North Carolina Racial Justice Act

Started by heidi salazar, July 02, 2009, 01:35:17 AM

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heidi salazar

Victim's Father: Racial Justice Act Is Injustice To Humanity

Larry Harding insists his son's killer should be dead already.

"It was nothing racial about it," Harding said of Jeremy Murrell's trial. "It didn't matter if he was white or what color he was, it was nothing but cold-blooded murder."

Murrell's attorney has filed a claim under the Racial Justice Act. If a judge decides racial bias influenced Murrell's sentencing, he could trade a death sentence for a life sentence.

Harding said if that happens, it would be an injustice to humanity. But others see it differently.

"Racism is not tolerable when you're exacting a harsh punishment such as death," said Carol Turowski, co-director for the Innocence and Justice Clinic. She points to a study from Michigan State University, and the joint University of Colorado at Boulder/Northeastern University study.

They show convicts are up to 3 times more likely to get a death sentence if a victim is white rather than black.

"It suggests that we place more value on white lives than we do black lives," said Turowski. "Clearly it raises the question of race being a factor in death sentence cases."

In the Murrell case, Turowski notes only one juror was black. "It does raise concerns and questions about the jury makeup and whether or not there was a pattern of trying to eliminate African-Americans from the jury that was selected."

But that doesn't change Larry Harding's mind. He notes an assistant prosecutor was black.

"He got a fair trial. There was 12 jurors that convicted him," said Harding. "He should get the death penalty."

http://www.digtriad.com/news/local_state/article.aspx?storyid=146466

heidi salazar

Prosecutors struggle to respond to death appeals

Brunswick County District Attorney Rex Gore pointed to white boxes on the floor of a storage room on Thursday known as the "homicide corner."

The narrow nook in the District Attorney's Office is stacked floor to ceiling with murder cases.

Several of those boxes contain files and other key information in the death penalty case of Darrell Maness, convicted of killing Boiling Spring Lakes police officer Mitch Prince on Jan. 18, 2005.

And Maness' case is just one of four that his office will have to review after motions were filed in death penalty cases alleging racial bias.

The deadline to file complaints related to the Racial Justice Act was Aug. 10.

The year-old law allows defendants to argue racial bias before trial or after a conviction, and those already sentenced to die had a year to appeal their cases.

Judging from the boxes stacked atop each other in Maness' case, to say his employees have got their work cut out for them is an understatement.

"The legislature when they passed the act - I know they did what they thought was correct and needed to be done," Gore said. "But what they didn't do was provide us with the extra manpower and the help to get it done in an expeditious manner."

"It is a physical nightmare for us to try to find the staff to gather material and get ready for the cases."

That said, Gore has already selected Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger and his assistant, Michelle Farris, to tackle those cases - which he has described as the most serious that come through his office.

Gore's office, like others around the state, will have to sift through old case files to defend the work they've done on death penalty cases after more than 100 death row prisoners filed complaints to try to get their sentences commuted to life in prison.

In New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, seven petitions have been filed, and Maness' case is one of two stemming from Brunswick County.

The other death penalty case is that of Daniel Cummings Jr., a Native American who killed a white store owner in April 1994.

In many of the motions alleging racial bias, attorneys cite two studies of the state's death penalty system, and they rely heavily on statistical data from two Michigan State University assistant law professors, who analyzed cases from 1990 to 2009.

The study from Catherine Grosso and Barbara O'Brien showed that those who kill white victims in North Carolina are 2.6 times more likely to get the death penalty regardless of aggravating or mitigating circumstances. Additionally, the study found that black potential jurors were struck jury panels at more than twice the rate of whites.

For example, they found that 31 of North Carolina's death row prisoners were sentenced to death by all-white juries, and 38 of them were sentenced to death by juries with only one person of color.

On the local level, the study found that out of four death row prisoners from Gore's district, District 13 - which includes Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus counties - two are black, one is Native American and another is white. They killed a total of five whites and two blacks.

