In CA and NC, death penalty is “empty promise”


Yesterday, a California court confirmed what we have known in North Carolina for years: The death penalty is so dysfunctional as to be not just unconstitutional, but futile. Most of the condemned live on death row for decades, making the punishment a costly farce.

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Owning up to mistakes in death penalty cases


An Ashe County man was spared death last week after prosecutors acknowledged a serious mistake in his case. The deal was unusual, and commendable, in a system where prosecutors often try to hold onto death sentences no matter what.

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Will Johnny Burr be executed for a crime that never occurred?


We like to think that a capital appeals process that lasts years weeds out all the wrongly-convicted inmates. Sadly, that’s just not true. No jury has ever heard the evidence that could prove Johnny Burr innocent.

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New poll: Majority in U.S. choose life over death


If you still have doubts that the death penalty is losing popularity in the United States, this new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News should eradicate them. 52 percent of Americans said they support life in prison without parole as the maximum sentence for murder.

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Wake’s verdict is in: Life, not death


The last time a jury chose death in Wake County was in 2007. Since then, prosecutors have sought the death penalty for five defendants, and juries have chosen life without parole every time — even for the most serious crimes.

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8 Reasons Why Executing People is More Trouble Than It’s Worth


Do the legislators who want to restart executions in N.C. know what they’re suggesting? A primer on why we must find alternatives to the death penalty.

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Perfect death penalty still out of reach


North Carolina is still miles away from creating a fair and just capital punishment system, despite decades of efforts to reform it, a new report shows. The reality is, no system is—or will ever be—perfect enough to decide life and death.

N.C. could be the next Oklahoma


An Oklahoma inmate’s protracted, painful death, and the national firestorm that has erupted in its wake, is a preview of what could happen if North Carolina’s current execution protocol is ever put into practice.

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Innocents get 4 percent of U.S. death sentences


The first rigorous scientific study to estimate the rate of false conviction among death sentences reveals a shocking truth: The 144 innocent people discovered so far on death row are only the tip of the iceberg.

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The verdict is in: Race still decides juries in N.C.


The Racial Justice Act went to the Supreme Court this week. Now, the state’s highest court must decide how North Carolina should deal with revelations that African-Americans are being systematically denied the right to serve on capital juries.

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