Reaction To Governor's Veto Of Bill To Repeal Racial Justice Act

By: Dave Jordan/Carly Swain
By: Dave Jordan/Carly Swain

District Attorney's across the state were seeking the repeal of the Racial Justice Act and are now speaking out after Governor Perdue vetoed a bill to do that.

The governor says she vetoed the bill for the same reason she signed the Racial Justice Act two years ago. Perdue says the bill makes certain racial prejudice plays no part in imposing the death penalty in capital cases.

This veto means defendants can pull in statistics from anywhere in the state of North Carolina to try and prove racial discrimination in their own case.

District Attorney Ernie Lee from Onslow County says in his eyes- the decision by the governor was a bad choice. Lee says, "My position is- I mean, I'm very dissappointed with the governor's veto on this. Because I think every capital case, every death penalty case, ought to be individually considered based on the merits the facts, the circumstances of that individual case. It should not be based upon some overgeneralized possibly unrelaiable statistics from somewhere in the state of North Carolina."

Lee says of six defendants currently on death row right now in his four county district- all six of them have filed claims based on the Racial Justice Act.

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