Death Penalty

Law Prof Learns from Inmate in ‘Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead’

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“Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead” is a documentary chronicling a New York Law School professor’s relationship with a convicted killer, stemming from the academic’s attempt to engage death-row inmates in conversations about their crimes.

Blecker holds nuanced death penalty views, believing the punishment is justified for “the worst of the worst,” according to a Washington Post review. To support his argument, he interviews condemned inmates, but most of his subjects “can’t really hold up their end of an academic inquiry,” according to the Post.

Daryl Holton is an exception. He was convicted of killing his four young children based on the rationale that they needed to die because they were being raised in a bad environment. “For all his evil, Holton is God’s gift to Blecker–articulate, humorous, an arch correspondent, and all too willing to die,” the Post review says. Later, Holton has a change of heart and tries an unsuccessful appeal.

A New York Times review of the film says Blecker “justifies his views by appealing to an intuitive, if inexact, sense of justice, as well as a kind of Old Testament wrathfulness.” He attends Holton’s execution, but finds he doesn’t fit in with those opposing or cheering the death.

A writer at SpoutBlog interviewed Blecker, who said he was tired of talking about the death penalty and is thinking about devoting his energies to another subject.

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