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Poll: Death penalty less popular in North Carolina
Majority believe capital punishment flawed
Published Friday, February 15, 2019 9:00 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

A majority of North Carolinians would prefer a replacement for capital punishment, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling.

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Attitudes about the death penalty are changing in North Carolina.

According to a poll by Public Policy Polling – the first large-scale survey on capital punishment in the state – a majority of residents believe the death penalty is prone to mistakes and should be replaced.

The poll of 501 voters across the state, conducted last week by Public Policy Polling, comes as a capital trial begins in Wake County. It is the first comprehensive statewide survey of death penalty views in North Carolina.

Death penalty sentences are becoming rare in North Carolina as juries have sent just one defendant to death row since 2014. Of those polled, 47 percent voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 and 45 percent for Hillary Clinton.

“I was stunned when I saw these numbers,” said David Weiss, a capital defense attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham. “Seventy percent of people believe an innocent person has likely been executed in North Carolina. Almost 60 percent believe that racial bias affects who is sentenced to death in our state. With these kinds of serious concerns about the death penalty, it’s inconceivable that North Carolina could execute anyone or even continue to sentence people to death.”

The poll results revealed:

• 57 percent of respondents believe racial bias likely influences who is sentenced to death.

• More than 70 percent said defendants should have the right to bring forward evidence of racial discrimination in capital trials and jury selection, the core premise of the Racial Justice Act, which allows defendants to use evidence of racial discrimination in capital cases to earn reduced sentences.

• 70 percent believe it is likely that an innocent person has been executed in North Carolina.

• 61 percent said they believe the courts should reexamine the death sentences of prisoners who were tried before a series of legal reforms were enacted to protect defendants’ rights and ensure fair trials. More than three-quarters of death row prisoners were sentenced before the reforms.

• When given a choice between the death penalty and a maximum sentence of life without parole, more than 50 percent of voters said they favor life without parole, while 44 percent favor the death penalty.

No one has been executed in North Carolina since 2006. Since then, five death row inmates have been exonerated, more than two dozen were removed from death row after the courts found serious errors in their cases, and a statewide study found that black jurors are systematically removed from capital juries, violating defendants’ right to be judged by a fair cross section of the community.

“The capital punishment system has so many problems that the public has lost faith in it,” said Weiss, who is among several attorneys spearheading statewide litigation about racial bias and the lethal injection process. “And after 12 years without executions, North Carolinians have seen that we can maintain public safety without the death penalty.”

A 2018 report revealed that more than three quarters of the state’s 140 death row inmates were sentenced before a series of reforms that are now considered essential to fair trials, including qualified capital defense lawyers, defendants’ access to all evidence in the prosecution’s files and the creation of protocols to prevent false confessions and mistaken identification.


What people believe is much different than what people know.

For example, what case do any of them know, whereby an innocent was executed? Likely, 99% have no clue.
Posted on February 16, 2019
Likely, the death penalty has 70-80% support.

In a poll, ask

Do you think the death penalty should be an option for

THose who rape and murder children

Those who commit mass or serial murders

Having a preference of life over death doesn't mean any wish to get rid of the death penalty.

For example, 55% prefer vanilla, 45% chocolate, but they all wish to retain both.
Posted on February 16, 2019

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