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“When in Gregg v. Georgia the Supreme Court gave its seal of approval to capital punishment, this endorsement was premised on the promise that capital punishment would be administered with fairness and justice. Instead, the promise has become a cruel and empty mockery. If not remedied, the scandalous state of our present system of capital punishment will cast a pall of shame over our society for years to come. We cannot let it continue.”
United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, 1990

“100% of Kentucky death row inmates were there for murdering a white victim, and none were there for the murder of a black victim, despite the fact that there have been over 1,000 African-Americans murdered in Kentucky since the death penalty was reinstated.”
Report on Racism in Capital Punishment by the Death Penalty Information Center, June 1998

“It’s just really tragic after all the horrors of the last 1,000 years we can’t leave behind something as primitive as government sponsored execution.”
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, when introducing a bill that would end the death penalty on the Federal level

“It doesn’t make any difference if you are in favor of capital punishment or if you are opposed to capital punishment. The fact of the matter is that as a viable penalty, capital punishment does not work at this time and has not worked in the State of Florida for many, many years.”
Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and former Homicide prosecutor, Gerald Kogan

“Despite the courts efforts to fashion a death penalty scheme that is just, fair and reliable, the system is not working. Innocent people are being sentenced to death......It is no answer to say that we are doing the best that we can. If this is the best our state can do, we have no business sending people to their deaths.”
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Moses Harrison II

“To support the death penalty as sound social policy strikes me as grossly misguided. Not only does the death penalty not deter murder, it fosters a culture of brutality, risks international condemnation, and transforms our country into a brutal pariah.”
Judge Rudolph Gerber of the Arizona Court of Appeals

“There’s just no way I could conclude that the way we do this makes any sense. I have come to the conclude that, in fact, we apply the death penalty in a very arbitrary manner.”
Former Virginia Attorney General William Broaddus

“From the moment you are in that cell, when they tell you you’re going ot be electrocuted, you contemplate it all the time. It never leaves your mind, and they never let it leave your mind.”
Jay Smith, released after 6 years on Pennsylvania’s death row, after his innocence was proven

“It was brutal, terrible. It was a burning alive, literally.”
Attorney Michael Minerva, after witnessing the fiery Pedro Medina execution in Florida

“The attorney general doesn’t favor one method or the other, he favors the death penalty.”
Senior aide to Florida attorney General Bob Butterworth

“People are willing to concede that it (the death penalty) is just pure revenge and they’re willing to live with that.”
Hunter Labovitz, Tallahassee attorney

“Let’s do it.”
Gary Gilmore, shot by firing squad in Utah, January 1977

“Commute me, execute me. Don’t drag it out.”
Jesse Bishop, gassed in Nevada, October 1979

“I guess nobody is going to call.”
Edward Earl Johnson, gassed in Mississippi, May 1987

“I’d like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my ass.”
Johnny Frank Garrett, lethal injection in Texas, February 1992

“Capital punihsment: That without the Capital get the punishment.”
John Spinkelink, electrocuted in Florida, May 1979

“These people should never have another happy moment in their lives.”
Bob Micholas, president of Citizens for Law and Order

“For every six people we have executed in the past 20 years, we discover one person on death row who is completely innocent.”
Richard Deiter, author of “Innocence and the Death Penalty: the increasing danger of executing the innocent”

“I don’t think there’s any question that someday somebody who is innocent will be executed in this country again.”
Florida Representative Bill McCollum during an interview with Nightline explaining his reasons for supporting the death penalty

“The imposition and eventual execution of a sentence of death is too great a price to pay for a careless and irresponsible attitude toward the rights of the accused.”
Brad Janowski, in a letter to Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, opposing the execution of Bruce Kilgore in 1998

“The death penalty symbolizes whom we fear and don’t fear, whom we care about and whose lives are not valid.”
Bryan Stevenson, director or Alabama’s Capital Representation Resource Center

“You judge a society by how it imposes its harshest penalty, and in the US we are now in a rush to see that it happens quickly rather than it happens fairly.”
Gerald Chaleff, California Defense Attorney

the word used by Eddie Lee Ross’ court appointed attorney during his capital murder trial in Georgia. Ross later learned that his white attorney had been the Imperial Wizard of the local Ku Klux Klan for 50 years. Ross was sentenced to the electric chair

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