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 Pat McCrory has put an end to what he calls a "judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty": On Wednesday he repealed the Racial Justice Act, four years after it was put on the books.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. (Read more North Carolina stories.)