CDPL is a non-profit law firm that represents people on death row, coordinates capital litigation across North Carolina, and serves as a clearinghouse for accurate and timely information on the N.C. death penalty. We believe that indigent defendants facing the death penalty deserve the same kind of high-quality representation available to the highest-paying clients. We also believe that ending the unjust and error-prone death penalty is a crucial part of building a more humane criminal justice system in North Carolina. Read more about our work.
Every human being wants and deserves safety. But the question is: What makes us safe? In the United States, we’ve mostly chosen to spend our public safety budgets on arresting, incarcerating and executing people we deem criminals. We have the second largest prison population in the world behind China, with nearly 2 million people behind bars — including almost 50,000 children. We are one of only a handful of developed countries that continue to use the death penalty. How different might our society look if public safety could be reimagined as caring for people and communities?
We had the largest crowd ever at our awards celebration on Sept. 26 at Parizade. It was wonderful to honor a group of people who have done such important work — and bittersweet to remember our friend Bill Massengale in the company of his beautiful family. We also cherished being in community with people who care so deeply about ending the barbaric death penalty. See the photos and listen to the speeches.
Each year, we give an award in honor of J. Kirk Osborn, one of the giants of North Carolina’s capital defense community, whose advocacy and deep compassion for his clients saved many lives and inspired other attorneys to follow in his footsteps. We also give the Messenger of LIght Award to people who make significant contributions to our work and our clients. Read about this year’s extraordinarily deserving winners.
Support our Work
Help us provide the best possible representation to people facing execution and educate the public about the injustice and racist roots of the death penalty. Donate here. Or sign up here to get updates about our work.
Join the Movement
CDPL is a member of the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. If you want to be a part of the grassroots movement to end the NC death penalty, please visit their website to learn and get involved.