North Carolina Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty
Raleigh – Last week, a bill to repeal the death penalty in the politically conservative state of Nebraska passed its third and final vote in the state’s unicameral legislature by a margin of 32-15. The bill then made it’s way to Governor Ricketts, who kept his promise to veto the measure this Tuesday.
Yesterday, lawmakers voted to repeal capital punishment in the Cornhusker State voted by a 30-19 margin to override the Governor’s veto. This makes Nebraska the first conservative state to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota did so in 1973.
The final passage of this bill marks a significant shift in the national debate on the death penalty as it was spearheaded by conservatives. In recent years, more and more conservative leaders are speaking out against the death penalty and recognizing capital punishment to be inconsistent with traditional conservative values. “The power to inflict death cloaks government with a majesty and pretense of infallibility discordant with conservatism,” wrote conservative pundit George Will in a recent column praising Nebraska’s efforts to repeal the death penalty.
“Conservatives in North Carolina are coming to the same conclusions that Republican lawmakers in Nebraska reached yesterday,” said Ballard Everett, state coordinator for North Carolina Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (NCCCADP). “The death penalty is a costly, inefficient government program. We know government makes mistakes, and when it comes to granting the state the power to kill its citizens, the risk is too high.”
NCCCADP applauds the leadership exhibited by Nebraska lawmakers today, and calls upon conservative lawmakers in North Carolina to take a close look at this issue.
Executions have been on hold in North Carolina since 2006 because of ongoing litigation. Throughout this time, revelations of innocence and flawed forensic science suggest the very real possibility that NC could execute an innocent person should executions resume.
In the nearly nine years since NC has seen an execution, the murder rate has consistently dropped. This fact is consistent with all data showing that the death penalty has no deterrent value.
“The true conservative stance is to support efforts to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” said Everett.