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Senate votes to repeal Racial Justice Act

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RALEIGH--Despite strong pleas Monday from supporters of North Carolina's Racial Justice Act, state senators voted to repeal it.

The law allows death row inmates to challenge that racial bias may have led to their death sentence. The House already approved the repeal, an effort backed largely by Republicans. They, along with other detractors, say the law clogged up the courts with hundreds of appeals and it was also an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty.

However supporters argued that it helped insure fairness in the administering of capitol punishment.

“The defendant admitted, Paul said, 'Please don't.' And I'm asking please don't let him off death row. Simply because there is a statistic in another part of this state that says he should get a lighter sentence,” said Racial Justice Act repeal supporter Angie West.

“Any attempt to repeal or amend the Racial Justice Act is nothing more than an attempt at legislative racism and engaging in race bating politics,” said N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber.

The repeal will now head to Gov. Bev Perdue's desk for her approval. A spokesman for the governor said she will review the bill before making a decision.

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