Argument: The death penalty is barbaric and uncharacteristic of a decent society
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Rudolph J. Gerber, Judge of the Arizona State Court of Appeals. - 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.
Abner Mikva, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. (2002) - The more that variations on the theme are scrutinized, the more obvious it is that the real reason for executing people is the oldest of reasons: revenge, anger at the felon, the somewhat flawed interpretation of the biblical "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth." But if that is the real reason for remaining outside the fold of all Western nations who have reformed away the death penalty, then why don't we acknowledge this thorn in our legal system by its appropriate name? We should admit that we engage in legalized murder.
Leah J. Sears, Georgia Supreme Court Justice (2001) - Electrocution offends the evolving standards of decency that characterize a mature, civilized society.
John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court Justice - The practice of executing such offenders is a relic of the past and is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency in a civilized society. We should put an end to this shameful practice.