D.A.'s, Victims Family Members: Change Racial Justice Act

Family members of murder victims took a stand alongside district attorney's from throughout our state Monday afternoon calling for the repeal of the Racial Justice Act..

District attorney's --including Eastern Carolina D.A.'s Seth Edwards and Scott Thomas -- and victim family members, made their thoughts known about the controversial Racial Justice Act that allows death row inmates to use statistics to argue racial bias played a role in their conviction.

Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle says, "Opponents say that we are fearful and we are concerned about the results of the Racial Justice Act filings. They are correct. We are very fearful. We are fearful for the unintended consequences that may happen as a result of the Racial Justice Act as it is currently written."

Attorneys hope to see the law amended so that decisions about the death penalty are made based on the facts and law of a particular case, not based on some generalized statewide statistics.

Seth Edwards, D.A. in Beaufort, Martin, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties says, "If racial bias can be shown in any case then that needs to be looked at and it needs to be corrected--but the law in its current form allows for a person to file a claim based on statistics for example in the mountains of North Carolina when the case happened in the eastern part of North Carolina."

Scott Thomas, DA in Carteret, Craven, and Pamlico Counties says, "In its current form, generalized statewide statistics can be used to vacate every death sentence in North Carolina. We believe that death penalty decisions should be based upon the facts and the law of a particular case not on generalized unreliable statewide statistics."

Tye Hunter with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation said prosecutors are trying to circumvent the court system by going to the legislature to undo a law they don't like.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by speller 4 Location: williamston on Jan 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM
    They really need to look into alot of the cases that martin county have done. White people that do a crime gets less time than a black person. Our court don't work fair . Time out for this let's move ahead.
  • by rapper Location: wilson on Nov 29, 2011 at 09:09 AM
    So where were all these folks when the legislation was originally proposed and written ? The death penalty by lethal injection is becoming more difficult to implement because the drugs they use for the injections are getting more scarce as they are no longer made in the US and foreign manufacturers are refusing to sell them for executions to US customers for this purpose.
  • by 40some on Nov 28, 2011 at 08:24 PM
    Change it, we've got some death penalties to carry out.
  • by constitution.. on Nov 28, 2011 at 08:21 PM
    for the people, by the people--if the people speak, the government must listen. i absolutely disagree with racial profiling, but if the evidence supports a persons guilt beyond reasonable doubt, then race has nothing to do with it. i think its racist for white people and asians, who do not benefit from this law. the term racial refers to race, of any and all people, not just black or brown.
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