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Executions and Prison Safety?

A distraction from real solutions

It sounds logical – once someone has a life sentence, they have nothing left to lose by killing in prison, right? Wrong. People serving life sentences have to make prison their homes forever, so preserving even tiny privileges makes a big difference to their quality of life. That is why studies and the real-life experience of wardens and corrections officers have found that lifers are the least likely to commit murder in prison.

Keeping prisons safe: Voices from the front lines

  • "I've been in this system for over 40 years. I’ve been held hostage and been through multiple prison riots. If someone told me that the death penalty would protect me as a corrections officer, I would be offended. Safety inside prisons depends on proper staffing, programming, and effective reintegration of inmates back into society. The death penalty does not safeguard anybody."1
    — Calvin Lightfoot, former corrections officer, warden, and Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services for the state of Maryland



  • "A well-managed prison with proper classification and staffing can create incentives for lifers to behave while segregating and punishing those who are a threat before violence ever occurs. Our prison system already knows how to do this. The reality is that the death penalty is not, and never has been, a deterrent. Prison safety depends on proper staffing, equipment, resources and training. Certainly the money spent on trying to put someone to death for over 20 years could find better use in addressing those practical needs of our correctional system."2
    — John Connor, former chief special prosecutor for the state of Montana for 21 years, prosecuting five death penalty cases involving prison homicides.


What incentive do life-sentenced inmates have to keep from killing again in prison?

Issue quote: Ron McAndrew, on Cost - Testimony, March 25, 2009

I don’t believe there is a single qualified prison warden in this country that wouldn’t trade the death penalty for more resources to keep his or her facility safe. The death penalty system is just a drain on those resources, and it serves no purpose in the safety of the public or prisons.

— Ron McAndrew, former warden, Florida State Prison, who presided over eight executions

  • Life without parole can be "bad, horrible, or extremely horrible," as one warden put it. For those few who are a danger to others, there are facilities for long-term custodial segregation - a tiny cell where even meals are eaten alone. The bleak and harsh reality of life under custodial segregation offers great incentive to avoid that fate.
  • People serving life must make prison their homes forever. They will never again have the thousands freedoms many of us take for granted – an extra hour in the sun, decent food, the touch of another human being. The miserable environment of prison means lifers have to preserve even the tiniest privileges they can get.3
  • If people serving life had "nothing left to lose" by killing in prison, the same thing would be true for death row – you can’t be executed twice. Yet thousands of death row inmates live in prison for years and even decades without committing another murder in prison.
  • The death penalty is no more of a deterrent for prison murder than it is for murder outside prison. If it were, one would expect more prison murders in non-death penalty states. Yet 98% of prison murders occurred in jurisdictions that have the death penalty during the last year that data was available.4

Even prisoners can be wrongly convicted

  • The same problems that plague all death penalty cases are exacerbated by the fishbowl environment of prison. Prisoners may be more easily persuaded to give false testimony in exchange for better treatment, increasing the risk of wrongful convictions.

Case in point: Joe Amrine was serving a short sentence for check kiting in Missouri when he was convicted of a prison stabbing. His trial attorney conducted no investigation. The three inmates who testified against him said later that prison officials pressured them to finger Amrine. A prison guard consistently said he saw one of the three prison "witnesses" fleeing the crime scene. Amrine spent 17 years on death row before state courts concluded he was actually innocent.

The use of resources: preventing prison murder

  • The death penalty is shown to cost millions more than a system of life in prison. Those extra resources would be better spent preventing prison murders at a fraction of the cost.
  • One California prison lowered fatal stabbings by 94% simply by removing the sheet metal shop from its prison industry.5 Other prisons have removed blind spots, increased security in high-risk areas, and placed dangerous inmates in special units to maximize staff protection.

How often do people serving life sentences kill in prison, anyway?

  • Prisoners serving life without parole are often much less likely than the average inmate to break prison rules. Virtually all studies and accounts of lifers by correctional workers confirm this.6
  • Prison murder overall is extremely rare. The murder of a corrections officer is even more rare. Many states haven’t had a single corrections officer killed in the last 30 years. Prison staff are 82 times less likely to be murdered by an inmate than the average person outside.7
  1. 1. Private interview, March 2007.
  2. 2. John Connor, "Death penalty drains justice system resources," Billings Gazette, March, 22, 2009.
  3. 3. Robert Johnson, "Life Without Parole, Our Other Death Penalty," submitted to the Maryland Legislature, 2007.
  4. 4. Christopher J. Mumola, "Suicide and Homicide in State Prisons and Local Jails," Bureau of Justice Statistics, August 2005. Data is from 2002. Of 87 inmates killed in prison in 2002, only 1 of them was killed in a state that did not have the death penalty.
  5. 5. W. Wolfson, "The Deterrent Effect of the Death Penalty upon Prison Murder," in Hugo Bedau, The Death Penalty in America, 1982.
  6. 6. Johnson. According to a report by the Arizona State Prison ("A Report: Life Term Prisoners in the United States," 1974), 89% of surveyed correctional workers reported that lifers presented fewer disciplinary problems than the general population, and 92% said lifers were more cooperative.
  7. 7. As of 1997. The inmate-on-staff homicide rate in 1997 was 1 per 1,000,000 inmates, compared to the U.S. murder rate of 82 murders per 1,000,000 population. Bureau of Justice Statistics, cited by Death Penalty Information Center, Understanding Capital Punishment: A Guide Through the Death Penalty Debate, March 2003, p. 33.

People are asking

Even if the death penalty does cost more, can you put a price on justice?...

Even if the death penalty does cost more, can you put a price on justice?

No, but the death penalty is a failed policy that makes irreversible mistakes, monopolizes our courts, delays justice for families of murder victims, and sucks resources away from criminal justice programs that would actually prevent crime and keep us safer.

Other tough questions about the death penalty

 

Issue quote: Richard Bloch, on Fairness - Huffington Post, May 20, 2013

We are in a crisis when our state, which is 4.3 percent African-American, has a death row that is 100 percent African American. A broken system has produced flawed results.

— Richard Bloch, Former Chief Deputy District Attorney of Arapahoe County, CO

Issue quote: Robert DelTufo, on Fairness - Testimony before the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission. September 13, 2006

...being selected as a defendant for a capital case is as random and serendipitous as being struck by lightning.

— Robert DelTufo, former Attorney General of New Jersey

Issue quote: Donald McCartin, on Cost - The Globe and Mail, March 4, 2009

[The death penalty is] a waste of time and money...The only thing it does is prolong the agony of the victims' families.

— Donald McCartin, self-described right-wing Republican and former California jurist who sent nine men to death row

Issue quote: Rand Paul - LA Times, March 7, 2013

Many states and even many people who are in support of the death penalty question their support of the death penalty because of the imperfection of our courts. Through DNA testing, we don't always get it right, even with that.

— Rand Paul, Kentucky Senator

Issue quote: Jim Willet, on Secondary trauma - Jim Willet, former warden, Huntsville, Texas, who oversaw 89 executions

A new set of victims is created among the family members of the condemned who watch. I wondered most about the mothers who saw their sons being put to death. Some would just wail out crying. It’s a sound you’ll never hear any place else, an awful sound that sticks with you.

— Jim Willet, former warden, Huntsville, Texas, who oversaw 89 executions

Issue quote: Lorie J. Hopper, on Secondary trauma - Lorie J. Hopper, former correctional officer on Texas Death Row

Before working on Texas Death Row, I strongly supported capital punishment,

— Lorie J. Hopper, former correctional officer on Texas Death Row

Issue quote: Steve Morris - Hutchinson News, June 29, 2003

Overall, we just need to evaluate the whole death penalty issue. If it's going to take millions and millions of dollars per inmate and years before we can execute someone, that's a major policy issue we need to look at.

— Steve Morris, Kansas Senator 2003

Issue quote: Steven D. Levitt, on Public safety - New York Times blog, June 11, 2007

If you do back-of-the-envelope calculations, it becomes clear that no rational criminal should be deterred by the death penalty, since the punishment is too distant and too unlikely to merit much attention. As such, economists who argue that the death penalty works are put in the uncomfortable position of having to argue that criminals are irrationally overreacting when they are deterred by it.

— Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics

Issue quote: Mark James - Nevada Appeal, April 21, 2001

There is not a single person on death row that had a fully funded private defense. If you're rich, you're not going to get capital punishment - period.

— Mark James, Republican State Senator

Issue quote: Robert Meerpol, on Secondary trauma - press conference, October 27, 2005

We don't even know how many children have an immediate family member on death row in the United States today. Worse, we don't know the effect that having a parent executed will have upon their impressionable lives, and cost society may pay, for that impact...these children are all innocent victims of the state's efforts to kill their loved ones.

— Robert Meeropol, who was six years old when his parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed in 1953

Issue quote: Kathleen Parker - Topeka Capital-Journal, September 26, 2011

For justice to have any meaning, it must also mean that no innocent person should ever be executed...

— Kathleen Parker, conservative columnist who lost several family members to murder

Issue quote: Scott Turow - Personal Correspondence, November 8, 2010

The issue is not whether there are horrible cases where the penalty seems "right". The real question is whether we will ever design a capital system that reaches only the "right" cases, without dragging in the wrong cases, cases of innocence or cases where death is not proportionate punishment. Slowly, even reluctantly, I have realized the answer to that question is no- we will never get it right.

— Scott Turow, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago

Issue quote: Burley Mitchell, on Cost - The News & Record, North Carolina. August 8, 2000

I think the time has come to decide whether it's worth the cost.

