Death Penalty Tag - ACLU of North Carolina Mon, 22 May 2017 11:24:43 -0400 en-gb 2016 Paul Green Award Recipient: Darryl Hunt

For many years, the ACLU of North Carolina has recognized people who have made important contributions to abolish or reform the death penalty with the annual Paul Green Award. This year, at the 2016 Liberty Awards Dinner on Saturday, April 2, we are honoring someone who has brought attention to the injustice of the death penalty in an extremely personal way: Darryl Hunt spent 19 years in prison and was almost sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit.

At 19 years old, Darryl was arrested, charged, and convicted of a 1984 North Carolina murder he didn't commit. Eleven of 12 jurors wanted to sentence him to death, but one refused to waver and he was spared being executed. Although DNA results proved his innocence in 1994, it took another 10 years of legal appeals to exonerate him.

2016 Liberty Awards Dinner: Protecting Democracy
Featuring the Annual Frank Porter Graham Award & keynote speaker Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project
Saturday, April 2 at 5 p.m.
William and Ida Friday Center
100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill, NC
Reserve your early bird tickets today!

Daryl has since gone on to be a tireless advocate for criminal justice reform. In 2005, he founded the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about criminal justice reform opportunities, advocating for the wrongfully convicted, and providing resources to support individuals who were recently released from prison.

Please join us on Saturday, April 2, to honor Darryl and other North Carolina civil liberties heroes at the 2016 Liberty Awards Dinner.

Read about our other 2016 honorees:

mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Death Penalty Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:29:34 -0500
ACLU-NC Releases 2015 Legislative Report Card

RALEIGH – The North Carolina General Assembly’s 2015 session witnessed major setbacks for civil liberties for the state, according to a legislative report card released today by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC).

The statewide civil liberties group graded North Carolina House and Senate members’ votes on five key bills, respectively, all of which the ACLU-NC opposed for their negative impact on civil liberties. Three of the bills graded were signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, and a fourth is awaiting his signature or veto. The group also issued grades for votes on two bills that did not become law and were voted on by only one of the two chambers.

The votes graded were on the following bills and issues:

  • LGBT Equality: The House and Senate approved and overrode Gov. McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2, which allows magistrates and other government officials to opt-out of conducting marriages for legally eligible couples. Sponsors said the bill was a response to same-sex couples winning the freedom to marry in North Carolina.
  • Capital Punishment: The House and Senate approved and Gov. McCrory signed HB 774, which allows the state to hide the source of drugs used in executions and removes the requirement that a doctor be present at all executions.
  • Reproductive Justice: The House and Senate approved and Gov. McCrory signed HB 465, which tripled the mandatory waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion to 72 hours.
  • Immigrants’ Rights: The House and Senate approved HB 318, which prohibits local governments from adopting so-called “sanctuary” ordinances limiting enforcement of federal immigration law, prohibits some government officials from accepting various forms of ID cards, and expands the use of E-verify. The bill is awaiting Gov. McCrory’s signature or veto.
  • Nondiscrimination: The House voted to send SB 279 back to committee, effectively killing the bill that would have stripped local governments of their ability to pass anti-discrimination ordinances related to employment, housing, and public accommodations.
  • Juvenile Justice: The Senate voted on SB 343, which would have created a new felony penalty for students aged 16 and older who are found guilty of assaulting school personnel. Such acts are already criminal and the bill would have exacerbated the school-to-prison pipeline.

In the House, 22 members voted 100% in line with the ACLU-NC’s position on these issues, while 33 members voted in favor of the ACLU-NC’s position 0% of the time. In the Senate, 11 members voted in line with the ACLU-NC’s position 100% of the time and 20 members voted in favor of the ACLU-NC’s position 0% of the time.

Read the report card here.

Let your representatives know what you think of their scores by contacting them here.

mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Legislative News Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:05:07 -0400
Groups Urge Gov. McCrory to Veto Bill that Would Make Executions More Secretive

RALEIGH – A coalition of human rights groups is urging Gov. Pat McCrory to veto a bill that would hide the source of lethal injection drugs used to execute prisoners on death row and remove the requirement that a qualified physician be present at all executions.

The groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, the Carolina Justice Policy Center, the N.C. Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation, and the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, argue that HB 774 is a dangerous proposal that would make executions more secretive, increase the risk of botched executions, and ensure continued legal challenges to the death penalty in North Carolina.

“Less than a year after other states have botched executions as a result of using experimental drugs obtained in secret, it would be foolhardy for North Carolina to go down the same road,” said Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “This bill would increase the likelihood of a botched execution in North Carolina, hide basic information about executions from public access, and needlessly waste taxpayer dollars on the inevitable lawsuits that will follow. Governor McCrory should take a stand for transparency and accountability and veto this bill without delay.”

“Executions are one of the most significant acts undertaken by our government and should never by conducted without supervision by a licensed medical physician,” said Tarrah Callahan, Director of the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. “Lethal injection is a complex medical procedure and conducting executions without a physician present only increases the likelihood of botched executions as we’ve seen around the country.”

Other critics of HB 774 include the North Carolina Press Association and Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty.

Experimental, untested drug combinations were used in the horrifically botched and tortuous 2014 executions of Clayton Lockett (Oklahoma), Joseph Wood (Arizona), and Dennis McGuire (Ohio). In 2014, Henry McCollum, the longest serving prisoner on North Carolina’s death row, was exonerated after spending 30 years in prison. He was officially pardoned by Gov. McCrory in June.

The ACLU-NC sent Gov. McCrory a letter urging his veto of HB 774 last week. A copy of the letter is available here.


mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Death Penalty Wed, 05 Aug 2015 10:50:07 -0400
TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. McCrory: Transparency in Capital Punishment is Crucial

A dangerous bill heading to Governor Pat McCrory would remove transparency from capital punishment in North Carolina. HB 774 would no longer require doctors to be present at executions and would allow the state to keep secret information about lethal injection drugs used to kill inmates.

Tell Gov. McCrory that executions carried out in the public's name must be transparent. Urge him to veto HB 774!

Horrifically botched executions in other states have demonstrated that we need more transparency, not less, when it comes to who is supervising executions and which drugs are being used to kill inmates.

North Carolina can’t hide behind a veil of secrecy when it carries out this ultimate and irreversible punishment. Courts, lawyers and the public have a right to know basic details about how the government executes inmates in their name.


mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Death Penalty Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:02:59 -0400