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. The Center for Death Penalty Litigation 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.
Please join us in Durham on Sept. 26 to celebrate the winners of this year’s J. Kirk Osborn Award for leadership in capital defense: Bob Trenkle, an attorney who has spent three decades defending capital clients, and Etta Blankenship, the private investigator, who also does mitigation work, who has worked beside Bob on many of his death penalty cases. Bob and Etta exemplify the team approach to capital defense that is key to saving clients’ lives. Please read on to learn more about Bob and Etta’s outstanding careers and to reserve your tickets to their reception.
The failures of our broken criminal legal system don’t just affect the people we incarcerate and condemn to death. The injustice of our system ripples out into the world, affecting countless lives. This weekend, advocates and loved ones of incarcerated people shared their stories at the Carolina Justice Policy Center‘s Poetic Justice event. Then, spoken word artists created responsive poems. Here, please read the story shared by CDPL attorney Erica Washington.
When you know how unfair, inefficient, and simply wrong the death penalty is, then the answer is clear. You must stop using it in all cases — even the difficult ones. We are so grateful for a Durham DA who understands that. Satana Deberry says she will not seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing three Muslim students. It was a terrible crime that hurt our community and must be punished, but not with the death penalty. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Read this lovely essay about why the death penalty is never the answer, even in the most painful cases.
Learn more about the death penalty. For a fuller listing, go to our Links page:
- N.C. Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
- Carolina Justice Policy Center
- 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.