Duke study: Life without parole sentencing on the rise in NC
Researchers from the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at the Duke University School of Law discuss a report about the increase of life without parole sentencing in North Carolina.
here at Duke and he can regale you if you're interested in hearing about how challenging it. Waas Thio put together a truly complete set of data on people who have been sentenced to life without parole in North Carolina since since structured sentencing began. Been Finn Holt is here, too, and he was incredibly helpful and help helping us walk through how to link our data up to the Opus Data into lengthy systems together. Um, but the bottom line conclusions in our lengthy report are are fairly simple. Uh, we don't have the really, really detailed data that a lot of places have, including North Carolina on death. Sensing there has been no racial justice act to bring in researchers to study life without parole sentencing, they're also just many fewer death sentences. And so it's easier to get information about him. Uh, there are a lot of life without parole sentences, you know, we described how there have been more than 1600 from 1995 to 2017 and what's really interesting, even just about the basics. Just that number of sentences is that you know, this is a time period during which you know, murder rates have steadily gradually, but steadily declined. In North Carolina death sentencing has plummeted, Uh, and so why are their record numbers of these life without parole senses What explains it? That was the puzzle that we wanted to study here and the simple takeaways that we offer, although we also have some more detailed analyses that we could dig into, if you're interested, are that, you know, murder rates. Homicide rates do not explain this, even though the vast bulk of these sentences are for first or second degree murder sentences. And, in fact, the county is with the highest murder rates have less life without parole sense. Instead, these most severe sentences after their sentences are imposed in counties with more white victims of homicide. And this is consistent with decades of research and the death penalty context as well that although most murders are within race, uh, the murders with white victims may attract more attention from prosecutors from the jurors who are speeded in these trials on, of course, as compared with distancing cases, you know, many more people plead guilty to a life of parole. We also described, though, how even controlling for murder rates in the like that you just seem, or life without parole sentences in counties that have MAWR life without parole sentences that there's this inertia that builds that a county that imposes a life without parole sentences much more likely to do so the next year, the year after that, even controlling for murder rates and other factors. So, you know, we could talk more about the the implications of this, uh, you know, certainly there's a practical implication that we have an aging prison population in North Carolina with more and more people who cannot and will not be released under current law. There is nothing in, you know, structured sentencing that limits life without parole to the worst of the worst offenders. So in the juvenile life without parole context, there is supposed to be an inquiry into whether this person could never be rehabilitated. Whether this kid deserves the ultimate sentence that could be imposed on a kid and under that standard way had a report that been filled holds collaborated on with us that came out about a year ago. Just about every case that's come up for a hearing has been reversed because many of the juveniles, uh, even just on their face or not the worst of the worst. And whenever courts have looked, whenever there's been a substantial inquiry juvenile life without parole senses have been reversed in North Carolina, But for adult life without parole, there is no such inquiry. And so you, you know, you can regularly find case. Just don't look anything like the most, uh, involved person. Even in a given criminal incident, we highlight some examples of felony murder situations where the person who actually everyone agrees, did committed the shooting. Was the person who cooperated got a deal and their hapless You know, colleague, uh, was the one who got the ultimate sentence. Um, but again, you know, a sentencing judge prosecutor does not have to reserve life without parole for the most severe murders. Instead, we have a very broad first degree murder statute in North Carolina. And if you don't get sentenced to death, then life without parole is the is the sentence that is imposed. And so we have a fairly indiscriminate statute, which gives prosecutors a lot of discretion. And what we've seen is that district attorney's vary in their use of that discretion and unfortunately, that results and path dependency over time. But it also results in this strong effect regarding victim race, which, which, you know, we shouldn't be tolerating, particularly when severe sentences air concerned. But we shouldn't be tolerating it regardless. So, you know, we think that there is more to do to study these sentences. We hope that this is the beginning of a serious look and how the most severe sentences are imposed in North Carolina. Um, we hope that this work informs the task force, which we understand