Under the Dome

Racial Justice Act supporters muster opposition to repeal

Death penalty opponents are planning a news conference to muster opposition to legislation that would repeal the Racial Justice Act and resume executions.

North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty will gather with sympathetic lawmakers and people whose relatives have been murdered. The news conference will be Wednesday in the statehouse.

Earlier this month, a repeal bill backed by the Senate leadership – SB306 – was the subject of a news conference by its primary sponsor, Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Republican from Wilmington.

The 2009 Racial Justice Act allowed convicted murderers to petition to have their sentences reduced to life in prison by using statistics to prove racial bias in their trials. Last session, the General Assembly gutted the law by severely restricting how statistics can be used.

This bill would do away with the RJA altogether. Supporters of the original law say the statistics demonstrate flaws in the state’s capital punishment system.

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