John Adams: ‘It Is More Important That Innocence Be Protected Than It Is That Guilt Be Punished’
[Via Daring Fireball]
I almost linked to this page of quotes from founding father John Adams yesterday, but I’m glad I held off. This one seems more apt today:
It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, “whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,” and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.
John Adams was quite the radical in his day, which is why he is one of my favorites, even though there are many things I disagree with him on.
This is not one of them.