Truth denied

November 30, 2011 

A basic premise of the law is to seek the truth, no matter how stubbornly it hides, with courage, passion and strength. That lesson was lost by some N.C. legislators in their repeal of the Racial Justice Act (news story, Nov. 29).

The act allowed death-sentenced inmates to introduce statistics of racial bias in the death penalty system and be re-sentenced to life without parole if those claims were meritorious. The truth, evidenced in statistical studies, is that qualified black jurors were 2.5 times more likely to be struck from capital juries in the state and that defendants who murdered white victims were 2.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those whose victims were black.

The repeal strips defendants of the opportunity to have these statistics introduced and instead leaves them to die at the hands of the state with the possibility of racially tainted sentences.

Seeking the truth shouldn't be divided among defense attorneys and prosecutors, and supporting racial justice shouldn't be divided among party lines. It's a moral responsibility of each of us as citizens to ensure justice and fairness.

Hannah Autry

Chapel Hill

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