"Some of the advocates of the abolition of capital punishment declare hanging has not checked murders in California. Hanging has not been given a fair trial in this state."
– Sept. 23, 1912
"Gov. Edmund G. Brown has made a dispassionate and sincere appeal to the Legislature for a moratorium on capital punishment in California. But as dispassionate and sincere as his message may be, it makes an unconvincing case for suspending or repealing the death penalty."
– Feb. 4, 1963
"The voters were clearly of the opinion, in voting last November, the death penalty is a necessary deterrent of last resort. No one really relishes the thought of capital punishment. But in an era of increasing violence and terrorism it is wrong to rule out the death penalty entirely as a deterrent and to make it unavailable in extreme cases."
– Aug. 27, 1973
"Hardly any nation on earth executes the young or the retarded. We preach our constitutional protections to the rest of the world. Those protections are badly flawed if they allow the state to execute a person who cannot possibly understand the full consequences of his acts."
– June 28, 1989
"There can be little argument that if any crime demands the death penalty, this one does. (Timothy) McVeigh's workday bombing was calculated to inflict maximum loss of life. With long premeditation and coldblooded deliberation, he brought horrible death and the gravest damage to children and adults alike – innocents caught in the terrible distortions of his mind."
– June 14, 1997
"In declaring execution of the retarded 'cruel and unusual punishment' and therefore unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court has strengthened the moral underpinnings of capital punishment and reconnected the United States to the civilized nations of the world."
– June 25, 2002
"A narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has wisely and compassionately ruled that the execution of defendants who were 17 and younger when they committed capital crimes is a violation of the Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment The decision continues a recent high court trend that has properly narrowed who can be sentenced to death in this country."
– March 4, 2005
"In California, the death penalty is conceptual. There simply are too many smart attorneys who can mount too many arguments that will persuade too many judges to place executions on hold. So long as we retain this broken system, taxpayers will be condemned to pay the price – in this instance, about $500 million for a new death row."
– Aug. 15, 2010