In all, researchers found that for District 13, prosecutors were twice as likely to pursue the death penalth when a white victim was involved between 1990 and 2009. That's slightly lower than the average statewide.

"We're going to have to be able to rebut the implications that are there," Gore said. "Based on the claims, it's real early in the process to tell how that's going to be. I envision a massive amount of work that ... takes away from the normal day-to-day work of these victims' assistants and support staff people, and you still have to continue to serve the people that are there."

Researchers also found that the makeup of juries also played a role in capital cases, and black jurors in District 13 were struck at 2.7 times the rate of white jurors - a higher rate than the state average.

In Maness' 2006 capital trial, the prosecutor excluded 69 percent of qualified black jurors and only 20 percent of whites, according to the motion filed in his case.

In Cummings' 1994 capital trial, the prosecutor excluded 75 percent of qualified black jurors but only 26 percent of qualified white jurors.

When asked about the makeup of juries in the Mannes and Cummings cases, Gore said he couldn't remember the jury makeup in either of them.

Additionally, Gore, who has been DA for 20 years, said "sometimes it's very hard to get minorities who can consider the imposition of capital punishment. It's hard to sometimes get a large percentage who can consider capital punishment."

If a person, black or white, can't consider imposing a death sentence - or for that matter - life in prison, they can be stricken from the jury for cause, he said.

"The death penalty is not something I think prosecutors seek frivolously or cavalierly, and it's not something jurors return without a great deal of thought and conviction," he said.

But Gore said his office strives to get as fair and impartial a jury as possible - "as long as they're able to at least consider the sentence of death. Practical experience shows not everybody can do that."

And those are exactly the issues Gore's office will be exploring - even with the limited resources.

"The motions are here, and we're going to do our best to get ready for hearings," he said. "Our aim is to make sure that the folks who are put to death are done so in a fair and just and equitable way."

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20100819/articles/100819542&tc=yahoo?p=3&tc=pg

heidi salazar

Death row inmates seeking life in new law

Six Gaston County men convicted of murder recently filed appeals to be taken off death row and have their sentences converted to terms of life in prison.

The six convicts make up a small percentage of those across the state who have filed appeals as part of the Racial Justice Act. Under the legislation, condemned killers can use statistical evidence to argue bias in their sentencing. The law allows judges to consider evidence that one racial group is being punished more harshly than members of others.

Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell said the law is ludicrous.

"The law was stupid when it was written and we're now seeing the absurd results of it," said Bell. "It was designed so that black defendants could claim racial bias. But the way legislators wrote the law, I now have to prove that (former district attorney) Mike Lands and I are not prejudice against white people."

Both Lands and Bell are white.

Of 151 convicts on death row in North Carolina, 99 are nonwhite. The 84 black inmates make up more than half the death row population. The ratio in Gaston County falls in line with the general population, according to Bell.

"The number of whites on death row from Gaston County matches almost identically the racial composition of the county," he said.

Gaston County death row inmates include David Clayton Lynch, George Cale Buckner, Christopher Roseboro, William Todd Anthony, Jeffrey Neal Duke and Michael Patrick Ryan.

Roseboro is the only black death row inmate out of the six. The other five are white.

A recently released study by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Boston's Northeastern University concluded that a convicted killer is three times more likely to get a death sentence in North Carolina if the victim is white rather than black. But prosecutors have expected white convicts to also use the Racial Justice Act, pointing out that an inmate only needs to find a statistic that indicates they are more likely to get a death sentence than someone else.

The law puts the DA's office on the defensive for any case no matter the race of the defendant, said Bell.

"The black guy said we discriminated because he's black and the white guys say we discriminated because they're white," said Bell. "They're on death row because of the violent crimes they did."

The multiple appeals because of the Racial Prejudice Act are frustrating, said Bell. And the frustration will only increase as paperwork rolls in and valuable court time is spent arguing the motions, he added.

Bell said he is further burdened because of budget cuts that have the district attorney's office short staffed.

