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More headlines: George W. Bush on Crime

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


Tough love means consequences for committing crimes

Bush told the Fraternal Order of Police he would be the candidate of “tough love.” “The men and women in uniform understand that if you break the law, there will be a consequence. In order to have a safe country, we’re going to stand by the men and women who wear the uniform.”
Source: CNN.com Sep 20, 2000

Bush’s Texas is a bad place to be “young and irresponsible”

A major plank in Bush’s gubernatorial campaign was a commitment to toughen the juvenile justice system. He did precisely that, tripling the number of inmates in state juvenile prisons, lowering the age at which juveniles can be sent to adult court, and increasing the maximum sentence for youthful offendors. [Bush has said], “When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.” Clearly, if one is going to be “young and irresponsible,” Texas is not the place to do it.
Source: Glenn C. Loury, New York Times editorial, p. A19 Aug 24, 1999

Vetoes indigent lawyer reform as “a danger”

Defendants too poor to hire lawyers [in Texas] are provided with appointed counsel, but [they are plagued with low] competency, low pay, and slow assignment speed. Bush has vetoed a bill intended to improve the system modestly. The bill’s requirement that a defendant be given a lawyer within 20 days or else be released was “a danger to public safety,” Bush said, though in most of the country indigent defendants are assigned lawyers within 72 hours.
Source: Time Magazine, p. 37, col. 2 Jul 5, 1999

More prisons, privately built; more restitution

Bush says that the Texas, “parole board has effectively ended parole for repeat violent offenders.”
Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998 Jul 2, 1998

Tort Reform: limits on lawsuit payments

Gov. Bush support limits on cash damages in lawsuits against businesses and professionals for product liability or malpractice.
Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998 Jul 2, 1998

Prosecute kids as adults; more boot camps

Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998 Jul 2, 1998

Send juvenile criminals to “boot camp”

You are responsible for your behavior -- you, not your circumstances, not society. [Now, convicted juveniles’] heads are shaved. They wear bright orange uniforms. They march in boot camp style, and they’re taught that they are responsible for the choices they make in life. [During a visit, the boys said], I committed the offense of armed robbery, Sir. I’m serving a one year minimum sentence as a consequence for my behavior, Sir. In short, they are learning. the value of discipline and respect.
Source: Powell Lecture Series, Texas A&M University Apr 6, 1998

End frivolous lawsuits; cap damages

Texas must end the frivolous and junk lawsuits which clog our courts, threaten producers, and delay justice for the deserving.I have declared tort reform an emergency
Source: 1995 State of the State Address, Austin TX Feb 7, 1995

Board of Pardons’ decision on Graham execution is just

My job is to ensure our state’s laws are enforced fairly. This is a responsibility I take very seriously. On October 28, 1981, Mr. Gary Graham was found guilty of capital murder and later sentenced to death by a Harris County jury. The murder marked the beginning of a week-long crime rampage during which Mr. Graham committed at least 10 armed robberies. Two of his victims were shot, one was kidnapped and raped at gunpoint. Over the last 19 years, Mr. Graham’s case has been reviewed more than 20 times by state and federal courts. Thirty-three judges have heard and found his numerous claims to be without merit. In addition to the extensive due process provided Mr. Graham through the courts, the Board of Pardons and Paroles has thoroughly reviewed the record of this case as well as all new claims raised by Mr. Graham’s lawyers. Today the Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to allow Mr. Graham’s execution to go forward. I support the decision.
Source: Press Release “Bush’s Statement on Gary Graham” Jun 22, 2000

Bush grants 30-day death row reprieve for DNA evidence

Convicted killer Ricky McGinn had already eaten what was to be his last meal before being told, 18 minutes before his scheduled execution time, that he had been granted a 30-day reprieve. Texas Gov. George W. Bush recommended the 30-day reprieve so that potential DNA evidence that might exonerate McGinn could be reviewed. McGinn, 43, a mechanic with an 11th grade education, was convicted of the 1993 rape and ax murder of his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Under Texas law, capital punishment in murder cases requires an aggravating factor such as rape committed in the course of the slaying.

Bush has never before granted a 30-day stay of execution Since Bush has been governor, 131 people have been executed - - 129 men and two women. Bush has been questioned repeatedly on the campaign trail about the Texas execution record and has responded that he believes no innocent person has been put to death.

Source: CNN.com Jun 2, 2000

Death penalty saves lives, when swift & just

Q: You expressed confidence that all of the 121 executions under your watch had been fair. But just yesterday a prisoner in Texas on death row was released from prison after a federal judge found that his lawyer had slept through much of the trial. In light of this are you still confident that the 458 prisoners on death row have had their legal rights protected in these life and death cases?