is considering second look and other ways of rethinking North Carolina's experiment in structured sentencing. Uh, and I'd love to turn things over toe to the others and and hear your questions. Uh, thank you again for joining us this morning. I wish we could be here in person. And I look forward to our conversation. Perhaps next, Uh uh, Representative more do you want? You wanna chime in next and talk about your perspective on Ah, what? Sentencing in North Carolina? Sure. Thank you, Brandon. And good morning, everyone. And I'd like to also introduce Henderson Hill Henderson. I are both on the governor's task force on racial equity and criminal justice. This was established back in June by Governor Cooper. We have been going full steam, uh, all summer all fall. We just got off a meeting with Mr Hill, and I think life without parole is one of the most egregious forms of racial discrimination and inequity in our criminal justice system. And I think that's the lens, which we're looking at up and down our criminal statutes. Even starting with juvenile's, they're just disproportionate number of kids of color compared. The white kids starts at the juvenile justice system starting at six years old. Over twice as many kids of color are petitioned into court. 80% of kids of color are put in detention or youth development facilities, and I think the most astounding number is juvenile's. Before they reached the age of 18 who have been sentenced to a life without parole. Basically death in prison sentence 91%. And looking at this racial inequity, how do we dismantle it? How do we get a much more just and fair justice system? Um, the data is so important, and this report that's coming out that that Brandon and his folks have worked on so hard is the best use of that information. To take this forward, to get statutory changes, to get administrative changes, to bring back a sense of true justice in our system. And if I could just ask if Henderson Hill would like to add any comments. But thanks for letting me be here. Good morning. And thank you represented Moray. And good morning, Brandon. On. Thank you, Brandon. And your team. I think this is an enormous contribution. I mean, I think that data driven policy has not been a strong suit for criminal justice policy. And I think what this report highlights is that we need our policies to be driven by information by data. Attn least informed by that data. And I have found some of these statistics just remarkable. I've looked at your work. I looked at some of than Finn else. Work and e can't keep numbers in my head really good. But to see numbers like six ranging from 66% to 80% of the population that serving sentences under either violent habitual felon statues or the habitual felon says as prisoners of color are just completely out of whack with what they should be. And I thought your description of these 1600 life without for all sentences should be alarming. It should ring bells that we've got those kinds of numbers in the face of declining homicide rates in in the face of a population that has turned away from the most extreme sentence death senses. I think we got 140 surks remaining on the roll, uh, to be compared with 1600 life without parole sentences. So the question is that this report raises must inform the policy. And I'm taken by your notion of muscle memory. I forget what other cute word you use that that there was hard path or something like that to me. Yeah. I take those those phrases to suggest that you know, we're not looking necessarily at Bull Connor in in the D. A s office or in the court, but that there is that there are patterns on. There are legacies that come from, frankly, a dark place that values certain lives mawr than it values other lives. And so what we have, I think in in some of these statistics are were black lives were taken in violence. The response is not life without parole. And yeah, I, for one, don't think it should be life without parole. Uh, but what we see is where light, like where white lives were taken overwhelming the overwhelmingly the response is life without for all. And so we should be challenged. We should be questioning whether that discretionary use of this punishment is appropriate. I do think this is a challenge that the Legislature must take up. And I think this this study, this report helps inform the recommendations that our group will be making putting forward to the task force. So thank you to the Duke team. Thank you. Burned and Ben for all the hard work, I think it's enormously helpful, and, you know, I don't have a question, but if I were to phrase the question, I would say, Well, where were you in 1994 or where were you, You know, 10 years ago? I mean, one of the one of the good things about the time we're living in is people are asking these questions, and resource is air finally being put, uh, to this important challenge, and, um, you know, One of the things that we're working on at the task force is Well, what do we do about the many hundreds and thousands of people who have been sentenced under these, uh, ill informed sentencing policies? How do we redress those pants sentences? So, again, this this report is important to inform those policy choices. Thank you so much, Anderson. Uh, well, we'll send a copy right away to the test scores. Nothing that's out. And we should also shout out to the North Carolina Law Review editors, By