NC Scraps Law That Brought Executions to Halt

Gov. Pat McCrory signs repeal of 'Racial Justice Act'

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 21, 2013 11:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has put an end to what he calls a "judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty": On Wednesday he repealed the Racial Justice Act, four years after it was put on the books. The law, passed under a Democratic legislature, allowed Death Row inmates to argue their sentences on the grounds of racial bias. Almost all of the state's 153 death row inmates—81 of whom are black—appealed their sentences, the Wall Street Journal reports; only a handful of hearings resulted, but Democrats say four had their sentences commuted to life.

"Nearly every person on death row, regardless of race, has appealed their death sentence," said McCrory. The Republican asserted that, with the repeal, the state can now avoid "procedural roadblocks" that have meant extra costs and delays; to wit, Reuters reports that no one has been executed in the state since 2006, in an article headlined, "North Carolina governor signs law aimed at restarting executions." It notes that the law had been the only one of its kind in the country.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a National Day of Prayer observance at the Pitt County courthouse in Greenville, NC, on Thursday, May 2, 2013.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a National Day of Prayer observance at the Pitt County courthouse in Greenville, NC, on Thursday, May 2, 2013.   (AP Photo/The Daily Reflector, Rob Taylor)
Gov. Pat McCrory signs repeal of 'Racial Justice Act.'
Gov. Pat McCrory signs repeal of 'Racial Justice Act.'   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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