If there is such a thing as justice it could only be administered by one who knew the inmost thoughts of the man to whom they were meting it out. Aye, who knew the father and mother and the grandparents and the infinite number of people back of him. Who knew the origin of every cell that went into the body, who could understand the structure, and how it acted. Who could tell how the emotions that sway the human being affected that particular frail piece of clay. It means more than that. It means that you must appraise every influence that moves them, the civilization where they live, and all society which enters into the making of the child or the man! If your Honor can do it--if you can do it you are wise and with wisdom goes mercy.
No one with wisdom and with understanding, no one who is honest with himself and with his own life whoever he may be, no one who has seen himself the prey and the sport and the plaything of the infinite forces that move man, no one who has tried and who has failed,--and we have all tried, and we have all failed,--no one can tell what justice is for someone else or for himself--and the more he tries and the more responsibility he takes the more he clings to mercy as being the one thing which he is sure should control his judgement of men.
It is not so much mercy either, your Honor. I can hardly understand myself pleading to a court to visit mercy on two boys by shutting them into a prison for life.