J.W. Pope Civitas Institue: North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act

“District Attorneys in North Carolina unanimously embrace and support four important principles as a means to keep “justice blind” in criminal cases. Historically, research and evidence have been used to support facts that are presented on a case-by-case basis to prevent any malfeasance potentially created by man.

Passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2009, the “Racial Justice Act” inserted language into the law that removed the proverbial blindfold from the eyes of Lady Justice, and was only the second state in the union to do so.

North Carolina now allows the use of statistical evidence – such as reviewing trends in 16,000 first-degree murder cases prosecuted in the state over the past 20 years – rather than testimony and fact.

The four principles District Attorneys adhere to are anchored in documents and statutes defined by state and national leaders that emphasize the persuasion to end racism. They include:

  • North Carolina General Statute §15A-2010 “Racial Justice Act” enacted by North Carolina Legislature in 2009 – “No person shall be subject to or given a sentence of death or shall be executed pursuant to any judgment that was sought or obtained on the basis of race.”
  • Aug. 28, 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speech at Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. – “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
  • N. C. Constitution, Article I, “Declaration of Rights,” Section 1.  “The Equality and Rights of Persons” 1868 and 1970 – “All persons are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  • N.C. Constitution Article I, “Declaration of Rights” Section 19, “Law of the Land; Equal Protection of the Laws” 1868 and 1970 – “No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subject to discrimination by the state because of race, color, religion or national origin.”

There is A LOT more great information on the Racial Justice Act (as well as Kentucky’s RJA) in the article here: North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act

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