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Who Supports the Death Penalty?

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As is so often the case, it depends on who you ask.

Doug Berman of the always interesting Sentencing Law and Policy notes a story about the top 50 blogs that discuss capital punishment.  The story starts out by acknowledging that over 70% of our citizens "reportedly" support it.  That is not the case, however, among blogs on the subject.  As Doug observes, the blog breakdown is: three in favor, eight neutral, and thirty-nine opposed.

Now anyone can gin up a blog, but presumably those who take the trouble at least hold themselves out as knowing something about the subject.  By and large, this seems to me to be correct.  Indeed a number of the abolitionist blogs appear to be run by law professors.

The reason I bring this up is to re-inforce a theme I have sounded before, namely, that there is a yawning gap between the views of ordinary citizens and those who take themselves to be  --  and sometimes actually are  --  the elite.  On the death penalty and many other things, the media and the academy are way out of step with the public.  This has a number of effects:  It allows elite-run institutions, courts among them, to get away with circumventing rules that normal people would think ought to apply to them.  It distorts the public debate.  And it creates distrust among the the governed about the intentions and fidelity of those doing the governing.

The latter effect seems to me to be closely akin to what has given rise to the Tea Party movement.  In less than five weeks, we may get the public's verdict about the elite's massive and sneering condescension.  My prediction:  For the elites, it ain't gonna be pretty.

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The same site also lists C&C among the top 50 criminal defense blogs. Really.

Apparently, the reason for the small number of pro-death penalty blogs is because "it is an unpopular position, and because the law as it stands satisfies pro-death penalty bloggers." News to us!

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