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Ralph Nader on Crime

2008 Independent for for President; 2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green nominee


Opposed 1996 expansion of the federal death penalty

Q: Briefly describe Nader’s position on the following issue: Death Penalty.

A: Ralph Nader opposes the death penalty. Among the “ten reasons why there is no place in the Democratic Party for people who hold to their principles and progressive programs,” Nader said in 2004: “Kerry supported the Clinton crime bills, including the expansion of the federal death penalty in 1996 legislation.”

Source: Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire , Feb 3, 2008

Crime in the suites worse than crime in the streets

After the Enron scandal broke in early 2002, Nader said, “Crime in the suites damages more people’s health, safety, and economic resources b far than crime in the streets,” he asserted. Then he laid out his plan for preventing future Enrons: more stringent oversight of the accounting profession, greater protection for whistle-blowers, a threefold increase in funding for the SEC, and a spate of corporate decency acts on the state level, spelling out when it is permissible to dispose of documents.
Source: Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, by Justin Martin, p.276 , Sep 1, 2002

Decreasing unemployment reduces crime; not enforcement

The increasing availability of jobs that pay a living wage is contributing to lower rates in street crime. Crime rates - street crime rates, that is - have registered dramatic drops in the last decade. Politicians boas: We’ve built more jails; We’ve made sentences longer; We’ve cracked down on minor offenses. Perhaps these punitive measures have contributed to the declining crime rates, [along with] community policing methods. But with all of the focus on law enforcement measures, [we] have After the Enron scandal broke in early 2002, Nader said, “Crime in the suites damages more people’s health, safety, and economic resources b far than crime in the streets,” he asserted. Then he laid out his plan for preventing future Enrons: more stringent oversight of the accounting profession, greater protection for whistle-blowers, a threefold increase in funding for the SEC, and a spate of corporate decency acts on the state level, spelling out when it is permissible to dispose of documents.
Source: Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, by Justin Martin, p.276 , Aug 14, 2000

Death penalty does not deter

Q: Isn’t the death penalty really a states’ rights issue?

A: Well, it used to be, but now there are numerous federal crimes which provide for the death penalty, that’s a recent development. And a president, I think, should take a strong stand. The death penalty has been shown, in study after study, not to deter homicides; it has been shown to be discriminatorily applied to the poor and the defenseless, especially defendants who don’t have lawyers who stay awake at trial.

Source: CNN: “Burden of Proof” , Aug 9, 2000

Moratorium on executions

Q: What impact could a president have on the death penalty?

A: First of all, moral leadership [via] the bully pulpit. And second, there are now increasing numbers of federal crimes that provide for the death penalty right under the jurisdiction of the president.

Q: What would be your message to Bush about the double execution expected tonight?

A: Well, if I was Bush I would be pretty ashamed. I would do what Governor Ryan did in Illinois, and declare a moratorium, or urge a moratorium in Texas, in order to determine how many defendants have been adequately represented by competent lawyers, and to review the whole process by which those who get executed in Texas are overwhelmingly minorities. And crimes are committed by all segments of society, and I would hope that George Bush will wake up to it because it is going to haunt him for the next few weeks, there are going to be all these executions coming. There is one now involving a retarded man.

Source: CNN: “Burden of Proof” , Aug 9, 2000

Some executed by death penalty were innocent

Q: What about the death penalty?

A: There were 87 capital crime convictions overturned by [research on their cases conducted by] journalism students. Undoubtedly, some of those executed were innocent.

Source: National Press Club interview (aired on NPR) , Jul 23, 2000

Pollution & toxic exposure cause more deaths than homicide

The epidemic of silent environmental violence continues. Whether it is the 65,000 Americans who die every year from air pollution, or the 80,000 estimated annual fatalities from hospital malpractice, or the 100,000 Americans whose demise comes from occupational toxic exposures or the environmental racism, to cite a few preventable conditions. The mortality and morbidity toll is far in excess of the appalling street-level homicide numbers that amount to about 20,000 annually.
Source: Nomination Acceptance Speech , Jun 25, 2000

Death penalty does not deter & is discriminatory

Since I was a law student, I have been against the death penalty. It does not deter. It is severely discriminatory against minorities, especially since they’re given no competent legal counsel defense in many cases. It’s a system that has to be perfect. You cannot execute one innocent person. No system is perfect. And to top it off, for those of you who are interested in the economics it, it costs more to pursue a capital case toward execution than it does to have full life imprisonment without parole.“
Source: Meet the Press interview , Jun 25, 2000

Focus on crime prevention instead of harsher sentences

Source: Green Party Platform as ratified at 2000 National Convention , Jun 25, 2000

Police must follow the law too

On police brutality: “Lawless behavior by the police encourages less respect for the law.”
Source: Campaign Speech, Hartford Public Library, Hartford CT , May 16, 2000

Product liability suits are a pillar of democracy

Most people will tell you that if they’re ripped off, defrauded or injured by someone’s negligence, they should be able to go into court, get compensation, get refunds, get justice against the wrong-doers-against the manufacturers of defective products or of untested pharmaceuticals’ side effects.

The insurance industry and its clients-the manufacturers and other companies-basically say, look, we don’t want to fight this out in the courts of law before a civil jury and the judge; we want to grease legislation in Washington and state capitols and take away these rights, make it very difficult for people to get adequate damages, to introduce evidence in court, to get a competent lawyer. And this is what’s called “tort reform.” We call it “Tort DeForm.”

This is an attack on a unique pillar of our democracy. This is the pride of the world. Only in America can a worker dying of asbestos file a lawsuit and bring the asbestos manufacturer to court for actions two decades ago.

Source: Interview on Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now” , Mar 27, 1996

Lawyers & victims need unlimited contingency fees

Q: People say, those damn lawyers make so much money.

A: Corporate executives want to handicap the lawyers who represent injured and swindled consumers. So how do you do it? Well, these companies want full economic incentives for them to make profit; they want to reduce the contingent fee incentive for lawyers so they’re less likely to take these risky cases, because they only get paid when they win. So, it’s bad enough that they don’t get paid when they don’t win -- because all other professions, doctors and everyone else gets paid whether they win or lose -- but, even when they win, this would cut their contingent fee very substantially. And pressure their consumer clients to consider settlement offers whereby they -- not the defendant -- have to reveal all the evidence before they start the process of depositions and discovery. So, it’s a way to handicap both the victim / plaintiffs and their lawyers, to rig the playing field, make it more likely the corporations will win the lawsuit.

Source: Interview by Jerry Brown on “We The People” Radio , Mar 20, 1996

Regulatory agencies are needed to fight corporate crime

Q: A central tenets of right-wing ideology is that the regulatory agencies are a burden on businesses. The other aspect is that most regulatory agencies have standards that either are obsolete or they’re so modest that they’re easily complied with. So why the outcry? [Because] it’s a great and convenient scapegoating for management who’s messed up for other reasons and they want to blame the regulators.

[Also] they’re complaining about a lot of paperwork. It’s really a joke to watch them talk about all the pages in the Federal Register. The more the regulator responds to a corporate law firm’s petition for either elaboration or waivers, the more pages in the Federal Register. They don’t have any correlation with the degree of intense regulation applied to the industry.

Source: Alternative Radio, interview by David Barsamian , Dec 9, 1995

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Crime.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Ralph Nader.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Ralph Nader.
Other candidates on Crime: Ralph Nader on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
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Page last updated: Oct 09, 2013