Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. Historically, the execution of criminals and political opponents was used by nearly all societies—both to punish crime and to suppress political dissent.
- If we could do away with death, we wouldn’t object; to do away with capital punishment will be more difficult. Were that to happen, we would reinstate it from time to time.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Travels, from Makarie’s Archive (1829).
- Many of us do not believe in capital punishment, because thus society takes from a man what society cannot give.
- Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Modes and Morals, ch. 7 (1920).
- What will be left of the power of example if it is proved that capital punishment has another power, and a very real one, which degrades men to the point of shame, madness, and murder?
- Albert Camus, “Reflections on the Guillotine,” Resistance, Rebellion and Death (1961).
- We are concerned here only with the imposition of capital punishment for the crime of murder, and when a life has been taken deliberately by the offender, we cannot say that the punishment is invariably disproportionate to the crime. It is an extreme sanction suitable to the most extreme of crimes.
- Potter Stewart, Majority opinion in 7-2 ruling that the death penalty is a constitutionally acceptable form of punishment for premeditated murder (July 2, 1976)
- Capital punishment kills immediately, whereas lifetime imprisonment does so slowly. Which executioner is more humane? The one who kills you in a few minutes, or the one who wrests your life from you in the course of many years?
- Anton Chekhov, The banker in The Bet, Works, vol. 7, p. 229, “Nauka” <1254>
- As regards capital cases, the trouble is that emotional men and women always see only the individual whose fate is up at the moment, and neither his victim nor the many millions of unknown individuals who would in the long run be harmed by what they ask. Moreover, almost any criminal, however brutal, has usually some person, often a person whom he has greatly wronged, who will plead for him. If the mother is alive she will always come, and she cannot help feeling that the case in which she is so concerned is peculiar, that in this case a pardon should be granted. It was really heartrending to have to see the kinfolk and friends of murderers who were condemned to death, and among the very rare occasions when anything governmental or official caused me to lose sleep were times when I had to listen to some poor mother making a plea for a criminal so wicked, so utterly brutal and depraved, that it would have been a crime on my part to remit his punishment.
- Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, An Autobiography
- I personally have always voted for the death penalty because I believe that people who go out prepared to take the lives of other people forfeit their own right to live. I believe that that death penalty should be used only very rarely, but I believe that no-one should go out certain that no matter how cruel, how vicious, how hideous their murder, they themselves will not suffer the death penalty.
- In the case of murder, the death penalty - issued by way of putting the culprit to sleep to then apply the lethal injection - is the time delayed procedure of self-defense as carried out by the representatives of the victim(s) who, at the time of the incident and due to the then existing circumstances, was/were unable to defend itself/themselves from the willful murderous attack.
- Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - ) From Chapter 6 of "Ayn Rand, I and the Universe" (http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Schieder/The_Logically_Resulting_Type_of_Society.shtml)
- 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.
- I have reached the conviction that the abolition of the death penalty is desirable. Reasons: 1) Irreparability in the event of an error of justice, 2) Detrimental moral influence of the execution procedure on those who, whether directly or indirectly, have to do with the procedure.
- Albert Einstein p.83, Albert Einstein-The human side, Princeton University Press 1979
- Death penalty is the special and eternal sign of barbarism. Where death penalty is applied, barbarism dominates; where death penalty is rare, civilisation reigns.
- Three things belong to God and do not belong to men: the irrevocable, the irreparable and the indissoluble. Woe to men if they introduce it in their laws!
- Victor Hugo, National Constituant Assembly of the French Republic, 15 September 1848
- The burning of the house of the offender is not a permissible punishment for arson. The rape of the offender is not a permissible punishment of a rapist. Why should murder be a permissible punishment for murder?
- Justice Ismail Mahomed, S v Makwanyane, 6 June 1995
- And capital punishment, however ineffective it may be and through whatever ignorance it may be resorted to, is a strictly defensive act, - at least in theory.
- Capital punishment is as fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime as charity is wrong as a cure for poverty.
- Capital punishment is our society's recognition of the sanctity of human life.
- Executing a murderer is the only way to adequately express our horror at the taking of an innocent life. Nothing else suffices. To equate the lives of killers with those of victims is the worst kind of moral equivalency. If capital punishment is state murder, then imprisonment is state kidnapping and restitution is state theft.
- If Capital Punishment is state sponsored murder, then any lesser punishment is a state sponsored murder of Justice.
- It is Justice, not Laws that cures the society. And Capital Punishment is the only Justice that suits a murderer.
- Que dit la loi? 'Tu ne tueras pas.' Comment le dit-elle? En tuant!
- What does the law say? "Thou shalt not kill." How does it say it? By killing!"
- Said a man ingenuously to one of his friends: "This morning we condemned three men to death. Two of them definitely deserved it."