A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“An onion will make you cry, but they never have invented a vegetable that will make you laugh” (11/23)
“Some debts are fun when you’re acquiring them, but none are fun when you’re retiring them” (11/23)
“Facebook is like jail” (joke) (11/22)
“If people are trying to bring you down, it only means that you are above them” (11/22)
Road Pirates (police nickname) (11/22)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from June 17, 2014
“Capital punishment means them without the capital get the punishment”

One popular argument against the death penalty (capital punishment) is that it executes the poor—rich people can afford expensive legal representation to avoid the penalty. “Capital punishment means them/those without the capital get(s) the punishment” is a saying that has appeared on signs since at least 1977. It’s not known who first originated the saying.


27 March 1977, San Antonio (TX) Light, “Speaking Out,” pg. 7-L, col. 4:
Legal, moral, ethical and philosophical considerations aside, capital punishment continues to translate into “them without the capital gets the punishment.”
TOM FLOWER

14 May 1977, Mobile (AL) Register, Weekend, pg. 4, col. 1 photo caption:
Their stories will be told in “Murder One,” Saturday at 10 p.m. on Channel 42, reinforcing the growing suspicion that those without the capital get the punishment.

28 June 1977, Beckley (WV) Post-Herald, “Breakfast Table Talk” by the staff, pg. 9, col. 4:
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, according to a small sign at the Raleigh Community Action Association offices.at Gray Flats, means “them without the capital get the punishment.”—YB

25 November 1977, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Death Penalty March in Deserted Plaza,” sec. 1, pg. 15, col. 1:
The marchers carried signs reading “Give Thanks for Life...Stop the Death Penalty,” “Capital Punishment Means Them Without the Capital Gets the Punishment,” “Forgiveness Not Vengeance,” and ‘We Kill People to Show That Killing is Wrong?”

Murderpedia
John Arthur SPENKELINK
(...)
Last Words:
“Capital punishment—Them without the capital get the punishment.”
(Quote attributed to John Spenkelink before his execution in Florida on May 25, 1979).

Library of Congress—Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
Title: Capital punishment means them without the capital get the punishment
Creator(s): Averill, Peg, artist
Related Names:
Liberation News Service, (New York, N.Y.) , sponsor/advertiser
War Resisters League , sponsor/advertiser
Date Created/Published: [between 1965 and 1980]
Medium: 1 print (poster)

Google Books
Death is Different:
Studies in the Morality, Law, and Politics of Capital Punishment

By Hugo Adam Bedau
Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press
1987
Pg. 43:
All the sociological evidence points to the conclusion that the death penalty is the poor man’s justice; hence the epigram “Those without the capital get the punishment.”

Google Books
Crumbling Wall:
Why Prisons Fail

By Ruth Morris
London: Mosaic
1989
Pg. 107:
“Capital Punishment means them without the capital gets the punishment.” This witty button might be funny if if weren’t for the fact that polls show that 68% of Canadians favour a return to hanging, ...

Google News Archive
17 September 1990, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Wife seeks inmate’s freedom” by Lynda Guydon Taylor, pg. 4, col. 6:
He pointed out a sign on the podium in front that read: “Capital punishment means those without the capital get the punishment.”

Death Penalty Information Center
Justice on the Cheap: The Philadelphia Story
by Michael Kroll former Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center May 1992
INTRODUCTION
“Them without the capital get the punishment” is a well-worn phrase among those who have studied the unequal application of the death penalty in America. Poor people facing society’s ultimate penalty must rely on public funds to ensure they are competently represented, as the Constitution guarantees. Yet, in more and more jurisdictions, public services of all kinds are being slashed for lack of adequate funding. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one such jurisdiction--a dramatic and graphic example of a nationwide problem.

Google Books
Compromised:
Clinton, Bush and the CIA

By Terry Reed
New York, NY: S.P.I. Books
1994
Pg. 418:
He had learned a lot about her, he felt, just by reading a framed inscription hanging on the wall above her desk that read: “Capital punishment means them without the capital gets the punishment.”

Google Books
The Gospel with extra salt:
Friends of Tony Campolo celebrate his passions for ministry

By Anthony Campolo and Joseph B Modica
Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press
2000
Pg. 103:
It is frequently said that in the United States “capital punishment means them without the capital gets the punishment.”

Google Books
A Life for a Life:
The American Debate Over the Death Penalty

By Michael Dow Burkhead
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
2009
Pg. 58:
“Capital punishment means them without the capital gets the punishment.” —Anonymous

MoveOn.org
Jeremy Irons: ‘Those Without The Capital Get The Punishment’
By Angie Aker. Thursday, September 22 2011
These facts will open your eyes if they haven’t been already. Watch: ...

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Tuesday, June 17, 2014 • Permalink