JSP Scope

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Onion Quotes Fictional Boalt Criminologist

Taking a leaf perhaps from Doonesbury's fictional boalt student Joanie Caucus , the satirical newspaper The Onion, interviewed Dr. Daniel Blecker, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and expert on capital punishment,for a sickeningly hilarious send up of the real life Supreme Court case on lethal injection, and the wave of moratoriums that have occurred as a result in some states (including California). Titled, Lethal Injection Ban Leads To Rise In Back-Alley Lethal Injections, the article profiled an anonymous governor forced to seek a back alley lethal injection for a death row inmate in order not to lose face with voters.

Dr. Blecker (perhaps a conflation of Robert Blecker, a pro-death penalty law professor at New York Law School, and JSP's own Frank Zimring), offered the following analysis:

"Every day more and more governors find themselves in dank basements or filthy garages with a retinue of prison guards and a convicted killer," said Blecker, referring to testimony he has gathered from more than a dozen politicians who have participated in illegal lethal injections. "In extreme cases, the inexperienced executioners will inject the prisoners with cheap, common household poisons, such as oven cleaner and bleach, instead of the suggested sodium thiopental, Pavulon, and potassium chloride cocktail that a state-licensed executioner would use."

Blecker also cited reports of back-alley injections performed so hastily that no last meal was provided.

"The reality of the situation is that you can't legislate lethal injections away," Blecker said. "If governors can't inhumanely execute prisoners legally in prisons, they're going to turn elsewhere for the procedure. More often than not with tragic results."


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