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Death Penalty Opponents Lobby for Lawmaker Moratorium on Executions

Posted February 26, 2007
Updated February 27, 2007

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution
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— With the future of the death penalty in limbo in North Carolina, opponents are speaking out in hopes that lawmakers will listen to their concerns about capital punishment.

The courts have temporarily stayed executions while legal conflicts about how it is performed can be worked out. The issue of race has now become an important part of the ongoing debate.

Studies show that an assailant who kills a white person is more likely to be sentenced to death in North Carolina than if they killed a black person. A forum that met Monday in Raleigh said that is just one more reason the death penalty should be stopped.

“Race makes a big difference in who lives or dies and that should not be a factor at all,” said Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree.

During the forum sponsored by N.C. Policy Watch, participants talked about the role race places in how the death penalty is applied.

“Race made a difference where it shouldn't have, where those who killed white victims were more likely to get capital punishment than those who killed blacks,” said Jack Boger, dean of the University of North Carolina School of Law.

John Hood is the director of the John Locke Foundation, a conservative political think tank in Raleigh. He said that North Carolinians favor the death penalty.

“(Opponents) want to abolish the death penalty because they think it's wrong,” Hood said. “They don't want to abolish the death penalty because they think it's racially unjust.”

Ultimately, it will be up to the courts and the General Assembly to decide what happens to the use of capital punishment in the state. And while there is growing support among state lawmakers for a moratorium, the conventional wisdom is that the issue will not be raised this session unless the votes are there to make it happen.

Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake said if a handful of lawmakers put their necks out and the moratorium doesn't pass, their actions could end up hurting them at election time.

“The tendency is to not bring it up unless you know it's going to pass,” Ross said.

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  • twright530 Mar 5, 2007

    More people are aborted each year without due process or any input from the father that have been executed in the history of executions in the u.s.

  • sasuke Mar 1, 2007

    this is a very tough debate, but i am for the death penalty. i am more of an "eye for an eye" type of a person. they do something horrible to another human, we do it back to them. but then opponents will say "that makes us no better than them!" now people are saying that it is racially unjustified? in response to lulli: they said that more people who did a crime against a white person were put to death vs. people who did a crime against a black person. they didn't mention how many blacks vs. whites were on death row. they were saying that currently, our justice system punishes people more severely if they commit a crime against a white person vs. one against a black person. that is wrong, justice is supposed to be blind. but at the same time i don't think that is a valid argument to stop the death penalty.

  • Ladidada Feb 28, 2007

    Die die die, kill kill kill America is sick! When will the sanctioning of death and destruction stop being promoted by our local and federal gov'ts??

  • Lulli Feb 27, 2007

    What has color got to do with anything? If there are more blacks on death row, then more blacks must be committing crimes punishable by death! Get real people. No one sets out to put any human in this position. We, the people, are not doing this. The sadistic hardened criminals of today's culture are doing this to themselves! Black . . White . . Pink Polka Dot . . . You do the CRIME you do the TIME! Why should we show any mercy to these animals? What mercy have they shown their victims? Makes me want to BARF!!!!! Behave yourself and there won't be any problem!!! Simple enough, I say!!!

  • rdarlington Feb 27, 2007

    so dragonmum : it's ok for the other prisoners to kill but not the state? Which is better? Because either way the end result is the same.

  • Gnathostomata Feb 27, 2007

    you said, "...the type of person who commits these crimes could care less if there is a death penalty..." then why should you or I care? I care for the victim, their family, the loss of someone who contributes to society, the costly trial and upkeep of the criminal who "doesn't care." I care for the loss of freedom to come and go in my neighborhood because some criminal decides 'today is the day' they will do something willful. I care that kids cannot bike or skate, or play in their own yards, as I did as a kid. I care that a criminal's rights override the victims' rights. Give them a 6X6 plot to raise their own food and them use it to bury themselves...

  • mchlpickle Feb 27, 2007

    Let these bleeding heart liberals pay for them to stay in prison for the rest of their lives. take all of them that want to do away with the death penalty and dived up the cost to keep them alive between them and see how many of them want to keep these scum bags in jail then.I'll bet you'll have 100% pro death penalty then. Don't spend any more of my money to keep them alive. Spend the money on the poor and old who can't afford to buy medicine and food this week so they don't have to make a choice on which one they want to get this week. Spend the money on programs to keep the future generations out of prisons and stop our babies from having babies. There's to many good things out there to spend tax payers money on that would help . They had their chance to be a part of our society but wasted it now let's don't waste anymore money on them.

  • dragonmum Feb 27, 2007

    Y'all a school of sharks on a feeding frenzy; smell the stench of hatred. Do any of you call yourselves Christians? Cookie, thanks for being a voice of reason! Sigh.
    Even if you believe murderers must die - look at the FACTS 1)a capital murder trial with all the appeals, etc, costs MORE than keeping someone in prison for life. (and several lawyers get to send their kids to Harvard) 2)it may take 10-20 years before the convicted man exhausts his appeals and actually faces death - plenty of time to "escape or get out on a technicality" 3) men have been released from death row in SEVERAL states after either DNA evidence proved they were innocent, or another criminal confessed to the crime and - 4)most importantly - the type of person who commits these crimes could care less if there is a death penalty, because they don't believe they will get caught.

    We could feed alot of homeless with the money wasted on capital trials.The prisoners will deal with child molesters and other scum!

  • SpeakMyMind Feb 27, 2007

    Unfortunately, some of these people are let out early, for whatever reasons. ANYONE that kills should get the same in return. No if's and's or but's about it. If they rape, fix it so they have nothing to rape with ever again. Killers do not deserve to live in a prison, where they are fed, kept warm, get college educations, become body builders and have pool table to keep them occupied. This is coming our of all our paychecks!

  • Honor160 Feb 27, 2007

    Cookie, you obviously don't know as much about this subject as you claim to know. In fact, it seems you only know what the media has taught you. Be careful learning thru the media, they are often times very wrong. NO one has been released from NC's death row because they were INNOCENT. Hunt was innocent and was pardoned but he was NEVER on death row. And as for you being a victim, I don't think you were the victim of a heinous murder because if you had to look as I have had to look in the eyes of a man so cold that he is PROUD of what he did and he has BRAGGED about what he did; then you would know there is no forgiveness where there is no sorrow. He deserves death.