death penalty abolition

Henry McCollum and Leon Brown

What does the death penalty really cost North Carolina?

BY: - April 21, 2023

In March, an appeals court affirmed the historic $75 million in damages that a jury granted to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, brothers who were sentenced to death in Robeson County in 1983 and spent 30 years in prison for a murder they didn’t commit, and who’s case was plagued by systemic racism. Now, the […]


I represented an innocent man on death row: Here’s why NC must end the death penalty

BY: - May 14, 2021

In September 2014, I was sitting with Henry McCollum at the moment a judge ordered his release from death row for a crime he did not commit. Many folks in the courtroom clapped in celebration. Others embraced out of relief. It had been 30 years since Henry and his brother Leon Brown--two innocent and intellectually disabled children--had been convicted and sentenced to death in Robeson County, North Carolina.

Virginia just abolished its deeply racist death penalty; North Carolina must follow suit

BY: - April 1, 2021

Last week, Virginia became the first southern state to abolish the death penalty. At the signing ceremony, Gov. Ralph Northam and other speakers repeatedly referenced the racist history of the Virginia death penalty as a prime reason for its abolition. It is not a coincidence that Virginia, the birthplace of American slavery and the capital of the Confederacy, has been at the forefront of the American death penalty.

Medical marijuana

Update from Virginia: Death penalty abolished, marijuana could be legal by summer

BY: - March 29, 2021

Editor's note: The chasm between the policies pursued by legislative leaders in North Carolina and Virginia continues to grow. The following stories by reporter Ned Oliver of the Virginia Mercury highlight that divergence on two high-profile issues involving racial inequities in the criminal justice system.