NEW VOICES: Retired Judges Support Finding of Racial Bias in North Carolina Death Penalty

By aholsinger

Six retired judges in North Carolina urged the the state Supreme Court to uphold the rulings of a lower court that found racial bias in the use of the death peanlty. Former chief justices James Exum and Henry Frye, along with former judges Willis Whichard, Melzer Morgan, Wade Barber and Russell Walker filed a brief in support of inmates whose death sentences were reduced to life without parole in 2012 under the state’s Racial Justice Act. The Act allowed death row inmates to present statistical evidence of racial bias in challenging their sentences, but it was repealed in 2013. The NAACP also filed a brief on behalf of the inmates. Irving Joyner, a North Carolina Central University law professor who signed the NAACP brief, said, “What the court has to decide is whether the state of North Carolina feels it’s acceptable to execute people who have been tried by a racially biased system.”

(“Retired judges say race-bias rulings should be upheld,” WRAL, January 13, 2014). See Race and New Voices.

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