Groups protest Racial Justice Act amendment | News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Groups protest Racial Justice Act amendment

Posted by on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 12:08 PM

This morning, Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ), N.C. Coalition for a Moratorium, the N.C. NAACP and others gathered to call for the removal of an amendment to the state’s Racial Justice Act that would effectively restart executions in the state. The groups highlighted the popular support across the state for a racial justice bill, and advocated a “clean” bill without the death penalty amendment.

Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) introduced the offending amendment, which would resolve several legal hurdles to the resumption of executions. The demonstrators' press release hkonj-press-release ,which was delivered in front of the General Assembly building, called the addition “unconscionable,” as the Racial Justice Act was meant to correct flaws in the execution process.

The Racial Justice Act would allow the challenge of death penalty cases in which race was thought to have been a factor. A UNC study found that defendants were 3.5 times as likely to get the death penalty if the victim was white. Since the beginning of the death penalty moratorium in North Carolina, three African-American men have been exonerated. In all those cases, at least one of the victims was white.

Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, spoke about the contrasting experiences of the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, who were later exonerated before trial, and the death row inmates,  who were eventually found not guilty. While the Duke players spent a short time in jail, the African-American men served combined 41 years on death row. 

“It’s not a crying shame,” said Rev. Dr. Barber. “It’s a damn shame.”

Sarah Preston, lobbyist for the N.C. ACLU, noted that her group and the NAACP oppose the death penalty on principle. But if there were going to be executions, she said she wanted the system to be color-blind and as fair as possible

“We don’t want to restart executions until the effects of the bill are in place,” Preston said.

Tags: , , , ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News

Twitter Activity


Most Recent Comments

@jerryg so if the mayor has no power why should we vote then?

by snake00 on Runoff for Raleigh Mayor's Post May Be Ahead as Francis Denies McFarlane a Majority of Votes (News)

Cora landed the endorsements of the Durham Committee (DC) and the Friends (FD) for 10,400 votes.
Huggins with the DC …

by Frank Hyman on Cole-McFadden Survives Durham Council Primary, Moffitt Does Not (News)

Cora landed the endorsements of the Durham Committee (DC) and the Friends (FD) for 10,400 votes.
Huggins with the DC …

by Frank Hyman on Durham's Next Mayor Will Be Steve Schewel or Farad Ali (News)

Just because one of our two newly elected Council members is pro-neighborhood and natural resources, it does not qualify her …

by Meredith de la Vergne on Make Way for the NIMBY Raleigh City Council, as Newcomers Nicole Stewart and Stef Mendell Oust Bonner Gaylord and Defeat Stacy Miller (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation