19 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Attorneys from the U.S.A IV

Along with two-thirds of the American public, I believe in capital punishment. I believe that there are some defendants who have earned the ultimate punishment our society has to offer by committing murder with aggravating circumstances present. I believe life is sacred. It cheapens the life of an innocent murder victim to say that society has no right to keep the murderer from ever killing again. In my view, society has not only the right, but the duty to act in self-defense to protect the innocent.

Nevertheless, the value of the death penalty in our current system of justice is a limited one and should not be overstated. Because the death sentence is so rarely carried out, whatever deterrent value that exists is lessened in years of appeals and due process. Because of the unlimited power of Governors, judges, juries, and prosecutors to show mercy, the difference between those who receive the death penalty and those who do not is minimal. Finally, because the system allows it, the financial costs to state and local governments can be staggering.

In spite of these shortcomings, it is my view that pursuing a death sentence in appropriate cases is the right thing to do. There is no adequate and acceptable alternative. Life Without Parole does not eliminate the risk that the prisoner will murder a guard, a visitor, or another inmate, and we should not be compelled to take that risk. It is also not unheard of for inmates to escape from prison. The prisoner will not be eligible for parole until the next legislative session, when the parole laws can be changed. Considering that a defendant sentenced to "life imprisonment" across the country actually serves on the average less than 8 years in prison, it is a good bet that "life without parole" will not have the meaning intended as years go by. Even the most "law and order" legislators will begin to consider alternatives when the medical bills for geriatric care of prisoners start rolling in.

No system of justice can produce results which are 100% certain all the time. Mistakes will be made in any system which relies upon human testimony for proof. We should be vigilant to uncover and avoid such mistakes. Our system of justice rightfully demands a higher standard for death penalty cases. However, the risk of making a mistake with the extraordinary due process applied in death penalty cases is very small, and there is no credible evidence to show that any innocent persons have been executed at least since the death penalty was reactivated in 1976. The 100+ death row inmates "innocent", "exonerated" and released, as trumpeted by anti-death penalty activists, is a fraud. The actual number of factually innocent released death row inmates is closer to 40, and in any event should be considered in context of over 7,000 death sentences handed down since 1973. It stands as the most accurate judgment/sentence in any system of justice ever created. The inevitability of a mistake should not serve as grounds to eliminate the death penalty any more than the risk of having a fatal wreck should make automobiles illegal. At the same time, we should never ignore the risks of allowing the inmate to kill again.

Our "system" was created by legislators and judges. In order for the death penalty to remain a meaningful and effective punishment, those same legislators and judges need to make necessary changes to reflect the will of the people in a democratic society.

Steven D. Stewart is the Prosecuting Attorney of Clark County, Indiana.

"War and treaty-breakers should be stripped of the glamour of national heroes and exposed as what they really are—plain, ordinary murderers." [International Military Tribunal for the Far East]

Joseph B. Keenan A.K.A Joseph Berry Keenan (11 January 1888 in Pawtucker, Rhode Island - 8 December 1954 in Asheboro, North Carolina) was a United States political figure. He served in the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, and was the chief prosecutor in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He graduated from Brown University in 1910 and earned his Juris Doctor at Harvard Law School. Keenan served with the 137th Field Artillery during World War I and later with the Judge Advocate Generals Department. After retiring from military, he became an assistant to the U.S. attorney general and director of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department.

Nebraska Solicitor General J. Kirk Brown and University of Colorado Boulder Professor of Sociology Michael Radelet debated Wednesday 28 November 2012 night over the controversial legal, ethical and economic consequences of capital punishment.

The two presented their opposing arguments to a full audience at the Lied Center of Performing Arts in a debate entitled “The Death Penalty: Justice, Retribution and Dollars” as part of the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues “Religion, Rights and Politics” Series.

In his five allowed minutes of introduction, Brown asserted himself as a proponent of the death penalty and immediately addressed the issue of religion. “I was raised on the King James Christian Bible and the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill,’” he said.

