“If the law is not strong enough to protect the humblest and weakest citizen it deserves the contempt of all.”

“Everyone realizes the terrible nature of the deed and the frightful consequences of the act. Nothing can be said or done to make the calamity less or greater or to unmake the facts that are beyond recall. Heaping reproaches upon the miserable being who took his life cannot help the dead or alleviate the sorrows of his family and friends.

It seems as if the whole community had gone mad at the sight of blood and were ready to forget the better instincts that it was supposed civilization had developed in mankind. Some of our papers say that no loophole of the law must be found by lawyer, judge or jury that will permit the prisoner’s escape. Others, that all is needed now is a piece of rope and that no time should be wasted in a trial of the case….

… It is urged by nine men out of ten that it makes no difference whether he is crazy or not, he ought to be hanged, and those who protest are called “sickly sentimentalists.” Is it not time for a sober second thought? Under the laws of Illinois, if this man were crazy he is not guilty of a crime. Can we afford to sweep away the law because a great majority believe a prisoner has no right to live? Shall a majority say that the law shall be ignored when they believe the necessities demand? If this be the case, then there is no longer need for law. If the law is not strong enough to protect the humblest and weakest citizen it deserves the contempt of all.”

-Clarence Darrow