A: Well, you just made your case. The man is out. I’m sorry he’s out; he’s a really violent person. I hope he gets retried soon. But the system worked in this case. And the question isn’t about the ones that are coming up. The question is the ones that have been put to death. And I’m absolutely confident that everybody has been put to death is two things: 1) they’re guilty of the crime charged; and 2) they had full access to our courts, both state and federal. I support the death penalty because I believe when the death penalty is administered surely, swiftly and justly, it will save lives.

Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles Mar 2, 2000

Proper age for death penalty is 17

Bush. supports the death penalty for murderers 17 and older but opposes proposals to lower the age.
Source: US News & World Report, p. 26 Jan 17, 2000

Bush is confident that none of 112 executed were innocent

In his 5 years as governor, Bush has presided over the executions of 111 men & 1 woman, far more than any other governor. By any measure, his commitment to capital punishment is unquestioned. By law, the governor cannot unilaterally commute a death sentence. But Bush has appointed every member of the parole board that can make that decision, & signed a law speeding the appeals process-and, therefore, executions. Bush has resisted efforts to change Texas’ clemency process, [which] critics describe as the most unfair and merciless of the 38 states with a death penalty. But other states see Texas as a model of efficiency. The governor’s own actions and statements have made clear a firm philosophy on death row justice: with almost no exceptions, the punishment must be meted out. Bush said in 1998, “For the 4 years I’ve been governor, I am confident we have not executed an innocent person, and I’m confident that the system has worked to make sure there is full access to the courts.”
Source: New York Times, by Jim Yardley Jan 7, 2000

Supports death penalty as deterrent

I support the death penalty because I believe, if administered swiftly and justly, capital punishment is a deterrent against future violence and will save other innocent lives. Some advocates of life will challenge why I oppose abortion yet support the death penalty; to me, it’s the difference between innocence and guilt.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.147 Dec 9, 1999

100 Texas executions under Bush

There have been 100 executions since Bush took office as governor of Texas in 1995.
Source: Michael Holmes, AP, “In death penalty cases” Sep 7, 1999

Death Penalty for violent criminals beyond rehabilitation.

I support capital punishment for violent criminals who commit horrible crimes. We must send a strong message that the consequences of violent criminal behavior will be swift and sure. Unfortunately, some criminals are beyond rehabilitation.
Source: www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/faq_index.html 12/31/98 Dec 31, 1998

Stop endless delays on death row

Many adult criminals are beyond rehabilitation. It is our obligation to keep them behind bars and away from our schools and our communities. I commend. proposals to stop the endless legal delays for death row inmates. Death row inmates are entitled to a fair hearing, but their appeals must be streamlined so justice is swift and sure.
Source: 1995 State of the State Address, Austin TX Feb 7, 1995

Push for prisons & sentencing reduced Texas crime rates

Gore said that as a result of Bush’s policies, Texas has experienced a 25% increase in the number of former inmates returned to prison for new crimes within three years of release. “When inmates are sent back to the streets unrehabilitated, unrepentant, and unskilled, then they are just going to commit more crime and go right back into prison,” Gore said. He did not suggest that Bush had been soft on crime, a position that would be hard to defend: in Bush’s five and a half years as governor, Texas has undertaken the nation’s largest prison-building program, executed a record number of criminals, lengthened sentences for many crimes, and incarcerated a rising number of juveniles. But Gore did say “I believe that we should demand that criminals get clean before they get out of jail. Bush seems content to keep pushing them out the same revolving door.”

Bush’s aides disputed Gore’s statistics on Texas recidivism. They also said violent crime in the state had fallen 20%, to a 20-year low.

Source: James Dao, New York Times, p. A18 May 3, 2000

Supports mandatory sentencing and strict parole.

I am proud that our state is tough on crime. We have the highest incarceration rate in the nation. We have tough mandatory sentences for those convicted of crimes, and short leashes for those on parole.
Source: www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/faq_index.html 12/31/98 Dec 31, 1998

Stricter penalties for sex, drugs, & drinking offenses

Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998 Jul 2, 1998

Other candidates on Crime: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney

Republican Possibilities:
George Allen
Jeb Bush
Bill Frist
Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
Mitt Romney

Democratic Possibilities:
Evan Bayh
Hillary Clinton
Howard Dean
John Edwards
Russ Feingold
Al Gore
John Kerry
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Mark Warner

Third Party Possibilities:
Ralph Nader
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty