There is a moratorium on exectutions in North Carolina due to lethal injection issues. One death sentence was overturned earlier this year under the state's Racial Justice Act.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports, "No one sentenced to death in North Carolina this year." It's written by Anne Blythe.
As North Carolina politicians engaged in rigorous debate this year about whether capital punishment should exist, the juries that actually decide death-penalty cases made a statement of their own.
No jury in North Carolina has come back with a death sentence this year, and there are no more capital cases on the 2012 docket.
That’s the first time since 1977, when the death penalty was reinstated in this state, that a jury has not sentenced at least one person to execution.
“The idea that we’ve come this far in 35 years is a powerful statement of where the public is at in North Carolina,” said Ken Rose, an attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation and a death penalty critic. “It’s a verdict on the death penalty.”
The record-low of four capital trials in North Carolina comes at a time when many states are wrestling with proposals to abolish capital punishment.
In 2004, the courts declared the death penalty to be unconstitutional in New York. In 2007, New Jersey repealed its death penalty law, with New Mexico following suit in 2009 and Illinois in 2011. This year, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill to abandon the death penalty for future convictions, but the 11 men on death row may still be executed.
But in California this week, 53 percent of the voters rejected a ballot initiative to repeal the death penalty and move all death row inmates to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Though North Carolina has not put such questions about the death penalty on the ballot, there has been a de-facto moratorium on executions since 2006, when a series of lawsuits were filed challenging the fairness and humanity of the state-sponsored executions.
Earlier coverage from North Carolina begins at the link.