Spitting Image TV - Andy Warhol - Star Trek: The Next Generation TV - Star Trek: Voyager TV - Ronald Hampton - Penn & Teller TV - Monty Python’s Life of Brian 1979 - Great Crimes & Trials TV - Beyond a Reasonable Doubt 1956 - Voltaire - Werner Herzog - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Anton Chekhov - Elizabeth Fry - Justice Thurgood Marshall - Justice William J Brennan - Paul Foot - Sean Penn - C D Hare - Alan Gell - Eliot Spitzer - Albert Camus - Steve Earle - Gerald Heaney - Horizon TV - The Office US TV - Michael Portillo TV - George W Bush - Errol Morris TV - Abby Martin - Life and Death Row TV - 14 Days in May TV - Timeshift: Crime and Punishment: The Story of Capital Punishment TV - Crime & Punishment: A Timewatch Guide TV - Angela Davis - Great Crimes & Trials TV - Caryl Chessman - The Strange Case of the Law TV -
In the ten years before capital punishment before it was abolished in Great Britain, the state took the lives of 41 prisoners. In the last 11 months the same number of prisoners have taken their own lives. What do they mean bring back capital punishment? Spitting Image s9e1, ITV 1990
You’d be surprised how many people want to hang an electric chair on their wall Andy Warhol, cited Andy Warhol’s America, BBC 2022
Capital punishment in our world is no longer considered a justifiable deterrent. Star Trek: The Next Generation s1e8: Justice, Picard on planet
Our society like any other must control its disruptive elements. And execution may be undesirable – I grant you that – but on some rare occasions it is necessary and wise. Star Trek: Voyager s2e18: Death Wish, Q at hearing seeking asylum
I believe that there is a racist component to the death penalty. Ronald Hampton, executive director US National Black Police Association
Is it ever morally right to kill a human being? ... Is it OK to kill someone if you’re not at war or not being immediately threatened by them? ... Do you trust the government to kill only bad people? ... The death penalty is bullshit! Penn & Teller, Bullshit! s4e3: The Death Penalty, Showtime 2006
64% of the Americans support the death penalty. ibid.
Are you really willing to trust the government workers to end someone’s life? What is the government good at? ibid.
A study published in the medical journal The Lancet examined data from autopsies performed on forty-nine executions ... Forty-three of the executions had lower concentrations ... were likely to have been awake and aware ... Fails to meet the standards of putting down animals. ibid.
Murder Rate 1999: Death Penalty States 5.5; Non-Death Penalty States 3.6. ibid.
Murder Rate 2004: Death Penalty States 5.1; Non-Death Penalty States 2.9. ibid.
Death Row: 46% are White; 42% are Black. But Blacks only make up 12% of the population. ibid.
We’re all murderers. ibid.
Deterrent? Jesus Christ! ibid.
Let’s go to the stoning. Monty Python’s Life of Brian 1979 ***** starring Graham Chapman & John Cleese & Terry Gilliam & Eric Idle & Terry Jones & Michael Palin & Kenneth Colley & Neil Innes & Gwen Taylor & Carol Cleveland & Spike Milligan et al, director Terry Jones, Mother of Brian to Brian
Feel the quality of that ... Should be a good one this afternoon. Local boy. Enjoy yourselves. ibid. stone-seller
I just don’t think the State should take a man’s life. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt 1956 starring Joan Fontaine & Dana Andrews & Sidney Blackmer & Shepperd Strudwick & Arthur Franz & Philip Bourneuf & Ed Binns & Robin Raymond, director Fritz Lang, Austin
The punishment of criminals should be of use; when a man is hanged he is good for nothing. Voltaire
I could not become an American citizen. I would not like to become a citizen of a country that has capital punishment. Werner Herzog
If we could do away with death, we wouldn’t object; to do away with capital punishment will be more difficult. Were that to happen, we would reinstate it from time to time. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Capital punishment kills immediately, whereas lifetime imprisonment does so slowly. Which executioner is more humane? The one who kills you in a few minutes, or the one who wrests your life from you in the course of many years? Anton Chekhov
Does capital punishment tend to the security of the people? By no means. It hardens the hearts of men, and makes the loss of life seem light to them. Elizabeth Fry
When in Gregg v Georgia the Supreme Court gave its seal of approval to capital punishment, this endorsement was premised on the promise that capital punishment would be administered with fairness and justice. Instead, the promise has become a cruel and empty mockery. If not remedied, the scandalous state of our present system of capital punishment will cast a pall of shame over our society for years to come. We cannot let it continue. Justice Thurgood Marshall, 1990
Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent. Justice William J Brennan junior, 1994
As we contemplate the horrors of Death Row we’re inclined to write off capital punishment as a peculiarly American barbarism, a throwback to the distant reactionary past, unthinkable in civilised social democratic Britain. In fact, between 1900 and 1949 some 632 people were murdered by the British state because they had allegedly committed murder. Paul Foot, State of Terror
The more the argument for capital punishment depended on a rational case for deterrence, the more it was lost. The Royal Commission found no conclusive evidence of deterrence. Especially impressive were the statistics from the United States where capital punishment had been abolished in some states, not in others. In North Dakota, for instance, where capital punishment was abolished in 1915, the murder rate was slightly lower than in South Dakota where the social composition was very similar and where capital punishment was still in force. In Maine capital punishment had been abolished in 1876 and reintroduced after a right wing hullabaloo following an especially nasty murder. The murder rate, however, went up even faster, so capital punishment was abolished again in 1887 – after which the rate subsided.
The truth was that there was no correlation at all between the incidence of capital punishment and the incidence of murder. Murders were mainly personal or domestic crimes, immune from deterrence. Moreover, there were plenty of American ‘mistakes’ similar to the tragedies of Timothy Evans and James Hanratty. Capital punishment did not deter murders, and if a ‘mistake’ was made, there was no way of putting it right. ibid.
In the 1950s and 1960s the possibility of such a mistake was widely dismissed in polite society. Lord Chancellor Lord Kilmuir, discussing the Evans case, told parliament that the idea that a judge, jury and the court of appeal could convict the wrong person was ‘in the realms of fantasy’. Those realms of fantasy have been visited again and again in recent years as an enormous stream of prisoners wrongly convicted for murder have emerged from the high court after years of wholly unjustified, and not at all fantastical, imprisonment. ibid.
It matters not an iota that killing murderers does nothing to stop killing or murder, or that the people being executed may not be murderers at all. What matters is the immediate satisfaction of blood lust. The feeling that something is being done is far better than the reality of doing something, especially when doing something means dismantling the inequalities on which class society depends. It follows that the politicians and businessmen who clamour for these state murders are far, far more guilty of violence and social chaos than any of the victims of their society whom they want to murder. Paul Foot, article October 1995, ‘State of Terror’
If the eye for an eye is the best that we can offer victims of violent crime then we’re their biggest opposition. Sean Penn, San Quentin protest to save Tookie Williams
Capital Punishment is a good way of making miscarriages of justice irrevocable while reducing murder rates not at all. C D Hare
We’re sending innocent people to prison. We’re sending people to Death Row. I was on Death Row for a little over five years. Alan Gell
Our criminal justice system is fallible. We know it, even though we don't like to admit it. It is fallible despite the best efforts of most within it to do justice. And this fallibility is, at the end of the day, the most compelling, persuasive, and winning argument against a death penalty. Eliot Spitzer
For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists. Why? Because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium. Albert Camus
Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders. Albert Camus, French philosopher
My objection to the death penalty is based on the idea that this is a democracy, and in a democracy the government is me, and if the government kills somebody then I’m killing somebody. Steve Earle