Advocates continue to urge Gov. Roy Cooper to commute all pending death sentences and clear the state’s death row (Photo: Getty Images by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)
Four House Democrats have filed a bill that would repeal North Carolina’s death penalty and resentence the 137 people on death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The proposal comes as advocates continue to urge Gov. Roy Cooper to commute all pending death sentences and clear the state’s death row before he leaves office in 2024.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Vernetta Alston (D-Durham), Rep. Zack Hawkins (D-Durham), Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham), and Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford). Its text features a number of facts and statistics justifying its passage. Among them: 10 people have been found innocent in North Carolina after being sentenced to death; people of color are disproportionately more likely to be executed and on death row across the nation; the state spends $11,000,000 every year on costs related to capital punishment, even tough no one has been executed here since 2006; research doesn’t support the idea that the death penalty deters crime; and death penalty cases cost taxpayers about four times as much as non-death penalty cases.
The measure is substantively the same as another death penalty repeal bill filed by Democrats in the Senate that was parked in the Rules and Operations Committee in mid-February. No Republicans are attached to either bill, making passage unlikely.
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