Brown went on to explain that newer translations of the Bible have redefined the order to read, “thou shalt not murder.”

“Murder is defined as an unlawful killing. There can be no clearer example of a lawful killing than an execution ordered by a court of law,” said Brown forcefully.

Thus, the moral/public policy question is: Can people engage in behavior so reprehensible they deserve to die for their crime or crimes?

Adolph Hitler directed the deaths of more than 17 million innocent men, women and children. Did Hitler deserve to die? The 9-11 terrorists took 2,977 innocent lives. Timothy McVeigh blew up 19 children under the age of six and 149 adults. In Nebraska, Charles Starkweather murdered 11 people; Jose Sandoval, Jorge Galindo and Erick Vella slaughtered five people in a bank in Norfolk; John Lotter murdered three; Robert Williams, Carey Dean Moore and Marco Torres each murdered two; John Joubert and Arthur Gales each murdered two children; Roy Ellis, Raymond Mata and Jeffrey Hessler each murdered one child; Michael Ryan took three days to torture his victim to death; Willie Otey repeatedly raped and tortured his victim before taking her life.

When do we say enough is enough? When do we say, “This murderer deserves to die”? It is not a question of forgiveness or vengeance. It is a question of just punishment. [Local View: Death penalty a question of just punishment November 24, 2012 11:57 pm]

As God discovered in Eden, human beings are not capable of perfection. Our legal system is made up of human judges, human attorneys and human jurors, all listening to human witnesses. Any human system has the potential for human error. In response to that reality, our legal system provides “process” -- rules of law, rules of evidence, defense attorneys and multiple layers of judicial review -- each to guard against that risk of error. The decision to impose a penalty of death is subject to more legal process than any other decision made by our courts. Providing these safeguards is wholly appropriate. Providing these safeguards is not free. [Local View: Death penalty a question of just punishment November 24, 2012 11:57 pm]

Criminal justice is a reactive endeavor. The government does not choose who commits crimes. A murderer chooses to extinguish an innocent life and the government has a duty to react. Any statistical description of those who commit such crimes primarily reflects the choices of the guilty, not the government. [Local View: Death penalty a question of just punishment November 24, 2012 11:57 pm]

Finally, we are a society that values human life. The death penalty is an expression of the high value we place upon innocent human life. The legal process we provide is an expression of the value we place upon the life of the accused. Yet once guilt is established, we should place a much higher value on the innocent life lost than upon the life of the murderer. We are neither morally nor legally restrained from imposing death as a punishment upon the worst of murderers. We are neither morally nor legally restrained from achieving justice for the citizens of our community. [Local View: Death penalty a question of just punishment November 24, 2012 11:57 pm]

J. Kirk Brown has served as Nebraska's Solicitor General since 2003. He previously served as the Nebraska Department of Justice's Chief of the Criminal Bureau, Chief of the Criminal Appellate Section, and Chief of the Civil Litigation Section. For more than 28 years, Brown has been Nebraska's primary counsel in capital  cases and was counsel of record in Nebraska's three, most recent executions: State v. Otey (1994); State v. Joubert (1996); and State v. Williams (1997). Brown also spent six years as the general counsel to the Texas Department of Corrections. There he witnessed more than 20 executions. While in Texas, he also was seated as a juror in a capital murder trial, State of Texas v. Jesse Dwayne Jacobs. A graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law (1973), Brown has lectured nationally on the death penalty, appellate practice, federal habeas corpus, and corrections law.  

Monday 29 November 2012 - Asked if David Coleman Headley — a Pakistani American who pleaded guilty to masterminding the attacks – should also receive the death penalty, Kumar said Headley, too, should be hanged.

In 2010, Headley pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to bomb several locations in Mumbai. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced, but has reportedly cooperated with U.S. intelligence in exchange for a shorter prison term.

San Francisco attorney Madan Ahluwalia agreed with Kumar’s damning of Headley, but noted that India has no authority over Headley, whom the U.S. has refused to extradite. “I personally feel he should be shot. We’ve spent so much money defending him,” he said.

