At the Charlotte Observer O-pinion site, editorial board member Fannie Flono writes, "Time to rev up N.C.'s executions? No."
It's time to juice up the needle. No more slacking off on sending the N.C. death-row inmates to the death chamber for their lethal injection.
That's the thinking behind a new bill introduced Wednesday by New Hanover Republican senator Thom Goolsby. Goolsby's Senate Bill 306 would repeal the 2009 N.C. Racial Justice Act, a law state Republicans already gutted last year. The changes drastically reduced the ability of judges to use general statistics and data to decide whether a death row inmate was given the death penalty because of his or her race. Goolsby gave his support for that revamped bill lawmakers approved, saying then that he didn't "trust statisticians or people who come in after the fact to find some way to get coldblooded killers off of death row."
But that wasn't good enough and now he's calling for the law's total revocation. His bill also calls for doctors, nurses and pharmacists to participate in executions without fear of punishment from state licensing boards, something the courts have already declared permissible. And it also requires a somewhat ghoulish death watch by lawmakers with mandated updates to the General Assembly on the status of post-conviction death penalty cases, and on the training of executioners.
Instead of trying to restart the state killing industry, North Carolina should join those states abandoning it. It's too often unfairly administered even when race is not a factor.
"Bill seeks to streamline NC execution process," is the AP report filed by Michael Biesecker. It's via the San Francisco Chronicle.
Legislation introduced Wednesday aims at streamlining the execution process in North Carolina.
The measure by Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, seeks to make several changes to laws governing the administration and appeal of capital punishment. It also includes doing away with the state's Racial Justice Act.
The 2009 law allows those sent to death row to seek having their sentences commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole if they can convince a judge racial prejudice played a role in their conviction.
Flanked by prosecutors from across the state, Goolsby decried that none of the 152 inmates on North Carolina's death row have been executed since 2006 due to various state and federal legal appeals.
WRAL-TV reports, "Bill seeks to put death penalty back on track." It's by Mark Binker.
Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, has filed a bill he said will end North Carolina's de facto moratorium on the death penalty. Among other measures, it would wipe away the last vestiges of the Racial Justice Act, a measure that allows death row inmates to challenge their sentences based on statistical evidence.
The measure also:
- Codifies court rulings that allow doctors, nurses and other health professionals to participate in executions without sanction from the North Carolina Medical Board or other licensing bodies.
- Outlines the time line the attorney general and Division of Adult Correction has to follow once an inmate has exhausted his or her appeals.
- Provides ongoing training to execution teams.
- Requires regular reports on the status of death row cases to the General Assembly.
It's unclear how much more quickly executions would happen if Goolsby's bill passes.
"Families of Fayetteville-area murder victims support bill to repeal Racial Justice Act," is the Fayetteville Observer report by Paul Woolverton.
The families of two Fayetteville-area murder victims stood in support of legislation filed Wednesday to repeal North Carolina's Racial Justice Act and end the state's unofficial moratorium on executions.
The Racial Justice Act of 2009 and 2012 provides condemned inmates an opportunity to escape death row if they have evidence that racism was a factor in their prosecutions and convictions. It was a response to concerns of institutional racism in the criminal justice system.
Independently from the Racial Justice Act, all executions in the state were halted in January 2007 by court challenges questioning the legality and constitutionality of North Carolina's execution practices.
"The beginning of the end of that moratorium starts today," said state Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Wilmington Republican and criminal defense lawyer, during a news conference to announce his legislation.
The state is still in litigation over the constitutionality of its execution procedures, whether they violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, said David Weiss, a lawyer with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. Goolsby's bill would have not have an effect on that case, Weiss said, and until it's resolved, executions will remain on hold in North Carolina.
He thinks it will take at least a year.
The matter is pending before the N.C. Court of Appeals, and from there, it's expected to be heard by the N.C. Supreme Court, Weiss said.
"GOP bill would repeal Racial Justice Act once and for all," is from Raleigh's News & Observer.
SB306, filed by Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Wilmington Republican, would repeal the RJA in its entirety. Goolsby announced the bill at a news conference attended by district attorneys from around the state, and relatives of murder victims.
The bill would apparently not bring an end to the claims that have already been filed under the Racial Justice Act, however.
Goolsby said the bill would "restart the death penalty in North Carolina to ensure justice for the more than 100 families whose loved ones were taken brutally from them."
Tye Hunter, director of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, in an interview noted that Republican legislators last session insisted they weren’t repealing the Racial Justice Act. “Now the mask is off,” Hunter said.
NC Policy Watch posts, "A return to executions?" It's by Sarah Ovaska.
North Carolina hasn’t had an execution since 2006, and state Sen. Thom Goolsby wants to change that.
Goolsby, a Wilmington Republican, filed a bill today that seeks to repeal what’s left of the Racial Justice Act and restart executions in North Carolina.
North Carolina’s death row has 152 people on it, and the numbers of people sentenced to death has lessened in recent years. No one was sentenced to death by a North Carolina jury last year, though three people were in 2011. The longest resident of death row, Wayne Laws, has been awaiting execution since 1985.
As always with news from North Carolina, thanks to Gerda Stein for distributing.