Last updated on: 12/6/2016 | Author:

Robert Blecker, JD Biography

Professor of Law at New York Law School
Pro to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“We have the responsibility to punish those who deserve it, but only to the degree they deserve it. Retributivists do not justify the death penalty by the general deterrence or safety it brings us. And we reject over-punishing no less than under-punishing. How obscene that aggravated murderers who behave well inside prison watch movies and play softball.

Regardless of future benefits, we justify punishment because it’s deserved. Let the punishment fit the crime…

Opponents [of the death penalty] wrongly equate retribution and revenge, because they both would inflict pain and suffering on those who have inflicted pain and suffering on us.

Whereas revenge knows no bounds, retribution must be limited, proportional and appropriately directed: The retributive punishment fits the crime…

We should only execute those who most deserve it. And not randomly. Refine our death penalty statutes and review the sentences of everyone on death row. Release into general population those who don’t really deserve to die. The rest we should execute — worst first.”

“Q&A: Death Penalty Proponent Robert Blecker,”, Apr. 2014

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Professor of Law, New York Law School, Aug. 1975-present
  • Playwright, 1969-present
  • Documentary Film Director, Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead, 2008
  • Graduate Fellow, Law and Humanities, Harvard University, Jan. 1976-Dec. 1977
  • Special Assistant, Office of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Attorney General of the State of New York, 1974-1975
  • Lecturer, American Culture and Creative Writing, University of Vincennes, 1969-1974
  • JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1974
  • BA, magna cum laude Playwriting, cum laude Economics, and cum laude Political Science, Tufts University, 1969
  • National Media Commentator on CNN, Court TV, and PBS
  • Twitter handle: @RobertBlecker