Review Essay: Giving Life to the Death Penalty
Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Forthcoming
8 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2018
Date Written: 2018
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: Suggested Citation