North Carolina just passed its 11th year without an execution, which might make it easy to believe the death penalty is no longer an issue here. The national news in recent weeks should jolt us out of that fantasy.
Arkansas just ended a 12-year hiatus by executing four people in quick succession — just to beat the expiration dates on its execution drugs. Now, several other states are doing their best to follow Arkansas’ lead:
Ohio just executed its first person since the botched execution of Dennis McGuire more than three years ago — and an unbelievable 26 more executions are on the calendar there between now and 2020. Read more: Ohio ends its three-and-a-half-year hiatus with one execution; 26 more scheduled
Florida just carried out an execution after a year and a half hiatus. An inmate was executed with an experimental drug, and his lethal injection went forward even though he was sentenced under laws now deemed unconstitutional. Read more: “Death Penalty System in Florida is in Absolute Chaos”
Executions in California could soon restart after more than 10 years, despite revelations of serious prosecutorial misconduct in capital cases. The California Supreme Court just upheld a law intended to speed up executions in a state with almost 750 people on death row. At least 15 have exhausted their appeals and could have their execution dates set within weeks. Read more: Executions could resume after California Supreme Court leaves most of Proposition 66 intact
In North Carolina, where more than 140 people are on death row, several lawsuits are keeping executions on hold. The courts have stayed all executions until litigation over the state’s lack of reliability and transparency in execution procedures is resolved. Most death row inmates also have active claims under related to racial bias in N.C.’s capital punishment system. There are also concerns about the unfair, outdated laws under which many death row inmates were sentenced.
However, we must remain vigilant to make sure that no one is executed in a state where nine innocent people have been sentenced to death and one of them — Henry McCollum — sat on death row for 30 years. To get updates about how to take action and join the conversation, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and join our list of supporters. We need you more than ever.