the way, in fact, we should send a company that they've been working hard on. And, you know, as you know, law students do a lot of work on footnotes and the like, and we're really grateful to the unsung work of all those students working on the North Carolina Laura view. Um, and, uh, well, we weren't working on this for 10 years. It has been more than two years. Uh, and, uh, um, perhaps before we turn to you, Ben Travis, you could say a few things about, you know, both represented Moray and Henderson Hill were just talking, highlighting the data on this white lives. Matter of fact way, have some additional analyses focusing on the race of the defendant, which we have. We don't have the race of the victim. In each of these cases, there's 1600 of them. It's very hard to get that information. And so what we're doing is comparing toe homicide rates of victims in homicides in each county and doing this county level analysis going back, you know, more than 20 years. So it's a lot of data, but we don't have the fine grain data that we would like, and so we can't point to, you know, certainly can't point to discrimination in any particular case. We're looking at larger patterns over time, Um, but we did do an additional analysis looking at the race of the defendant because, you know, most murderers involved victims of the same race. And, uh, and so you know the profile that you often see in life without parole cases where there's a black defendant in a white victim. That's not your typical homicide in North Carolina or anywhere else in this country. Um, so let me turn things over toe. Travis, who's been working hard for for more than a year on this project. Thanks, Brandon. And, um Yes. So I could talk a little bit more about that additional analysis that you're just bringing up. Uh huh. Eso in the main paper that some of you might have read were predicting, um, the number of l wop sentences in a given county in a given year throughout 1995 to 2017. Um, we're collapsing across defendant race. In this analysis, eso were just predicting the number of Elway absences regardless of whether the defendant was white or black or Asian etcetera. But in an additional analysis that we're going to include in the appendix, we actually separated. We do a very similar set of analysis, but in one set, we predict the number of elop senses for black defendants and then another set. We predict the number of elop senses for white defendants so we could see whether the patterns that we're finding in the main body of the paper, whether they're stronger, whether you get sorry, a stronger effect when it's predicting elop senses for black defendants. So is there a stronger victim? Race effect for black defendants are whether there's a stronger effect for white defendants and Essentially, what we're finding is that the findings in the paper are stronger when we're predicting, um, Elop senses for black defendants. So we see the stronger race of victim effect when we're trying to predict the number of black defendants who received all what and the effects are weaker. When we're predicting that the number of all up senses for white defendants which I think further highlights that the not only the race of the victim matters but the race the defendant matters. Um, so hopefully I'm gonna include those very, very shortly, and the manuscript that you receive will have that in the appendix. Um, so hopefully that's all clear. But, um, and as Brandon said, we don't have detailed case information, So this is just sort of, ah, more of, ah kind of a global overview. We don't know the race of the victims in each particular case, but this is sort of one way where we can kind of address, uh, from sort of a distant perspective, um, whether the race of the defendant matters and how that interacts with the race of the victim. Uh huh. And I think that's particularly interesting over to you Ben. Thanks, Brian. And thank you all for being Here s Oh, my name is Ben Finn Holt on the director of the just sentencing project at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. And I come at this both from, ah, global perspective with my work and as an actual legal counsel for someone who got Anel wop sentence when he was 19. Uh, my client, Clive Hurst, lived in New York City and came down here for the summer when he was 19. And, uh, to be perfectly frank and Clive would admit this himself made some bad decisions and, um, was involved got involved with some people who were dealing drugs. And it was so long ago at this point that, you know, it's not clear sort of how that connection happened, whether or not, uh, he was looking to make some money or whether or not these were, you know, friends of friends. Um, but the end result was at Clive ended up going with three other men Thio rob a drug dealer, and someone got shot. The dealers basically live in partner, got shot and killed, and that was a riel tragedy. And it's awful for everyone Clive was not the shooter. No one alleged that he was the shooter. The shooter never got caught in. You know, you hear about high speed chases, but they never get away. And in this case, they did. The shooter jumped a fence and was never caught. Clive Waas indicted for first degree murder, and he was convicted under the felony murder rule. But in order to do that, um, the underlying felony was breaking and entering because that was the most serious. Other