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November 27, 2011

Will NC legislature soon repeal its groundbreaking Racial Justice Act?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this local report from North Carolina, which is headlined "Senate may void North Carolina's racial bias law."  Here is how the piece starts:

All but three of North Carolina's 157 death row inmates are waiting for their day in court to argue that racial bias played a role in their case. But the law that gives them hope is on shaky ground.

State lawmakers are scheduled to congregate in Raleigh tonight for the start of a three-day session that could result in the gutting of the historic Racial Justice Act.

Prosecutors made a push several weeks ago for a major tweaking of the 2-year-old law before any inmate awaiting execution has an opportunity to be heard in court.  Public defenders responded with pleas of their own: Give the law a chance, they said.  Let one case go all the way through the court system before giving up on a process being watched by legal scholars across the country.

The public back-and-forth between prosecutors and defense attorneys has resulted in a flurry of letters to influential legislators and accusations that some district attorneys are using misleading fear-mongering tactics to make their case.

A Senate judiciary committee is set to take up the topic in the Legislative Office Building on Monday afternoon.  That could lead to a full vote in the Senate this week.  The House has already voted to pull the teeth from the law.

Some older and newer related posts on the North Carolina Racial Justice Act: 

November 27, 2011 at 03:06 PM | Permalink

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Comments

hmm

"Prosecutors made a push several weeks ago for a major tweaking of the 2-year-old law before any inmate awaiting execution has an opportunity to be heard in court."

interesting but doubt it's even CLOSE TO LEGAL!

all that matters now is they filed under the law as written. not their fault the courts are so overwhelmed it takes forver to get to see a judge.

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 27, 2011 10:38:03 PM

No racial justice for the black murder victim. The murderer generates lawyer fees. The murder victim generates nothing, and gets no justice from the rent seeking lawyer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 28, 2011 12:05:20 AM

"Racial bias played a role in..." the Nurenberg Nazi trials, as a Chief Prosecutor was Jewish.

The English prosecutor was also angry at the bombings of his countrymen, &tc, &tc.

Dare we not focus on the merits of the cases? Content of character, objective facts? Completion of a legitimate trial by a jury of the accused's peers?

Posted by: adamakis | Nov 28, 2011 12:25:15 PM

adamakis --

Please. You should know by now that focusing on the often sick and grisly facts of individual murder cases is verbotten. To do such a thing might be taken to imply that the killer has some responsibility for his fate rather than The Big Bad System.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 28, 2011 3:45:31 PM

"accusations that some district attorneys are using misleading fear-mongering tactics to make their case"

if true, shocking.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 28, 2011 6:40:55 PM

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