Argument: The state should simply not be involved in killing people
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Russian author and playwright (1860-1904) - The government is not God. It does not have the right to take away that which it can’t return even if it wants to.
US Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun famously wrote that it is wrong for the state to "tinker with the machinery of death".
Katharine Fullerton Gerould. Modes and Morals. ch. 7 (1920). - Many of us do not believe in capital punishment, because thus society takes from a man what society cannot give.
Gandalf, in theThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954). - Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.
Victor Hugo. National Constituant Assembly of the French Republic. 15 September 1848. - Three things belong to God and do not belong to men: the irrevocable, the irreparable and the indissoluble. Woe to men if they introduce it in their laws!
Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations. - Can the state, which represents the whole of society and has the duty of protecting society, fulfill that duty by lowering itself to the level of the murderer, and treating him as he treated others?
Carol Moseley Braun, former U.S. Senator, former U.S. ambassador to New Zealand. - It is an oxymoron to say criminal justice with the system we have today ... It is not an appropriate exercise of governmental power.