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Death Penalty

(posted August 24th, 2005)

(see email addresses below for contacts)

There may still be a chance to win NC House Bill 529 and put many - or all - executions on hold during a legislative study.

The bill could still be heard this week and legislators are working
hard to win the necessary votes to place executions on hold while they are studying the death penalty. To make that possible, we ask you to contact IMMEDIATELY the following legislators who have NOT expressed support for both versions of H529.

[ACLU Execution Watch Counter]
ACLU Execution Watch

While we strongly favor the original 529 which would suspend executions while a study is conducted, we also support the compromise bill which would enable inmates with execution dates to request stays from judges should they be able to show credible evidence.

Please tell legislators that:

You want them to support both the original version of 529 and the
revised version of the same bill. Either bill could come up. The
original bill places all executions on hold through a legislative
action; the revised bill gives a judge authority to place an execution
on hold if a particular issue in the case is under legislative study. We want to get the best bill possible.

Neither Bill Ends the Death Penalty - The bills simply take steps to
insure that all executions (or many, in the case of the revised bill)
are put on hold during the time the legislators are studying the very
problems which may be in their cases.

An innocent person may be executed - At least four innocent people have already been sentenced to death in North Carolina. A judge threw out death row inmate Alan Gell's conviction after learning that the Attorney General's Office had withheld evidence of his innocence. Gell was exonerated after a second trial. A new trial was ordered for Charles Munsey for the same reason; another man who confessed to acting alone was later convicted of the murder. Alfred Rivera and Tim Hennis were both sentenced to death but acquitted in retrials. The Innocence bill recently enacted by the House is not expected to be passed by the Senate. In addition H529 is the only bill that includes a provision for
a stay of execution if an innocent person was sentenced to death.

One in six death row inmates had an attorney disciplined by the State Bar - Fewer than one percent of all lawyers in the state are ever disciplined. North Carolina recently enacted standards for trial attorneys, but they do not apply to the lawyers who represented most of the people currently on death row. The lawyer assigned to represent Kenny Neal in his capital trial had just been released from prison after serving time for possession of child pornography. Jurors knew about it and admit they held it against him. Neal is still on death row.

Racial bias taints our capital punishment system - A comprehensive study in North Carolina found that the odds of getting a death sentence increased three and a half times if the victim was white. Kenneth Rouse, a black man, is on death row for the attempted rape and murder of a white woman. One of the jurors in his trial later admitted that "bigotry" influenced his vote for death and that "black men rape white women so they can brag to their friends." He repeatedly referred to all African-Americans in derogatory and racist terms.

The following legislators particularly need to hear from you NOW. You can cut and paste the entire group and place it in the To: box of your e-mail program or you can send to legislators individually.

Find out who your representatives are HERE

jeffba@ncleg.net, Arliec@ncleg.net, waltc@ncleg.net,
Billd@ncleg.net, jerryd@ncleg.net, jimha@ncleg.net, Deweyh@ncleg.net,
carolynju@ncleg.net, Marianm@ncleg.net, Edm@ncleg.net, Billo@ncleg.net,
Eddn@ncleg.net, Jeanp@ncleg.net, Johnr@ncleg.net, Bonners@ncleg.net,
Joet@ncleg.net, dougv@ncleg.net, Trudiw@ncleg.net, lauraw@ncleg.net,
Arthurw@ncleg.net, genew@ncleg.net

Rep. Jeff Barnhart jeffba@ncleg.net
Rep. Arlie Culp Arliec@ncleg.net
Rep. Walter Church waltc@ncleg.ent
Rep. Nelson Cole Nelsonc@ncleg.net
Rep. Bill Daughtridge Billd@ncleg.net
Rep. Jerry Dockham jerryd@ncleg.net
Rep. Jim Harrell jimha@ncleg.net
Rep. Dewey Hill Deweyh@ncleg.net
Rep. Carolyn Justice carolynju@ncleg.net
Rep. Marian McLawhorn Marianm@ncleg.net
Rep. Ed McMahan Edm@ncleg.net
Rep. Bill Owens Billo@ncleg.net
Rep. Edd Nye Eddn@ncleg.net
Rep. Jean Preston Jeanp@ncleg.net
Rep. Bonner Stiller Bonners@ncleg.net
Rep. Joe Tolson Joet@ncleg.net
Rep. Doug Vinson dougv@ncleg.net
Rep. Trudi Walend Trudiw@ncleg.net
Rep. Laura Wiley lauraw@ncleg.net
Rep. Arthur Williams Arthurw@ncleg.net
Rep. Gene Wilson Genew@ncleg.net

Please forward this e-mail to other interested individuals or


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