Last updated on: 3/13/2013 | Author:

H. Lee Sarokin, LLB Biography

Former US District Court and US Court of Appeals Judge
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“[I] am opposed to the death penalty… The truth is that there is no way of ever knowing whether or not the death penalty deters… Because of the growing number of reversals, new trials and exonerations, the appeal process has become slow, long and expensive… Race plays a role in who becomes eligible for the death penalty and against whom it is imposed… After a lifetime of watching the death penalty at work, I believe that despite our understandable desire for revenge, retribution and even death for the most horrendous of crimes, the state should not be the carrier and enforcer of those emotions. I recognize and respect the opposite view, but I just cannot accept that the intentional killing by the state of an individual is moral… However, the most compelling argument for me is the fact that we have executed innocent persons and others are scheduled for execution and others undoubtedly will be in the future… The time has come to execute the death penalty!”

“Is It Time to Execute the Death Penalty?,”, Jan. 15, 2011

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • US Circuit Judge, Third Circuit, Oct. 5, 1994 – July 31, 1996
  • US District Court Judge, New Jersey, Oct. 31, 1979 – Oct. 5, 1994
  • Partner, Lasser Lasser Sarokin and Hochman, 1955-1979
  • Assistant Counsel, Union County, New Jersey, 1959-1965
  • LLB, Harvard Law School, 1953
  • AB, Dartmouth College, 1950
  • Overturned the 1967 triple murder conviction of middleweight boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in 1985
  • Selected as chair of the Quadrennial National Conference of Federal Judges in 1993 and 1997 and served as program chair in 1985 and 1989.
  • Appointed by former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist to Judicial Conference Committees on judicial improvements, automation, judicial administration, and case management.
  • Born Nov. 25, 1928 in Perth Amboy, NJ
  • Resides in Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Quoted in:
  1. Does the Death Penalty Deter Crime?