“I personally believe in the punishment of hanging by death,” stated Ahluwalia. “Heinous criminals deserve it. Sentencing someone to life only increases burden on society. Modern day criminals get better treatment than normal citizens.”

“Kasab deserved to die for what he did on Indian soil — he was a willing and informed participant,” said Ahluwalia, stating that Pakistan’s involvement in the attacks was “clear on this well thought-out hate mission.” 

“Punishment is not only about punishment— it is also a message to society. Kasab’s hanging sent a clear message to all terrorists,” asserted Ahluwalia.


Madan Ahluwalia is a California attorney since 1995.

On Tuesday 16 April 2013, Castor issued a press release calling for the death penalty for all acts of terrorism that result in death.

“Pennsylvania’s prosecutors need an option in appropriate cases to seek the death penalty if terrorists come here and kill,” he told The Times Herald. “Law enforcement should not have to shoehorn these previously unthinkable acts into existing statutes. I hope the legislature takes up the issue immediately and seeks input from district attorneys and other professionals in the legal system to get the language exactly right.”

The deadly bombs that killed three people Monday and injured more than 150 are still under investigation. Authorities determined Tuesday that the cause of the blasts came from shrapnel-like material made in pressure cookers and hidden inside backpacks.

The county commissioner said he would be contacting members of the Montgomery County delegation, asking them to sponsor such legislation. He said acts of terror resulting in death should be directly eligible for the state’s most severe sanction.

“Traditionally, murder prosecutions are matters for the states. While I applaud our federal law enforcement agencies for their efforts to combat terrorism, that term has taken on a broader meaning – a ‘terrorist’ – in my mind, is anyone bent on causing widespread public fear in addition to killing or injuring indiscriminately.”

Bruce L. Castor, Jr. (born October 24, 1961) is an American lawyer and Republican politician from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Castor was District Attorney of Montgomery County from 2000 to 2008, when he took a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. In addition to his governmental role, Castor is a shareholder and director of the Blue Bell-based litigation firm of Elliott, Greenleaf & Siedzikowski. He is currently exploring a bid for Governor of Pennsylvania 2014.

Salzillo added that if opponents succeed in abolishing the death penalty, they'll next target life without parole as a cruel and unusual punishment.

"We see that becoming the next thing," he said.

Saturday 16 July 2011 - Cory Salzillo, legislative director for the California District Attorneys Association agrees that opponents have raised significant cost issues, but argues that if the system is reformed, California could save money by avoiding costly end-of-life medical care for older Death Row inmates.

"Let's get the death penalty back on track, take some common-sense reforms that fix the issues with the death penalty and why it takes so long rather than throw the baby out with the bath water," he said. "I think if we're going to talk about economics, you can't put a price on justice."

Law-enforcement groups want to keep the penalty in place. “We share the frustration of death-penalty opponents,” says Cory Salzillo, the legislative director of the California District Attorneys Association. “But we should pursue remedies to fix the problems rather than repeal it altogether.”

Friday 2 November 2012 - Cory Salzillo, legislative director for the California District Attorneys Association, whose group opposes the measure, questioned the savings given the high cost of prison housing, especially health care.

"It may save money on the front end (by resentencing inmates to life), but with all the prison costs on the back end, it's a wash,'' Salzillo said.

Cory Salzillo is the legislative director for the California District Attorneys Association. Originally composed of county counsels and district attorneys, the California District Attorneys Association has been in existence for over 90 years. As the interests of the group became increasingly diverse, the members decided to form an organization comprised exclusively of prosecutors. In 1974, CDAA was incorporated with the mission to serve the needs and promote the interests of California's prosecutors. Today, the California District Attorneys Association is over 2,500 members strong, operating with a full-time staff headquartered in Sacramento. CDAA serves as a source of continuing legal education and legislative advocacy for its membership and provides a forum for the exchange of information and innovation in the criminal justice field.