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Charlotte Coalition for a Moratorium Now
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Sammy Crystal Perkins - postponed due to stays (see below)

Kenneth Bernard Rouse - postponed due to stays (see below)

George Franklin Page - postponed due to stays (see below)

At 6:14am on Sunday, July 18th, the NC General Assembly declared its 2004 session over.  During the session, they were able to pass the $15.9 billion budget, a contentious school calendar bill, corporate campaign finance restrictions and monitoring of nonprofit groups that receive public money.  Additionally, they were able to establish a recreational saltwater fishing license. 
The House failed to even debate the Moratorium Bill, despite wide-spread public support for the measure.  Responsibilty for this failure can be found with the co-speakers, who began the session with an agreement that neither of them would allow legislation to reach the floor unless they both agreed to do so.  This policy also meant that conservatives were unable to have legislation debated which was important to them, such as a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

On Thursday, July 15th, the NC House overwhelmingly approved a bill which would expand the breadth of information that state district attorneys and defense attorneys would be required to share with each other prior to trial.  The bill (HB1800) passed with a margin of 110-2.    It would require that prosecutors provide access to all law-enforcement and prosecutorial files (a process known as "open discovery") before felony trials.  The defense, in exchange, must tell prosecutors if they plan to use defenses such as insanity or self-defense or to provide details of an alibi they plan to present.  The Senate has already unanimously approved its version of the bill, but will still be required to approve the House's version. 
The change in policy has emerged due to high-profile cases in which prosecutors illegally failed to provide defendants with information that would be favorable for their cases.  The most notable case is that of Alan Gell, who spent six years on death row for the murder of a Bertie County man before being released after he found not guilty at a retrial.  In that case, the prosecutor in his first trial did not share witness statements that cast doubt upon his guilt and which may have led to his acquittal. 

Prominent black leaders in North Carolina spoke out in favor of the moratorium bill in a letter written to House Co-Speakers Jim Black and Richard Morgan and to Gov. Mike Easley.  Numbered among them were
poet Maya Angelou, Duke University historian John Hope Franklin, civil rights activist Julius Chambers, former House Speaker Dan Blue, ex-U.S. Rep. Eva Clayton and former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.
Within the text of the letter, the leaders pointed out that "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."  (The letter and the press release can be found on our literature page.)
The letter helped to counter the claim by the NC Conference of District Attorneys that a moratorium is not necessary.  Frank Parrish, the DA for seven northeastern counties and conference president, spoke a press conference given on July 13th to urge the House to reject the bill.  At the conference, he said "With the historical record in this state, it flies in the face of reason, it flies in the face of common sense ... to suggest that a moratorium is either wise or warranted."

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to halt the execution of a Greenville man on May 11th.  Gov. Easley also held a clemency hearing for Perkins on the same day.  Sammy Perkins, 50, was one of four death-row inmates who filed federal petitions trying to prevent the state from carrying out their executions, under the claim that lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.  Judge Terrance Boyle granted the injunction while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case that challenges the constitutionality of lethal injection for some inmates.   
Sammy Perkins was scheduled to be executed May 21st.  He was sentenced to death in 1992 after he was found guilty of the rape and slaying of his girlfriend's seven-year-old granddaughter.

On Thursday, April 15, 2004, Governor Easley formally pardoned Darryl Hunt.  Easley granted him a "pardon of innocence, thus finishing a process begun with DNA evidence and a confession by another man in which he acted alone.  Hunt was tried and convicted of first-degree murder twice for the 1984 murder and rape of Deborah Sykes.  The charges against Hunt were vacated by a judge on February 6, 2004.  This is only the second pardon Easley has granted in his three years as governor. 
Hunt is now eligible for $20,000 per year he spent in jail--at 18 years, it is possible he could receive $360,000.  The state settlement money will go into a trust to be used by him for his education and to buy a house for his family.
To learn more about Darryl Hunt's case, go to this site:  It chronicles every step of the case, from the 911 phone call to the governor's pardon.  Additionally, go to the Literature page to download and read a summary of Hunt's case.

On April 1st, a Randolph County Superior Court judge allowed a stay of execution for George Bernard Rouse, based upon the claims of his attorneys that he is mentally retarded and shouldn't be executed under North Carolina law.  He has tested as low as a 60 and as high as a 70 on IQ tests--and therefore, he qualifies as mentally retarded under North Carolina law.  The state will not be appealing the decision, and a hearing will be held at an unspecified point in the future in order to make the determination of whether Rouse is truly mentally retarded.
Rouse, 41, was sentenced to death in Randolph County Superior Court for the March 16, 1991 murder of Hazel Broadway.  Rouse was convicted of robbing, attempting to rape and killing Broadway, who was a Pantry convenience store clerk.  He was arrested in the store minutes after Broadway was stabbed in the neck, and was found covered in blood. 

By February 25, 2004, two stays were issued in the case of George Franklin Page.  Two judges--one from federal court, one from the state court--have all issued stays delaying Page's execution. 
Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Catherine Eagles issued the first stay on Wednesday.  This occurred after a hearing in which defense lawyers argued that a psychiatrist may have changed her diagnosis of Page, if she had been given Page's brain scans which pointed to mental problems.  Prosecutors admitted on March 2, 2004 that the psychiatrist did not receive the brain scans; as a result, they will not contest the stay.  However, a hearing on this issue will be held on April 19, 2004.
Additionally, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Terrence Boyle granted a stay based upon the argument that the state's form of lethal injection is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.  North Carolina prosecutors have decided not to challenge Boyle's stay.  Instead, they will wait to hear the results of a similar Alabama case currently before the Supreme Court.  The NC Attorney General Roy Cooper did say that he expected Page to be executed eventually.  
Given the fact that Page's death sentence has not been overturned but simply delayed, it is still imperative to contact Governor Easley's office in support of clemency for George Page.  

Contact the Governor's office to let him know where you stand on this issue.
Toll Free: (800) 662-7952
Phone: (919) 733-5811
Fax: (919) 733-2120
Mail: Governor Easley   20303 Mail Service Center   Raleigh, NC  27699-0301
See the Press Release for more information. 

Information on George Page's Case

Charlotte Coalition for a Moratorium Now