Sunday, December 21, 2008

North Carolina Death Penalty Year in Review 2008 & More from Death Watch

NC Death Penalty Year in Review 2008
December 18, 2008

It has been an exceptional year for life in North Carolina. No one was executed, and only one new person was added to death row (the lowest number since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977). This year, as many capital defendants were acquitted as were sentenced to death. More death row inmates were exonerated than executed. North Carolina should be proud.

Nationally, executions began again following the Supreme Court’s decision in Baze v. Rees, but lethal injection remains stalled in North Carolina due to litigation by inmates subject to the procedure as well as the doctors forced to participate in it.

Capital Trial Statistics

Life without parole - 9 (Kenneth Hartley, Charles Dickerson, Eric Oakes, Jakiem Wilson, James Stitt, Robert Windsor, Lisa Greene, Neil Sargeant, James Blue)

Sentences less than life -3 (Pliney Purser, Jonte McLaurin, John Chavis Ross)

Death -1 (James Ray Little)

Military capital trial acquittals – 1 (Alberto Martinez)

Post-Conviction Statistics

Executions – 0

Exonerations – 2 (Levon “Bo” Jones, Glen Edward Chapman)

Death row inmates getting new trials – 2 (John Conaway, William Moore)

Death row inmates getting new sentencing hearings – 1 (William Gray)

Otherwise removed from death row – 2 (Clinton Smith, Carlos Cannady)

Incompetent for execution – 1 (Guy LeGrande)

Deaths from natural causes – 3 (Gary Greene, Leroy McNeill, George Page)—

If you would like to be part of making 2009 another Year of Life, please consider making a donation to NC-based groups like the Fair Trial Initiative.

Life for James Blue
December 17, 2008

James Junior Blue has been sentenced to life without parole in Robeson County. Mr. Blue’s was the last North Carolina capital trial of 2008.

James Ray Little was the only person sentenced to death in North Carolina this year. 2008 saw the lowest number of new death sentences in North Carolina since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.

December 17, 2008

Of late, DW has refocused its efforts, blogging only about death penalty-related events in North Carolina. But sometimes a story comes along that’s just impossible to ignore. Grits for Breakfast reports, “Police in Albuquerque, N.M. have become so reliant on snitches to solve cases that when they couldn’t generate enough informants organically they began to advertise in the local paper.”

The ad?


Would it have cost extra to add “truth-telling optional?”

Paid informants have been responsible for sending untold numbers of innocent people to prison, sometimes even to death row. (Just ask Bo Jones and Jonathan Hoffman.)

The Albuquerque police are taking the documented unreliability of informants to a whole new level. As noted in the original USA Today article, offering easy money in these tough economic times is especially likely to lead to false information. The brazenness of the ad makes me wonder if this is even a concern for the APD. And as Grits points out, since when is “drug use OK” from the perspective of law enforcement?

The ACLU has some thoughts on how to reform the informant system.

For this & more, see December blogs - Here

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