— Burley Mitchell, former Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court and a long time death penalty supporter

Issue quote: Raymond Lesniak, on Innocence - April 1, 2005

Much has changed since I voted to reinstate the death penalty twenty years ago. New technologies such as DNA and other evidence have shown that people can make terrible mistakes.

— New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak, who sponsored the bill to repeal New Jersey's death penalty 25 years after voting to reinstate it

Issue quote: John McLaughlin - "The McLaughlin Group," January 2, 2011

The biggest government waste: The death penalty. An individual death-penalty case could climb to $100 million, much of it spent at the litigation level. Also, DNA evidence has exonerated nearly 300 death-row inmates.

— John McLaughlin, creator and host of "The McLaughlin Group"

Issue quote: Christy Clark, on Cost - Conservative group looks to abolish Montana death penalty," Great Falls Tribune, September

It is time for conservatives to do what they do best and insist that a wasteful, inefficient government program gets off the books. Small government and the death penalty don’t go together.

— Christy Clark, Republican Representative of Montana

Issue quote: Don Heller - Recordnet.com editorial, July 14, 2011

I fervently believe that capital punishment should be abolished. It's costing the state a huge amount of money.

— Don Heller, former prosecutor who authored California death penalty law

Issue quote: Ron McAndrew, on Cost - Testimony, March 25, 2009

I don’t believe there is a single qualified prison warden in this country that wouldn’t trade the death penalty for more resources to keep his or her facility safe. The death penalty system is just a drain on those resources, and it serves no purpose in the safety of the public or prisons.

— Ron McAndrew, former warden, Florida State Prison, who presided over eight executions

Issue quote: Kenneth Starr - San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 17, 2006

Society is not equipped to handle death penalty cases because of resources. Large law firms are not willing at this stage to take these cases on, at a cost of many thousands of dollars, in order to make sure that if the public wants the death penalty, it is not administered with arbitrariness and caprice

— Kenneth Starr, former special prosecutor

Issue quote: Mark White, on Innocence - Houston Chronicle, Oct. 18, 2009

There is a very strong case to be made for a review of our death penalty statutes and even look at the possibility of having life without parole so we don't look up one day and determined that we as the state of Texas have executed someone who is in fact innocent.

— Mark White, Former Governor of Texas

Issue quote: Richard Viguerie - Sojourners Magazine, July 2009

Conservatives have every reason to believe the death penalty system is no different from any politicized, costly, inefficient, bureaucratic, government-run operation, which we conservatives know are rife with injustice. But here the end result is the end of someone's life. In other words, it's a government system that kills people.

— Richard Viguerie, known as one of the "creators of the modern conservative movement"

Issue quote: Rob McKenna - C. Sullivan, "Attorney General Rob McKenna not sure if ultimate penalty's worth it," MyNorthwest.com.

I think [the death penalty is] very expensive, and the delays are inordinate, delaying closure for the victims' families.

— Rob McKenna, Attorney General for the state of Washington

Issue quote: Sheila Simon - Open letter to Governor Pat Quinn, January 25, 2011

Even in the best of circumstances, our system allows for error...As a matter of public respect for our justice system, we cannot tolerate error in execution.

— Sheila Simon, former prosecutor and Lieutenant Governor of Illinois

Issue quote: Barry Scheck, on Innocence - Testimony before the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment. September 5, 2008

Indeed, because every one of us is human and all of us are actors in a fact-finding mission, if just one of us makes an error, jumps to a conclusion, or acts on a false assumption, an innocent man can be condemned to a guilty man's fate.

— Co-Director of the Innocent Project

Issue quote: Ashley Pennington - Robert Behre, "1 in 5 death penalty cases led to death row," Post and Courier. March 15, 2010

One capital case absorbs the resources of another 200 cases. I don't think I'm exaggerating. The truth is, I can spend an 18-month period working out 50 major cases or one capital case.

— Ashley Pennington, Charleston County, South Carolina Public Defender

Issue quote: George Skelton - LA Times, July 14, 2011

Don't misread me. You won't find any arguments here about the death penalty being unfair, immoral or barbaric. I don't buy it.... But the issue here is not about the merits of the death penalty. It's about inefficiencies and priorities. As we raise university tuitions out of sight, whack the poor and lay off cops, do we really want to be spending $308 million to snuff out one individual?

— George Skelton, conservative political columnist

Issue quote: Robert M. Carney, on Cost - Testimony before the New York State Assembly Codes, Judiciary, and Correction Committe

Continuing to spend millions of dollars to take a murder defendant who has already been caught and subject him to death rather than life without parole will not prevent the next murder. Redirecting money to more vigorously apprehend and prosecute armed robbers, rapists, burglars, and those who commit gun crimes will prevent murders and save lives.

— Robert M. Carney, Schenectady, NY District Attorney

Issue quote: Carmen Rodriguez - VOICES: Connecticut Murder Victims’ Families Speak out Against the Death Penalty

For me and so many other victims’ family members, the death penalty never is the focus of our attention because we face too many other pressing concerns in the aftermath of a loved ones murder.

— Carment Rodriguez, whose son, Carlos, was murdered in 2002

Issue quote: Deldelp Medina - Mercury News, August 24, 2010

My Tía's killer was her own son -- my cousin. He was in the midst of a psychotic break....Cutting funding to treat mental illness while paying for the death penalty is simply insane.

— Deldelp Medina, whose aunt was murdered by another family member

Issue quote: Vivian Penda - Baltimore Sun, November 17 2011

[On TV] there's so much attention paid to certain murders that you assume the families going through their tragedy are getting support and help. [When] my son, Dennis, was murdered in 2002, and I learned how little support there actually is...Many survivors face trouble just getting out of bed, much less figuring out where to find and fight for grief counseling and other needed services.

— Vivian Penda, whose son, Dennis, was murdered in 2002

Issue quote: Arlis Keller - Colorado Repeal Hearing, March 14, 2013

If my brother's wife is sentenced to death for her actions, we will have to face years, perhaps decades, of mandatory appeals.

— Arlis Keller, testified in CO repeal hearing in 2013

Issue quote: Rex Zent, on Secondary trauma - Columbus Dispatch, June 19, 2001

It's not about crime prevention or crime deterrence or saving money. [With executions] we're creating a lot of other residual victims.

— Rex Zent, former warden at 2 state prisons, 27 year corrections veteran

Issue quote: Dale Vietmeier, on Public safety - saying he'd rank cutting drug addiction and adding police officers as higher pri

I think law enforcement thinks [the death penalty is] a joke and that's probably why 1 percent thinks it's effective. It takes too long and there's too many people on death row that never get put to death.

— Dale Vietmeier, Police Chief and former President of the Allegheny County, PA Chiefs of Police Association

Issue quote: Ron McAndrew, on Secondary trauma - Testimony, March 25, 2009

I myself was haunted by the men I was asked to execute in the name of the State of Florida. I would wake up in the middle of the night to find them lurking at the foot of my bed.

— Ron McAndrew, former warden, Florida State Prison, who presided over eight executions

Issue quote: George Will - Washington Post, April 6, 2000

Conservatives, especially, should draw this lesson...capital punishment, like the rest of the criminal justice system, is a government program, so skepticism is in order.

— George Will, Washington Post columnist 2000

Issue quote: Martin Franz, on Fairness - Cleveland Plain Dealer. May 7, 2005

Our criminal justice system doesn’t always mete out justice and fairness in neat little packages – sometimes it’s a little rough. It’s not something you can compute with a calculus or with any kind of certainty as to who belongs and who doesn’t on death row.

— Martin Franz, prosecutor, Wayne County, Ohio

Issue quote: Matt Randles, on Innocence - Address, January 15, 2009

While we must always work to improve our justice system and appeals process, it will never be perfect. Never. But executing a person will always be final.

— Matt Randles, pastor at Headwaters Covenant Church (MT)

Issue quote: Neely Goen, on Cost - The Wichita Eagle, February 6, 2013

At one time I believed that the death penalty would benefit people like my mother and me, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

— Neely Goen, daughter of victim

Issue quote: Thomas Sullivan - Testimony before the New York State Assembly Codes, Judiciary, and Correction Committees. Decembe

...the truth of the matter is that if you favor the death penalty, you're not being tough on crime. It has nothing whatsoever to do with, as far as we can tell, as far as anybody can tell, on the affect on crime. Zero. Zip. It's just irrelevant. It's tough on the taxpayers. It's tough on the budget. That's what its tough on.

— Thomas Sullivan, former prosecutor and co-chair, Illinois Commission on the Death Penalty

Issue quote: 51 MD law enforcement officers, on Public safety - Letter to the Maryland General Assembly, released at a press con

We bow to no one in our support for tough law enforcement policies. We believe, however, that tough law enforcement policies must also be smart and effective. After much study and deliberation, we have come to believe that Maryland's death penalty is neither smart nor effective. Nor, because it is necessarily imposed in an inconsistent manner, is it tough.

— Letter urging repeal of the death penalty signed by 51 current and former Maryland law enforcement, March 13, 2007

Issue quote: Ray Samuels, on Innocence - Oakland Tribune, December 22, 2008

Despite the best intentions of law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and jurors, innocent people have been convicted and sentenced to death.

