"Support Grows as Racial Justice Act Goes to Supreme Court," is by Stephanie Carroll Carson for North Carolina Public News Service.
Although the State Assembly overturned the Racial Justice Act last year, efforts to protect inmates from racial bias in jury selection continue. In coming months the North Carolina Supreme Court will decide whether it will uphold the finding that race was a factor in the jury selection for the trials of three death-row inmates who have since had their convictions converted to life in prison without possibility of parole.
According to law professor Irving Joyner at N.C. Central University School of Law, who signed one of the briefs submitted Monday to the State Supreme Court, if the juries were tainted the problem continues.
"If the selection of those jurors is unfair, then it means that whatever decision that panel makes is also unfair," he stated.
In 2012 the state appealed the rulings that race was a factor in the jury selection of four state death-row inmates. Six retired judges - including two retired Chief Justices of the State Supreme Court - filed a brief Monday urging the Supreme Court to confirm the initial rulings. The N.C. NAACP also filed a brief in support. They join other briefs of support already on file.
WRAL-TV posts, "Retired judges say race-bias rulings should be upheld."
Six retired judges, including three who served on the North Carolina Supreme Court, filed briefs Monday urging the state high court uphold rulings that commuted the death sentences of three inmates because of racial bias in the selection of their juries.
Tilmon Golphin, Quintel Augustine and Christina Walters were re-sentenced in December 2012 to life in prison without parole under the Racial Justice Act. The state has appealed the move.
The Racial Justice Act, which a Democratic-controlled legislature passed in 2009, allowed death row inmates to use statistical evidence of bias to challenge their sentences. The General Assembly, now controlled by Republicans, repealed the law last year.
Retired Supreme Court chief justices Jim Exum and Henry Frye, retired associate justice Willis Whichard and retired Superior Court judges Melzer Morgan, Wade Barber and Russell Walker argued in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court that the Racial Justice Act provides key protections against racial discrimination, which are not provided by any other state or federal law currently on the books.
Related posts are in the race category index.