Charlotte Talks: Tide Turns Against Death Penalty

Apr 9, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Of the four death penalty cases tried in North Carolina in 2017, juries chose life sentences over the death penalty in each one.
Credit Flickr / Bill Dickinson

North Carolina hasn't used the death penalty since 2006, and public support has dropped. What's turning the tide? Mike Collins talks with a Charlotte attorney trying to have the U.S. Supreme Court examine its constitutionality.

The death penalty has been put on the table in the Erica Parsons murder case in Rowan County, and it’s being sought in the murders of four state prison workers.

But capital sentences are becoming fewer in North Carolina. Four death penalty cases were tried in the state in 2017, and juries rejected death sentences in each one. What’s more, it’s been more than a decade – 2006 – since the state last put an inmate to death.

Nationwide, fewer death sentences are being carried out, and public support, as measured by an October Gallup Poll, is at a 45-year low.

Henderson Hill hopes to have a death penalty case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court within a few years.
Credit Center for Death Penalty Litigation

Charlotte attorney Henderson Hill, a longtime critic of the death penalty, is spearheading a campaign to have the U.S. Supreme Court once again look at the constitutionality of the death penalty.

What’s driving the turning of the tide away from executions? How likely will the court review the constitutionality of executions, much less end the practice?


Henderson Hill, executive director, 8th Amendment Project (@HHill3663)

Elizabeth Hambourger, staff attorney, Center for Death Penalty Litigation


Our guests continue the conversation at UNC Charlotte's Center City campus, Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m., as part of the Witness in Residence Initiative. More information can be found here.