Thank Bev Perdue and her comrades on the left in the NC General Assembly for this. They rammed The Racial Justice Act through the assembly in 2009 over GOP objections. The lawoffers inmates on death row — even white ones –a new venue to appeal and overturn death sentences.
Leftists may be achieving “racial justice” for their trial lawyer friends and their clients, but what about justice for the families of murder victims?
Read the sad, sorry details here about what is likely the tip of the iceberg with this law:
A Cumberland County judge issued a historic ruling Friday morning, finding that racial bias played a role in the trial and sentencing of death row inmate Marcus Reymond Robinson.
Judge Gregory Weeks announced his decision in the case of the first death row inmate to test the fledgling and unique Racial Justice Act.
In a lengthy ruling, Weeks said that potential black jurors had systematically been left out of the process of capital cases in North Carolina and Cumberland County at the time of Robinson’s trial. He said such decisions by prosecutors to strike African-Americans from potential jury pools undermined the courts and had a sweeping impact on the integrity and trust the community could place in the process.
The ruling means Robinson’s sentence was immediately converted to life without possibility for parole.
But whether the ruling ultimately stands is something that higher courts are likely to decide.
Prosecutors have 60 days to appeal.
Robinson, a black man convicted of killing a white teenager in 1991, is the first death row inmate to have his sentence-challenge heard using one of the country’s only two laws that allows judges to consider statistics when considering whether racial bias played a role in jury selection or sentencing.
The North Carolina law, adopted in 2009 on narrow party lines, has been controversial from the outset.
Prosecutors and Republican state legislators have called it a backdoor attempt to repeal the death penalty. Not only can inmates cite statistical patterns in the county or court district where their case was heard, they can use statewide numbers as they try to show their jury selection or sentencing was racially biased.
Robinson’s challenge was heard in a Cumberland County courtroom over two and a half weeks in January and February.
Robinson, 38, was convicted in August 1994 of kidnapping 17-year-old Erik Tornblom, stealing his car and $27, and shooting him to death. Robinson and his accomplice in the crime, who received a life sentence, are black. Tornblom was white.
Defense attorneys for Robinson argued earlier this year that prosecutors struck blacks from the jury pool at a much higher rate than whites. The jury that sent Robinson to death row included nine white jurors, one American Indian and two blacks, according to court filings.
Don’t death sentences require unanimous verdicts? How is it racist if the Indian and two blacks agreed with their white colleagues? Disgraceful. Read on:
In selecting that panel, Robinson’s defense team claimed, prosecutors struck half the blacks eligible for the jury and only 15 percent of those who were not black.
The Racial Justice Act hearing included testimony from dueling statisticians and researchers.
Defense attorneys used a sweeping study of capital cases in North Carolina done by Michigan State University law school researchers to bolster their claims.
That study found that qualified black jurors – those not released for cause, such as opposition to the death penalty – were struck by prosecutors at nearly twice the rate as qualified white jurors. In Cumberland County, they were struck at 2.6 times the rate, according to the researchers.
Prosecutors called other prosecutors, judges and a political scientist to bolster their claims that race is not among their considerations when weighing whether to strike a potential juror.
(As if we needed ANOTHER reason to evict the leftists from every position of power in Raleigh … )