— Ray Samuels, Police Chief of Newark, CA

Issue quote: Norm Stamper, on Cost - Norm Stamper, "Death penalty wastes money, while failing to reduce crime," San Jose Mercury

Spending all this money on the death penalty might be worth it - if it actually made our communities safer. But it doesn't… Our communities would be exponentially better off by reinvesting the time, money and resources we spend on trying to get a few people executed into crime prevention measures that work.

— Norm Stamper, Former Seattle Police Chief

Issue quote: Ken Jones, on Public safety - Personal Correspondence

What does the death penalty do for us? Without any deterrent value, it certainly is not an effective law enforcement tool. Effective law enforcement and crime prevention requires precious resources that are being wasted on this ineffective and broken program.

— Ken Jones, former Chief of Police in Burbank, Illinois

Issue quote: James Fry, on Innocence - Dallas Morning News, May 15, 2009

For years I supported capital punishment, but I have come to believe that our criminal justice system is incapable of adequately distinguishing between the innocent and guilty. It is reprehensible and immoral to gamble with life and death.

— James Fry, former Texas prosecutor who says he is “no bleeding heart” but changed his mind about the death penalty after a man he sent to prison 27 years earlier was found innocent

Issue quote: Linda L. White, on Cost - Amarillo Globe-News, June 21, 2009

[The death penalty] consumes huge sums of money that could be used for direct victims' services, such as counseling, funeral expenses, and educational help for the children left behind.

— Linda L. White, whose daughter was murdered

Issue quote: Robert Morgenthau, on Public safety - Death Penalty Information Center report, February 7, 1995

Prosecutors must reveal the dirty little secret they too often share only among themselves: The death penalty actually hinders the fight against crime.

— Hon. Robert Morgenthau, former District Attorney for 34 years, New York, NY

Issue quote: Carolyn McGinn, on Cost - Ron Sylvester, "From a budget standpoint, is death row worth it?" The Witchita Eagle. Oct

We've had the death penalty since 1994, and we continue to pay for the process with little results... But we continue to cut the programs that could prevent these types of crimes.

— Kansas Senator Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, who sponsored a bill to repeal the death penalty in order to save funds

Issue quote: Joseph R. Lentol, on Innocence - Washington Post, April 13, 2005

The first time I voted for the death penalty, I thought of the law as majestic and that there was very little chance of a mistake…Then you grow up. Look at the DNA evidence – you realize that people can make terrible mistakes.

— New York State Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol

Issue quote: Brenda Carrasco - Colorado Repeal Hearing, March 14, 2013

One thing we now know is how incredibly expensive the death penalty is. Studies in Colorado have shown our death penalty uses a tremendous amount of resources, millions more than would be spent if our state’s ultimate punishment were life without parole.

— Brenda Carrasco, testified in CO repeal hearing in 2013

Issue quote: Rod Dreher, on Innocence - New York Post, May 5, 2001

At some point in this death-penalty debate, the sanctity of innocent life demands that men and women of conservative conscience have to say: Enough.

— Rod Dreher, conservative columnist

Issue quote: Robert Martin, on Innocence - April 1, 2005

There is a growing recognition that the death penalty simply can't work. It's a complex system that arbitrarily selects defendants for death and creates more stress and appeals, even as it is plagued by serious error. Each new exoneration reminds us of the unacceptable possibility of wrongful execution.

— New Jersey Senator Robert Martin (R), April 2005

Issue quote: David L. Joslyn - Personal Correspondence, November 3, 2010

The death penalty makes no sense as a law enforcement tool. Any law enforcement officer will tell you that it has no deterrent effect. Coupled with how much time, energy and money we pour into the death penalty system, it is nothing but a burden on prosecutors, the courts and the taxpayers. If we get rid of the death penalty, prosecutor's offices and the courts would be more effective and the public will be safer as a result.

— David L. Joslyn, Assistant State's Attorney in Cook County

Issue quote: Steve Monks - Plain Talk Politics, June 17, 2013

Conservative Republicans have every reason to reexamine capital punishment. The death penalty system’s additional costs compared to life without the possibility of release are beyond dispute. The trials, with so much at stake, are necessarily expensive and the appeals can take decades because of the real concern of executing innocent people.

— Steve Monks, attorney and former GOP chairman in Durham County, NC

Issue quote: Darryl Stallworth - "Not in Our Name, California"

The millions of taxpayer dollars we are currently wasting on a dysfunctional death penalty could be used for actual public safety measures.

— Darryl Stallworth, former Alameda County Deputy District Attorney.

Issue quote: Norman Barron - Delaware Voice, April 23, 2013

Having personally observed the exercise of the death penalty statute over the past two decades, I now conclude that the process under that law is flawed.

— Delaware Superior Court Judge Norman Barron, known as the "hanging judge" because of his willingness to impose the death penalty

Issue quote: Victoria Coward - CT News Junky, May 13, 2011

[The] death penalty is given in fewer than 1 percent of cases, yet it sucks up millions and millions of dollars that could be put toward crime prevention or victims’ services. What I wouldn’t give for a tiny slice of those millions to give my grieving daughters some professional help to process the death of their brother.

— Victoria Coward, whose son, Tyler, was murdered in 2007

Issue quote: John R. Dunne - Daily News, April 10, 2005

As a member of the New York Senate from 1966 to 1989, I voted 12 times to establish the death penalty in New York... I regret my votes in favor of the death penalty.

— John R. Dunne, former Assistant Attorney General under President George Bush and former New York State Senator (R)

Issue quote: Gregory Ruff, on Public safety - Testimony in Kansas, Feb. 18, 1994

I have seen the ugliness of murder up close and personal. But 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, Kansas

Issue quote: Steve Monks, on Secondary trauma - Plain Talk Politics, June 17, 2013

For the families of murder victims a death sentence almost always represents a false promise… murder victims’ families are sentenced to navigate the system for decades with no end in sight.

— Steve Monks, attorney and former GOP chairman in Durham County, NC

Issue quote: Marie Verzulli, on Victims - Marie Verzulli, whose sister Catherine was murdered in upstate New York

The death penalty divides families at a time when they need each other most. Instead of finding comfort with one another, we find ourselves handcuffed to the criminal justice system, stuck in a process that keeps replaying the worst time of our lives while providing us almost nothing in the way of real support or healing.

— Marie Verzulli, whose sister Catherine was murdered in upstate New York

Issue quote: Judy Kerr, on Cost - Death Penalty Information Center press release, October 20, 2009

The death penalty won't bring my brother back or help to apprehend his murderer. We need to start investing in programs that will actually improve public safety and get more killers off the streets.

— Judy Kerr, California, whose brother was murdered

Issue quote: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on Indigent Defense - Speech at the University of the District of Columbia. April 9, 2001

I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial... [P]eople who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty.

— Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, April 2001

Issue quote: Bonnita Spikes, on Cost - Testimony, February 21, 2007

From my personal experience struggling for good mental health care for my son, I believe family survivors of murder victims would be much better served if the resources wasted on the death penalty were used to provide quality mental health care for the victims and survivors of violence.

— Bonnita Spikes, whose husband was murdered, and who works with other homicide survivors in Baltimore

Issue quote: Steve Bright, on Fairness - Stephen B. Bright, "Discrimination, Death and Denial: The Tolerance of Racial Discrimin

At least five men who were sentenced to death in Georgia had lawyers who referred to them in court as 'niggers.'

— Steve Bright, Southern Center for Human Rights

Issue quote: Sterling Goodspeed, on Cost

I think I could prove to you that I could put someone in the Waldorf Hotel for 60 to 70 years and feed them three meals a day cheaper than we can litigate a single death penalty case.

— Sterling Goodspeed, former District Attorney, Warren County, NY

Issue quote: Robert Morgenthau, on Cost - Testimony, December 15, 2004

The death penalty exacts a terrible price in dollars, lives and human decency. Rather than tamping down the flames of violence, it fuels them while draining millions of dollars from more promising efforts to restore safety to our lives.

— Hon. Robert Morgenthau, former District Attorney for 34 years, New York, NY

Issue quote: Ron Paul - Liberty Defined, April 19, 2011

After years spent in Washington, I have become more aware than ever of the government’s ineptness and the likelihood of its making mistakes. I no longer trust the U.S. government to invoke and carry out a death sentence under any conditions.

— Ron Paul, former Presidential Candidate

Issue quote: Janice Greishaber, on Victims - Testimony, December 15, 2004

I’m here to tell you, as the Mother of a homicide victim, that the death penalty brings as much pain as it does relief, that it creates an entirely new layer of pain.

— Janice Greishaber, whose daughter, Jenna, was murdered

Issue quote: Calvin Lightfoot, on Public safety - Personal interview with EJUSA.

I've been in this system for over 40 years. I’ve been held hostage and been through multiple prison riots. If someone told me that the death penalty would protect me as a corrections officer, I would be offended. Safety inside prisons depends on proper staffing, programming, and effective reintegration of inmates back into society. The death penalty does not safeguard anybody.

— Calvin Lightfoot, former Maryland Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services

Issue quote: James Abbott, on Victims - Testimony before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee. March 13, 2008

If I were ever killed in the line of duty, I would never, ever want my wife or children to have to suffer the way the families who testified before me have suffered. Instead, I would want to know that the person who did it was behind bars for life, and that my family had the services they needed to heal and the financial support they needed to live without further sacrifice.

— Police Chief James Abbott, who changed his mind about the death penalty after serving on the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission.

Issue quote: Sam Millsap, on Innocence - San Antonio Express-News, October 13, 2008

When it comes to human life, a system that gets it right most of the time should not exist at all.

