Aardy R. DeVarque (aardy) wrote,
Aardy R. DeVarque
aardy

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John Adams quote on preserving the rights of the innocent vs. punishing the guilty

"[W]e are to look upon it as more beneficial, that many guilty persons should escape unpunished, than one innocent person should suffer. The reason is, because it is of more importance to the community, that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt should be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in the world, that all of them cannot be punished; and many times they happen in such a manner, that it is not of much consequence to the public, whether they are punished or not. But when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, 'it is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.' And if such a sentiment as this should take place in the mind of the subject, there would be an end to all security whatsoever."

--John Adams (John Adams for the Defense a.k.a. The Trial of the British soldiers of the 29th Regiment of Foot, for the Murder of Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, and Patrick Carr, on Monday evening, March 5, 1770, before the Honorable Benjamin Lynde, John Cushing, Peter Oliver, and Edmund Trowbridge, Esquires)
Tags: politics, quotes, rights
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