North Carolina governor signs repeal of Racial Justice Act

June 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM
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RALEIGH, N.C., June 21 (UPI) -- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the repeal of a landmark law that allowed convicted murderers to appeal their death sentences on racial bias grounds.

McCrory said he agreed with lawmakers who passed the repeal, saying the law had effectively banned capital punishment.

"Nearly every person on death row, regardless of race, has appealed their death sentence under the Racial Justice Act," McCrory said in a statement following passage of the repeal by the Legislature Wednesday. "The state's district attorneys are nearly unanimous in their bipartisan conclusion that the Racial Justice Act created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice."

The legislation, the Racial Justice Act, allowed convicts to use statistical analysis to argue that race played a role in their sentencing.

The law was passed in 2009 when Democrats held both houses of the Legislature. Republicans weakened the measure in 2012.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina told repeal of the act was tragic, since the capital punishment process is plagued by racial bias, leading to the execution of the innocent.

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