New report: Reckless use of death penalty in N.C. threatens the innocent

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What if we told you that almost every murder in N.C. is charged capitally? That cases are declared capital before police have completed thorough investigations? That the threat of death is used to bully people into pleading guilty, even though they might be innocent? These are the revelations in a new report from CDPL.

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The next “right thing” for McCrory: Halt executions

Henry McCollum in Sept. 2014, moments after a judge declared him innocent. 
Photo by Jenny Warburg

McCrory said it was “the right thing to do” when he pardoned Henry McCollum and Leon Brown in early June. Now, we hope he will do the next right thing: Think about how many other innocent people might still be sitting on death row. Our governor has the power to ensure that an innocent person will not be executed in North Carolina. Using that power would show that McCollum and Brown didn’t give up three decades of their lives for nothing.

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Death penalty’s demise: Conservative Nebraska votes to repeal

Nebraska lawmakers debate in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, May 27, 2015, whether to override Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of a death penalty repeal bill, in a vote that would make it the first traditionally conservative state to abolish capital punishment in more than four decades. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

This is just one more sign that the death penalty is on borrowed time, nationally and in North Carolina. Nineteen states have now abolished it, several more have active repeal campaigns, and the vast majority of U.S. states, including North Carolina, are no longer carrying out executions.

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Another state walks away from death penalty

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You know the death penalty is on its last gasp when one of the most heavily Republican states in the nation votes to repeal it. That’s what happened this week in Nebraska, where legislators voted overwhelmingly to replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole.

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N.C. legislature’s death penalty plan: Remove safeguards, add secrecy, ignore innocence

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A few months ago, the world watched as Henry McCollum was declared innocent after 30 years on North Carolina’s death row. Now, N.C. lawmakers say we need to hurry up and execute people.

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Reasonable doubt: N.C. says 900 convictions based on bad evidence

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The N.C. Commission on Actual Innocence is reexamining all convictions that relied on microscopic hair analysis. This type of evidence, once widely used in death penalty prosecutions, is now recognized to be based on junk science. Yet, many people convicted with it still sit in prison.

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“I see goodness when others see only evil”

JonathanBroun

Jonathan Broun has represented some of North Carolina’s most high-profile defendants, including UNC student Eve Carson’s killer and a man accused of torturing and killing a 4-year-old. Broun explains what motivates him to take on our state’s most difficult cases and fight tirelessly against the death penalty.

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The 30-year club: Wave of exonerations for U.S.’s longest-serving death row inmates

Exoneration Hearing for Henry Lee McCollum and Leon Brown-DNA evidence frees two innocent N.C. men 30 years after wrongful conviction

McCollum and Brown are among many exonerees who served decades on death row and are now struggling to put their lives back together. State compensation is still hard to come by.

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The numbers are in: NC’s death penalty fails

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A new study exposes NC’s death penalty as an expensive exercise in futility. Among the findings: 74 percent of death sentences handed down in the past three decades have been overturned because of substantial errors.

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Gov. takes bold action, executions halt in PA

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

Have you heard the good news from Pennsylvania? Newly elected Gov. Tom Wolf has announced a suspension of executions. This is a courageous move in a state with 186 people on death row, and where an execution was scheduled for March 4. Wolf said he based his decision in part on the wave of exonerations […]