Group asks NC Supreme Court to find death penalty unconstitutional

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) – A group including former law enforcement officials, judges and prosecutors are asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to find the death penalty unconstitutional and do away with the practice in the state, according to a release from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The brief – which is signed by 12 people including a former Superior Court judge, district attorney and homicide detective – was filed Friday by the Promise of Justice Initiative, the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project, Henderson Hill, and the 8th Amendment Project as council.

DOCUMENT: Click here to read the entire brief online

According to the ACLU, the group filing the brief argues that the death penalty is “used so rarely that it serves no purpose and should be considered ‘cruel or unusual’ under the state constitution.”

“The time has come to consider whether the system of capital punishment that currently operates in North Carolina violates the evolving standards of decency,” the group wrote.

“The brief points to statistics showing North Carolina has largely abandoned the death penalty. No one has been executed since 2006, and in the past seven years, the state has averaged less than one new death sentence per year,” the ACLU’s release states. “It also cites studies showing that the death penalty does not deter murder, that it is imposed arbitrarily, and that a significant number of people sentenced to death are innocent. Lastly, they argue that the death penalty is part of a ‘sordid history’ of lynching and racial terror.”

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