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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.”

Right??

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.

 

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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.”

Click here to read Pollard’s letter.  

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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?

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Today’s editorial in the Wilmington Star-News nails it. The only thing it’s missing is a scathing attack on Thom Tillis and Phil Berger for apparently embracing such reprehensible action:

“Prosecutors in North Carolina should remember that they owe allegiance to justice, not to their conviction record. It is unconscionable for anyone sworn to upholding justice to push for a law that could block justice from being done.

Yet that is exactly what North Carolina’s district attorneys are trying to do – again. They want the N.C. General Assembly, which is bent on having year-round sessions, to repeal the Racial Justice Act when they return to Raleigh on Nov. 27. They are likely to be supported by the new legislative majority; no Republicans voted for the 2009 bill. But repealing it would constitute an injustice. Read More