In 2016, N.C. passed the decade mark with no executions and sentenced just one new person to death. Yet, our state continues to spend millions each year to maintain the sixth largest death row in the nation — 150 aging people, the vast majority of whom have been there for more than a decade, with no executions on the horizon.
Even the death penalty’s biggest supporters are beginning to see its waste and inefficacy. Last week, as North Carolina neared a decade without an execution, Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell said he would no longer pursue the ultimate punishment because it is too difficult to carry out and is a drain on court resources.
Now that Wake County juries have rejected the death penalty six times in a row, Wake DA Lorrin Freeman says she might reconsider pursuing death in future cases. The citizens of Wake County should hope she keeps that promise. Death penalty trials cost at least four times as much as non-capital trials, and Wake has wasted millions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The death penalty is perceived as a widely-used criminal justice tool in the United States. However, a new report shows that the majority of death sentences and executions come from only 2 percent of U.S. counties. North Carolina follows a similar pattern.