Leon Brown

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 […]

Henry McCollum and Leon Brown

Court of Appeals backs suspension for lawyer who swindled wrongfully convicted Black men

BY: - November 2, 2022

A three-judge North Carolina Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday upheld the State Bar’s decision to suspend the license of an attorney who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from two Black men with intellectual disabilities who served more than 30 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. The unanimous ruling was authored by Judge Allegra Collins and joined by Judges Richard Dietz and Jeffery Carpenter.


New report: How NC sentenced two innocent men to death

BY: - September 1, 2017

One of the few bright spots on the North Carolina public policy landscape in recent years has been the ongoing hiatus in the application of  the death penalty. It’s been 11 years since the state of North Carolina executed anyone and, happily and not surprisingly, the murder rate has actually declined. In 2007, there were […]


National report highlights troubling career of recently deceased NC prosecutor

BY: - June 30, 2016

Kristin Collins of the DeathPenalty has a great post up today on the blog of the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (cross-posted below) highlighting a new report about the late Joe Freeman Britt of Robeson County. NC “deadliest prosecutor” valued winning over justice, new report shows By Kristin Collins Joe Freeman Britt […]


Senate ignoring bills to address justice, compensation for the wrongly convicted

BY: - September 4, 2015

As Kristin Collins of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation explained this week in an insightful blog post, the state’s ultra-belated decision to finally compensate the exonerated Henry McCollum and Leon Brown (who were wrongfully sentenced, respectively, to death and life imprisonment for a murder they did not commit) ought not to be the end […]


State leaders have failed to learn from the McCollum and Brown exonerations

BY: - September 3, 2015

The exonerations of Henry McCollum and Leon Brown were in the news again yesterday as the state, finally and belatedly, got around to agreeing to compensate the men for having ruined their lives. In case you missed it, however, Kristin Collins of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation posted this insightful take on what the […]

Updated: McCollum and Brown, wrongfully convicted decades ago, each awarded maximum compensation

BY: - September 2, 2015

  (Update: According to the AP, the commission has awarded Henry McCollum and Leon Brown $750,000 each, the maximum available under state law.) At a hearing today, the North Carolina Industrial Commission will consider compensation claims filed by Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, two men wrongfully convicted in 1991 for the 1983 rape and murder of 11-year-old […]


Justice (finally) for two highlights justice denied to scores of others on death row

BY: - June 4, 2015

The good people at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation issued the following important statement in the wake of Gov. McCrory’s absurdly-delayed pardon announcement today for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown: With pardon finally granted, McCrory must address broken death penalty system McCollum and Brown case exposes flaws that could lead to executing an innocent […]

Free: Governor pardons McCollum and Brown

BY: - June 4, 2015

After being wrongfully convicted for the death of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie, spending more than 30 years in jail, and then waiting 266 days more for a pardon, Henry McCollum and Leon Brown are finally and fully free men. At a press conference held an hour ago (to which Policy Watch was denied access), Gov. Pat McCrory […]


On day #252, another voice demands justice for McCollum and Brown

BY: - May 21, 2015

The failure of Governor Pat McCrory to grant pardons to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown after more than eight months now borders on the farcical. The editorial page of the Fayetteville Observer is the latest to weigh in with an exceedingly polite editorial entitled “Unjustly convicted, these men deserve justice.” Here is the conclusion: “Eight months […]


Charlotte Observer calls on Guv to act on McCollum and Brown pardon

BY: - May 12, 2015

As has been chronicled for some time now on these pages, the unexplained delay in justice for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown continues. This is Day 243 since the pair submitted their pardon application to Gov. McCrory. The two remain essentially indigent after having had 31 years of their lives stolen by the state of […]


Day 228 of Gov. McCrory denying justice to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown

BY: - April 27, 2015

Monday marks the 228th day that Governor Pat McCrory has refused to grant a pardon of innocence to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, the two Robeson County men who both spent 31 years in prison for a rape and murder they did not commit. McCollum and Brown, both mentally disabled, were freed September 4 of last […]