Governor Perdue vetoed Senate Bill 416 on Thursday, legislation that critics said would dramatically weaken the 2009 Racial Justice Act.
Last year, Republicans in the General Assembly passed a bill that would have repealed the RJA, which Perdue promptly vetoed. The governor says the “compromise” bill (SB 416) offered during this short session would also gut the act and render it meaningless.
Here’s more from the Governor’s statement:
“Several months ago, a North Carolina superior court judge ruling on a claim brought under the Racial Justice Act determined that racial discrimination occurred in death penalty trials across the State over a multi-year period. 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. Instead, they chose to turn a blind eye to the problem and eviscerate the Racial Justice Act. Willfully ignoring the pernicious effects of discrimination will not make those problems go away.
It is simply unacceptable for racial prejudice to play a role in the imposition of the death penalty in North Carolina.”