In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.
The object of punishment is prevention from evil; it never can be made impulsive to good.
A just chastisement may benefit a man, though it seldom does; but an unjust one changes all his blood to gall.
It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their own kind.
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.
Crime is a logical extension of the sort of behavior that often [is] considered perfectly respectable in legitimate business.
It is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.
Those magistrates who can prevent crime, and do not, in effect encourage it.
Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.
No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.
The idea that the sole aim of punishment is to prevent crime is obviously grounded upon the theory that crime can be prevented, which is almost as dubious as the notion that poverty can be prevented.
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.
The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.
To make punishments efficacious, two things are necessary. They must never be disproportioned to the offence, and they must be certain.
I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mended. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended shoe, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour -- for the horse was soon tackled -- was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.
If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.