— Sam Millsap, former District Attorney of Bexar County, TX, who used to support the death penalty

Issue quote: Bill Redick, on Indigent Defense - Tennessee Justice Project press release, June 27, 2007

When even the most capable and hard-working attorneys lack adequate resources to do their job, there is an increased risk that innocent people will be incarcerated, guilty people may never be prosecuted, and other defendants will receive unfairly excessive sentences.

— Bill Redick, former Director, Tennessee Justice Project

Issue quote: John Van de Kamp - John Van de Kamp, "California can't afford the death penalty," Los Angeles Times. June 10, 2009

But these days, there's also a strong economic argument for doing away with capital punishment. With California facing its most severe fiscal crisis in recent memory... it would be crazy not to consider the fact that it will add as much as $1 billion over the next five years simply to keep the death penalty on the books.

— John Van de Kamp, former district attorney and attorney general of California

Issue quote: Jim Woodall - News and Observer, May 2, 2010

More and more, the climate is against trying capital cases...

— Jim Woodall, Orange and Chatham County, NC prosecutor

Issue quote: Jim Davidsaver, on Public safety - Jim Davidsaver, “Community Columnist: Death penalty comes down to dollars, cents

I have experienced countless violent crime scenes... Of the accused murderers my fellow officers and I have brought to justice, I do not believe any of them was deterred in the least by Nebraska’s death penalty.

— Police Sergeant Jim Davidsaver, 20-year veteran of the Lincoln Police Department

Issue quote: Bernie Anderson, on Cost - MyNews4, June 4, 2010

The death penalty absolutely costs more money, in fact the DA's office and
the Public Defender's Office, everyone agrees it's much more costly than
incarceration.

— Bernie Anderson, Nevada Assemblyman (D - Sparks)

Issue quote: Oliver North - Des Moines Registrar, June 12, 2000

I think capital punishment’s day is done in this country. I don’t think it’s fairly applied.

— Oliver North, former US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel and current conservative political commentator

Issue quote: Henrietta Beckman, on Victims - VOICES: Connecticut Murder Victims’ Families Speak out Against the Death Penalty

The money that we spend on the death penalty would be much better spent funding support groups, providing ongoing counseling to survivors, ensuring that every person who is murdered is able to be buried with dignity, and doing everything we can to prevent the tragedy of murder from ever taking place.

— Henrietta Beckman, whose son, Randy, was murdered in 2003

Issue quote: William Martin - Personal Correspondence, October 20, 2010

We can never build a system that is able to prevent the execution of those who are actually innocent. To me, this is a compelling argument why we should abolish the Death Penalty.

— William Martin, member of the Illinois' commission on Capital Punishment; obtained a capital conviction for Richard Speck resulting in a sentence of death

Issue quote: Ray Krone - Amy Worden, "Pa. lawmaker: End death penalty," Philadelphia Inquirer. March 17, 2010

It's the roll of the dice. If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone.

— Ray Krone, who was sentenced to die in Arizona for a crime he did not commit

Issue quote: Carlos Moreno - San Francisco Gate, August 2nd, 2012

[T]here’s no chance California’s death penalty can ever be fixed. The millions wasted on this broken system would be much better spent keeping teachers, police and firefighters on their jobs.

— Carlos Moreno, former California Supreme Court Justice

Issue quote: Richard Bloch - Huffington Post, May 20, 2013

The death penalty is an ineffective and costly government program that diverts resources away from public safety.

— Richard Bloch, Former Chief Deputy District Attorney of Arapahoe County, CO

Issue quote: Sandra Day O'Connor, on Innocence - Associated Press

If statistics are any indication, the system may well be allowing some innocent defendants to be executed.

— Former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Issue quote: John Connor, on Cost - John Connor, “Death penalty drains justice system resources,” Billings Gazette. March 22, 20

A well-managed prison with proper classification and staffing can create incentives for lifers to behave while segregating and punishing those who are a threat before violence ever occurs... Prison safety depends on proper staffing, equipment, resources and training. Certainly the money spent on trying to put someone to death for over 20 years could find better use in addressing those practical needs of our correctional system.

— John Connor, former chief special prosecutor for the state of Montana for 21 years, prosecuting five death penalty cases involving prison homicides

Issue quote: Jason Nemes, on Cost - R. G. Dunlop, "Kentucky's troubled death-penalty system lets cases languish for decades," Th

We've got a system in Kentucky where there's not enough money for public advocates, for prosecutors, for drug courts, family courts, for juvenile services, for rehabilitation programs, and we're using the money we have in a way I think is unwise... Every dollar that goes to our ineffective capital punishment system is a dollar taken away from other needs.

— Jason Nemes, former director of the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts

Issue quote: Matthew Campbell, on Fairness - Death Penalty Information Center, March 19,2007

It is a human system, and because it is fallible and because it is human, it makes mistakes. Executions make those mistakes irreversible.

— Matthew Campbell, former deputy state's attorney for Montgomery and Howard counties

Issue quote: Joseph Lambert, on Innocence - R. G. Dunlop, "Kentucky's troubled death-penalty system lets cases languish for deca

...it's impossible to streamline death-penalty litigation to justify the cost, because doing so would dramatically increase the risk of wrongful executions.

— Former Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert

Issue quote: Harry Blackman - Opinion in Callins v. Collins 510 U.S. 1141, 1994

From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.

— Harry Blackman, Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Issue quote: Jim Willet, on Secondary trauma - Washington Post. May 13, 2001

Sometimes I wonder whether people really understand what goes on down here and the effect it has on us. Killing people, even people you know are heinous criminals, is a gruesome business, and it takes a harsh toll… I have no doubt it’s disturbing for all of us. You don’t ever get used to it.

— Jim Willet, former warden, Huntsville, Texas, who oversaw 89 executions

Issue quote: Michael Murphy, on Public safety - Testimony, February 4, 2005

While serving as a Prosecutor I allowed myself to believe, based on certain studies, that the death penalty was a meaningful deterrent to crime… I could not have been more wrong…In an effort to exact the ultimate punishment of society's most heinous criminals we have created a labyrinth of laws, procedures and endless appeals which, of necessity, drain precious resources from the legitimate goals of our law enforcers.

— Michael Murphy, former New Jersey prosecutor

Issue quote: Victoria Coward, on Victims - CT New Junky, May 13, 2011

There is a way forward that can help all victims. We can decide to stop spending so much money, time, and attention on a handful of capital cases and instead commit to focusing on real solutions to violence prevention and real services that all victims of homicide can benefit from.

— Victoria Coward, whose son, Tyler, was murdered in 2007

Issue quote: Andy Sonner, on Public safety - Andrew L. Sonner, "Commentary: It's time to kill Maryland's failed death penalty,"

During my 30 years as a Maryland prosecutor, I saw the death penalty system up close. I sent 12 defendants notices to prepare for a capital trial, tried six of them, and obtained death penalty verdicts in two. The crimes were cruel and the killers were wicked. I believed that if we are to have a death penalty, they deserved it. I have changed my mind.

— Hon. Andrew Sonner, former Maryland State's Attorney who used to support the death penalty

Issue quote: Vivian Penda, on Cost - Gazette.net, October 28, 2009

If we are serious about helping victims' families, we should go ahead and repeal the death penalty, sparing them the agonizing wait for cases to come to an end. Eliminating the death penalty will also save the state money that could be reinvested to provide more meaningful care for the families of murder victims, something I know from personal experience is lacking now.

— Vivian Penda, whose son, Dennis, was murdered

Issue quote: Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, on Cost - New Mexico State Capital, Feb 9, 2009

When I was a prosecutor there were two other prosecutors in my office that worked on a death penalty case for the entire two years that I was there. Without the death penalty on the books, those two prosecutors could have prosecuted 200 violent criminals each within that time frame. Imagine that, 400 violent criminals off the street -- instead, they worked on a death penalty case that never resulted in death.

— Representative Antonio "Moe" Maestas, former prosecutor, Bernalillo County, NM

Issue quote: Carolee Brooks, on Victims - Testimony, January 21, 2005

Honor my son and other victims of murder by acting with the highest regard for human life. You must act with the minds and spirits at levels higher that the murderer who killed my son.

— Carolee Brooks, whose son was murdered

Issue quote: Martin Luther King III - Republican-American, April 23, 2012

You may know that my father was gunned down by an assassin's bullet in 1968. My grandmother was gunned down in 1974 by another person. Certainly, I should be one to support the death penatly, but our family has always been against the death penalty.

— Martin Luther King III, son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Issue quote: Reverend Pat Robertson, on Fairness - Speech on Religion at William and Mary, April 2000

. . . we're looking at capital punishment as a way to mitigate against the fact that we have taken away many of our moral standards away from our young people . . .

— Reverend Pat Robertson, featured speaker at William and Mary

Issue quote: Randy Steidl, on Innocence - Testimony before the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment. September 5, 2008

We've heard a lot about statistics today but I am here to tell you that the people who have been exonerated and released from death rows across the United States aren't just statistics. They're human beings, human beings who had hopes and dreams, just like all Americans.

— Randy Steidl, who spent 12 years on death row in Illinois before being exonerated

Issue quote: Sam Millsap, on Innocence - Philadelphia City Paper, April 11, 2007

There is no foolproof way to determine guilt. The system we have is a wonderful system for all kinds of cases, but it's driven by human beings and they're not perfect even when they're doing their very best. That's why I say that we have to abolish the death penalty; an execution can't be undone.

