Death-Penalty News and Developments for the Week of July 29 – August 4: Federal Appeals Court Greenlights North Carolina Exonerees Lawsuit Against Police

NEWS: July 30The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has upheld a federal district court ruling permitting a civil lawsuit by North Carolina death-row exonerees Henry McCollum and Leon Brown to proceed to trial. McCollum and Brown, two intellectually disabled brothers who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a young girl, allege that police coerced false confessions from them and then failed to investigate alternative suspects, and that they were prosecuted even though their coerced statements were inconsistent with how the murder was actually committed. The appeals court rejected the officers’ claim that they were legally immune from being sued for their actions.