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PNS Daily Newscast - August 18, 2017 


In our rundown spotlight today: at least 13 are dead in Barcelona after a driver ran his van into pedestrians; a researcher examines ways to resolve racial inequality; and a new study finds Latinos will fuel a quarter of America's economic growth in 2020.

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Report: Support for the Death Penalty Hits 40-year Low

The death penalty, often administered by injections of lethal drug cocktails, is receiving less public support, according to research by Pew. (dodgertonskillhause/morguefile.com)
The death penalty, often administered by injections of lethal drug cocktails, is receiving less public support, according to research by Pew. (dodgertonskillhause/morguefile.com)
October 10, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear two death-penalty cases this term. And while the court will primarily consider constitutional law in reaching their decisions, research shows that half of the country does not support capitol punishment.

A new study released by the Pew Research Center found that the number of Americans in favor of the death penalty is at its lowest level in four decades.

Shifting opinions can often be rooted in distrust in a broken system, said Kristin Collins, a spokeswoman for the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. She noted that more than 150 people on death row have been exonerated in recent years, including nine in North Carolina.

"You just can't trust the system to get it right,” Collins said. “And when you can't trust that basic thing that they have the right people on death row, then it's kind of hard to support the death penalty."

According to Pew, in the 1990s eight in 10 Americans supported capital punishment. The latest report showed that while support has declined across the spectrum, Republicans favored the death penalty more than two-to-one over Democrats.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, there are currently 150 people on death row in the state, some of them with convictions dating back to the 1980s.

Collins said people are beginning to understand that a life sentence is not the "country club" atmosphere sometimes portrayed in movies.

"Life without parole is a really harsh sentence, and I think anybody who might think it's sort of some fun, cushy sentence should go try it out,” Collins said. "If you're in central prison, you never even get a contact visit. You only visit through thick glass and bars with your family. It's not a pleasant life."

North Carolina's murder rate has been on a steady decline in recent years. Meanwhile, there hasn't been an execution in the state since 2006.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC