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Updated: Jul 11, 2021

The OPINION piece "As death sentences decline, NC should end them" published by the News & Observer editorial board on 12/27/18 has prompted one of my own, one from death row. The last line of the piece reads: "It's time for North Carolina to ban the death penalty and convert the sentence of all on death row", yet at the top of this same OPINION page there is a quite from a former publisher thats says, in part " If the paper should at any time be the voice of self-interest, it would be untrue to its history". If the N & O should always "be tocsin and devote itself to the policies of equality and justice", then why doesn't it investigate and expose, in depth an consistently, the reasons behind why the death penalty "has become unevenly imposed on the guilty and sometimes the innocent"?

Just calling for a ban fixes nothing. Citing the costs of appeals and trials, the problems with existing methods of execution, and intimating racism over the reality of classism ignores the truth.

The truths are that the costs incurred are results of defense attorneys and judges refusing to process cases in a timely manner. That there are many ways in which the State can murder that are both painless and simple. That too often focusing on race neglects the very real struggles of others.

If the death penalty were to be abolished, and so the moral arguments behind it, then it would open the door even wider to prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel already left unchecked. As long as the only voice heard on behalf of death penalty litigation in this state (Gretchen Engel) is one who actively opposes and suppresses the legitimate and lawful interests of those condemned, then where is the equality and justice in OPINION?

If you want to know an OPINION of what the death penalty is then you should also talk to people actually sentenced to it.


Scott David Allen, NC Death Row.

Moderator's note: This is a reaction to an article posted by the N&O editorial board a month ago. It took some while to post it, both due to the long way it takes for snail mail to reach me, and because I fell woefully behind my schedule when it comes to Scott's blog posts. Expect more updates soon.

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