death penalty

death penalty

Law and the Courts Top Story

Wake district attorney faces spirited challenge in March 2022 primary

Challenger says Democratic incumbent is behind the times on issues like the death penalty and marijuana For the first time since winning election in 2014, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman is facing a challenger in the 2022 Democratic primary: Damon Chetson, a criminal defense attorney who focuses on death penalty cases and high-level felonies in state and federal courts.

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Anniversary provides powerful reminder of racism that afflicts NC’s death penalty

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 only a video call with him a few weeks after medical staff stopped Robert’s cancer treatments.  I’ve been thinking about Robert a lot lately, because twenty years ago this week, he was scheduled to be executed.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

I represented an innocent man on death row: Here’s why NC must end the death penalty

In September 2014, I was sitting with Henry McCollum at the moment a judge ordered his release from death row for a crime he did not commit. Many folks in the courtroom clapped in celebration. Others embraced out of relief. It had been 30 years since Henry and his brother Leon Brown--two innocent and intellectually disabled children--had been convicted and sentenced to death in Robeson County, North Carolina.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Virginia just abolished its deeply racist death penalty; North Carolina must follow suit

Last week, Virginia became the first southern state to abolish the death penalty. At the signing ceremony, Gov. Ralph Northam and other speakers repeatedly referenced the racist history of the Virginia death penalty as a prime reason for its abolition. It is not a coincidence that Virginia, the birthplace of American slavery and the capital of the Confederacy, has been at the forefront of the American death penalty.

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News Top Story

Update from Virginia: Death penalty abolished, marijuana could be legal by summer

Editor's note: The chasm between the policies pursued by legislative leaders in North Carolina and Virginia continues to grow. The following stories by reporter Ned Oliver of the Virginia Mercury highlight that divergence on two high-profile issues involving racial inequities in the criminal justice system.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Newly discovered innocence cases show how old problems still haunt the N.C. death penalty

Last month two men were newly added to the list of innocent people who had been sentenced to death in North Carolina. Anthony ...
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Progressive Voices Top Story

Even on Death Row, there’s no escape from racism and discrimination for Black women

When the State places its noose around a white woman’s neck, the world cries foul. On January 13, Lisa Montgomery, a white woman, was led to the death chamber. The federal government used its weapon of choice, lethal injection, to kill her. She was the first woman executed by the federal government in 68 years. Widely condemned, her execution was seen as a tragic killing of a victim of horrific sexual and physical abuse.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The death penalty in NC: A call for truth and reconciliation

This month, I watched the federal government execute two Black men in two days, Brandon Bernard and Alfred Bourgeois. In an unprecedented and spiteful move, Trump’s lame-duck administration has undertaken a spree of executions after a 17-year hiatus. If all goes as planned, thirteen people will be killed before Joe Biden, who has pledged to end the federal death penalty, takes office. Six of the last seven will be Black men.

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