rights perspective, concretising the human rights of the criminal(perpetrator of a particular offense attracting Capital punishment ) by negating Human Rights of the victim is again a murder of justice.”
Henrietta Newton Martin -Senior Legal Consultant & Author in law. (B.Com,LLB-goldmedalist, LLM-GoldM

Kristin Hannah
“Mr. Lundberg: "I asked you for your position on capital punishment."
Student: "Prone.”
Kristin Hannah, The Things We Do for Love

Howard Zinn
“Capital punishment could not be justified in any society calling itself civilized.”
Howard Zinn, Marx in Soho: A Play on History

John Grisham
“You look at the crime and you look at the criminal. If it's a dope dealer who guns down an undercover narcotics officer, then he gets the gas. If it's a drifter who rapes a three-year-old girl, drowns her by holding her little head in a mudhole, then throws her body off a bridge, then you take his life and thank god he's gone. If it's an escaped convict who breaks into a farmhouse late at night and beats and tortures an elderly couple before burning them with their house, then you strap him in a chair, hook up a few wires, pray for his soul, and pull the switch. And if it's two dopeheads who gang-rape a ten-year-old girl and kick her with pointed-toe cowboy boots until her jaws break, then you happily, merrily, thankfully, gleefully lock them in a gas chamber and listen to them squeal. It's very simple. Their crimes were barbaric. Death is too good for them, much too good.”
John Grisham, A Time to Kill

S.A. Tawks
“Besides the pain in my gut, why shouldn't I laugh? I've almost escaped death in a foreign country.”
S.A. Tawks, Mule

Karl Marx
“It would be very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to establish any principle upon which the justice or expedience of capital punishment could be founded in a society glorying in its civilization.”
Karl Marx

“It cannot be denied that in cases of child rape the question of consent cannot arise at all, simply because a child or worst still an infant lacks mental power or knowledge to provide "consent" or even lacks physical ability to restrain. Moreover such an act subjects the child/infant to physical trauma, leading to even physical, mental, and psychological ailment. To eliminate the horror from the face of the Earth, I firmly believe we need to accept capital punishment as an apt punishment for subjecting a child to such an ordeal.”
Henrietta Newton Martin;Sr Legal Consultant

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“But here I should imagine the most terrible part of the whole punishment is, not the bodily pain at all—but the certain knowledge that in an hour, then in ten minutes, then in half a minute, then now—this very instant—your soul must quit your body and that you will no longer be a man—and that this is certain, certain!”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

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