In reaction to Republican senators filing a bill that on Wednesday that would repeal the Racial Justice Act, 73 professors from across North Carolina have signed a statement urging legislators to leave the capital punishment law intact.
“If this bill is enacted, North Carolina would become, in the eyes of the nation, the state that was presented with clear evidence of racial bias in capital sentencing and chose to look away,” the statement reads. “Our lawmakers should work to eliminate the role of race in the death penalty, rather than repealing the law that uncovered the problem.”
The Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed the Racial Justice Act in 2009, permitting the use of statistics to challenge death sentences. A judge would have to be convinced that there was racial bias in the prosecution, jury selection or sentencing, and then could reduce the sentence to life in prison without parole.