Monday, 18 June 2012 15:29
The Wilmington STAR News On-Line
House Republicans didn’t have enough votes to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s 2011 veto of the Racial Justice Act, so they did the next best thing: The decided to “amend” it to death.
The reworked bill, which passed the House and now will go back to the Senate doesn’t repeal the Racial Justice Act – it merely guts it to the point that the effect will be the same.
The groundbreaking law, much derided by prosecutors and “law-and-order” politicians, recognizes that the death penalty has not always been applied equally in North Carolina. A Michigan State University study showed a strong correlation between the race of the victim and jury composition and the likelihood that a murder defendant was sentenced to death
In 2009, North Carolina became only the second death penalty state in the nation to offer condemned murderers a chance to prove that race played a factor in their sentences. It is neither a guarantee of success nor a Get Out of Jail Free card. Success results in a commuted sentence of life without parole.
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