McCrory signs repeal of Racial Justice Act

Here’s an excerpt from the Associated Press article via the Raleigh News & Observer:

Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature Wednesday repealed a landmark law that had allowed convicted murderers to have their sentences reduced to life in prison if they could prove racial bias influenced the outcome of their cases.

McCrory signed a repeal of the 2009 Racial Justice Act, which both proponents and critics say will restart the death penalty in a state that hasn’t executed an inmate since 2006.

McCrory’s final signature followed months of debate between Democrats and Republicans on the law’s intent and the way it has played out. Republicans say it was so poorly crafted that it has allowed nearly all of the state’s 156 death-row inmates to launch appeals under the law regardless of their race. They say the law impedes the will of unanimous jury decisions. …

Reacting to the signing, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina accused McCrory and the state of ignoring reality.

“The Racial Justice Act brought to light undeniable proof that North Carolina’s death penalty system is plagued by racial bias,” Policy Director Sarah Preston said. “By repealing this law barely four years into its existence, North Carolina’s leadership has willfully turned its back on widespread evidence of systemic racial bias that needs to be addressed – not ignored. Even those who support the death penalty should agree that capital sentences must be handed down impartially and without bias. Sadly, North Carolina’s lawmakers have just undone the best tool our state had to achieve that goal.”


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