The numbers are in: NC’s death penalty fails


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 […]

Asheville residents say ‘Yes!’ to halting executions


Yet another sign of how attitudes toward the death penalty are changing… Recently, the Asheville Citizen-Times asked its readers a simple question: Do you support a death penalty moratorium? The answer was a landslide: Yes!

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Exonerations at record pace in 2014, as death penalty threatens the innocent

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

The facts are in: 150 death-sentenced people have now been exonerated. The death penalty is a grave threat to the innocent and cannot continue to masquerade as “justice.”

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Americans say it’s wrong to execute mentally ill. States do it anyway.

Scott Panetti

A poll shows Americans overwhelmingly oppose the death penalty for people with mental illness. Yet, a delusional man barely escaped execution in Texas, and many severely mentally ill inmates remain on N.C.’s death row.

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Another innocent released from N.C. prison

Willie Womble

Yet another innocent man is exonerated after more than three decades in prison for murder. How many will it take before our state accepts that systemic changes are needed? And that the death penalty is unconscionable in a system that cannot even convict the right people?

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With executions stalled, N.C. murder rate falls

Police Photo

Nationally, many studies have shown that the death penalty does nothing to deter crime. But the best evidence in North Carolina is the fact that our state has gotten safer since we stopped using the death penalty. Since 2007, when N.C. stopped executing prisoners, the murder rate has gone steadily down.

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Finally, a D.A. speaks death penalty truth

Johnson Britt (standing) with Leon Brown, on the day Brown and Henry McCollum were exonerated.

We should not underestimate the bravery it took for Johnson Britt to not just stand up for justice for Henry McCollum and his brother, Leon Brown, but to also speak the truth about the death penalty: that it serves no good purpose in our criminal justice system.

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For victims, 30 years of grief and dead ends


As we celebrated a happy ending, the family of Sabrina Buie was beginning a new chapter of grief. Our broken criminal justice system has never allowed this family to heal. Instead of justice, they got a corrupt investigation and decades of painful court hearings that ended in nothing.

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“I couldn’t help Henry in a system where the deck was stacked against him”


Henry McCollum’s attorney writes about defending an innocent man for 20 years. “I am angry that we live in a world where two disabled boys can have their lives stolen from them, where cops can lie and intimidate with impunity, where innocent people can be condemned to die and where injustice is so difficult to bring to light.”

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