(Cross-posted from the blog of the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty).
By Kristin Collins
Yesterday, a California court confirmed what we have known in North Carolina for years: The death penalty is so dysfunctional as to be not just unconstitutional, but futile.
The ruling said of a system in which inmates sit on death row for decades, and only a tiny percentage of those sentenced to death are ever executed:
“… for too long now, the promise has been an empty one … It has resulted in a system in which arbitrary factors, rather than legitimate ones like the nature of the crime or the date of the death sentence, determine whether an individual will actually be executed.”
Lest anyone offer the “simple” solution of executing people more quickly, let’s pause to remember the more than 140 innocent people who have been freed from death row. Seven of them were in North Carolina, and some spent more than a decade on death row before their innocence was recognized.
North Carolina’s system is no different from California’s. Since 1977, when the modern death penalty began, nearly 400 men and women have been sentenced to death, and only 43 have been executed. Read More