Nine innocent people have been exonerated after being sentenced to die in North Carolina. Several waited decades for their innocence to be recognized. How many more innocent people remain on death row?
The ghosts of the past still haunt North Carolina’s death penalty. African-Americans are systematically excluded from jury service. Crimes against white victims are more likely to be punished with death.
Falsified evidence, bungled investigations, and inadequate defense played roles in many death sentences. Three-quarters of death row inmates were tried before reforms now considered key to fair trials.
Dozens of people have been capitally prosecuted in North Carolina despite evidence too weak to prove their guilt. This improper use of the death penalty is putting innocent people at risk of being sentenced to die.
North Carolina’s death penalty costs millions of dollars each year in defense and court costs — a questionable investment in a state where executions have been stalled for a decade. A majority of North Carolinians say the death penalty is not a worthwhile use of tax money.
There is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime. North Carolina’s murder rate declined after executions stopped. If the death penalty does not make the people of North Carolina safer, why do we waste millions on it each year?
The death penalty can cause the families of victims added pain, by dragging out the process and forcing them to relive their trauma during decades of appeals. In the end, the death penalty often does not deliver on its promise.
A punishment intended for the “worst of the worst” is instead dependent on random factors, such as the race of the victim and the county where the defendant is tried. The death penalty is applied differently in every county in North Carolina.
In North Carolina, and across the country, polls show support for the death penalty waning. A flurry of states have recently outlawed the death penalty, and its use in North Carolina has declined sharply.
A string of botched executions. States turning to illegal foreign sources to find execution drugs. Executions accidentally carried out using the wrong drugs. Lethal injection in the U.S. has become the very definition of “cruel and unusual.”