Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit; But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, shall be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
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.
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.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
The public have more interest in the punishment of an injury than he who receives it.
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.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
They were being driven to a prison, through no fault of their own, in all probability for life. In comparison, how much easier it would be to walk to the gallows than to this tomb of living horrors!
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
Whatever is worthy to be loved for anything is worthy of preservation. A wise and dispassionate legislator, if any such should ever arise among men, will not condemn to death him who has done or is likely to do more service than injury to society. Blocks and gibbets are the nearest objects with legislators, and their business is never with hopes or with virtues.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.