Ron Paul on Crime

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President

Constitution even protects terrorists, not just citizens

The previously ridiculous notion that torture is legal is now more or less true. Habeas corpus has been around for 800 years, and so has the right not to be in indefinite detention without charges. The justification for such abuse of the rule of law is all based on concocted fear by false claims associated with a lack of respect and understanding of what liberty is all about. It is constantly argued that danger in this post-9/11 period demands a difference code of conduct to assure the people's safety. Possibly so. But so what? Tyranny always begins with oppression of unpopular minorities. It is important that even the guilty have their day in court--not so much out of sympathy, for many are known to be evil, wicked men, but to keep us from ever slipping into a situation in which American citizens lose their right to have their day in court. Literally hundreds of terrorists have been tried in civilian courts in this country and convicted and did not have to be tried in secret military courts.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 13-14 , Apr 19, 2011

Replace "hate crime" with equal penalties for equal assaults

The idea that a crime can be judged as to whether it was motivated by hate for certain groups introduces the notion of a thought police. It implies that some victims have greater worth than others. The extra and arbitrary enforcement power mocks the principle of equal justice before the law. Why should the penalty for assault be different depending on the race, sexual orientation or membership in a particular group? Because some criminals have in the past been punished less harshly due to their victim's belonging to a particular group is hardly a justification for a criminal to be punished more harshly for the same reason. It's best we drop the whole concept of hyphenated rights and refer only to individual rights. When hate crime legislation is written or proposed it comes up short in promoting justice. Hate crime legislation and the obsession with political correctness seem to satisfy the urge to condemn thoughtless people by misusing the law.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.148-149 , Apr 19, 2011

Too many capital convictions have been proven errors

There was a time I simply stated that I supported the death penalty. Now my views are not so clearly defined. I do not support the federal death penalty, but constitutionally I cannot, as a federal official, interfere with the individual states that impose it. After years spent in Washington, I have become more aware than ever of the government's ineptness and the likelihood of its making mistakes. I no longer trust the U.S. government to invoke and carry out a death sentence under any condition. Too many convictions, not necessarily federal, have been found to be in error, but only after years of incarcerating innocent people who later were released on DNA evidence. Rich people when guilty are rarely found guilty and sentenced to death. For me it's much easier just to eliminate the ultimate penalty and incarcerate the guilty for life--in case later evidence proves a mistaken conviction.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 32-33 , Apr 19, 2011

Eliminate ultimate penalty & incarcerate for life

I do not support the federal death penalty. For me it's much easier just to eliminate the ultimate penalty and incarcerate the guilty for life--in case later evidence proves a mistaken conviction. The cost of incarceration is likely less than it is for death penalty appeals drawn out not for years but for decades. This issue is not only about mistakes that governments make. It is about the power they wield. If the government can legally kill, it can do just about anything else short of that. I no longer believe this government should be trusted with this power. The death penalty does have an effect on the society that endorses it. The more civilized the society is, the more likely it has moved away from a casual or careless administration of the death penalty. The more authoritarian a government becomes, the greater is the number of executions.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 33-34 , Apr 19, 2011

Opposes death penalty at state and federal level

Paul opposes the death penalty and would vote against it in “any legislative body he was a member of,” according to campaign spokesman Jesse Benton. In 2005, Paul praised the late Pope John Paul II for being an “eloquent and consistent advocate for an ethic of life, exemplified by his struggles against abortion, war, euthanasia and the death penalty.”
Source: Pew Forum on Religion and Politics 2008 , Jan 1, 2008

Changed opinion to anti-death penalty due to many mistakes

Q: Is the death penalty is carried out justly?

A: Over the years, I’ve held pretty rigid all my beliefs, but I’ve changed my opinion about the death penalty. For federal purposes, I no longer believe in the death penalty. I believe it has been issued unjustly. If you’re rich, you get away with it; if you’re poor & you’re from the inner city, you’re more likely to be prosecuted & convicted. Today, with DNA evidence, there have been too many mistakes. So I am now opposed to the federal death penalty.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Opposes “hate crimes” legislation

Q: I was arrested, jailed, and was charged under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law. I faced up to 47 years in prison plus a $90,000 fine for attempting to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ at a homosexual pride event with those who are trapped in bondage to that lifestyle. If elected, can we count on you to veto any so-called “hate crimes” legislation?
Source: [Xref Brownback] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Not appropriate to prosecute all illegal adult pornography

Q: The Bush Justice Department is reticent to prosecute any but the worst hardcore pornographers--and most often, only the smaller companies that produce such filth. Meanwhile, hardcore pornographers have found their way into major hotel chains. Would your administration prosecute all illegal adult pornography, including so-called white-collar pornographers?
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Opposes the death penalty

He opposes the death penalty and abortion, and is strongly opposed to a military draft. He has voted against amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and also against an amendment to prohibit flag-burning.
Source: SourceWatch.org , Jan 22, 2007

Voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes.

Congressional Summary:Adopts the definition of "hate crime" as set forth in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994: a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person. Provides technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of hate crimes, including financial grant awards.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. JOHN CONYERS (D, MI-14):This bill expands existing Federal hate crimes law to groups who are well-known targets for bias-based violence--they are sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. These crimes of violence are directed not just at those who are directly attacked; they are targeting the entire group with the threat of violence.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LAMAR SMITH (R, TX-21): Every year thousands of violent crimes are committed out of hate, but just as many violent crimes, if not more, are motivated by something other than hate--greed, jealousy, desperation or revenge, just to name a few. An individual's motivation for committing a violent crime is usually complex and often speculative. Every violent crime is deplorable, regardless of its motivation. That's why all violent crimes should be vigorously prosecuted. Unfortunately, this bill undermines one of the most basic principles of our criminal justice system--equal justice for all. Under this bill, justice will no longer be equal. Justice will now depend on the race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other protected status of the victim. It will allow different penalties to be imposed for the same crime. This is the real injustice.

Reference: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act; Bill HR.1913 ; vote number 2009-H223 on Apr 2, 2009

Voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons.

Vote on an amendment that would reduce the funding for violent offender imprisonment by and truth-in-sentencing programs by $61 million. The measure would increase funding for Boys and Girls Clubs and drug courts by the same amount.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA; Bill HR 4690 ; vote number 2000-317 on Jun 22, 2000

Voted NO on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime.

Vote to pass a bill to appropriate $1.5 billion to all of the states that want to improve their juvenile justice operations. Among other provisions this bill includes funding for development, implementation, and administration of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders, funds for building, expanding, or renovating juvenile corrections facilities, hiring juvenile judges, probation officers, and additional prosecutors for juvenile cases.
Reference: Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 1501 ; vote number 1999-233 on Jun 17, 1999

Rated 60% by CURE, indicating mixed votes on rehabilitation.

Paul scores 60% by CURE on rehabilitation issues

CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners, prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE's two goals are

  1. to use prisons only for those who have to be in them; and
  2. for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.
The ratings indicate the legislator’s percentage score on CURE’s preferred votes.
Source: CURE website 00n-CURE on Dec 31, 2000

Other candidates on Crime: Ron Paul on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Virgil Goode(C)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(AE)
Jill Stein(G)
C.G.David Walker(AE)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: May 31, 2012