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NC murder victims' relatives want Perdue veto

Posted December 12, 2011

— Gov. Beverly Perdue met Monday with relatives of murder victims, victims of violent crimes and others as she weighed a bill on her desk for two weeks that would essentially repeal a 2009 law designed to address alleged racial bias in death penalty cases.

The Democratic governor spoke at the old Capitol building with two groups of victims – one urging her in the morning to veto the bill approved by the Republican-led legislature in late November and a second in the afternoon asking her to make it law.

She has until Dec. 29 to either sign Senate Bill 9, let it become law without her signature or veto it.

Senate Bill 9 would scrap key provisions of the Racial Justice Act. The 2009 law allows death row inmates to use statistics in a new type of court hearing to argue that racial bias played a role in their sentences.

Several studies have found bias in North Carolina's system. One study found that qualified black jurors are twice as likely to be excluded from a jury as white jurors, while a second found that people charged with murdering white victims are 2.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those whose victims are black.

Such statistics are troubling to Joslin Simms, whose son, Ray, was murdered in Durham in 2005.

"We want everything equal. No matter what race they are, (we want) to have everyone be treated like they're the same," Simms said. "My son's life is just as good as anyone else's. It was worth living."

Perdue weighing future of Racial Justice Act Perdue weighing future of Racial Justice Act

Two weeks ago, other victims' families came to Raleigh to tell lawmakers to repeal the Racial Justice Act, which they said stands in the way of justice for their loved ones.

Therese Bartholomew, whose brother was murdered in 2003, said she understands the pain and grief of those families.

"The thought that the (justice) system is not set up fairly does not help me sleep at night in any way. It doesn't make me feel better, and it will not bring my brother back," Bartholomew said.

Lawmakers who voted for the repeal said that statistics shouldn't be allowed to override the will of a jury in an individual case.

All but three of the 160 or so death row inmates have filed appeals under the law, including white defendants whose victims were white.

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  • bill0 Dec 13, 2011

    "Yeah, every single one of them is innocent. I'm totally convinced."

    Again, more people who don't understand the law. None of these claims are about innocence or guilt. If you win the claim, you don't go free. You just rot in prison for the rest of your life.

  • OpenM1nd Dec 13, 2011

    "All but three of the 160 or so death row inmates have filed appeals under the law"

    Yeah, every single one of them is innocent. I'm totally convinced.

  • bill0 Dec 13, 2011

    "Now, with the racial act you can oh, you targeted my because I was purple or is it just a fact the more purple people are committing crimes in that community."

    You obviously have no idea what the Act is about. It has nothing to do with the number of people charged with a crime. It only addresses instances where 2 people are convicted of similar crimes but get different punishments. It doesn't matter if there is 2 convicts or a million. If the crimes are the the punishments should be the same. Right now in NC, that is not the case.

  • Obama 2012 Dec 13, 2011

    If she were more decisive, she would be more likely to win a second term.

  • Milkman Dec 12, 2011

    If there's an issue then why, using the next 10 on the NC Death Row list, are there 7 race W and 3 race B and 8 sex M and 2 sex F. Using the same logic, men will be able to argue that the law unfairly targets men.

    All I want is for Ray Rose, who has been on death row for 20 years for killing my uncle to finally get his day at the top of the list. Is it too much to ask?

  • The2ruthHurts Dec 12, 2011

    "That seems a bit rushed if we are talking about a mistake that will cost someone their life, and it would be just as easy to sentence them to life in prison where if evidence that proves their innocence turns up at least they aren't already 6 feet under."

    If we lived in a world that would allow for such a condition, then by all means but we don't. To begin splitting hairs and doing this and that is a resource the system cannot afford to do. Unless you suggest that our justice system is so unbalanced and unfair. The criminal chose his way of life and he now has to answer for his actions. Do you think that sentencing everyone to life in prison benefits society as a whole? Its like finally kicking your kid out of the house at eighteen and then finding out that your have to support two more for the next 18 years and so on. You cannot do it. Financially and resourcefully impossible.

  • Realthoughts Dec 12, 2011

    Yes but does the studies take in account the evidence presented in a case. No, it does not, it just shows what has happened we you create a situation of either a white person being or trial or a black person being on trial.

    This racial act is stupid and a waste of money. So, lets say you live in community and a good majority of lower income families is black, white, purple or green. Now, would you not expect that you are going to perhaps see a larger number of that race perhaps involve in crime? Now, with the racial act you can oh, you targeted my because I was purple or is it just a fact the more purple people are committing crimes in that community...... No, it just couldn't be that as a fact.

  • davisgw Dec 12, 2011

    Line of duty: If you are so down on the South you are free to get out. The only problem with the death penalty is it takes so long to apply. After the trial everything should be over and done with within two years.

  • bombayrunner Dec 12, 2011

    yea ... nothing gets posted here ... but I will say, the south and its old decrepid southern mentality cant get out from under its own shadow no matter how hard it tries. Must been god awful a hundred years ago.

  • All the People Dec 12, 2011

    "Stop living in the world of "what ifs." If a mistake is made, compensate for the mistake (because guess what...its going to happen) and move on. People are and will make mistakes. Whether its malicious or careless, that's another topic for discussion."

    Of course mistakes will happen. I am not suggesting otherwise, but the point I was contesting is that everyone of death row should be executed 1 year after they arrive. That seems a bit rushed if we are talking about a mistake that will cost someone their life, and it would be just as easy to sentence them to life in prison where if evidence that proves their innocence turns up at least they aren't already 6 feet under.

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