The 2009 Racial Justice Act


The North Carolina Racial Justice Act of 2009

…     prohibited seeking or imposing the death penalty on the basis of race. The act identified types of evidence that might be considered by the court when considering whether race was a basis for seeking or imposing the death penalty, and established a process by which relevant evidence might be used to establish that race was a significant factor in seeking or imposing the death penalty. The defendant had the burden of proving that race was a significant factor in seeking or imposing the death penalty, and the state was allowed to offer evidence to rebut the claims or evidence of the defendant. If race was found to be a significant factor in the imposition of the death penalty, the death sentence would automatically be commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.[1]

North Carolina General Assembly Repeal attempts[edit]

Under pressure from a group of 43 district attorneys, who expressed opposition to the act citing the clog of the court system in the state, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill by a 27-14 vote on November 28, 2011, that would have effectively repealed the Racial Justice Act.[2] However, on December 14, Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed the bill, saying that while she supports the death penalty, she felt it was “simply unacceptable for racial prejudice to play a role in the imposition of the death penalty in North Carolina.”[3] The state legislature did not have enough votes to override Perdue’s veto.

Major revision (2012)[edit]

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a major revision of the law in 2012 authored by Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake). The rewrite “severely restricts the use of statistics to only the county or judicial district where the crime occurred, instead of the entire state or region. It also says statistics alone are insufficient to prove bias, and that the race of the victim cannot be taken into account.” The bill was vetoed by Gov. Perdue, but this time, the legislature overrode the governor’s veto.[4]

Repeal[edit]

The North Carolina General Assembly voted to effectively repeal the entire law in 2013 and Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, signed the repeal into law.[5]

Appeals under act[edit]

On April 20, 2012, in the first case appealed under the Racial Justice Act, the then-Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in Cumberland County (Fayetteville), Judge Greg Weeks, threw out the death sentence of Marcus Raymond Robinson, automatically commuting his sentence to life without parole. Robinson contended that when he was sentenced to death in 1994, prosecutors deliberately kept blacks off the jury. Robinson’s lawyers cited a study from Michigan State University College of Law indicating that prosecutors across North Carolina improperly used their peremptory challenges to systemically exclude qualified black jurors from jury service.[6][7][8]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up ^ Senate Bill 461, General Assembly of North Carolina, Session 2009
  2. Jump up ^ Bufkin, Sarah. “North Carolina General Assembly Votes To Repeal Landmark Racial Justice Law”. Think Progress: Justice. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  3. Jump up ^ Jarvis, Greg (2012-12-15). “Perdue veto saves death-row appeal law”. The News & Observer. 
  4. Jump up ^ News & Observer
  5. Jump up ^ Charlotte Observer
  6. Jump up ^ “Judge: Racism played role in Cumberland County trial, death sentence converted in N.C.’s first Racial Justice Act case”. The Fayetteville Observer. April 20, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  7. Jump up ^ “Racial bias saves death row man”. BBC News (BBC). April 20, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  8. Jump up ^ Zucchino, David (April 20, 2012). “Death penalty vacated under North Carolina’s racial justice law”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2012.

Resource …wiki

a message from Rep. John Lewis


I’m deeply saddened.

If Congress doesn’t act, this will be the first election in 50 years without critical protections from the Voting Rights Act.

the right to vote is precious… even sacred.

That’s why in 1963, I marched on Washington with Martin Luther King for the right to vote.

That’s why in 1965, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote.

Folks marched for this. Folks fought for this. And some even died for the right to vote.

But today, the vital protections in the Voting Rights Act have been gutted by the conservative Justices on the Supreme Court.

Will you stand with me to demand basic voter protections be reinstated?

Voting is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society. And we’ve got to use it!

Election Day is in 41 days. Will you demand that Republicans fix the Voting Rights Act?

