Capital Punishment in the United States

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Committee on Philanthropic Labor of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1919 - Capital punishment - 106 pages
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Page 88 - No act is a crime if the person who does it is, at the time when it is done, prevented, either by defective mental power, or by any disease affecting his mind...
Page 40 - On June 21, 1877, ten men were hanged in Pennsylvania for murderous conspiracy. The New York Herald predicted the wholesome effect of the terrible lesson. "We may be certain", it said, "that the pitiless severity of the law will deter the most wicked from anything like the imitation of these crimes".
Page 48 - That your petitioners find, by experience, that the infliction of death, or even the possibility of the infliction of death, prevents the prosecution, conviction and punishment of the criminal and thus endangers the property which it is intended to protect.
Page 59 - The committee said: 'As it is now applied, the death penalty is nothing but an arbitrary discrimination against an occasional victim. It cannot even be said that it is reserved as a weapon of retributive justice for the most atrocious criminals. For it is not necessarily the most guilty who suffer it. Almost any criminal with wealth or influence can escape it, but the poor and friendless convict, without means or power to fight his case from court to court or to exert pressure upon the pardoning...
Page 37 - From a personal study of 3,500 cases, including a number of condemned murderers, I am convinced that most crimes are committed by persons who either (i) expect to avoid detection and escape all punishment, or, (2) who, upon the spur of the moment, are regardless of all punishment, or (3) who are governed by one or more cosmic, social and individual factors, which the utmost rigor cannot remove, and which render the prospect or possibility of punishment wholly inoperative at the time of the commission...
Page 45 - Ohio Indiana Illinois Michigan Wisconsin Minnesota Iowa Missouri North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas...
Page 39 - Very lately, in the state of Ohio, and the day on which a man was executed for the murder of his wife, under circumstances of particular cruelty, another man, near the place of execution, murdered his wife in the same manner ; and this is by no means the only instance where the crime seems to have been directly suggested by the punishment intended to prevent it.
Page 58 - that only one man in 80 who commits a homicide suffers death for it. ... Of course not every homicide is a deliberate murder but, even if not more than half can be so classed, it is still true that one murderer out of every 35 or 40 escapes the full penalty of his act. These figures render the deterrent argument in favor of capital punishment extremely weak. Every criminal knows that few murderers are executed and he reasonably expects to be one of the 34 out of 35 who are spared the extreme punishment.
Page 7 - New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.
Page 23 - ... riding paramount on the surface of society, was altogether to outweigh the rights, temporal and eternal, of the helpless, inarticulate mass below." Bulwer reminds us that "Society has erected the gallows at the end of the lane, instead of guide posts and direction boards at the beginning.

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