[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----N.C., GA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jul 14 12:15:43 CDT 2004
NC African-American Leaders Push for Moratorium Vote
9 prominent African-American leaders in North Carolina, led by
internationally acclaimed historian John Hope Franklin, called on
Governor Mike Easley and House Speakers Jim Black and Richard Morgan to
do all in their power to ensure that the State House of Representatives
debate and vote on legislation to suspend executions for 2 years.
"The recent highly-publicized exonerations demonstrate North Carolina's
system of capital punishment is flawed and in need of careful study and
reform," Franklin said in a July 13 letter to Easley, Black, and Morgan.
The State Senate passed a moratorium bill last year and it has been in the
House Rules Committee since then, despite having the support of a
majority of members of the House and widespread public support across the
The letter does not ask Easley, Black, and Morgan to personally support
the moratorium. It urges them to make sure that the democratic process is
allowed to work and that the issue receives the fair hearing it deserves.
"These extraordinary people have spent their entire lives fighting for
civil rights, justice and fairness for all of North Carolina's citizens,"
said David Neal, spokesperson for the NC Coalition for a Moratorium. "Our
elected officials need to listen to these powerful voices and allow the
people's representatives to vote on a moratorium this session."
The letter comes on the heels of pleas from 8 former North Carolina
Supreme Court Justices; The NC Black Leadership Caucus, The Legislative
Black Caucus, the NAACP of NC, and the Triangle Urban League; 34 state
religious leaders; and 21 murder victims' family members for the House
leadership to allow the moratorium bill to come to a vote this session.
The letter follows.
July 13, 2004
The Hon. Mike Easley
Governor, State of North Carolina
The Hon. James B. Black
Co-Speaker, House of Representatives
The Hon. Richard Morgan
Co-Speaker, House of Representatives
Dear Governor Easley, Speaker Black and Speaker Morgan,
Strongly and respectfully, we are writing to urge you to use your
influence and positions of leadership to bring SB 972 up for a vote this
session before the full House of Representatives.
The highly-publicized exonerations of death row inmates demonstrate that
North Carolina's system of capital punishment is flawed and in need of
careful study and reform. These cases do not reflect a system that is
working properly. Quite the contrary, they show the urgent need for a
suspension of executions while we examine ways to prevent more
miscarriages of justice that could result in the execution of an innocent
All we are asking in this letter is that you support the 2-year suspension
of executions. We are simply pleading with you to make sure this vitally
important legislation is thoroughly debated and considered by the full
House before this session adjourns.
We share with you pride in this state. We also share a deep appreciation
for its rich history, and an abiding desire to provide a legacy of justice
and fairness for all of our citizens. Allowing SB 972 to come for a vote
this session will illustrate that desire.
John Hope Franklin
Daniel T. Blue Jr.
Henry E. Frye Sr.
Maceo K. Sloan
Richard "Stick" Williams
(source: People of Faith Against the Death Penalty)
Attorneys want lie detector admitted in death penalty trial
Lawyers for a Laurens County man accused in the murder of an elderly
Dudley man argued Tuesday before the state Supreme Court that the results
of a lie-detector test should be used if the trial reaches the sentencing
Marvin Height is accused in the January 2001 slaying of 78-year-old
Lorange Wood, who was found dead at his store in Dudley. Height, who faces
the death penalty if convicted, is being held at the Laurens County jail
while he awaits trial. A trial date has not been set.
Height's attorneys want the results of a lie-detector test, which Height
passed, to be used as evidence in the penalty phase of the trial.
The state of Georgia does not allow results from lie-detector tests to be
used as evidence in trials, but defense attorneys said a trial judge has
the authority to determine whether to allow a polygraph test's results
when it comes to sentencing.
"Whether a polygraph is reliable is still debatable," said Michael
Garrett, an attorney for Height. "But the Eighth Amendment gives a
defendant the right to present mitigating evidence."
But Peter Fred Larsen, chief assistant district attorney for Laurens
County, said a trial judge cannot decide whether to admit a lie-detector
test. Additionally, the polygraph expert who administered Height's test
said its results were some of the most inaccurate she had ever produced.
The results of a lie-detector test could only be admitted as evidence if
they point to a defendant's character, his criminal record or the
circumstances of the case, and Height's results do none of those 3, Larsen
According to testimony in a Superior Court hearing in August, Height
claimed he found Wood dead in his store but had nothing to do with the
He said he did not report it, and attempted to hide evidence because he
feared he would be blamed. Height lived within 100 yards of Wood's store
and often worked odd jobs for him.
Prosecuting and defense attorneys were granted a request Tuesday to file
supplemental briefs to the Supreme Court. After the briefs are filed, the
court will release a timeline of when it will issue a ruling.
(source: Macon Telegraph)
More information about the DeathPenalty