"She seemed to listen to everything I had to say and take it into account," Shelton said afterward, adding that Perdue "seemed a little surprised that (the law) has been delaying trials."
Shelton said she left with the impression that Perdue, a Democrat, wants to take a look at how the law is working.
Shelton spoke at a news conference last week organized by Republican lawmakers pushing for changes in the new law. They complained that the law, passed last year, is being used by accused killers, including white defendants, to delay their trials.
The event included Shelton's first public comments about the prosecution of the man accused of fatally shooting her husband, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Jeff Shelton, and his partner, Sean Clark, in 2007. That trial was delayed from July to October after the defendant, Demeatrius Montgomery, filed a motion under the Racial Justice Act.
"The governor clearly admired Jennifer’s strength, and expressed sincere sorrow at what she’s going through," said Chrissy Pearson, Perdue's communications director and the wife of a Cary police officer, who attended the meeting. Perdue "goes straight to the source about issues that are important to her, or concern her. In this case, Ms. Shelton wanted to share her personal story and the governor was more than happy to welcome her to the capitol."
The law, when it passed last year, was portrayed as a safeguard against the death penalty being disproportionately imposed against African-American defendants. Under the law, murder suspects may present evidence of racial bias, either at trial or after being sentenced to death.
Judges can consider statistical evidence that suggests race played a key factor in prosecutors' decision to seek, or a court's decision to impose, the death penalty on a disproportionate number of people from a racial group. A judge could prohibit prosecutors from seeking a death sentence or overturn a death sentence on appeal and impose life without parole.
Last week Shelton criticized the law as a tool to help criminals get away with their crimes.