December 18, 2008
It has been an exceptional year for life in North Carolina. No one was executed, and only one new person was added to death row (the lowest number since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977). This year, as many capital defendants were acquitted as were sentenced to death. More death row inmates were exonerated than executed. North Carolina should be proud.
Nationally, executions began again following the Supreme Court’s decision in Baze v. Rees, but lethal injection remains stalled in North Carolina due to litigation by inmates subject to the procedure as well as the doctors forced to participate in it.
Capital Trial Statistics
Life without parole – 9 (Kenneth Hartley, Charles Dickerson, Eric Oakes, Jakiem Wilson, James Stitt, Robert Windsor, Lisa Greene, Neil Sargeant, James Blue)
Sentences less than life -3 (Pliney Purser, Jonte McLaurin, John Chavis Ross)
Death -1 (James Ray Little)
Military capital trial acquittals – 1 (Alberto Martinez)
Executions – 0
Exonerations – 2 (Levon “Bo” Jones, Glen Edward Chapman)
Death row inmates getting new trials – 2 (John Conaway, William Moore)
Death row inmates getting new sentencing hearings – 1 (William Gray)
Otherwise removed from death row – 2 (Clinton Smith, Carlos Cannady)
Incompetent for execution – 1 (Guy LeGrande)
Deaths from natural causes – 3 (Gary Greene, Leroy McNeill, George Page)
If you would like to be part of making 2009 another Year of Life, please consider making a donation to NC-based groups like the Fair Trial Initiative.
July 14, 2008
News Update 07.14.08
After deliberating for over a dozen hours about whether to convict him of first-degree murder, it took a Wake County jury less than an hour to decide that life without parole is the most appropriate punishment for Jakiem Wilson. The jury voted unanimously for life after finding none of the aggravating factors required by law to elevate the possible punishment to death.
This week marks the General Assembly’s last chance to pass the Racial Justice Act this session. The bill would allow capital defendants to challenge the prosecutor’s decision to seek death in their case if that decision was based on racial bias. Republicans are attempting to amend the bill to include a provision that would bar the N.C. Medical Board from disciplining doctors who participate in executions.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund as released Death Row U.S.A. 2008, their annual accounting of changes in death penalty law and death row populations. According to the report, the total number of inmates on death row in the United States is 3,309, down from 3,350 the previous year. As the data was compiled several months ago, the report lists several inmates who are no longer on North Carolina’s death row due to exoneration, re-sentencing, or death from natural causes. These include Carlos Canady, Glen Chapman, Levon Jones, and Gary Greene.
In victims’ rights news, a California judge threatened to throw a widow in jail if she told the jury she did not support the death penalty. Carlton Akee Turner was executed in Texas for the murders of his parents, despite pleas from many family members asking that he be spared.
In Oklahoma, the Pardon and Parole Board voted to grant clemency to Kevin Young, who is scheduled to die later this month. The Board’s decision is only advisory; the final say lies with Governor Brad Henry. Learn more about the case and how to take action here.
February 28, 2008
Death row inmate Gary Dean Greene passed away yesterday after a long illness. He was 59 years old.