HNC Racial Justice Act In Danger Under Prosecutors’ Attack


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.

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