cleaning up so well (jones_casey) wrote,
cleaning up so well
jones_casey

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spectral evidence (a prelude)

"it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent man to death once in a way." moses maimonides (1135-1204)

"mallen reuera vigita facino rosos mortem pietate euadere, quã iustu unu condempari."
{"one would much rather that twenty guilty persons should escape the punishment of death, than that one innocent person should be condemned and suffer capitally."}
-- england's chief justice sir john fortescue, de laudibus legum angliae (c. 1470)

"it were better that ten suspected witches should escape, than that the innocent person should be condemned."
increase mather (october 3, 1692)

"it is better [one hundred] guilty persons should escape than that one innocent person should suffer"
-- benjamin franklin, letter to benjamin vaughan (mar. 14, 1785)

"i'd rather let a thousand guilty men go free than chase after them."
-- chief wiggum, the simpsons [episode saddlesore galactica]

but cf.

"it is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape."
-- german chancellor otto von bismarck (c. ????)

"when you cut down the forest, woodchips fly."
-- russian proverb

"we must be on guard against those sentimental exaggerations which tend to give crime impunity, under the pretext of insuring the safety of innocence. public applause has been, so to speak, set up to auction. at first it was said to be better to save several guilty men, than to condemn a single innocent man; others, to make the maxim more striking, fix the number ten; a third made this ten a hundred, and a fourth made it a thousand. all these candidates for the prize of humanity have been outstripped by i know not how many writers, who hold, that, in no case, ought an accused person to be condemned, unless evidence amount to mathematical or absolute certainty. according to this maxim, nobody ought to be punished, lest an innocent man be punished."
--jeremy bentham (not john locke) (c. ????)
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