— Sam Millsap, former District Attorney of Bexar County, TX, who used to support the death penalty

Issue quote: Kathy Garcia, on Victims - Testimony before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings committee. March 6, 2008

While well-intentioned people defend capital punishment "for the victims," surviving family members are left to grieve in silence, without access to ongoing services, peer support, or affordable, specialized counseling. Grassroots organizations around the country have sprung up to meet this need, but most of us struggle on a daily basis to remain in existence.

— Kathy Garcia, trauma expert, victims' advocate, and aunt of a murder victim

Issue quote: Tim Emert - Associated Press, January 22, 2004

I came to the conclusion the only vote I could live with was a 'no' vote on the death penalty in Kansas.

— Tim Emert, former Kansas state legislator

Issue quote: Kate Germond, on Innocence - Testimony before the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission. July 19, 2006

We cannot rely on the system to catch the errors, nor can we rely on the overburdened, not-for-profit organizations to save the ones that are innocent and in prison… Abolishing the death penalty will not ensure no innocent person will be convicted, but it would ensure that no innocent person will be killed by the state.

— Kate Germond, Centurion Ministries, an organization which has freed several innocent people from death row

Issue quote: Marshall Hurley, on Innocence - Grennsboro News & Record, July 27, 2003

North Carolina conservatives, liberals and everyone in between should question whether our state government should authorize execution of people when we know, to a moral certainty, that some of them are innocent. There is no principled justification for any conservative to place limits on government power in all other areas, but grant it the power to kill, knowing it will make mistakes.

— Marshall Hurley, a long-time Republican advocate in North Carolina

Issue quote: Texas trial judge, on Indigent Defense - Cited by Beth Wilkinson, Testimony before the United States Senate Committ

The Constitution guarantees the right to an attorney. It doesn't say the lawyer has to be awake.

— Texas trial judge in the case of George McFarland, whose lawyer slept through much of his trial.

Issue quote: Gail Rice, on Victims - Testimony before New Hampshire State Legislature, April 8, 2010

[The death penalty means victims’ families are] putting their lives on hold for years, sometimes decades, as they attend new hearings and appeals and relive the murder.

— Gail Rice, whose brother Bruce VanderJagt, a Denver policeman, was murdered in 1997

Issue quote: Scott Arthur - Personal Correspondence, November 2011

I have no moral opposition to the death penalty- I've prosecuted capital case. But I recognize that it causes a fiasco in the courts, puts victims' families through hell, and is a huge waste of time and money.

— Scott Arthur, Assistant States Attorney in Cook County

Issue quote: Ericka Bridgeford, on Victims - WBAL, Jan 29, 2013

After the funeral is over, a lot of your supporters disappear. You are still left with this pain, and so, instead of using the money to kill more people, it would be awesome if that money went to support victim services to do outreach and to train homicide detectives.

— Ericka Bridgeford, whose brother was murdered

Issue quote: Craig Watkins, on Innocence - The Guardian, April 20, 2010

I think that any reasonable person would have to reach that conclusion that someone has been executed for a crime they didn't commit.

— Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins

Issue quote: Dave Stetler - Personal Correspondence, November 7, 2010

Despite the tremendous resources required by capital prosecutions, mistakes are all to common; it is a fundamentally flawed process which dis-serves all involved.

— Dave Stetler, Assistant U.S. State's Attorney in Northern District of Illinois

Issue quote: James Wells, on Public safety - Testimony, September 27, 2006

...the death penalty is not an effective law enforcement tool in practice. It is a distraction from justice.

— James Wells, National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, whose son was murdered

Issue quote: Daryl Roberts - Justice in the Works Fall 2012

The death penalty makes a mockery of the idea of prevention. Chasing a handful of executions means that countless other crimes go unsolved. It means fewer cops on the beat. It means that those cops will get less training and be less effective....The death penalty drains millions of dollars and resources away from real crime-fighting solutions while it pretends to be that solution.

— Daryl K. Roberts, former police chief of Hartford, CT

Issue quote: Bruce Grieschaber, on Victims - Testimony, January 25, 2005

So, if it's not a deterrent, if it's not cost effective, if it begets more violence, if it releases a murderer from his earthly punishment, if it puts the victim's family through years and years of reliving the event, if it does not change our life without our loved one, and if it makes us no better than the murderer, what possible reasons could you have, could we have to have a death penalty?

— Bruce Grieshaber, who led the fight to abolish parole in New York after his daughter, Jenna, was murdered

Issue quote: Boyce Martin, on Fairness - Kentucky Courier-Journal, October 14, 2010

Lest there be any doubt, the idea that the death penalty is fairly and rationally imposed in this country is a farce.

— Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr., in a statement about the Kentucky death penalty system

Issue quote: Karen Pfaehler - The Missoulian, March 18, 2011

As a conservative, I celebrated the vote [to repeal the death penalty] as a reflection of our values to be efficient and judicious with taxpayer dollars and to rid our government of programs that don’t work.

— Karen Pfaehler, former vice chair of Montana GOP

Issue quote: Gil Garcetti - Los Angeles Times, 25 March 2011

Spending our tax dollars on actually preventing crimes, instead of pursuing death sentences after they've already been committed, will assure us we will have fewer victims.

— Gil Garcetti, former District Attorney of Los Angeles County.

Issue quote: Sandra Day O'Connor - ABC News Minneapolis

If statistics are any indication, the system may well be allowing some innocent defendants to be executed.

— Sandra Day O'Connor, Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Issue quote: Kathy Garcia, on Victims - Testimony before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings committee. March 6, 2008

The criminal justice system is hard enough on survivors. When the death penalty is added to the process, the survivor's connection to the system becomes a long-term and often multi-decade nightmare that almost never ends in the promised result. I have watched too many families go through this over the years to believe that there is any way to make the system work better.

— Kathy Garcia, trauma expert, victims' advocate, and aunt of a murder victim

Issue quote: Marshall Hurley, on Fairness - Grennsboro News & Record, July 27, 2003

For those who believe in the virtue of limited government and criticize roundly when government does not work well, capital punishment does not meet fundamental conservative standards. Not only is it applied arbitrarily, but our judicial system cannot even figure out how to examine it properly.

— Marshall Hurley, a long-time Republican advocate in North Carolina

Issue quote: Wall Street Journal, on Cost - "Prosecuting Death-Penalty Cases Puts Huge Strain," January 9, 2002

The cost, county officials say, can be an unexpected and severe budgetary shock – much like a natural disaster, but without any federal relief to ease the strain. To pay up, counties must raise taxes, cut services, or both.

— Wall Street Journal on the cost of the death penalty

Issue quote: Sharon Borcyzewski, on Victims - Arizona Republic. April 12, 2004

The assumption is all too often made that all murder-victim family members want the death penalty. The horrible reality for those of us who have lost loved ones to homicide is that nothing that happens to their murderers is going to bring our loved ones back.

— Sharon Borcyzewski, whose daughter was murdered in 1997

Issue quote: Mary Kate Cary - US News, March 30, 2011

It's becoming harder to justify the death penalty in the face of evidence that our system is flawed...

— Mary Kate Cary, former White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush

Issue quote: Thomas Sullivan, on Cost - Testimony, December 15, 2004

And in my view, you have a better chance at a good system of criminal justice if you don't spend all these million and millions of dollars on the 2% of cases that are death cases and ignore the 98% that are non-death cases.

— Thomas Sullivan, former prosecutor and co-chair, Illinois Commission on the Death Penalty

Issue quote: Jerry Givens, on Secondary trauma - abcnews.com, December 17, 2007

You're the American people. You sentenced a guy to be executed. You give him a trial, then you send him to me to be put to death. Then later on you [say] that this guy was innocent. You didn't put him to death. I did. I performed the execution. So you might suffer a little. I'm going to suffer a lot, because I performed the job.

— Jerry Givens, who executed 62 people as Virginia's chief executioner from 1982-1999

Issue quote: Bill Richardson, on Innocence - Statement, March 18, 2009

Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime. If the State is going to undertake this awesome responsibility, the system to impose this ultimate penalty must be perfect and can never be wrong. But the reality is the system is not perfect – far from it.

— New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, as he signed into law a bill to repeal the death penalty despite his previous support for the death penalty

Issue quote: Rachel Garcia, on Cost - The Albuquerque Tribune, March 15, 2005

I no longer want the men accused of killing my husband executed... I would rather see the death penalty abolished and reparations made to the victims' wives or husbands and to their children. I know how hard it is to go looking for a job, because my job was staying at home and taking care of the home and kids, and my husband was the breadwinner. I have faced that situation, and, believe you me, it's not easy.

— Rachel Garcia, whose husband was killed in the line of duty

Issue quote: United States v. Quinones, on Innocence - United States v. Quinones

The best available evidence indicates that, on the one hand, innocent people are sentenced to death with materially greater frequency than was previously supposed and that, on the other hand, convincing proof of their innocence often does not emerge until long after their convictions.

— United States v. Quinones

Issue quote: Greg Zoeller - Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Nov. 21, 2010

The costs can’t be borne by smaller counties particularly, so if the crime occurs in a large county you might be charged with the death penalty, in a smaller county you’re not. That raises some significant questions about fairness.

— Greg Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana

Issue quote: Don Cabana, on Secondary trauma - Don Cabana, former warden, Parchment, Mississippi

It has been said that the men on death row are inhuman, cold-blooded killers. But as I stood and watched a grieving mother leave her son for the last time, I questioned how the sordid business of executions was supposed to be the great equalizer.

