NC House Approves Scaled Back Version Of Racial Justice Act

By: April Davis
By: April Davis

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Limits on a 2009 law that allows death row prisoners to receive a life sentence if they prove racial prejudice are very close to going to Gov. Beverly Perdue's desk.

The House gave its final approval Wednesday to legislation supporters say scales back the Racial Justice Act by narrowing the use of statistics from capital cases. The chamber held two hours of robust debate after a similar discussion Tuesday before the bill received tentative approval. The bill now returns to the Senate.

Wednesday's vote margin indicates the House could override a Perdue veto. Perdue vetoed an earlier bill that essentially voided the Racial Justice Act.

The law now directs a judge to reduce a death sentence to life in prison when it's determined race was a significant factor in sentencing.

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