The Herald: Inmates seeking reprieve

“Lawyers for Bacote and several others wrote in the filings that “Johnston County has a long and infamous history of racial strife,” citing as an example the Ku Klux Klan billboard that marked the entrance to Smithfield until the 1980s.

Here are some of the other claims made by inmates:

Death row inmate Angel Guevara

Guevara, 46, was convicted in 1996 in the shooting death of Johnston County sheriff’s deputy Paul West at Guevara’s mobile home. West and Lt. Ronald Medlin, who was wounded, were preparing to serve an arrest warrant on Guevara when he shot them. Guevara’s lawyers wrote that two-thirds of black jurors were excluded at his trial and that many area residents surveyed at the time of his trial said their opinion of him was based on his Hispanic ethnicity.”

Guervara is one of seven death-row inmates mentioned in the article who is appealing his death sentence through the racial justice act and recently published studies on racial bias in capital cases.  The article gives brief synopses on each inmates case history and their individual circumstances with a jury or citizens in their community that led to an impartial sentencing of the death penalty.  If the district attorneys and prosecutors get their way and all 140 plus Racial Justice Act appeals are heard individually, lawyers will have to identify the individual biases and injustices within each case, such as the survey of the area residents of Geuvara’s community that said their opinion of him “was based on his Hispanic ethnicity.”

«Inmates seeking reprieve

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