— Don Cabana, former warden, Parchment, Mississippi

Issue quote: Jean Parks, on Cost - News & Record, August 25, 2010

The money N.C. spends on the death penalty for trials, appeals and executions could instead be spent on violence prevention and offender intervention programs such as the Juvenile Justice Project at Campbell University. Preventing violent crime is something that would truly honor our loved ones.

— Dr. Jean Parks, whose sister was murdered in Raleigh, NC

Issue quote: Richard Brown, on Cost - Southeast Queens Press, December 27, 2003

[T]he commitment of time, money and man power necessary for a capital case is enormous and it takes from other cases. But I think what bothers me most is that it offers to the families of the victims and the survivors a false sense of closure.

— Richard Brown, District Attorney, Queens, NY

Issue quote: Khalilah Brown-Dean - WTNH, February 29th 2012

The death penalty is not given out equally. It’s about saying certain cases are more important than others, certain crimes are more heinous than others...and for families it’s a real slap in our face.

— Khalilah Brown-Dean, whose cousin was murdered

Issue quote: Gerald Kogan, on Innocence - Testimony before the New York State Assembly Codes, Judiciary, and Correction Committe

...if you make a mistake and execute somebody, it is irrevocable. You don't dig up a coffin in a grave yard and open it up and say I'm sorry, we made a mistake. Our justice system demands more than just that.

— Hon. Gerald Kogan, former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and former Florida prosecutor, who sought and upheld numerous death sentences

Issue quote: Stephen Dalsheim, on Secondary trauma - Testimony, February 11, 2005

I do know, though, the effect of the death penalty on the staff working in the death house. I remember quite clearly PK Kelly who... talked about how he had to kill people and he was never sure whether the person he was killing was innocent or guilty. It had a terrible impact on him and the other workers in the death house. Many of them drank excessively.

— Stephen Dalsheim, former warden for 20 years at Sing Sing Prison, New York

Issue quote: Bill Broaddus, on Fairness - Virginian-Pilot, May 24, 1998

There's just no way I could conclude that the way we do this makes any sense. I have come to the conclude that, in fact, we apply the death penalty in a very arbitrary manner.

— Former Virginia Attorney General William Broaddus, once a supporter of the death penalty

Issue quote: Allen Ault - Newsweek, 2011

Those of us who have participated in executions often suffer something very much like posttraumatic stress...For me, those nights that weren’t sleepless were plagued by nightmares. My mother and wife worried about me. I tried not to share with them that I was struggling, but they knew I was.

— Dr. Allen Ault, Former Warden and Director of the Georgia Department of Corrections, who oversaw five executions

Issue quote: Dennis Paxinos, on Victims - Rocky Dailey, "No death penalty for Covington," Billings Gazette (video), 2008.

As probably the only attorney in the state of Montana who's successfully sought and secured a conviction in a death penalty case, I know firsthand the turmoil it took on the surviving family member in that case...

— Dennis Paxinos, Yellowstone County, MT, explaining why he was not seeking the death penalty in a recent case

Issue quote: Juan Roberto Melendez, on Innocence

I spent 17 years, eight months and one day on death row. I was not saved by the system. I was saved in spite of the system.

— Juan Roberto Melendez, exonerated in Florida in 2002

Issue quote: Evelyn Lundberg Stratton - The Columbus Dispatch, Jun 14, 2013

I have evolved to where I don’t think the death penalty is effective.

— Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, former Ohio Supreme Court Justice

Issue quote: Jim E. Lavine - Personal Correspondence, October 26, 2010

The millions of dollars and thousands of hours or prosecutorial time that we spend on a handful of capitol case would be much better invested in effective programs to prevent crime and prosecute offenders. The death penalty is a costly distraction from real programs that could help our communities.

— Jim E. Lavine, former Assistant States Attorney in Cooks County

Issue quote: George Gascon - Sacramento Bee, Oct. 14, 2012

We need to acknowledge that the death penalty is broken beyond repair.

— George Gascon, San Francisco District Attorney and former police chief

Issue quote: Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, on Innocence - Testimony, September 27, 2006

No set of procedures can completely guard against human error. Believe me, I was certain Ronald Cotton was the man who raped me — certain.

— Jennifer Thompson, rape victim who mistakenly identified an innocent man as her attacker

Issue quote: Judy Kerr, on Cost - California Progress Report, April 15, 2010

It is now nearly seven years since my brother Bob's murder. His killer is still walking the streets. My message and voice are focused on dispelling the delusion that the death penalty keeps us safe. We are wasting millions each year sentencing a few aging convicts to death while thousands more murders each year remain unsolved and tens of thousands of family members like me are left with little hope for any justice.

Issue quote: Harry Trainor, Jr., on Indigent Defense - Testimony, August 5, 2008

The reality is that death penalty cases are so complex and so labor intensive that low-paid attorneys actually have to choose between putting on an adequate defense and losing money on the case... A system that puts a person's life on the line cannot hang its hopes on the sheer luck that a few extraordinary good samaritans will always be there and be willing to make these kinds of sacrifices.

— Harry Trainor, Jr., Maryland defense attorney

Issue quote: Steve Bright, on Indigent Defense - Steve Bright, Southern Center for Human Rights

In this country, you are better off being rich and guilty than poor and innocent.

— Steve Bright, Southern Center for Human Rights

Issue quote: Cathy Ansheles - "Not in Our Name, New Mexico"

The death penalty simply puts families in a state of suspended animation, almost never delivering on the promise of healing while always holding out the false promise of "closure".

— Cathy Ansheles, niece of murder victim Grace Ansheles

Issue quote: Patrick Murphy, on Cost - Baltimore Examiner, March 30, 2007

Unfortunately, no state treasury has a bottomless pit of law enforcement dollars. In making choices about the most effective way to spend them, the death penalty would be last on my list.

— Patrick Murphy, former Police Commissioner, Detroit and New York City

Issue quote: Rory Steidl - Personal Correspondence, November 8, 2010

As a 33 year law enforcement veteran I've worked all types of cases with all types of police officers, judges, and attorneys. I've come to realize the system is composed of imperfect human beings who, unfortunately, carry their emotions and bias into their decision-making. It has rendered the death penalty an unfair and inhumane punishment.

— Rory Steidl, Master Sergeant, Illnois State Police

Issue quote: Brent Bozell - Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 5, 2010

It is an expensive government program with the power to kill people.

— Brent Bozell, founder and president of Media Research Center

Issue quote: Edward DeFazio, on Victims - Edward DeFazio, "It's time to end the death penalty," The Bergen Record. November 18,

It is a hoax on the families of murder victims, on the public at large and on myself as a prosecutor in this state. It is a punishment that does not deliver the justice it promises, prolongs the suffering of those who have lost a loved one and does nothing to actually enhance public safety.

— Edward DeFazio, New Jersey prosecutor who changed his mind about the death penalty after serving on the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission

Issue quote: California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, on Cost - California Crime Victims for Alternatives

California spends $137 million per year to fund our death penalty system. The same amount could instead be used to hire an additional 1,780 criminal investigators or 2,132 crime lab technicians in order to solve more murders.

— "The Silent Crisis in California: Unsolved Murders," a report by California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, April 2010

Issue quote: Gerald Kogan, on Innocence - Testimony before the New York State Assembly Codes, Judiciary, and Correction Committe

So I say to you at this particular point that based upon what I've seen after more than 40 years of dealing with these cases, is that capital punishment has no place in the judicial system of any state... because it is fraught with error, it is fraught with mistakes.

— Hon. Gerald Kogan, former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and former Florida prosecutor, who sought and upheld numerous death sentences

Issue quote: 49 MD murder victims family members, on Cost - Letter to the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment signed by 49

It is vitally important that our state address the needs of surviving family and friends as we struggle to heal. We know that elected officials who promote the death penalty often do so with the best intention of helping family members like us. We are writing to say that there are better ways to help us. The death penalty is a broken and costly system... and victims' families like ours don't want it.

— Letter urging repeal of the death penalty signed by 49 Marylanders who have lost a loved one to murder, Aug. 19, 2008

Issue quote: James Abbott, on Cost - James Abbot, “Less money, more pain and injustice,” Fort Worth Star Telegram. January 20, 2

As a police chief, I find this use of state resources offensive... Give a law enforcement professional like me that $250 million, and I'll show you how to reduce crime. The death penalty isn't anywhere on my list.

— Chief James Abbott, Police Chief and former death penalty supporter, West Orange, NJ

Issue quote: Gerald Kogan - Testimony before the New York State Assembly Codes, Judiciary, and Correction Committees. January 25

What I've learned from looking at the Florida system and the other systems around the country is that the death penalty is a quagmire.

— Hon. Gerald Kogan, former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and former Florida prosecutor, who sought and upheld numerous death sentences

Issue quote: George Gascon - San Francisco Chronicle, 1 May 2011

Given the irreversibility of the death penalty, the possibility of a wrongful conviction can never be overstated

— George Gascon, District Attorney of San Francisco and former police chief.

Issue quote: Kathy Garcia, on Victims - Testimony before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings committee. March 6, 2008

The capital punishment system may have been put in place to serve us survivors, but it actually has been a colossal failure.

— Kathy Garcia, trauma expert and aunt of a murder victim, who used to support the death penalty

Issue quote: Rick Van Winkler - Rick Van Winkler, testimony before the New Hampshire Commission to Study the Death Penalty, cite

The moral and monetary investment of the death penalty is significantly greater than the return to society.

