CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Bias Law Used to Move a Man Off Death Row"

From the New York Times:

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Concluding that racial bias played a significant factor in a death sentence here 18 years ago, a judge on Friday ordered that it be changed to life in prison without parole, the first such decision under North Carolina’s controversial Racial Justice Act.

The landmark ruling could be the first of many under the law, which allows future defendants and current death row inmates to present evidence, including statistical patterns, suggesting that race played a major role in their being sentenced to death.

. . .

North Carolina’s law allows a defendant to argue that race was a significant factor in his death sentence by presenting evidence along any of three lines: that a death sentence was more likely to be sought or imposed on defendants of one race, that it was more likely when the victim was a certain race or that racial bias influenced jury selection.

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