NC death penalty foes push five Dems on bias law veto

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Advocates of a North Carolina law aimed at driving racial prejudice from death penalty cases are pressuring five Statehouse Democrats to stop supporting a bid to dilute it.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported a Durham-based civil rights advocacy group said it’s delivered lawmakers a petition with 5,000 signatures urging the five Democrats to uphold Gov. Beverly Perdue’s rejection of changes to the state’s Racial Justice Act.

The 2009 law allows judges to consider statistical analysis of death row cases showing race must have been a factor in prosecution decisions, even if no one testifies bias played a role in a specific case.

If a judge finds racial bias played a role in their case, a killer’s death sentence can be converted to life in prison without parole.

Credit: The Associated Press.