— Rick Van Winkler, Superintendent of the Cheshire County House of Correction in NH

Issue quote: Daniel Evans - Safe & Just Alternatives, April 24, 2013

The death penalty is no deterrent, is enormously costly, and riddled with errors.

— Daniel Evans, Former Washington State Governor

Issue quote: Babette Miller - Colorado Repeal Hearing, March 14, 2013

Instead of investing millions in a death penalty case that strings along victims’ for years we should invest that money in services that will help all victims.

— Babette Miller, testified in CO repeal hearing in 2013

Issue quote: Patrick Murphy, on Cost - Patrick Murphy, “Defending Leonard Hamm, opposing the death penalty,” Baltimore Examiner.

The state can protect many more officers at a fraction of the cost by adding police, providing the best protective equipment available, and implementing effective policing programs known to reduce crime. The death penalty is simply a distraction from the real issues surrounding public safety.

— Patrick Murphy, Former Detroit And New York City Police Commissioner

Issue quote: Chief James Abbott, on Cost - Fort Worth Star Telegram, January 20, 2008

The death penalty throws millions of dollars down the drain – money that I could be putting directly to work fighting crime every day – while dragging victims' families through a long and torturous process that only exacerbates their pain.

— Police Chief James Abbott, who changed his mind about the death penalty after serving on the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission

Issue quote: Vicki Schieber, on Cost - Testimony, February 21, 2007

After a murder occurs, victims may have a variety of perspectives on exactly what will bring them justice or healing. But we can all agree that preventing the murder in the first place would have been the best use of state resources.

— Vicki Schieber, whose daughter Shannon was murdered in Philadelphia

Issue quote: Jeanne Woodford - Jeanne Woodford, "Death Row Realism, Do Executions Make Us Safer?" Los Angeles Times. October 2,

As I presided over Massie's execution, I thought about the abuse and neglect he endured as a child in the foster care system. We failed to keep him safe, and our failure contributed to who he was as an adult. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to kill him, what if we spent that money on other foster children so that we stop producing men like Massie in the first place?

— Jeanne Woodford, former director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the former warden of San Quentin State Prison

Issue quote: Robert McLaughlin, on Innocence - Testimony, January 25, 2005

And some people say the system worked because I got out. The system didn't work because I got out. I'm just going to tell you how I got out. I exhausted all my appeals to get out, which means the next step, if the death penalty was in effect, I would have been killed.

— Robert McLaughlin, who was convicted of murder in NY that he did not commit

Issue quote: Vic Wisner, on Innocence - New York Times, December 18, 2009

[T]here is a real worry by jurors of 'I believe in it, but what if we later find out it was someone else and it's too late to do anything about it?'

— Vic Wisner, former prosecutor, Houston, TX

Issue quote: Bill Kurtis, on Innocence - Testimony, January 25, 2005

I always supported the death penalty... [But] I concluded that we should eliminate the death penalty wherever we can. Primarily because we cannot guarantee that an innocent person will not be executed.

— Bill Kurtis, producer, Court-TV and former death penalty supporter

Issue quote: Jeanne Woodford, on Secondary trauma - Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2008

As the warden of San Quentin, I presided over four executions. After each one, someone on the staff would ask, ‘Is the world safer because of what we did tonight?' We knew the answer: No.

— Jeanne Woodford, former director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the former warden of San Quentin State Prison

Issue quote: Darryl Stallworth - San Jose Mercury News, July 6, 2008

I now understand that the death penalty is an ineffective, cruel and simplistic response to the complex problem of violent crime. Our limited resources could be better spent on programs that focus on stopping violence before it starts, such as preventing child abuse and drug addiction – programs that will prevent another child from becoming the next [murderer].

— Darryl Stallworth, former Deputy District Attorney, Alameda County

Issue quote: Buddy Caldwell, on Cost - Michelle Millhollon, "Economics of Executions," Advocate Capitol News Bureau. March 8, 20

[A capital case amounts to] playing on a $100-a-roll table instead of a nickel or dime table.

— State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana, who said it would cost him $15,000 to $20,000 to prosecute a second-degree murder case, compared to $250,000 for a death penalty case

Issue quote: Jim Petro - Cleveland.com, September 27, 2011

When you're talking about death, you can't afford to make even one mistake.

— Jim Petro, former Ohio Attorney General, now chancellor of the state's university system

Issue quote: Sunil Dutta - Sunil Dutta, PhD, "My search as a cop for justice in a flawed criminal justice system," Christian Sci

As error-prone humans, we can't guarantee a fail-safe criminal justice system; therefore, to be truly just we must abolish capital punishment.

— Sunil Dutta, lieutenant, Los Angeles Police Department

Issue quote: Deborah T. Poritz, on Fairness - Testimony, July, 28, 2008

We really can find no way to do this that will take the arbitrariness out of the system.

— Deborah T. Poritz, former chief justice, New Jersey Supreme Court

Issue quote: Scott Harshbarger, on Public safety - Letter to the Montana House Judiciary Committee.

Eliminating the death penalty...will not hinder the prosecutorial capacity to seek, or the court’s ability to impose, ‘life without parole’ sentences for serious, heinous crimes and criminals.

— Scott Harshbarger, former District Attorney and former Attorney General of Massachusetts, which has no death penalty

Issue quote: Edward Defazio, on Pleas - Rudy Larini, "A year later, state assesses justice without death penalty," New Jersey St

We have not viewed [abolition] as an impediment in the disposition of murder cases…As a practical matter, we have really seen no difference in the way we conduct our business in prosecuting murder cases.

— Edward Defazio, Prosecutor, Hudson County, NJ, noting that prosecuting cases and securing guilty pleas was not any more difficult since NJ repealed the death penalty

Issue quote: Daryl Roberts, on Cost - CT News Junky, Dec 20, 2011

...it is just absurd that we would pull officers from the streets and at the same time spend millions of dollars to have a death penalty system that has not been proven to prevent crime.

— Daryl K. Roberts, former chief with 30 years of service to police force in Hartford, CT

Issue quote: Nancy & Michele Forster & Nethercott, on Innocence - Nancy Forster & Michele Nethercott, "Police lab's integrity st

The sad fact remains that even today a lab performing a cholesterol test is subject to greater federal and state regulatory oversight than a crime lab generating evidence that can lead to the death penalty.

— Nancy Forster & Michele Nethercott, MD defense attorneys

Issue quote: Kate Lowenstein, on Victims - Testimony, December 15, 2004

The death penalty creates a hierarchy of victims. Whose murder is considered so bad that it is one of the chosen few to get the resources to solve it and sentence the killer to death? ...We all know that the agony of having a family member murdered is equal in all of us, no matter what color we are, how much money we have or where we live. Murder levels us all equally with its pain.

— Kate Lowenstein, whose father, Congressman Allard Lowenstein, was murdered

Issue quote: Dick Durbin - State Journal-Register, January 17, 2011

There are many people who commit heinous crimes, and I'd be the first to stand up with emotion and say they should lose their lives...But when I look at the unfairness of it, the fact that the poor and people of color are most often the victims when it comes to the death penalty, and how many cases we've gotten wrong now that we have DNA evidence to back us up, I mean, it just tells me life imprisonment is penalty enough.

— U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, used to support the death penalty but now supports repeal nationwide

Issue quote: Vicki Schieber, on Victims - Testimony before the Maryland State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. February 21

The death penalty has failed victims’ family members in virtually every way, and many of us – including many who support the death penalty in principle – have come to support its end.

— Vicki Schieber, whose daughter Shannon was murdered in Philadelphia

Issue quote: Bill Kurtis, on Indigent Defense - Testimony, January 25, 2005

You have to pass a test to be a patent lawyer. You have to pass none to try a death penalty case in so many states.

— Bill Kurtis, producer, Court-TV and former death penalty supporter

Issue quote: Steve Dalsheim, on Secondary trauma - Washington Post. February 12, 2005

There was this big old-line officer, a well liked fellow, and he oversaw the executions. Afterwards he’d get very, very drunk and not come in for several days. It’s terrible, terrible – I get very emotional thinking about it. I certainly don’t like terrorism or murder but there has to be a better way than putting men to death.

— Steve Dalsheim, former superintendent, Sing Sing Prison, New York

Issue quote: George Will, on Innocence - Washington Post, April 6, 2000

Conservatives, especially, should draw this lesson... Capital punishment, like the rest of the criminal justice system, is a government program, so skepticism is in order.

— George Will, conservative columnist and author

Issue quote: Allen Ault - Interview for Eastern Kentucky University's College of Justice and Safety

Everybody [who took part in executions] suffered. I still get flashbacks.

— Dr. Allen Ault, former Warden and Director of the Georgia Department of Corrections, who oversaw five executions

Issue quote: Editorial Board, Lincoln Start Journal - "The Fallibility of Forensic Evidence Argues Against the Death Penalty," L

You will be - or should be - appalled at the number of times that crime labs turn out to be providing inaccurate and phony evidence...Sometimes technicians are manufacturing evidence deliberately. Sometimes the science itself turns out to be untrustworthy

— Editorial board, Lincoln Star Journal

Issue quote: William Brennan Jr. - Press-Telegram, October 1, 2011

The death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent.

— William Brennan Jr., Supreme Court Justice

Issue quote: John Hickenlooper, on Fairness - Colorado Executive Order: Death Sentence Reprieve, May 22, 2013

The death penalty is not making our world a safer or better place.

