The New York Times editorial page commented on North Carolina's Racial Justice Act bill the House passed last week.
The bill would change some of the provisions of the law that allows death row inmates to use racial bias to challenge their death sentences.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly tried to repeal the act last year, but Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed that effort. Now, the legislature is trying again during the short session, making the following changes to the three-year-old law:
- The length of time statistics can be pulled from has been defined.
- The proximity from the crime for those statistics has been reduced.
- The people whose race can be considered has been cut down.
Law supporters said these changes to the law would render it ineffective, and the Times editorial board agreed.
It wrote: "The bill, which amends the death penalty process, would also give prosecutors more flexibility in seeking death, and would limit the governor’s authority to oversee executions."
The editorial also called on Perdue to veto this version of the bill, which should go before the Senate this week for a vote.
Read the full editorial here.