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.
On Sept. 28, CDPL honored two of our community’s most outstanding capital defense attorneys: Elaine Gordon, the winner of this year’s Osborn Award, and Ken Rose, winner of the Amsterdam Award. [Go here to read more about their exceptional careers.] Our community shared a beautiful evening at Parizade in Durham. It was an event that reminded us of the urgency of our work and the incredible commitment of our colleagues. See photos from the night.
CDPL’s attorneys represented Henry McCollum for two decades, until he was exonerated in 2014 after 30 years on North Carolina’s death row. In recognition of the third anniversary of his release, we have published the gripping story of McCollum’s wrongful arrest, conviction, and DNA exoneration. This fascinating and disturbing case helps us understand how the death penalty threatens innocent people, and how difficult it is to free them. This story should be remembered. Please read and help us share it.
The death penalty was once the default punishment for first-degree murder in North Carolina, but times have clearly changed. In a new video from the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, a retired police chief and a former N.C. prison warden who participated in 14 executions both say they believe the death penalty does nothing to keep our society safe. Public safety officials, prosecutors, and judges used to be among the death penalty’s staunchest supporters. Now, some are beginning to speak up about the punishment’s unfairness, inefficiency, and failure to improve public safety.
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.