Poll: Death Penalty Supporters are the New Minority
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina has long been considered a pro-death penalty state, but a first-of-its-kind poll found voters overwhelmingly believe the death penalty is error-prone and racially biased. And a majority say it should be replaced with alternative punishments.
David Weiss is a capital defense attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. He said the poll findings reflect a trend of public concern over sentencing people to death.
"And so we're seeing on the ground that the death penalty is just not really being used anymore, and I think this poll tells us why,” Weiss said. “It's because the people of North Carolina don't support it anymore."
Public Policy Polling interviewed more than 500 voters across the state, and 70 percent believe it is likely that an innocent person has been executed in North Carolina. North Carolina juries have sent one person to death row since 2014.
Weiss said lawmakers and the court system should seriously consider this poll since 61 percent of respondents said they believed the courts should re-examine the death sentences of prisoners who were tried before a series of legal reforms were enacted. That’s more than 131 individuals.
Weiss said cases filed under the state's Racial Justice Act, which uncovered evidence of statewide race discrimination in capital cases, are expected to be argued later this year.
Five people who were sentenced to death in North Carolina have been exonerated in recent years. And, Weiss said more than two dozen others have been removed from death row after the courts found serious errors in their cases, and that black jurors often were removed from the pool in capital cases.
"It's evidence that we need to face as a state and it's evidence we need to face in the courts,” he said. “And I think this poll, in part, tells policymakers, tells the courts, that this is a matter of real public concern in North Carolina."
The poll also showed that when voters considered a range of alternatives to the death penalty, including restitution to victims' families, only 25 percent of those interviewed favored the death penalty.
get more stories like this via email
SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …
Health and Wellness
TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …
CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …
Health and Wellness
DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …
NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…
INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …
BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…
CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …