State v. Duke

Justice System Reform

Case Summary: SCSJ represents Jeffrey Duke, who was sentenced to death in 2003 in Gaston County. Mr. Duke is challenging his conviction and death sentence.

Status: In 2023, Gaston County Superior Court Judge Jesse B. Caldwell III ordered an evidentiary hearing on three of Mr. Duke’s legal claims: ineffective assistance of his trial counsel during the guilt phase of his trial; a Batson violation (i.e., that the prosecution removed an eligible juror due to their race); and misconduct on the jury. The hearing was previously scheduled for September 2023 but was continued until some point in 2024.

Why it’s important: North Carolina has the fifth largest death row in the United States. SCSJ believes Mr. Duke’s case is a clear example of how flawed the death penalty is and hopes to secure Mr. Duke a new trial through this litigation.