Nationally Renowned African-American Leaders from NC Call on Gov. Easley and Speakers Black and Morgan to Push for Moratorium Vote

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
July 13, 2004
David Neal, NCCM, 919.824.1814


Nationally Renowned African-American Leaders from NC Call on Gov. Easley and Speakers Black and Morgan to Push for Moratorium Vote


RALEIGH – Nine prominent African-American leaders in North Carolina, led by internationally acclaimed historian John Hope Franklin, today called on Governor Mike Easley and House Speakers Jim Black and Richard Morgan to do all in their power to ensure that the State House of Representatives debate and vote on legislation to suspend executions for two years.

"The recent highly-publicized exonerations demonstrate North Carolina’s system of capital punishment is flawed and in need of careful study and reform," Franklin said in a letter to Easley, Black, and Morgan.

The State Senate passed a moratorium bill last year and it has been in the House Rules Committee since then, despite having the support of a majority of members of the House and widespread public support across the state.

The letter does not ask Easley, Black, and Morgan to personally support the moratorium. It urges them to make sure that the democratic process is allowed to work and that the issue receives the fair hearing it deserves.

"These extraordinary people have spent their entire lives fighting for civil rights, justice and fairness for all of North Carolina’s citizens," said David Neal, spokesperson for the NC Coalition for a Moratorium.  "Our elected officials need to listen to these powerful voices and allow the people’s representatives to vote on a moratorium this session."

The letter comes on the heels of pleas from eight former North Carolina Supreme Court Justices; The NC Black Leadership Caucus, The Legislative Black Caucus, the NAACP of NC, and the Triangle Urban League; 34 state religious leaders; and 21 murder victims’ family members for the House leadership to allow the moratorium bill to come to a vote this session.


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July 13, 2004

The Hon. Mike Easley
Governor, State of North Carolina

The Hon. James B. Black
Co-Speaker, House of Representatives

The Hon. Richard Morgan
Co-Speaker, House of Representatives

By Hand Delivery
In Re:  Senate Bill 972


Dear Governor Easley, Speaker Black and Speaker Morgan,

Strongly and respectfully, we are writing to urge you to use your influence and positions of leadership to bring SB 972 up for a vote this session before the full House of Representatives.

The highly-publicized exonerations of death row inmates demonstrate that North Carolina's system of capital punishment is flawed and in need of careful study and reform.  These cases do not reflect a system that is working properly.  Quite the contrary, they show the urgent need for a suspension of executions while we examine ways to prevent more miscarriages of justice that could result in the execution of an innocent person.

All we are asking in this letter is that you support the two-year suspension of executions. We are simply pleading with you to make sure this vitally important legislation is thoroughly debated and considered by the full House before this session adjourns.

We share with you pride in this state.  We also share a deep appreciation for its rich history, and an abiding desire to provide a legacy of justice and fairness for all of our citizens.  Allowing SB 972 to come for a vote this session will illustrate that desire.

Respectfully yours,

John Hope Franklin
Maya Angelou
Daniel T. Blue Jr.
Julius Chambers
Eva Clayton
Henry E. Frye Sr.
Harvey Gantt
Maceo K. Sloan
Richard “Stick” Williams