As this morning’s essay by former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell and his law partner Press Millen makes clear yet again, the notion that the Racial Justice Act will somehow set murderers free as is claimed by conservative opponents of the law is, in a word, poppycock. Read More…
NPR had a national story this morning that comports with the situation here in North Carolina entitled “Death sentences drop to historic lows in 2011.”
Of course, given this reality, we should have seen a big bump in homicides in light the death penalty’s big “deterrent effect.”
Uh, not so fast my friend.
It turns out the murder rate in the United States has been dropping right along with the use of the death penalty and is now lower than at any time since the early 1960′s. It’s about half the rate it was less than 20 years ago when the death machine was going full tilt.
When it comes to the rights of North Carolina prison inmates, few if anyone knows more than the lawyers at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. Today’s the group’s executive director, Mary Pollard, sent a letter to Governor Perdue debunking the notion promoted by some prosecutors that some inmates who had their death sentences overturned by the application of the Racial Justice Act could somehow end up out on the street (the Act mandates that the sentences of such individuals be converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole).
According to Pollard:
“The possibility that a death row inmate might become parole-eligible as a result of the Racial Justice Act should not be of concern to you as you make your decision on whether to veto the legislative repeal of the Act.”
The state Senate Judiciary I Committee just sent out a notice that it would take up the bill to repeal the Racial Justice Act (with the dishonestly named substitute that was rammed through the House this summer) next Monday at 2:30 pm.
Happy Holidays, folks! What’s next? A bill to repeal the First and Fourth Amendments scheduled on Chritmas Eve?