All but three of North Carolina’s 157 death row inmates are waiting for their day in court to argue that racial bias played a role in their case, but the Raleigh News & Observer says the law that gives them hope is on shaky ground. State lawmakers are beginning a three-day session that could result in the gutting of the historic Racial Justice Act. Prosecutors made a push several weeks ago for a major tweaking of the 2-year-old law before any inmate awaiting execution has an opportunity to be heard in court.
Public defenders responded with pleas of their own: Give the law a chance, they said. Let one case go all the way through the court system before giving up on a process being watched by legal scholars across the nation. The back-and-forth between prosecutors and defenders has produced a flurry of letters to influential legislators and accusations that some district attorneys are using misleading fear-mongering to make their case.