On the other end of the spectrum, legislators have offered up $5 million to defense attorneys to argue these appeals, said Bell.

"It's costing the tax payers $190 an hour to have these lawyers in court," Bell said.

In the most recent Gaston County capital murder case, Michael Ryan asked for the death penalty after being found guilty. Ryan's attorneys have since appealed the sentencing through the Racial Justice Act.

Convicts on death row have not only cited a variety of statistical studies but have demanded years-old details from prosecutors, such as who was making decisions in the district attorney's office, the racial makeup of the office, the racial makeup of the jury and the racial makeup of the jury pool.

"This is a monumental task probably bordering on catastrophe because it's so much, and we've got no resources to deal with this at all," said Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys.

http://www.gastongazette.com/news/law-50070-evidence-life.html

phlebbb

Well. if a state is going to pass a idiotic and lame brained law that not only borders on the edge of absurd but leaps like superman way over that line, this law is it . Just wondering though, did the folks in North Carolina that wrote this cluster fox, consult with anti folk in California??? Just wondering ....
People that think they know it all, annoy the hell out us who actually do ...

Jeff1857

DA: 4 Death Row Cases In NC Should Be Reviewed

The president of a district attorneys' group in North Carolina says he agrees that the death row cases in a review of the state-run crime lab should get further scrutiny.

District Attorney Seth Edwards says he agrees with Attorney General Roy Cooper that prosecutors should review the four death row cases, one of which is in his district. Edwards says he has no doubt the convicted man committed the crime, based on eyewitness testimony.

Edwards leads the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys and says he has faith in the State Bureau of Investigation, whose blood unit at the crime lab was the subject of a recent scathing review. The review found that from 1987 to 2003, eight agents didn't include all blood test results in lab reports.

He says he doesn't support a moratorium on the death penalty.

http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news/story/54869/da-4-death-row-cases-in-nc-should-be-reviewed

heidi salazar

It's really nice to see support for the death penalty in a letter to the editor.


Victims' families need rights protected with death penalty

In response to: "The race to execute fills N.C. death row," (AC-T, Aug. 20), what about the rights of capital crime victims and their families? Does this issue even matter? The so-called Social Justice Act was simply an additional smokescreen and roadblock. The supporters of it view it as another back-door effort to abolish the death penalty permanently in all state courts and eventually, the federal courts as well.

The fact that the RJA was supported by both the American Bar Association and the N.C. Bar Association shows how politically liberal both legal organizations have become.

Justice should be for all and not just for the criminals.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20100906/OPINION02/100903024/Victims-families-need-rights-protected-with-death-penalty

AnneTheBelgian

http://www.necn.com/04/05/11/NC-racial-bias-law-scaled-back-in-House-/landing_health.html?&blockID=3&apID=e6f087bf39a54dc58a65e2636986bcf5

Wednesday April 6, 2011

NC racial bias law scaled back in House bill

Apr 5, 2011 2:26pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Several House Republicans want to dial back North Carolina's new racial bias law, arguing statistics about a prosecutor or the state's death penalty history shouldn't help a judge decide whether someone was wrongly sentenced due to race.

A bill filed this week would nullify the 2009 Racial Justice Act, which bars people from being subject to or sentenced to death on account of race. The law, one of two of its kind in the country, allows a defendant's attorney to offer statistical evidence to show race played a key factor in putting a disproportionate number of people from a racial group on death row, or on trial for their lives.

A trial court judge two months ago upheld the law as constitutional. But statistical evidence, which could focus upon a prosecutor, a judicial district, county or the entire state, shouldn't be used to make decisions on an individual case, said Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-Surry, one of the bill sponsors

The replacement bill would still make it unlawful for prosecutors or jurors to act with "discriminatory purpose," in seeking or deciding upon a death sentence but would do away with the use of data showing death penalty trends in an area.