crime that climate committed was breaking and entering, which is, uh, for those of you not familiar is now a Class H felony which carries, you know, somewhere between six months and maybe 18 months of prison time, you know, sort of towards the top end. Clive, as the point is, has l wop because that felony was used, uh, to support a theory of murder in order to make that connection in breaking and entering cases, you have to prove that the person carried a gun with them or a weapon into the breaking and entering. There was no evidence that Clive carried a weapon. And so, in order to make that connection, it was shown that he was acting in concert with the shooter who did bring again in. So again, this is a 19 year old person, a 19 year old man who breaks and enters with someone else who's carrying a gun, and the theory that he was acting with that person and might as well have possessed the gun himself. And then that person shoots and kills someone is what gets him L up now, the evidence that he knew that this other person was going to go in with a gun and uh might shoot someone. And that's why he should be held liable for the murder that another person committed WAAS. A statement to the police given by a woman named Roenicke a Jackson Ra Neca. Jackson also gave evidence against a man named Darryl Howard who turned out to be innocent of the murder he was convicted off and for whom The Innocents Project held a large and public hearing in Durham County a few years ago. One of the key pieces of evidence was that Roenicke a Jackson, had been paid $10,000 by the Durham Police Department. In Clive's case, her evidence, though it was hearsay and normally inadmissible was held to be admissible because it held and the legal phrase here is sufficient indicia of reliability. And I would I respectfully disagree with that, given what we know now about the fact that, uh, it would be hard to find indicia of reliability in a statement given to police by someone who was paid $10,000 by those police on her statement was given a two around the same time she was giving a statement about Darryl Howard, who was innocent. So this has, you know, this is a person now who has been in prison since 1994 so 26 years at this point, and has only had two infractions while in prison. And that brings me to the secondary point here, which is that's really in my role as a prison lawyer writ large. That's incredibly unusual because many, many people who go in to prison with an L wop sentence figure that they have nothing to lose, and there's no point in following rules that they don't agree with. And so you sometimes see folks with Elop senses who have enormous numbers of, uh, infractions because they it doesn't they can. They can never be If you're If you have an l wop sends, you never get within five years of a release date. And if you never get within five years of release state, you could never be in minimum custody. You can never get home passes. You could never be on work release. And so they're never going to get there. And so all of those benefits that come along with better custody in prison simply don't apply to people serving l wop. Uh, just on one of the task group zooms, uh, one that Todd Issue, the director of prisons, and I were on. I think we fairly squarely agree that neither prison lawyers nor prison guards want people who have l wop sentences. We don't believe that it's fair. And whether or not Mr Issue believes it's fair, he knows that people with L Up sentences are essentially more in some ways more difficult to deal with and have less incentive to, uh, behave themselves in prison, which makes what my client has done even more remarkable to stay infraction free for so long, uh, to base. You know his view of the world on his deep faith in God is really remarkable, given that he currently has no chance of ever getting out when we hope that that will change in the future. Uh, but you know, l wop is. You know, we I I think that people view this as well, you know, You you go away. You did something awful. And we can, uh, you know, we could never have you in society again, but I think that that's the wrong way to look at it. I think that there are many people who are serving this incredibly draconian sentence, uh, for acts that they, in fact did not directly commit. And we need to take a hard look both at how we're imposing this on Children. How we're imposing this on people of color and how we're opposing this on people who did not in fact, uh, kill anyone or intend to kill anyone. Uh, so, um, thank you again for having me. Thank you to Clive. Absentia for letting me tell your story. It's You have been so incredibly generous with your history and with your time. And so I welcome any questions. Well, we all stopped there. I love to answer questions. I saw a couple questions in the chat. One question. WAAS. How do prosecutors have flexibility or discretion under a structured sentencing in these cases? And so that that's a good question. Obviously, if a prosecutor, um, is dead set on pursuing a first degree murder conviction, then the there aren't many alternatives, right? That's they could pursue a death sense. And if they're not seeking the death penalty, then life without parole will result. And so the discretion is whether to seek a, you know, structured sentencing constraints, options, uh, the discretions, whether to seek a first degree murder conviction or not. But that's the thing a prosecutor could do now. Uh, there is also no back end discretion because because it's life without parole, right? And so what the task force is considering, Like there's the question whether there should be a back end discretion, uh, where at the, you know, at the time the person is 20 years old and commits the sentence. Maybe that is not felony murder. Maybe they were the person most culpable, and at that time it looks like a first degree murder conviction. But 20 years later, 25 years later. 