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North Carolina Governor Vetoes Repeal of Historic Racial Justice Act

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December 14, 2011

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue today courageously vetoed a bill to repeal that state’s Racial Justice Act (RJA), an historic 2009 state law enacted to ensure that death sentences handed down in the state are not the result of racial bias in the trial and jury selection process.

Last month the North Carolina legislature voted to repeal RJA, which allows death row inmates to present statistics showing that race was a factor at the time of their trial. If an inmate was able to show that, his or her death sentence would be converted to life in prison without parole.

Gov. Perdue’s veto leaves the RJA intact for now – the bill now goes back to the state House and Senate, which can vote to overturn the veto.

Cassandra Stubbs, staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, said in an ACLU statement:

“Gov. Perdue’s courageous decision to veto the bill repealing North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act ensures that North Carolina will not tolerate discrimination in its capital punishment system. No one should ever be given the irrevocable sentence of death because of the color of their skin or because jurors were wrongfully excluded. Racial bias has no place in the capital punishment system.”

Live in North Carolina? Contact Gov. Perdue and thank her for standing up for the RJA! Call (800) 662-7952 or email

If you don’t live in North Carolina, go here to find out what you can do to end the death penalty in your state.

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