NC Governor Vetoes Racial Justice Act Rollback

On Saturday, North Carolina Governor, Beverly Perdue, decided to veto the bill delivered to her by the North Carolina Legislature that would undermine the Racial Justice Act (RJA), a law in North Carolina that allows death row inmates to challenge their sentences based on statewide evidence of racial bias.

This is the second time that Governor Perdue has decided to veto legislation that would diminish the scope of the RJA, her first veto being in December of 2011. However, the political landscape has shifted in North Carolina with the current Legislature passing this most recent bill with enough support to override the Governor’s veto. The Senate is expected to vote on repealing the Governor’s veto today, and the House is expected to either follow or vote on Tuesday.

Despite the possibility of an overriding vote, Governor Perdue stood firmly by her convictions that the RJA was essential to ensure equality and fairness in the North Carolina justice system. In her statement about vetoing the legislation, Perdue said “It is simply unacceptable for racial prejudice to play a role in the imposition of the death penalty in North Carolina.”

Regardless of the outcome, we applaud Governor Perdue and all the advocates of North Carolina who are working to protect the gains of the RJA as a way towards a more equitable justice system for all.

Photo courtesy of the Watauga-Democrat

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