We are often told that society must continue to seek the death penalty to get justice for the families of victims. In the years since my parents’ murders, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what justice means. Certainly, it’s not the same thing as revenge. And it could never be achieved through a death penalty that is inhumane, racist, and prone to errors.
December 6, 2022 The Honorable Roy CooperGovernor of North Carolina200 North Blount StreetRaleigh, NC 27601 Re: Commutation of North Carolina’s Death Row Dear Governor Cooper, We are attorneys, advocates, organizers, […]
You may think that watching a video doesn’t make a difference in the world. But we’re here to tell you that it does. At more than two dozen screenings, we’ve seen this film’s power to educate and move people to action. It’s a key part of our work to organize a public movement to end the North Carolina death penalty. If it spreads far and wide, it will lead to change.
Sixteen years ago today, North Carolina used its execution chamber for the last time. On August 18, 2006, Samuel Flippen was the last of 43 people executed under our modern […]
Reposted with permission from NC Policy Watch I recently got some sad news. My former client, James Blackmon, died earlier this month from complications from COVID. He was 68. Mr. Blackmon was […]
On January 21, one of North Carolina’s most dedicated advocates, Gerda Stein, will leave her long-time post as director of public information at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. Here, […]
The law promises a “race-neutral” process for choosing juries. Yet, last week, the nation watched as a jury of eleven whites and just one Black person was seated to hear […]
Reposted from N.C. Policy Watch A few months ago, my former client Robert Bacon died in the hospital at Central Prison. Because of COVID-19, he died alone. His loving sister had […]
Last month, two new men were added to the list of innocent people who’ve been sentenced to death in North Carolina. Anthony Carey was sentenced to execution for a murder he took no part in, based entirely on the testimony of a 16-year-old who had made a deal with the police. The teen said that while he robbed and murdered a gas station attendant, Carey was a passenger in a getaway car parked blocks away. In exchange for that testimony, the prosecutor allowed the teen to plead guilty to second-degree murder while Carey went to death row.
On Friday, September 25th, 2020, Christina Walters, Quintel Augustine, and Tilmon Golphin were resentenced from death to life without parole. The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that they had […]
This week, some much-needed good news came out of Colorado. Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill ending the death penalty and commuting the sentences of the state’s three remaining death row prisoners. His signature made Colorado the tenth state since 2007 to decide that the death penalty isn’t necessary to maintain public safety and does more to perpetuate injustice than to ensure justice. Right now, with Covid-19 bearing down, most states and local governments are focusing on short-term efforts to cut jail populations and release some of the scores of people who are behind bars only because they can’t afford to pay bail. But Colorado has taken a step at the other end of the spectrum, joining a national movement away from the death penalty.
The five boys were 14 and 15 years old when they were taken to the Winston-Salem police station. The cops wanted them to confess to the murder of Nathaniel Jones, a 61-year-old man who’d been beaten, robbed and left tied up on his carport, then died of a heart attack. The boys said they knew nothing about the crime. Detectives separated the children and interrogated them hour after hour, without lawyers or their parents there to help them. Police threatened them and told them that if they confessed, they’d be allowed to go home. One detective described the process of death by lethal injection. “Hold out your arm,” the armed officer said to the child. “That’s the vein.”
Since Freeman took office in 2014, Wake has sought the death penalty at trial more than any other North Carolina county. And in almost every case, the defendant has been a black man. Freeman would have voters believe she has no choice but to pursue the death penalty, but it’s simply not true. She’s making a conscious choice to put people with severe mental illness on trial for their lives, to fight to keep innocent people in prison, and to disproportionately seek the death penalty against people of color. The citizens of Wake County deserve better.
Until the middle of the 20th century, the law barred women from jury service. The myth was that women are weak and overly emotional, not rational enough to serve on juries. A brief filed in late September in a North Carolina death penalty case shines a rare light on the persistence of sexist stereotypes in the legal system. Bryan Bell was sentenced to death in Sampson County in 2001. A woman was rejected from his jury because the prosecutor was looking for “strong male” jurors.
At the end of August, our movement made history. A group of talented attorneys from across the state and the nation argued before the North Carolina Supreme Court. At issue […]