Thursday, June 6, 2013

The "We're Perfectly Okay With Death Penalty Racial Bias" State

And that would be my home state of North Carolina, where Republicans with complete control over the government have decided that a law that would allow somebody to do something about the overwhelming racial bias of the death penalty needs to go.

A law that allowed death-row inmates to challenge their sentences based on racial bias claims was repealed by the North Carolina legislature on Wednesday, paving the way for executions to resume in a state that has 152 people on death row. 

The law, the only one of its kind in the country, allowed inmates to use state and county statistics and other material to claim that race played a role in their sentencing. Since the law took effect in 2009, nearly everyone facing execution — not all of them black — has used it in hopes of reducing sentences to life in prison. 

In the weeks before the State House of Representatives took up the Racial Justice Act, most lawmakers acknowledged it was headed for repeal. Still, the legislative debate stretched over two days and was noteworthy for both its emotion and its ideology. 

Those who voted to rescind it recited the names of people whose killers were on death row and said the law had clogged the courts and denied justice to victims. 

It was also called a deeply flawed piece of legislation. 

“It tries to put a carte blanche solution on the problem,” said Representative Tim Moore, a Republican. “A white supremacist who murdered an African-American could argue he was a victim of racism if blacks were on the jury.” 

Sure, we can't this law, because it might help white supremacists.  Meanwhile, let's put people to death because we were able to railroad a case through a jury and sentence the felon to death because he's black.

Now the ultimate fate of the prisoners rests with a court system, where these same Republican "purveyors of justice" have slashed $80 million from state courtroom budgets and law enforcement forensics labs over the last four years.

And so it goes back home.  Republicans can't punish minorities fast enough.

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