The Public Spectacle

For more than 25 years I’ve been making documentaries, many of them about ancient civilizations around the globe. For thousands of years, justice and punishment were conducted in and by the public. In the U.S., government-administered public hangings ceased in the 1930s. Today, lethal injection is used, behind prison walls, far from public view. But recent botched executions due to shortages of the drugs used for execution have cast a new spotlight on capital punishment. Several states are moving to reinstate the electric chair, gas chamber, and firing squad. Will execution once again become a public spectacle? In the Executioner’s Shadow probes how decisions about justice affect us all.

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Maggie Burnette Stogner is a documentary filmmaker with 25 years of experience, the owner of Blue Bear Films and a tenured professor of film and media arts at American University in Washington DC.