This story is a few weeks old and not from a state in our region, but seemed compelling enough to pass along. North Carolina's House has already approved the "North Carolina Racial Justice Act," and it is now before their state Senate. Racial Justice advocates occassionally struggle with the belief that Civil Rights Era lawsuits and legislation attended to our nation's anti-racism policy needs and that now we simply have to deal with individual attitudes and occassional enforcement issues. When race-based disparities are as egregious as they are on death row-- where approximately 41% of inmates are African American (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006)-- it is apparent that policy changes are needed. Here is one state's attempt to remedy an aspect of structural racism.
By WHITNEY WOODWARD Associated Press Writer
Posted: May. 27, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. — Spurred by the recent release of three black men from death row, judicial reform advocates called on lawmakers Tuesday to give defendants in capital murder cases the right to challenge their prosecution on racial bias grounds.
The North Carolina Racial Justice Act has sat dormant in a Senate committee since the House voted 68-51 to approve the measure last year. The proposal would allow death penalty defendants to use statistics to claim their conviction or sentence was driven by race.
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