"I think it's one of the worst ways in the world to try a case -- it's by statistics. You need to look at the facts of each individual case," Stevens said Tuesday. "If we are racially discriminating against someone, then let's look at the burden at where you can actually show racial discrimination ... but not by statistics."

Death penalty opponents and lawyers representing death-row prisoners contend the current law ensures fairness and discourages prejudice in carrying out capital punishment in North Carolina. The bill, which has been referred to a House judiciary subcommittee, would gut the 2009 law, said Ken Rose, a lawyer representing many condemned inmates who filed challenges to their cases under the Racial Justice Act.

A recent Michigan State University showed a defendant is 2.6 times more likely to be sentenced to death if at least one of the victims is white. The study also showed that out of the 159 people on death row, 31 had all-white juries and 38 had only one person of color on their jury.

"Now the Legislature is betraying the basis for the passage of the act by saying 'we don't care, we don't care what the studies show. We are repealing the law," Rose said.

Racial Justice Act supporter Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, said statistics should be part of the legal arguments in court, just like they are in the General Assembly when bills are evaluated. Without them, he said, "you would not be able to find out the true definitions of how much race does apply in sentencing."

The bill has seven sponsors, including Majority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, and Speaker Pro Tempore Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth.

Most of North Carolina's death row inmates filed paperwork under the law to overturn their sentences. Prosecutors and legislators opposed to the law point out cases where white inmates convicted of killing white victims as proof the law will be ineffective.

The GOP bill cites a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision as the basis for removing the use of statistics. The justices ruled statistics alone about race and the death penalty couldn't establish deliberate discrimination in carrying out the punishment. But Rose said the ruling did open the door for states, like North Carolina, to try their own legal procedures to determine whether discrimination occurred.

North Carolina last executed a prisoner in August 2006. Executions have been delayed as North Carolina has been in a long-standing legal dispute over the protocol in administering the death penalty.

















Anne










"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

AnneTheBelgian

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-scholars-report-calls-end-death-penalty-445719

NC scholar's report calls for end to death penalty

The Associated Press

Monday, April 18, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- An Appalachian State University professor says North Carolina's death penalty process is so full of flaws it should be repealed.

Matthew Robinson is scheduled to release his research Monday at the North Carolina Advocates for Justice office in Raleigh. Robinson says his report shows enough problems exist with the current process to warrant scrapping it.

Robinson will be joined by scholars from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Fayetteville State University.

The group hopes the report will influence debate in the General Assembly over a number of measures that could affect death penalty cases. Republican lawmakers have introduced bills to repeal the Racial Justice Act, which allows death row inmates to challenge their sentences by presenting evidence of racial bias.












Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

Gregg Fisher

One thing they will never do is put it to a vote of the people because they know the vast majority of people support the death penalty.

AnneTheBelgian

http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/9612228/

(with video)

4:05 p.m. 5-18-11

Posted: 2:16 p.m. today

Updated: 2:29 p.m. today

House panel debates changes to Racial Justice Act

Raleigh, N.C. -- A state House judiciary committee held nearly two hours of passionate debate Wednesday on proposed changes to the Racial Justice Act.

The 2009 law allows convicts sentenced to death to use statistical evidence to prove bias in their sentencing and be resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Most of North Carolina's 158 death-row inmates have filed a claim under the act, including white inmates convicted of killing white victims. Many of the inmates question the racial makeup of juries that handled their cases.

Republican lawmakers have criticized the law since its passage, and with control of the General Assembly, they are looking to revise it.

House Bill 615 "No Discriminatory Purpose in Death Penalty" bans using statistical evidence in claims of bias and stipulates that inmates who prove bias would receive a resentencing hearing, not an automatic sentence.

The bill would also change the standard of bias inmates have to prove. Instead of proving that "race was a significant factor" in their sentencing, the inmates would have to prove that the state or at least one juror acted with "discriminatory purpose."

Critics of the Racial Justice Act say that it ties up courts and wastes resources and is too vague and broad.

Defenders of the law say that it is crucial to overcoming a legacy of racial discrimination in courts.

