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Racial Justice Act lives up to its name

The good folks at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation released the following explanation of today’s Racial Justice Act ruling in Cumberland County

April 20, 2012 Ruling on Lead NC Racial Justice Act Case 

  • The lead case applying the historic and ground-breaking NC Racial Justice Act (RJA) concluded today with a judicial finding of race discrimination in the operation of the death penalty in North Carolina.
  • North Carolina Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks found that prosecutors deliberately excluded qualified black jurors from jury service in death row inmate Marcus Robinson’s case, in Cumberland County, and throughout the state.
  • As directed by the law, the Court stated that parole eligibility was not an option under the Racial Justice Act, and resentenced Marcus Robinson to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. 
  • In enacting the RJA, the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Perdue made clear that the state of North Carolina rejects the influence of race discrimination in the administration of the death penalty.  The RJA represents a landmark reform in North Carolina, a state which has long been a leader in forward-thinking criminal justice policies.  
  • With today’s ruling, North Carolina continues its leading role as a state willing to honestly and fairly examine the affect of race in its criminal justice system. 
  • A Michigan State University study of jury selection practices in North Carolina capital cases between 1990 and 2010 was introduced as evidence in the hearing.  Judge Weeks found it to be a valid, highly reliable, statistical study. The results of the study, with remarkable consistency across time and jurisdictions, show that race is highly correlated with decisions on striking jurors in North Carolina. 
  • The ruling and the findings of the MSU study are consistent with every major study of jury selection in capital cases done in the United States.  
  • Following this ruling, the NC Racial Justice Act allows for a fresh start by permitting prosecutors to remedy race discrimination through in depth training programs. 
  • This decision marks a new day for justice in North Carolina where the justice system acknowledges past discrimination and respects the rights of persons of all races to serve on juries.

6 Comments


  1. Frank Burns

    April 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I’m ready for a new day in NC where this law is overturned by the General Assembly. It is just a back door attempt to eliminate the death penalty.

  2. […] The hearing was the first to apply North Carolina’s landmark Racial Justice Act. Following the law’s directives, the judge resentenced Robinson to life without the possibility of parole because unrefuted […]

  3. Jack

    April 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Injustice now, injustice tomorrow, injustice forever! Is that it Frank?

    Why should “those people” know justice? After all their probably guilty of something any way – right?

    Or is it that life without the possibility of parole takes tax dollars and if the state kills people we wouldn’t be taxed for such a troublesome issue as a person’s life. I that what bothers you about seeing justice done?

  4. Frank Burns

    April 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Jack,
    I want to see murderers receive their just sentence of death to protect the public from them ever doing it again. They made a choice to kill somebody, they need to suffer the consequences of their actions and receive the same level of mercy that they showed their victims.

  5. gregflynn

    April 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    The Racial Justice Act is about black and white murderers receiving similar justice for committing similar crimes.

  6. Frank Burns

    April 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    No the racial justice act is a way to undermine the application of the death penalty regardless of skin color.

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