N.C. Repeals Its Death Penalty Racial Bias Law

State's increasingly conservative legislature ends lifeline for death row inmates

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be newsBad news, for some of the 152 people sitting on North Carolina’s death row:

The state legislature on Wednesday repealed a law allowing death-row inmates to appeal their sentences based on claims of racial bias, the New York Times reports.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said he will sign the repeal, despite passionate cries from justice and civil rights groups, who cited the number of innocent black men exonerated and the state’s history of racial tension between whites and blacks.

Since its adoption in 2009, the law has been used by nearly every death row inmate — not all of them African-American — to have their sentences reduced to life in prison. The law had been criticized in the state’s increasingly conservative legislature for being a “carte blanche solution” to racial bias in death penalties.

“A white supremacist who murdered an African-American could argue he was a victim of racism if blacks were on the jury,” argued Republican Rep. Tim Moore, who voted in favor of the repeal.