N.C. lawmakers OK bias test as death penalty barrier
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s General Assembly has made the state the second in the country to allow attorneys to use statistical data to try to show that racial bias was behind the decision of prosecutors to seek or jurors to impose the death penalty.
The Senate voted 25-18 on Tuesday for a measure the NAACP and other advocates said was needed in a state that has released three black men from death row since December 2007. Only Kentucky has similar legislation, enacted 11 years ago.
District attorneys, sheriffs and victims advocates lined up against the measure that supporters called the Racial Justice Act. Opponents said it would make death penalty prosecutions too difficult.
North Carolina has not had an execution in nearly three years.