30 years later, there may be the view that look, this person can be rehabilitated, this person can return to society. Right now, there's no way to do that. Obviously, for these senses, there's a question of rethinking. Front and discretion toe. Have more gradations. Not this inflexible. First degree murder equals either death or life without parole and back end discretion. Can there be second looks at? Even at serious sentences, other states have begun to move in this direction. North Carolina could dio. So that's that's a quick answer. Others want to jump in. Uh, yeah. And I know there's also a question about the the race of victim of homicide and eloped data, which we could talk about as well. Yes, I've tried to take a stab at that question at Jason's question. So Jason asked in the chat, Um, what about counties with black defendants and black victims? Um, so, uh, in a given county in a given year throughout this time period, Uh, what we find is that, um if a county has more black victims of homicide in that particular year, they're gonna be fewer black defendants. Um, get sentenced to Ella and that that effect is even stronger then the main effect that we see in the main body of the paper, um so in the main body, the paper again, that's just predicting Elop senses, regardless of defendant race. But when we look at okay, let's predict Ella absences. For black defendants, those effects are even stronger. So it's the same pattern of results, basically. But it's an even stronger effect. And I would say, E essentially, what you're saying is if black folks are getting killed in the county, the county is less likely to try to put people away forever, especially black defendants like defendants and but also black victims of homicide. We also looked at black population negatively correlated with life without parole sensing, which would figure because the more, uh, you know there's a white population than murders will fall more within that population, and you'll have more of the white victims that seem toe attract severe sentencing outcomes. Um, obviously, we're not saying that it's district attorneys that are making decisions that are biased. They may be impacted by their voters by judges thes maybe counties where public defenders aren't raising all issues that they should, Um but whatever the combination of factors is, we see these patterns and it's, you know, more than 25 years of, well, just about 25 years of data. Now, this isn't like a pattern that we saw emerge in just a couple of years after structured sensing. This is a long time period, uh, and it's not like the juvenile life without parole. Sentencing that we looked at were a lot of those senses were imposed in the five or six years after structured sentencing, and then the practice largely disappeared. But this is something that persists to this day largely along the same lines. Uh, despite crime decline. And it's also, you know, you know, anecdotally what you also certainly here is that it's not like larger counties. Larger district attorney's offices think that every homicide is a first degree murder, and they seek life without parole in every case. If anything, it's the larger counties that have more murders. Toe Look at that are making mawr decisions and deliberating, you know, they're also not, uh, yeah, they're not seeking life without parole sentences. Every time they see a homicide, they have a larger pool of cases to compare, and it can exercise more judgment in the same way that in the larger counties they're not seeking habitual offender status for every person that qualifies, uh, and and so they're they're they're Israel discretion here, and it's being exercised in very different ways. This is Jason. I wonder if I might just quickly jump in with the question. Thanks for some of that. I wonder if you could maybe add some more color. So basically, I'm thinking about this and I guess perhaps correct me if I'm wrong. There's effectively four scenarios, right? A black victim or a white victim. Black defendant, White victim, white defendant, black victim, black defendant, black victim, white defendant. My gut, I suppose tells me that you would have the harshest sentencing if there's a white victim with a black defendant and you would have the least harsh sentences with a black victim in a white defendant. Um, as you've noted, those are the minority of murder cases. And so what I'm curious about is there a stronger correlation to a black victim and a black defendant, meaning that it would be that the victim race, I suppose, matters more Or is it or would it be a sin necessarily. Be the defendants race matters more? Or would it be white defendant, white victim, Um, where the victim's race would matter more? I've kind of fumbled through that. But I wonder if perhaps you could give some color, sort of just in that general vein of Is the