States passing "Racial Justice Act" for the death penalty: Keeping race out of the decision or putting it in the decision?

I have no doubt that one can find places in the country where minorities are sentenced to the death penalty at relatively high rates, but overall whites quite disproportionately face the death penalty compared to the number of murders that they commit. What this means is a high black rate in some areas must be offset by an even much higher than average rate for whites in other areas. Does that mean that whites are being really discriminated against?

A new law in North Carolina could help murderers get off death row and stymie prosecutors who seek capital punishment in future cases, according to legal experts.

Last month, North Carolina became the second state after Kentucky to enact the Racial Justice Act, which seeks to ensure that race plays no role in who gets sentenced to death. . . .

Among the 163 people on North Carolina's death row, more than half - 88 inmates - are black. Sixty-two are white. . . .

North Carolina's law applies to two groups:

Those already on death row, who may seek to prove that race played a role in their sentences. They have until Aug. 11, 2010, to ask a judge to overturn their death sentences. Those who prove their cases would see their sentences converted to life in prison without parole.

Those accused of capital murder, who would have to raise the race issue before trial. If they can show that efforts to sentence them to death were racially motivated, death would no longer be an option. The maximum potential punishment would be life in prison without parole. . . .

Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt expects to be on the receiving end of Racial Justice Act claims. The county has four people on death row - three Indians, one white. Britt regularly seeks the death penalty in murder cases. . . .

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home