Whatever you think of de Sade, he was a complex figure and we should not look for easy answers with him. He was, strangely perhaps, against the death penalty, and he was never put in prison for murders or anything like that.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
No obligation to justice does force a man to be cruel, or to use the sharpest sentence.
Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.
To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.
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.
In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
We're in a war. People who blast some pot on a casual basis are guilty of treason.
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.
Written laws are like spiders' webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them.
It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.
The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail.
Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
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.
When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap - people shouldn't read that stuff.
If we were brought to trial for the crimes we have committed against ourselves, few would escape the gallows.