The Latest: NC court hears cases on racism and death penalty

August 26, 2019 - 5:04 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on North Carolina Supreme Court hearings about race and the death penalty (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

A defense attorney is asking North Carolina's highest court to weigh in on what he called hundreds of years of racial discrimination in jury selection. But an attorney representing the state says the decision facing the state Supreme Court is limited to whether the provisions of a repealed law still apply.

The state Supreme Court began hearing arguments Monday in the cases of six inmates who say they ended up on death row because of racism and that they were incorrectly returned to death row when a law designed to help them, called the Racial Justice Act, was repealed.

Under the act, condemned men and women were able to seek a life sentence by using statistics to show that race tainted their trials.

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2:35 p.m.

North Carolina's highest court is hearing from six inmates who say they ended up on death row because of racism - and because a law meant to protect them was repealed.

The state Supreme Court began hearing arguments Monday in the cases of four inmates who briefly were resentenced to life without parole when legislators approved the Racial Justice Act in 2009. Legislators repealed the law in 2013.

Justices also will hear from attorneys for two other death row prisoners whose Racial Justice Act claims weren't decided before the law's repeal.

Under the act, condemned men and women could seek a life sentence by using statistics to show that race tainted their trials.

Of the 142 people on North Carolina's death row, 36% are white.

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