correlation stronger or where is the correlation stronger if the victim and the defendant are of the same race? Um, that's with black defendant and black victim. That's where you see the strongest negative correlation, as in the fewest l absences in the county. All right, Uh, and regarding, um, you also ask some questions about what about when the victim is white and the defendant is black or when the defendant is white and the victim done is, uh is black. Do we see an increase in L. A. What? Sensing? Or it was out. Your question, Jason, I guess maybe I'm just trying to think of the so the four different race combinations that you would have, right? How where is where is the correlation? The strongest and and where is it the weakest? The court? I would say the correlation is the strongest on this is a negative correlation with black defendants and black victims. So the more black victims you have, the fewer It's a strong droppin l absences for black defendants. Onda its weakest in um, I would say, uh, let me just pull up the table, um, white white victims and black defendants. So if there's a white victim now, this isn't There's no correlation here. So it's not like there's a significant positive correlation. There's just no correlation. Eso if you have ah, lot of white victims in a particular county in a particular year, you don't see any drop whatsoever in, uh, black defendants getting L What? That's not to say that correlations positive. Um, but it's just it's just not a significant negative correlation. Like what you see with black defendants and black victims. That correlation goes away essentially, and so what does that mean for your for your study? In that means there's no draw in l up sensing so essentially what? What it suggests to me is that if you have a black defendant and a white victim of crime doesn't matter. If that there's no decrease in that decreasing the probability of that defendant getting l up there just is like they get elbow up, Um, whether it was the 30th murder that happened in the county or whether it was the first murder that happened in the county. So it sounds to me like it's the victim. Race is what? When basic, When you have black victims of crime, you're much less likely to see Elop. We're hanging out elop for killing white people, not for killing black people. That's essentially what I'm saying. Yes. Yeah. And this is Sara Krueger with WRL If I could just jump in real quick with one follow up on that when you're talking about a decrease in seeing l wop sentences, could you talk about then what is the alternative like, Are you seeing more death sentences in those cases? Are you seeing just, you know, like a decade or two, a death senses continued to decline, s so we're certainly not seeing any relationship like that. Um, so, you know, and the counties that are relying less on out, I thought pro sensing they're relying on term of your sentencing under, you know, second degree murder or other charges. Yeah, Sarah the in terms of North Carolina sentencing, the only old are alternative. There is to reduce the charge from first degree murder to second degree murder. And then, uh, it's a general matter. Unless it's a particularly bad murder, which probably wouldn't get second. And the persons got a large number of prior record points. The only option would be a term of years. So the you're going from the your options are either l wop or death for first degree murder. And then, if you don't want so so the drop there would be if you have white victim. I mean, if you have black victims of crime, you're just offering people deals to say 2025 30 years rather than a wop. Because that's the That's the only sort of shift you can not sort of. That is the only shift you can make under sentencing, um, under the structure Sentencing Act, you know, and I'm looking here in the chat at Rob's question. How would we structure reforms? I mean, I think that we've already seen we've seen North Carolina has already two pieces in place, um, from other times and in other, uh, situations that could be applied directly to adult first degree murder cases. One is that when structured sentencing when the structured Sentencing Act was passed in or became effective in 1994 there was included in there, UM, a 25 year review provisions. Uh, the the statute uh, North Carolina General statute 15 A. That's 13 80.5 is, um, to say not a model of clarity. However, it does provide a review option that, um, that people can utilize every two years where a judge has to take a look at the trial record and has to take in any other information that he or she he or she deems relevant and decide whether or not that person's sentence should stay the way it is. They can then make a recommendation to the governor, the governor. They could make a recommendation for parole eligibility or for commutation of the sentence. If the judge recommends computation. That decision is made by the governor if they recommend a parole eligibility than the governor has delegated that authority to the parole commission to determine whether or not the person becomes eligible for parole. So that structure for looking back is in place, and we could improve upon it by writing a statute that is more specific, more detailed, provides for the right to counsel provides just more procedural due process rights like we see in the rest of the criminal justice system. Then the second