NC judge to rule on racial bias from old trials

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge is expected to rule on petitions from three death-row inmates who allege racial bias played a role in their sentences.

Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks is scheduled to announce Thursday whether he will commute the sentences of the three convicted murderers under the state’s Racial Justice Act from death to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lawyers for Christina “Queen” Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine argued at a hearing in October that statistics and handwritten notes from prosecutors show racial bias in jury selection.

Earlier this year, an inmate became the first to have his sentence commuted to life without parole under the provisions of the 2009 law, which Republicans in the state legislature have sought to repeal since its approval.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)