Review Essay: Giving Life to the Death Penalty

Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Forthcoming

8 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2018  

Anna Offit

New York University School of Law

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

This essay reviews three books on capital punishment in America: Robin Conley’s Confronting the Death Penalty: How Language Influences Jurors in Capital Cases, Daniel LaChance’s Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States, and Austin Sarat’s Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty. After analyzing the books thematically, it critiques the Supreme Court’s discussion of “dignity” in a case that considered whether a state’s lethal injection protocols violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. It argues that the conflation of euthanasia and capital punishment rhetoric can mask the violence of lethal injection practices that in fact cause excessive suffering.

Keywords: Capital Punishment, Lethal Injection, Criminal Justice, Death Penalty, Punishment, Dignity

Suggested Citation

Offit, Anna, Review Essay: Giving Life to the Death Penalty (2018). Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3207936

Anna Offit (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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