Saturday, April 21, 2012

Racial Justice Act Used to Set Aside North Carolina Death Sentence, Says NYT

The US Supreme Court doesn't care that death penalty sentences are often color-aroused, but state laws and state courts in North Carolina and elsewhere are recognizing this fundamental miscarriage of color-aroused injustice, reports the NYT.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Concluding that racial bias played a significant factor in a death sentence here 18 years ago, a judge on Friday ordered that it be changed to life in prison without parole, the first such decision under North Carolina’s controversial Racial Justice Act.
Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer, via Associated Press
Mr. Robinson’s mother, Shirley Burns, at left, hugged a family friend after the ruling, the first under North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act. 

The landmark ruling could be the first of many under the law, which allows future defendants and current death row inmates to present evidence, including statistical patterns, suggesting that race played a major role in their being sentenced to death.

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