Lot #174
Ted Kennedy's Poignant 5-Page Autograph Letter Signed to Attorney Evelle Younger on RFK and Death Penalty for Sirhan Sirhan

"He would not have wanted his death to be a cause for the taking of another life"—the Kennedy family position on the death sentence given to Sirhan Sirhan for his killing of RFK
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Estimate: $5000+

Description

"He would not have wanted his death to be a cause for the taking of another life"—the Kennedy family position on the death sentence given to Sirhan Sirhan for his killing of RFK

Ted Kennedy 5-page ALS May 18, 1969 to Mr. Evelle Younger District Attorney who prosecuted Sirhan Sirhan for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Remarks by District Attorney Evelle J. Younger May 21, 1969 Case of People v. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.

After finding Sirhan Sirhan guilty of murder in the first degree, District Attorney Evelle J. Younger asked the Kennedy family if they had any comments or recommendations relative to the penalty in this case, which was death in the electric chair. At this time in California a judge could if he wanted to as a form of clemency reduce the punishment of death to life imprisonment. The following 5-page Ted Kennedy letter to the court represented the Kennedy family position in regards to the death penalty Sirhan Sirhan faced. It wasn't until 1972 that the death sentence was eliminated as punishment in California for first degree murder and replaced by life imprisonment without the chance of parole. This also meant that all prisoners who were on death row at the time and waiting for execution had their sentences converted to life imprisonment which became the case for Sirhan Sirhan.

In part: "My brother was a man of love and sentiment and compassion. He would not have wanted his death to be a cause for the taking of another life. You may recall his pleas when he learned of the death of Martin Luther King. He said that 'what we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion towards one another.' Moreover he was a young man totally committed to life and living. He stood against injustice, poverty, and discrimination for those evils lessened life. He grew to despise war for war denies the sacredness of life. And he had a special affection for children for they held the promise of life. We all realize that many other considerations fall within your responsibility and that of the court. But if the kind of man my brother was is pertinent we believe it should be weighed in the balance on the side of compassion, mercy and God's gift of life itself."

This five-page letter is one of the most powerful, moving, and emotional letters ever written.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Art and Literature
  • Dates: #610 - Ended June 16, 2021





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