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Let the Racial Justice Act stand

This petition had 14 supporters


In 2009, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Racial Justice Act, which allows death-row inmates to have their sentences commuted to life without parole if they can prove the death sentence was tainted by racial bias. Earlier this year, Marcus Raymond Robinson became the first death-row inmate to have his sentence commuted by this law when he successfully contended that prosecutors improperly kept blacks off the jury that sentenced him to death in 1994. Part of Robinson's argument was a study from the Michigan State University College of Law which showed that across North Carolina systematically excluded prospective black jurors who were otherwise qualified to serve over a 20-year period. Judge Greg Weeks, who overturned the sentence, found this study very credible and said there was overwhelming evidence of racial bias in death-penalty cases.

On June 14, 2012; the North Carolina State House passed a law that would essentially gut the Racial Justice Act. The proposed law would limit the use of statistics to 10 years before and two years after the sentence, and would require additional evidence in addition to statistics in order to prove bias.

If this bill is allowed to pass, given the nature of death penalty cases, dozens of inmates who would otherwise have gotten life in prison would face death sentences tainted by racial bias. Indeed, had this law been in place Robinson would still be on death row. For the good of the state and to serve the cause of justice, the state senate must not pass this attempt to gut the Racial Justice Act.



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