Prosecutors in North Carolina rarely ask for the death penalty today. And when they do, juries are more likely to break with district attorneys and refuse to put the convicted murderers on death row, reports the Charlotte Observer. In 2013, despite the Republican-led General Assembly adopting laws designed to lift a de facto moratorium on executions in North Carolina, juries across the state sent only one person to die.
That follows a broad pattern of decline not only in North Carolina but across the United States. The Death Penalty Information Center said capital punishment “is becoming an increasingly irrelevant component of the U.S. justice system.” There were 80 death sentences across the nation in 2013, three more than in 2012. But that was a steep drop from the peak of 315 in 1994 and 1996. Thirty-nine executions took place across the country in 2013, compared with 98 in 1999. Nine states had executions this year, most in the South.