North Carolina Republican lawmakers have voted to override a veto of a law that would place limits on death row inmates’ ability to use evidence of racial bias to challenge the court’s ruling of their fate. The Huffington Post reports:
RALEIGH, N.C., July 2 (Reuters) – North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature voted on Monday to override Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto of a law that will limit the ability of death-row prisoners to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge their sentences.
The move effectively negates the hot-button Racial Justice Act, which was signed into law in 2009 by Perdue when Democrats controlled the state’s General Assembly. The law directed judges to reduce a death sentence to life in prison if defendants could prove that racial bias factored into their punishment.
Lawmakers who viewed the landmark law as an attempt to undermine the death penalty wrote new legislation to gut it, only to see Perdue veto the rollback last week on the grounds that it rendered the original law meaningless.
But legislators on Monday gathered the three-fifths majority needed in the House of Representatives and Senate to override Perdue’s veto. They had fallen short in January of enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto of similar rewrite legislation passed in 2011.
Proponents of Monday’s move said statistical evidence alone was insufficient to prove racial discrimination in jury selection, or to overturn a death sentence.
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