NC Senate Votes To Repeal Death Row Law

The North Carolina Senate has voted to repeal a landmark state law allowing death row inmates to appeal their sentences by using statistical evidence to show the influence of racial bias.

The Monday night vote means the repeal measure now heads to the desk of Gov. Beverly Perdue, who signed the 2009 Racial Justice Act into law.

A Perdue spokesman said the governor will review the bill before making a decision.

The largely Republican supporters of the measure said the Racial Justice Act, in its current form, will clog up the courts with appeals from scores of death row inmates. They say the law amounts to an unofficial death penalty moratorium.

But supporters say the law helps ensure fairness in how capital punishment is administered.

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A Senate panel has voted to essentially repeal a landmark state law allowing death row inmates to appeal their sentences based on statistical evidence showing racial bias.

The judiciary committee's move Monday evening sent the bill to the full Senate chamber, which was scheduled to take it up later in the night.

House Majority Leader Paul Stam argued that the bill approved by the committee fixes flaws in the 2009 Racial Justice Act that threatened to clog up the courts. Supporters of the repeal also say the act is virtually a moratorium on the death penalty in North Carolina.

Opponents who spoke at a public hearing said the law has withstood court challenges and is necessary to ensure fairness in how the death penalty is administered.


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