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December 13, 2012

New ruling under NC Racial Justice Act takes three more defendants off death row

As reported in this local article, which is headlined "N.C. judge finds racial bias in 3 death penalty cases," there has been another notable development in the saga of North Carolina's Racial Justice Act. Here are the details:

A Cumberland County judge has sentenced three death row inmates to life in prison without possibility for parole after finding that racial discrimination in jury selection played a key role in securing their death sentences.

Judge Gregory Weeks issued the ruling on Thursday for Tilmon Golphin, Christina Walters and Quintel Augustine after the three challenged their sentences under the 2009 Racial Justice Act.

Walters was convicted of killing two women in a gang initiation ritual. Golphin was convicted of murdering two law enforcement officers at a traffic stop. Augustine was convicted of killing a Fayetteville police officer.

The judge's ruling means that sentences for four death row inmates now have been changed to lifetime prison sentences with no possibility for parole. In April, Weeks converted the death sentence for Marcus Reymond Robinson, the first of more than 150 death row inmates seeking relief under the law.

In Robinson's case, Weeks issued a strongly worded order, saying hearings had shown evidence that the jury selection process in capital cases, both statewide and locally, had systematically excluded blacks.

Then this summer, the legislature made sweeping changes to the Racial Justice Act, hoping to limit the use of statistics to the judicial district in which the inmate's case was tried. The governor vetoed the overhauled act, but the legislature overrode her veto.

The legislature, in its overhaul of the Racial Justice Act, said the changes to the law did not apply to Robinson's case since it was ruled on before the changes. But death penalty critics and advocates of using statistics in bias claims have argued that it would be unfair for all the death row inmates who filed bias claims under the 2009 law to not have a chance to argue their cases under that law....

Ken Rose, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, said Thursday that he expected challenges of Weeks' decisions.... The three inmates whose death sentences were abandoned filed their challenges in 2010 before the legislative overhaul of the Racial Justice Act. Critics of the changes and advocates for them agree that Weeks' ruling could lead to lawsuits that take years to settle.

December 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM | Permalink


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| | Walters was convicted of killing two women in a gang initiation ritual. | |
// Cheeseborough, a manager…was also found Monday after being carjacked, shot seven times and left for dead.//
// Christina Walters and a juvenile have confessed…//
// Tracy Rose Lambert and Susan Raye Moore [were] killed as they begged for their life.//

Reminds one of the Japanese Ambassador to the League of Nations decrying 'cultural
Insensitivity' to evade responsibility for the "Rape(s) of Nanking," with its live burials,
disfigurements, genocide, and of course, the rapes of thousands, all screaming for justice, as it were.

Guiltworthiness does not matter.
Crime severity does not matter.
Tortures and suffering of victim does not matter.

If procedure trumps all, why no resentencing, just autocratic reprieve from the jury's verdict?


Posted by: Adamakis | Dec 14, 2012 9:20:04 AM

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