North Carolina Supreme Court May Return Prisoners Spared by Racial Justice Act to Death Row

George Lavender

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North Carolina’s Supreme Court is reviewing the cases of four defendants who had their death sentences reduced to life without the possibility of parole under the state’s Racial Justice Act. Before it was repealed in 2013, the law allowed death-row prisoners to challenge their sentences on the basis of racial bias. The first prisoner to have his sentence reduced this way was Marcus Robinson. On Monday, the state’s Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases that could see Robinson, and three others sent back to death row. Nancy Mullane, Executive Producer of Life of the Law” spoke with Donald Beskind, Professor of the Practice of Law at Duke University, and one of Robinson’s lawyers.

North Carolina currently has 153 people on death row. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety 79 of those are black, 62 are white, seven are Indian, and five are other.” The last time an execution was carried out was in 2006. In 2010 there were 1,215 people serving life without the possibility of parole in the state.

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George Lavender is an award-winning radio and print journalist based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeLavender.
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