— John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado

Issue quote: Harold Hohne, on Innocence - Testimony before the New York State Assembly Codes, Judiciary, and Correction Committe

I would like to state right here and now, when a mistake is made it's hard to undo. The criminal justice system does not have very good remedies for errors... It was a hell of a lot of people that took to unbuild a simple mistake that occurred in the local precinct when my son was first arrested.

— Harold Hohne, who supported the death penalty until his son was wrongfully convicted and later exonerated

Issue quote: Janet Reno, on Public safety - U.S. Justice Department press release, January 20, 2000

I have inquired for most of my adult life about studies that might show that the death penalty is a deterrent. And I have not seen any research that would substantiate that point.

— Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno

Issue quote: Victoria Coward - CT News Junky, May 13, 2011

[The] death penalty is given in fewer than 1 percent of cases, yet it sucks up millions and millions of dollars that could be put toward crime prevention or victims’ services. What I wouldn’t give for a tiny slice of those millions to give my grieving daughters some professional help to process the death of their brother.

— Victoria Coward, whose son, Tyler, was murdered in 2007

Issue quote: Paul Jacob - Common Sense, March 7, 2005

I agree with Thomas Jefferson, who once wrote that he would support the death penalty only when the infallibility of human judgment had been demonstrated.

— Paul Jacob, Columnist for 'Common Sense'

Issue quote: Gail Rice - Southtown Star, October 17th, 2010

From the very beginning, the death penalty makes false claims about how it "helps" victims. We are told that we need the death penalty for "closure" and "justice." But in reality, fewer than 2 percent of all cases end up with death verdicts, so it's simply wrong to act as if the healing process for families must be tied to an execution. Do we really believe there's no justice for the other 98 percent?

— Gail Rice, whose brother, a Denver policeman, was murdered in 1997

Issue quote: H. Lee Sarokin - blackvoicenews.com, October 3, 2011

“Whether or not one receives the death penalty depends upon the discretion of the prosecutor who initiates the proceeding, the competence of counsel who represents the defendant, the race of the victim, the race of the defendant, the make-up of the jury, the attitude of the judge, and the attitude and make-up of the appellate courts that review the verdict.”

— H. Lee Sarokin, retired federal appeals court judge

Issue quote: John Connor, on Prison Killings - Billings Gazette, March 22, 2009

...my direct experience prosecuting prison homicides changed my mind [about the death penalty]. I have come to believe that the death penalty is an incalculable drain on our limited criminal justice resources.

— John Connor, former Montana prosecutor for 21 years

Issue quote: Former Superior Court Judge David Nichols - Seattle Times, June 8, 2012

As a Superior Court judge, I tried many murder cases, including one death-penalty prosecution, which is still in limbo after almost two decades of appeals. In my 20 years on the bench, I came to recognize the death penalty as inherently unfair, arbitrary, costly and ineffective.

— David Nichols, former Superior Court Judge from Washington

Issue quote: Roy Brown - Testimony in Montana, February 4, 2007

It might be easier to allow the death penalty to continue if it were less expensive than life in prison. If the courts treated rich and poor equally. If it truly was a deterrent. If everyone that was executed was guilty. Unfortunately the sad truth about the death penalty is it is much more expensive. The courts do not disperse justice equally. It is not a deterrent. And sometimes, yes, sometimes they are innocent.

— Roy Brown, Republican State Senator from Montana

Issue quote: Kirk Bloodsworth, on Innocence - Baltimore Sun, "Commentary: Sound Off." September 10, 2008

Two juries were wrong. Two judges were wrong. The state of Maryland was wrong... I am not here because the system worked. I am here because a series of miracles happened.

— Kirk Bloodsworth, who was sentenced to death in MD for a murder he did not commit

Issue quote: Bob Autobee - Bob Autobee, Pueblo Chieftain

As a victim’s father who has been trapped in the labyrinth of the death penalty, and after seeing the real misuse of resources, I am begging our elected officials to do away with our broken death penalty system.

— Bob Autobee, a corrections officer, whose son Eric, also a corrections officer, was murdered by a prison inmate

Issue quote: 47 CA law enforcement officers - Letter to the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice signed b

A trial seeking life without parole is far speedier than a death penalty case and costs far less. By pursuing life without parole sentences instead of death, resources now spent on the death penalty prosecutions and appeals could be used to investigate unsolved homicides, modernize crime labs, and expand effective violence prevention programs.

— Letter signed by 47 California law enforcement officials, March 28, 2008

Issue quote: John Feehery, on Innocence - John Feehery, "Is the death penalty defensible?" The Hill. September 1, 2009

We should rethink the death penalty in this country. If even one innocent person is wrongly put to death on behalf of the state, for me, that is enough to get rid of it.

— John Feehery, Republican strategist and pundit, who used to support the death penalty

Issue quote: Andy Sonner, on Fairness - Testimony, August 19, 2008

I left the state's attorney's office more than ten years ago, but I still remember the agony of attempting to make the fundamental decision whether to ask a jury or judge to condemn someone to death. Our system invests an individual prosecutor with unfettered discretion to make that decision. I now believe that to do so rationally and fairly is beyond human capabilities.

— Hon. Andrew Sonner, former Maryland State's Attorney who used to support the death penalty

Issue quote: Pamela Joiner - VOICES: Connecticut Murder Victims’ Families Speak out Against the Death Penalty

While so many families like mine are kept in limbo without any justice in our case, we talk about investing more money in the death penalty for just a few cases...the death penalty is a charade. I want the money spent on the death penalty to go toward investigating my son’s murder. I want those resources to go to crime prevention, so that no more mothers lose their children.

— Pamela Joiner, whose son, Jumar, was murdered in 2008, in a case that is still unsolved

Issue quote: Robert Scott - Desert News, May 21, 2010

Jurors realize that instead of having to make that terrible decision (voting for the death penalty), they can vote to put someone in prison and ensure that defendant is no longer a harm to society. It makes it easier for them to return a verdict of life without the possibility of parole.

— Robert Scott, veteran prosecutor in Salt Lake City, Utah

Issue quote: Joanna Barlieb, on Victims - Testimony before the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission. September 13, 2006

I can testify from experience that our current system is most unjust for the victims and their loved ones. I can only hope to save other families from the grief of the never-ending appellate process. I promote the substitution of the death penalty only with a life sentence that truly means life in prison with no possibility of parole.

— Joanne Barlieb, whose mother, Cynthia, was murdered

Issue quote: Laura Bonk, on Victims - Testimony in New Hampshire, August 12, 2010

If my mother were alive, she would be proud that I came forward today. My mother always told me that my job is to make this world a better place to live. New Hampshire would be a better place without the death penalty.

— Laura Bonk, whose mother was murdered in 1989.

Issue quote: Bill O'Reilly - WMD Commentary, June 14, 2001

I believe that inside many Americans lies certain uneasiness about capital punishment.

— Bill O'Reilly, conservative political commentator

Issue quote: David Kaczynski, on Cost - Testimony before the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment. July 28, 2008

Do we want more lawyers arguing in court, or more cops on the street? Do we want longer trials, or better victim services? Do we want to kill an unlucky few (not necessarily the worst), or do we want to help troubled kids before they end up hurting someone? In the real world, these are the choices we must make.

— David Kaczynski, who turned in his brother, the "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski

Issue quote: Edward H. Crane - Washington Post, August 18, 2010

My own view on capital punishment is that it is morally justified, but that the government is often so inept and corrupt that innocent people might die as a result. Thus, I personally oppose capital punishment.

— Edward H. Crane, President of CATO Institute

Issue quote: USA Today, on Innocence - USA Today Editorial, June 22, 2005

Abolishing the death penalty and using life without parole instead can't fix all the injustices exposed in courts across the nation. But at least no one would be executed as a result.

— USA Today Editorial, June 22, 2005

Issue quote: Bruce Gardner - The Huntsville Times, January 9, 2011

I have come to think of it [the death penalty] as a ridiculous institution...You can't design a system where you can ensure that an innocent person is not executed.

— Bruce Gardner, former Alabama District Attorney who prosecuted death penalty cases

Issue quote: Vicki & Carolyn Schieber & Leming, on Innocence - Gazette of Politics and Business, February 16, 2008

Some say there are solutions to the prolonged suffering of murder victims' family members when it comes to the death penalty – fewer appeals, less scrutiny, a cheaper system. But a shorter and cheaper system means more mistakes, more people like Ray caught in the system or even worse, executed quickly – before they can prove their innocence.

— Vicki Schieber, whose daughter Shannon was murdered, and Carolyn Leming, whose son Ray Krone was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit

Issue quote: Gil Garcetti - The Wall Street Journal, October 5th, 2012

I was a supporter and believer in the death penalty, but I've begun to see that this system doesn't work and it isn't functional. It costs an obscene amount of money.

— Gil Garcetti, former Los Angeles District Attorney

Issue quote: Ray Samuels - Ray Samuels, "My Word: Newark Police Chief Ray Samuels: Holding on to the death penalty is serious mi

If the millions of dollars currently spent on the death penalty were spent on investigating unsolved homicides, modernizing crime labs and expanding effective violence prevention programs, our communities would be much safer.

— Ray Samuels, Police Chief of Newark, CA

Issue quote: Lieutenant Hollis - Colorado Repeal Hearing, March 14, 2013

We’ve spent tens of millions of dollars on the death penalty in the last decades. And what has that gotten us; one execution. Meanwhile, we’ve had thousands of victims’ families struggling to put their lives together.

— Lieutenant Hollis, testified in CO repeal hearing in 2013

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