W&L Law’s Peppers on Televised Executions The Richmond Times-Dispatch published a commentary by Todd Peppers on public access to executions in Virginia.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch published a commentary by Washington and Lee law professor Todd Peppers on the public’s right to view execution proceedings in the state of Virginia.
“Why not broadcast executions for public viewing?” writes Peppers. “Most supporters of capital punishment argue that executions deter criminals. Yet isn’t this deterrent effect diminished when executions are carried out at remote locations during the evening, hidden away behind concrete walls and razor wire? Wouldn’t a live feed of the state killing one of its citizens be more likely to scare future criminals and lower crime rates?”
Peppers wonders if the objections to televised executions by those who support the death penalty is driven by the worry that support for the death penalty would continue to erode if “citizens saw the reality of state-sanctioned executions.”
“Seeing human beings put down like old dogs isn’t for the faint of heart. Nor is it good for politicians who support a policy grounded on the idea that the state should kill to show that killing is wrong.”
Read the full commentary online.