The Center for Death Penalty Litigation is a non-profit law firm that provides direct representation to inmates on North Carolina’s death row, as well as consulting with and training attorneys who practice capital litigation across the state. CDPL’s commitment to representing indigent and disadvantaged defendants just as vigorously as corporate lawyers defend their highest-paying clients has saved the lives of many who faced execution. In addition to representing individual clients, CDPL spearheads litigation that addresses systemic injustices and educates the public about the death penalty. CDPL has been a leading force in dramatically reducing the number of executions in North Carolina, and has cast light on the arbitrariness and unfairness of our state’s capital punishment system.

CDPL client declared innocent, released from death row


Henry McCollum shakes hands with CDPL attorney Vernetta Alston — Photo by Jenny Warburg

On Sept. 2, CDPL client Henry McCollum, N.C.’s longest serving death row inmate, was exonerated. Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser declared Henry and his brother, Leon Brown, innocent of the rape and murder for which they were sentenced to death 30 years ago. CDPL represented Henry for the past 20 years, along with attorneys from the law firm of Wilmer Hale, and the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission conducted substantial investigation in the case. Read about this amazing, tragic case in the N&O.

J. Kirk Osborn Award

CDPL is proud to announce that Henderson Hill is the 2014 recipient of the J. Kirk Osborn Award. Learn about Henderson’s 33-year career defending death sentenced inmates and working to end the death penalty.