I am sad to report that today both the NC Senate and House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Perdue's veto of SB416. The new law guts the 2009 Racial Justice Act by stating that statistics alone are no longer sufficient for a finding of racial bias in a death penalty case.
Death penalty opponents hope this override vote and new law will have at least two unintended consequences. The bill's author has stated he expects the new law to allow executions to resume more quickly than if the Racial Justice Act had stood. Some attorneys have predicted that instead of clearing the way for executions, the new law will create another layer of litigation that will prolong the legal proceedings.
A second unintended consequence we hope for is that thousands of North Carolinians will be galvanized to press their senators and representatives to repeal the death penalty. Even people who have previously supported the death penalty may be appalled by the lawmakers reneging on the promise of the RJA and join the movement to repeal the death penalty.
For more information, see this article:
What can you do?
*Make sure your family, friends and neighbors know that our legislature abandoned racial justice in the death penalty.
*In this election cycle, make sure you know where the candidates in your district stand on the death penalty before you vote.
*If you haven't already, endorse one of the petitions or resolutions offered by People of Faith Against the Death Penalty:
Business owners can download, sign and submit the resolution at:
If you are a member of a faith community, ask the governing group to consider signing and submitting a repeal resolution. Denomination-specific resolutions are available at:
Thank you again for your attention, concern and action regarding the death penalty. Let's use this setback as a springboard for death penalty repeal.
Jean Parks
828 329-8306