He was a first-time nonviolent possible offender, ... And under the mandatory minimums, he was put in prison for 15 years. Not only does the punishment not fit the crime, but the mandatory minimums don't give judges any discretion to look at the background of the case, to read into the specifics of the case. I don't know a judge who really is in favor of the mandatory minimums.
Care should be taken that the punishment does not exceed the guilt; and also that some men do not suffer for offenses for which others are not even indicted.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
You utter a vow, or forge a signature, and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman, or prison.
Faults of the head are punished in this world, those of the heart in another; but as most of our vices are compound, so also is their punishment.
Fear can be like a prison. It is, however, a self made prison. Many are imprisoned by fear. No one else can liberate them from this prison. Others may inspire them but they must liberate themselves.
One of the problems that the marijuana reform movement consistently faces is that everyone wants to talk about what marijuana does, but no one ever wants to look at what marijuana prohibition does. Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
I know not whether laws be right, or whether laws be wrong; All that we know who lie in gaol is that the wall is strong; And that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long.
No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison.
Intellectual despair results in neither weakness nor dreams, but in violence. It is only a matter of knowing how to give vent to one's rage; whether one only wants to wander like madmen around prisons, or whether one wants to overturn them.
It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
Concepts of justice must have hands and feet to carry out justice in every case in the shortest possible time and the lowest possible cost. That is the challenge to every lawyer and judge in America.
Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.