FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2023
Statement from Center for Death Penalty Litigation board member & capital defense attorney Henderson Hill regarding today’s North Carolina Supreme Court decision in State v. Russell William Tucker:
“For most of its history, North Carolina has utterly failed to ensure that all citizens have the right to serve on juries, regardless of their race. It took until 2022 for our state supreme court to finally strike down a single criminal conviction due to the exclusion of Black jurors. That historic decision gave many of us hope that our state was finally ready to tackle the persistent problem of people of color being denied a voice in our courtrooms. However, it’s clear from today’s ruling that North Carolina’s highest court has gone backward once again.
“Even in cases where a defendant faces execution, the court appears determined to blind itself to glaring evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection. Russell Tucker, a Black man, was sentenced to death by an all-white jury because prosecutors methodically and intentionally removed every potential Black juror. I am deeply disappointed that our supreme court has chosen to ignore the evidence and allow a racist death sentence to stand.”