Group takes on death penalty in N Carolina court brief

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former Superior Court judge is among those asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to find the death penalty unconstitutional because its rare use means it serves no purpose.

In a friend-of-the-court brief , the group also argues that the death penalty is “cruel or unusual” under the state constitution. The Promise of Justice Initiative filed the brief Friday.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a news release that former Superior Court Judge Leon Stanback signed the brief, as did former District Attorney Rob Corbett and former Wake County Chief Homicide Detective Steve Hale.

The group filed its brief in the case of Rayford Burke, a North Carolina death row prisoner who’s challenging his sentence under the state’s Racial Justice Act. Legislators repealed the act in 2013.