The death-penalty trial of a Charlotte man accused of killing two police officers has been delayed so his lawyers can gather information on what role race may play in North Carolina’s use of capital punishment, the Charlotte Observer reports. Judge Don Bridges postponed Demeatrius Montgomery’s trial until October. The state’s Racial Justice Act, signed last August, allows murder suspects and death-row inmates to try to prove that racial bias was behind prosecutors’ decisions to seek the death penalty or jurors’ decisions to impose it.
Prosecutor Marsha Goodenow told Bridges that the state “adamantly objects” to postponing Montgomery’s trial. She said race is not a factor in Mecklenburg prosecutors’ decisions to seek death. “The numbers do not show any racism in Mecklenburg County or the state of North Carolina,” she said. Bridges said: “We are plowing new ground.  This is a recently enacted law. We don’t have very much guidance.