Thanks,

Congressman John Lewis

Save endangered whales from reckless Navy warfare training


endangeredWhalesDeadly and reckless Navy training exercises—including surface-to-air gunnery, missiles, underwater explosions, and mid-frequency sonar—will needlessly kill and injure marine life from Hawai’i to California over the next four years.

Tell President Obama to force the Navy to protect marine animals now, before it’s too late.

Earthjustice is waging an emergency battle in court to force the Navy to avoid needless harm to endangered whales and other species. But we need your help to put additional pressure on President Obama.

Mid-frequency sonar can be deadly, disrupting whale migration, breeding, nursing, breathing, and feeding—and in some cases causing internal hemorrhaging and ruptured eardrums.whalevictory

Imagine someone taking an air horn and blasting it directly into your ear. Now turn the volume up twice as high. That’s the sound level that endangered whales and other marine mammals could experience during this training.

Military training is important to our national security—but it can and should be conducted in a manner that prevents harm to endangered wildlife.

The Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service estimate that training and testing activities that are occurring right now  in waters from Southern California to Hawai’i will result in more than 9.6 million instances of harm to whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals, and cause thousands of animals to suffer permanent hearing loss, lung injuries, or death.

We can’t let this continue for four more years.

Tell President Obama to conduct training in a responsible manner and restrict dangerous activities in areas that are critical to marine mammals at the greatest risk of permanent injury and death.

These exercises threaten endangered species already struggling to survive, including humpback whales, sperm whales, blue whales, fin whales, sei whales, insular false killer whales, Hawaiian monk seals, and five species of threatened and endangered sea turtles.

The deaths of even a few of these marine animals would be disastrous.

Thank you for speaking up,


David Henkin
Staff Attorney
P.S. Reckless training activities will cause thousands of endangered whales and other animals to suffer hearing loss, injuries, or death. Speak up now before it’s too late!

Former NFL players: League concealed concussion risks (via Anderson Cooper 360) a repost


a repost from 7/2011

Los Angeles (CNN) — Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the National Football League, saying the league knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions on players’ brains but concealed the information from players, coaches, trainers and others until June 2010. The players “did not know the long-term effects of concussions” and relied on the NFL to protect them, the suit says. The lawsuit also names as a d … Read More

via Anderson Cooper 360

‘Racial Justice Act’ repealed in North Carolina’ ~~ Information we must ALL read& know


By Matt Smith, CNN
updated 3:48 AM EDT, Fri June 21, 2013
 http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2013/06/21/ac-lavandera-pkg-death-due-to-race.cnn.html
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The 2009 law allowed inmates to argue that race played a role in sentences
  • Gov. Pat McCrory said it effectively halted capital punishment in the state
  • Democrats say four condemned convicts had their sentences reduced to life under the law

(CNN) — North Carolina’s governor says he agreed to repeal a law that allowed inmates to challenge their death sentences on racial grounds because it effectively banned capital punishment in the state.

North Carolina legislators barred death sentences “sought or obtained on the basis of race” in 2009, when both houses of the state General Assembly were under Democratic control.

The, legislation, known as the Racial Justice Act, allowed condemned convicts to use statistical analysis to argue that race played a role in their sentencing.

Was race a factor in death sentence?

Republicans who took control of the Legislature in 2010 weakened the law last year, overriding a veto by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.

Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican elected in 2012, followed legislative action and signed its complete repeal Wednesday.

“Nearly every person on death row, regardless of race, has appealed their death sentence under the Racial Justice Act,” McCrory said in a statement Wednesday. “The state’s district attorneys are nearly unanimous in their bipartisan conclusion that the Racial Justice Act created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice.”

The state still allowed capital punishment even while the Racial Justice Act was on the books. But state Democrats said the law resulted in at least four convicts being taken off death row after judges ruled that their sentences resulted from racial bias, with their sentences commuted to life in prison instead.

About 53% of the 153 convicts awaiting execution in North Carolina are black, according to the state Department of Public Safety, while about 40% are white. African-Americans make up about 22% of the state’s population, according to Census figures.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.