McCrory signs repeal of Racial Justice Act

Posted June 19, 2013 6:41 p.m. EDT

Death Row, Death Penalty, prisoner

— Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday signed legislation that repealing the last remnants of the Racial Justice Act while trying to restart executions in North Carolina.

The landmark Racial Justice Act, which was adopted four years ago, allowed death row inmates to challenge their sentences based on statistical evidence of racism in their trials.

Opponents said the original measure allowed virtually every death row inmate to file an appeal, even white inmates convicted of killing other whites.

Racial Justice Act backers said court hearings have already found that race played a role in jury selection in a handful of capital murder trials. If North Carolina is going to carry out the death penalty, they said, it should make sure that trials are fair.

Lawmakers reworked some aspects of the Racial Justice Act last session.

The bill also makes other administrative changes to death penalty procedures designed to comply with legal challenges to how executions are carried out. A variety of legal rulings have imposed a de facto moratoriums on executions, with the last one being carried out in 2006 .