Every instance of a man's suffering the penalty of the law is an instance of the failure of that penalty in effecting its purpose, which is to deter.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.
Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.
I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison.
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.
Justice is justice though it's always delayed and finally done only by mistake.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.
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.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
If it's near dinner-time, the foreman takes out his watch when the jury has retired, and says: "Dear me, gentlemen, ten minutes to five, I declare! I dine at five, gentlemen." "So do I," says everybody else, except two men who ought to have dined at three and seem more than half disposed to stand out in consequence. The foreman smiles, and puts up his watch:--"Well, gentlemen, what do we say, plaintiff or defendant, gentlemen?