NORTH CAROLINA REPEALS LAW ALLOWING RACIAL BIAS CLAIM IN DEATH PENALTY CHALLENGES
June 5, 2013: A law that allowed death-row inmates to challenge their sentences based on racial bias claims was repealed by the North Carolina legislature, paving the way for executions to resume in a state that has 152 people on death row.
Representatives in the North Carolina House voted 77-39 to repeal Racial Justice Act (SB 306). Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said he will sign the repeal, despite passionate cries from justice and civil rights groups, who cited the number of innocent black men exonerated and the stateās history of racial tension between whites and blacks.
Since its adoption in 2009, the law has been used by nearly every death row inmate ā not all of them African-American ā to have their sentences reduced to life in prison. The law had been criticized in the stateās increasingly conservative legislature for being a ācarte blanche solutionā to racial bias in death penalties. āA white supremacist who murdered an African-American could argue he was a victim of racism if blacks were on the jury,ā argued Republican Rep. Tim Moore, who voted in favor of the repeal. (Sources: Associated Press, 05/06/2013)