Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Racial Justice Act Threatens Western Jurisprudence?

Assistant District Attorney David Hall, of Forsyth County, asserted yesterday in the first Racial Justice Act hearing that the law "threatens Western Jurisprudence." Judge Wood reassured him that, it will probably survive.

The hyperbole that surrounded attacks on the Racial Justice Act (RJA) in the press and public are apparently set to continue in court, showing how threatening a serious inquiry into the racial content of State decision-making is perceived to be.

Yesterday, in Forsyth County, the first substantive hearing on RJA was held before the Honorable Judge William Wood in the cases of Errol Moses and Stephen Moseley. The hearing involved the District Attorneys argument that the law was unconstitutionally vague because it allows use of statewide statistics to provide relief in individual cases.

A statewide study has been completed under the Racial Justice Act, showing that persons who kill white victims are substantially more likely to receive a death sentence than those who kill blacks--something advocates say uncovers a system that values white life more than black life. The study also shows that prosecutors were much more likely to strike black jurors than white jurors during jury selection. Under the law, such showing entitles a defendant to be removed from death row and re-sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Read press here and here.

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