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 is proud to announce the winners of this year’s J. Kirk Osborn Award for leadership in capital defense: law partners Jon Megerian and Frank Wells, who have practiced together in Randolph County for 25 years. Frank and Jon are known across North Carolina for their zealous defense of people facing the death penalty — winning unlikely victories at trial, holding off executions for people on death row, and standing by their clients until the end. Please join CDPL for a reception to celebrate Jon and Frank on September 13, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at Parizade.
CDPL’s Executive Director Gretchen M. Engel was interviewed recently by the radio program A Better World, which gives an in-depth look into people and organizations “working to create a world that works for everyone.” In this wide-ranging interview, you can learn about CDPL’s work to advance the cases of death-sentenced men and women and end the death penalty.
CDPL staff attorney Elizabeth Hambourger writes a moving essay about her client, Terry Ball, who recently died of natural causes after 24 years on death row. “Terry Ball caused a lot of pain in his life, and he also experienced more than his share. The same is certainly true of most of the thousands of men and women still on our nation’s death rows. This is who we sentence to death: the most damaged, the most abused; traumatized children who grow into adults without learning how to cope with their fear and anger. The death penalty says these lives have no value. I disagree.”
Learn more about the death penalty. For a fuller listing, go to our Links page:
- N.C. Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
- N.C. Advocates for Justice
- Death Penalty Information Center
See Our Impact
CDPL’s staff has halted wrongful executions, helped free innocent people from death row, and exposed systemic injustices. Learn more about the work that has made CDPL a leader in addressing unfairness in capital punishment.