Punishment for crimes used to be a lot simpler than it is today. It used to be that when a thief was caught he was hanged, put in the pillory, or sent to prison for a time depending upon the prevailing custom and the severity of the crime. When a murderer was caught, he was hanged, shot, or decapitated according to local custom.
Today, there are many other issues to consider. Although the guy may already have been arrested a half-dozen times or so, was he read his rights? The Supreme Court says that if he isn't read his rights when arrested he can get off. Other technicalities also abound concerning admissibility of various sorts of evidence. Finally there is the insanity defense. One awaits the day when psychiatrists decide that all people who commit crimes are insane and hence can't go to jail.
Although these changes are supposed to reflect an advance in the way justice is meted out, it would seem that many people prefer the old methods. For evidence of this, look at the cop shows on television and such films as the Cint Eastwood Dirty Harry Series and Charles Bronson's Deathwish. People don't want to see criminals released on technicalities. They want to see the matter taken care of quickly and permanently.
Stealing has always been a way of redistributing wealth.
John Conyers Jr.
To make certain that crime does not pay, the government should
take it over and try to run it.
We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it
and then tax it out of business.
Murderer: You cannot blame me. It was my heredity and
environment that caused me to kill.
Judge: It is my heredity and environment that sentences you
to hang by the neck until dead.
If society is at fault that we got killers running around
murdering innocent people, then it's simple. We turn the killer
loose, give him a pension for life and shoot the rest of the
The police can't use clubs or gas or dogs. I suppose they will
have to use poison ivy.
William F. Buckley Jr., when campaigning for New York City mayor
If poverty is the mother of crimes, want of sense is the father
Jean de la Bruyere
The criminal left belongs not in a dormitory, but in a
Let them sweat it out in the sun, grow vegetables to eat and
learn a trade.
Gilbert Lindsay, LA City Councilman on deporting Skid Row bums to work camps during the 1984 Olympics
The crime should be punished no matter whether poverty or wealth
caused it to occur, because the crime is wrong.
Ernest van den Haag
It is not our job to apply laws which have not been written.
Supreme Court decision, on the Sony VCR case, in refusing to interpret as yet unwritten copyright law
The new law leaves no doubt about the citizen's rights when a
criminal breaks into his home.
Dave Treen, former LA governor reacting to criticism of his "shoot the burgular" law
To find a policeman in a hurry, double-park.
Capital punishment has probably been responsible for a good deal
of human progress. The overwhelming majority of those executed
were of the sort whose departures for bliss eternal improved the
average intelligence and decency of the race.
The method of electrocution would be much better than the old
method of hanging.
Meldrim Thomsom, speaking on capital punishment
The long and distressing controversy over capital punishment is
very unfair to anyone contemplating murder.
Where would Christianity be if Jesus got eight to ten years with
time off for good behavior?
James Donovan, NY State Senator arguing for capital punishment
If there hadn't been a death penalty, there would be no
I agree with the death penalty. I think that people would be
alive today if there were a death penalty.
He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to
A death-row inmate who refused triple-bypass surgery was in
guarded condition Saturday after suffering a heart attack that
may delay his scheduled Aug. 18 execution, officials said.
From the Grand Rapids Press, Michigan
A jury consists of twelve men chosen to decide who has the
It's not the people in prison who worry me. It's the people who
The Lord Chief Justice of England recently said that the greater
part of his judicial time was spent investigating collisions
between propelled vehicles, each on its own side of the road,
each sounding its horn, and each stationary.
If the criminal wants to commit suicide then he should be
allowed to do so. Something should be left in the cell. Perhaps a
Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.
Jury: A group of twelve men who, having lied to the judge about
their hearing, health, and business engagements, have failed to
The late William Jennings Bryan, L.L.D., always had one great
advantage in controversy; he was never burdened with an
understanding of his opponent's case.
We are all subject to the law in order that we may all be free.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
What do I care about the law? Hain't I got the power?
HNCKLEY INSANE, PUBLIC MAD
Headline in the Indianapolis News, after John Hinckley was declared insane
Mercy is not what every criminal is entitled to. What he is
entitled to is justice.
Unsuccessful perpetrators of gun-and-mask crimes may find
themselves putting in up to ten years in the slammer. Their
white-collar, computer-savvy counterparts become consultants.
Jack B. Rochester and John Gantz
Judges, as a class, display, in the matter of arranging alimony,
that reckless generosity which is found only in men who are
giving away somebody else's cash.
If I had my way I am afraid I would abolish mothers-in-law
Sir Geoffrey Wrangham, British High Court Justice
Perhaps the crime situation would be improved if we could get
more cops off television and onto the streets.
Trying a case a second time is like eating yesterday morning's
If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will
find something in them to hang him.
These detective series on TV always end at precisely the right
moment - after the criminal is arrested and before the court
turns him loose.