Thursday - July 31, 2014
McCrory Signs Bill To Repeal Racial Justice Act
Written by Stephanie Hawco   
Friday, 21 June 2013 05:35

RALEIGH - Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill that repeals what's left of the Racial Justice Act and resume executions in North Carolina. The RJA allowed death row inmates to have their sentences changed to life in prison without parole if they could show that racial bias played a part in their case.

Sarah Preston with the North Carolina ACLU says there's widespread evidence that the law was needed. “The systemic bias that was shown particularly in jury selection shows that there very well may be racial bias in a great number of these cases. And in the ones where someone is making a frivolous claim, the judge can easily dismiss it.”

Preston explains how data was used to prove bias in death penalty cases. “There’s actually a huge study that was done that shows that there was racial bias in the youth jury strength by prosecutors that were striking African-American jurors at over two times the rate of similar white jurors.”

144 of the 153 inmates on death row have filed appeals under the Racial Justice Act. Four inmates have had their death sentences changed to life in prison after winning appeals under the RJA.

Preston says the repeal isn't likely to end the court battles. “Everyone who has filed a Racial Justice Act claim now is going to have to litigate whether or not they continue to…have a right. I think that’s just going to be more litigation.”

 
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