The judiciary committee did not vote on the bill, which remains under consideration.










House Bill 615 "No Discriminatory Purpose in Death Penalty" => http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=H615&submitButton=Go











Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

AnneTheBelgian

http://www.witn.com/news/headlines/UPDATE_Repeal_of_NC_racial_bias_review_delayed_by_Senate_124049289.html?ref=289

Posted: 12:01 AM Jun 17, 2011

UPDATE: Repeal Review Delayed For Racial Bias Death Penalty Law

The proposed repeal of a law that created a new method for death row prisoners to contest their sentences on the basis of racial bias likely won't get a final legislative hearing until next spring.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The proposed repeal of a law that created a new method for death row prisoners to contest their sentences on the basis of racial bias likely won't get a final legislative hearing until next spring.

A key state senator said Thursday night his chamber won't vote upon a bill to nullify 2009's Racial Justice Act before the North Carolina Legislature adjourns, likely early on Friday. The House earlier voted for the bill on a largely party-line vote.

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville said the Senate already had a full plate of legislation before leaving. He said it will be among the first things considered when the Legislature holds its next regular session in May 2012.

Democrats have opposed the repeal.

PREVIOUS STORY:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A sharply divided North Carolina House has agreed to nullify a 2009 law that allows death row prisoners to contest their sentences on the basis of racial bias. Republicans say the law is too vague and is being abused.

The House voted Thursday evening in favor of repealing the Racial Justice Act, which allows a judge to commute a condemned prisoner's sentence to life in prison if he or she determines the case was tainted by race.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which could finalize the measure and send it to Gov. Beverly Perdue. The largely party-line vote means Perdue could block the bill with a veto.

Repeal opponents argue the procedure works by allowing defendants to use statistics to show a history of discrimination in capital cases.


















Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

Jim S

I was once told of a Quote by Mark Twain that went something like this " There are White lies, there are outright lies, and there are statistics!"

When I took statictics in college I very soon figured out how easily they can be manipulated to show what ever you want for an outcome.

Metfan62

When they can tell me that a vast majority on Violent crimes are commited by whites, I will say the DP is un-fair.  If you actually look at the FBI website, it shows 70% of violent crime is committed by Non whites.  So 25% of the population give or take, commits 70% of the violent crime. So the statistics actually prove the DP is fair. 9 of the 22 executions this year have been whites. I think you have a MUCH better chance of being executed statistically if your white. 
I've got one thing to say, get your Warden off this gurney and shut up. I am from the island of Barbados. I am the Warden of this unit. People are seeing you do this."

Monty Delk's Last words

JeffB

First hearing under the Racial Justice Act to be held today


In 1991, Eric Tomblom was 17 years old. He had just gotten off work and stopped at a convenience store in Fayetteville before going home. Marcus Robinson and Roderick Sylvester Williams, Jr were in the store. They talked Tomblom into giving them a ride. But after getting into Tomblom's car they pulled a sawed-off shotgun out and forced Tomblom to drive them to a remote location where they robbed him of $27.

They then made him lie on the ground and a jury found that Williams shot Tomblom in the face with the shotgun.

A hearing will be held this week in Cumberland County Superior Court by Judge Gregory Weeks. The issue before Judge Weeks will the what a bunch of numbers mean. Williams will argue, under the N. C. Racial Justice Act, that the reason he was sentenced to death was because he is black and Tomblom was white.

This is the first hearing under the Racial Justice Act. But it will not be the last. 151 of the 158 people on death row in North Carolina have appealed for a review of their sentence under the Act. Even those who are white and whose victims were white. Or vice versa.

(source: Beaufort Observer)

"SO SUCK IT YOU "BLUE COOLER" DOPE!"  -  Sylar24

63Wildcat

They can use this!
"..the death of any public servant or innocent is a tragedy... the death of a murderer is a mere statistic..."  -63Wildcat

AS OF TOMORROW I'M TURNING GRAVITY OFF...

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