piece is that when Miller v. Alabama came down from the United States Supreme Court in 2012 our Legislature moved very quickly to say that any juvenile convicted of first degree murder under the felony murder rule would become eligible for parole after 25 years, uh, and then set forth an additional hearing procedure, Uh, for people who were convicted under a theory of premeditation and deliberation that also allows those folks to have a hearing and demonstrate that that they're not, uh the phrase the Supreme Court uses is permanently incorrigible. And if they're not, then they are eligible to being considered for parole after 25 years. So we've already got ways of dealing with this sort of putting in place on the front end. We know you're getting eloped, but we will review this after 25 years or looking back and saying anyone who has this sentence can become eligible if we have this hearing. So you know there are There are means for us to do this on day and we have the structures in place in North Carolina statutes if we want to. If I could maybe jumping in with another question, I sort of understood it to be the defendants race that mattered mawr in terms of harsh and unfair sentencing. But it sounds like you're saying, Well, that that that that might be true. What actually matters more is the race of the victim. Would that that also applied to, say, white defendants who murder white victims? Yeah, And that's and that's, you know, consistent with what we see. Basically, in every state where death sentencing has been studied, um, that when you have lots of prosecutorial discretion and very, very serious sentences, that victim race really matters. And, um, whether it's that prosecutors think that these victims will be more sympathetic in front of the jury, whether it's white victims will push more and say we demand ultimate justice. Um, whether it's implicit bias that D A is have themselves when they're making these decisions and meeting with victims and deciding what to do um, researchers aren't totally sure. You know, anecdotally in some states you hear that prosecutors never get calls or never tried to call themselves victims except when the victims are white. Steve Bright has these unbelievable stories about exercise of the death penalty in Georgia, where if it's a black victim, family never gets called. Uh, and that said in the death sentence in context, you may also have situations like in the Charleston shooting, where the victim, you know, the victims of the shooting of the black church themselves didn't want the death penalty. They didn't believe in it. They thought that had usually been used in ways that were racially discriminatory, and so they didn't support the choice. Uh, anyway, that za long answer. But yes, this and this is highly consistent with what we see wherever the death penalty has studied, and that's what makes it so interesting. People hadn't turned from the death penalty to life without parole sentencing to see whether the same pattern supply, you know, there were good reasons why we start first with the death penalty, the ultimate sentence. There's been a racial justice act in North Carolina and substantial research, but you know now, life without parole sensing dwarfs, death sensing in terms of numbers of people. We hadn't had this information that passed, and we need to doom or to unpack these patterns. It's obviously been a subject of legislative and judicial concern that race of victim matters so much and distorts death. Sentencing. There hasn't been that legislation or judicial concern in the life without parole context could I also add in response to Rob's question. You know what our solutions and I think you know, we're also looking philosophically. What kind of a society are we if someone commits a crime? Are we only after retribution and punishment with no possibility that someone can be reformed or be rehabilitated and so the longest sentences give them a chance for parole? Don't guarantee parole, but with human life without parole, we introduced bipartisan legislation last year that after 25 years, give that young person the possibility of a parole review hearing to grant or deny. So we're saying, Don't slam the door on people's lives that some people you know they have paid their price but give them a chance to live their life outside prison walls after a substantial amount of time has been served. So I think we need to look, Are we going to end mass incarceration in the United States? And in this state, we have the worst numbers of any country in the world. And I think we're all looking. How do we become a more humane just and have mercy with justice? Thank you all so much. Um, for attendings, Melissa here. I e really appreciate it. Um, we've got time for one more question. If anyone have any follow ups and if not, you know, you guys have my email, my contact information. Feel free to reach out. Thank you so much to everyone who came today and, um, tour our guest who spoke. Um, and please don't hesitate. Toe. Let us know if you need. You guys need anything else, I'll get the report up on the site here just ASAP. But if you want it quickly, just send me an email. Um, and I'll be happy to shoot it over to you guys. Thanks, everyone. Thank you all. Thank you. They killed so much. It's great to see you. And please don't hesitate to email me as well if you have other questions. Yes. Yeah. Mhm.