Perdue vetoes Racial Justice Act repeal -- again

Posted June 28, 2012

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution

Gov. Bev Perdue has vetoed Senate Bill 416, the latest attempt by GOP leaders to repeal the state’s 2009 Racial Justice Act.

"It is simply unacceptable for racial prejudice to play a role in the imposition of the death penalty in North Carolina,” said Perdue in emailed veto statement. 

It’s her first veto of 2012, and the second time she’s stopped a bill meant to undo the law.

The Racial Justice Act allows death row inmates to use statistics to try to convince a judge that racial bias played a role in their sentence. If the judge agrees, the condemned inmate’s sentence can be commuted to life without parole. Earlier this year, Judge Gregory Weeks agreed to commute convicted killer Marcus Robinson’s 1991 death sentence after finding by a preponderance of evidence that the state’s death penalty system is racially flawed.

"The judge’s findings should trouble everyone who is committed to a justice system based on fairness, integrity and equal protection under the law. Faced with these findings, the Republican majority in the General Assembly could have tried to strengthen our efforts to fix the flaws in our system," said Perdue in her statement.

"I just think the governor doesn't get it," said Sen. Buck Newton, R-Nash. "I just think she doesn't get it or the she's playing politics. Everybody is in agreement we don't want race to affect the outcome of a trial or a sentence. The latest version she has vetoed focused on the merits and problems in each case."

Republican critics of the legislation say it’s a practical moratorium on the death penalty, noting that 155 of the state’s death row inmates – the vast majority – have sought relief under the law, regardless of their race.

Lawmakers voted last year to repeal the act in Senate Bill 9 and Perdue vetoed the move. This year’s attempt was a less sweeping repeal, but opponents say it would still gut the law by making it nearly impossible for an inmate to prove bias.


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  • wayneuber Jul 2, 2012

    All, Judge Weeks' decision was based on flawed statistics which were compiled by persons and groups who oppose capital punishment. The Racial Justice Act has never been about reforming capital punishment and has been used by defense lawyers to digress from the facts of the individual cases. The real racists are the murderers on death row.

  • Bartmeister Jun 29, 2012

    Perhaps your decision to not seek reelection was a bit premature? piene2


    Hahaha, you funny girl...... WAIT. Not about being premature, the decision was made on time. What you don't want to admit or realize, whichever the case may be, is the Donkey officials made the decision she wouldn't run again, not her. Bwahahahahaha!!! She had nothing to do with the decision. They pulled her life line. Perhaps your comments were a little premie huh Pienie?

  • lovelarvae Jun 29, 2012

    "For the sake of NC lets vote them ALL out. I will take my chances with a new (and hopefully more civil) crop of "the best of the worst to choose from" politicians."

    Unfortunately, most of the next in line if you get rid of incumbents will be more of the same. That's pretty much all that runs now is more of the same. Mostly because to run with any real chance you have to be a D or R, largely because of the money requirements, and the party apparatus often recruits/chooses the candidate as much as a candidate steps forward and chooses him/herself. It really is hard to break the cycle of self-perpetuating culture when you keep replacing the current candidates with the next ones to come out of the same PEZ dispenser.

  • sweetums googoo Jun 29, 2012

    Really, I think that the Gov, AND the legislature can ALL go... Regardless of party affiliation, the citizens of NC are not being represented well. The GOP's "dirty politics" (3am vote switch-a-roo) that, even if you supported the measure, robs us of our rights to be represented and while I guess questionably not illegal it was certainly unethical ... and ... The Dems ineptitude to really do anything of worth has really soured my support for any of them...

    For the sake of NC lets vote them ALL out. I will take my chances with a new (and hopefully more civil) crop of "the best of the worst to choose from" politicians.

  • lovelarvae Jun 29, 2012

    "Bev still hasn't figured out how IRRELEVANT what she thinks is. Ego is a strange animal!"

    She holds the veto pen, so I'd say her opinion matter enough that the bill is dead. They can override the veto, obviously, but that's not guaranteed. Either way, it's more work for the assembly when they're busy trying to shut down and take the rest of the year off.

  • NCHighlander Jun 29, 2012

    Thank you again, Governor PERDUE!!! Millions of good North Carolinians are so glad that you can counteract the right wing REPUBLICAN legislature that is trying to move our great state back to the 19th century. THANK YOU!!!! geosol

    Thank her all you want as she looks ridiculous and leaves office in total disgrace. You have chosen someone to like that shares your values and ideas. Hows that working out for ya?

  • yankee1 Jun 29, 2012

    Bev still hasn't figured out how IRRELEVANT what she thinks is. Ego is a strange animal!

  • muggs Jun 29, 2012

    With our legal system now becoming a target for those who want to use race as an issue why is it when the arrest records posted each week are of those who are asking for justice,a comparrison is quite obvious as to who is commiting the most crime,not being a racist but pictures do not lie,all groups have their share of criminals but one stand out more than all others,calling someone a racist for voicing the truth is like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • sweetums googoo Jun 29, 2012

    Example of why these laws NEED to be in place. Different rational completely but really, anyone who thinks the "system" is "good" and it is "bad" for a convict to be able to have a chance to commute a sentence from DEATH to life without parole is fooling themselves. Check out the story...

    "A man who spent nearly 17 years in prison for a Greensboro murder may be freed after a Friday hearing, now that authorities have linked the killing to another suspect and discovered evidence that law officers and prosecutors hid key details from defense lawyers."

  • muggs Jun 29, 2012

    She certainly has a way about her,I just cannot wait until she is far away,what a joke this woman has been.