Perdue’s Veto Ignores Justice, Public Safety
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) responded Wednesday to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of reforms to the Racial Justice Act that ensure death row inmates are never eligible for parole.
Below is a statement from Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham):
“As much as Gov. Perdue claims to support the death penalty, she knows the Racial Justice Act and her veto are back-door bans on capital punishment. This is the same double-speak we’ve heard all year from a politician focused more on pandering to the left wing of her party than governing responsibly. Gov. Perdue has a moral duty to uphold public safety for the people of North Carolina and preserve justice for the families of victims murdered in the most heinous crimes – and she has failed. The Senate will override her veto to ensure hardened criminals cannot be released.”
Successful Racial Justice Act appeals are supposed to reduce the defendant’s sentence to life in prison without parole. But according to the General Assembly’s nonpartisan legal staff and nearly every district attorney in North Carolina, someone who committed first degree murder before Oct. 1, 1994 – before the life without parole sentence was legal – could be eligible for release after 20 years in prison based on the Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Connor. Those who committed first degree murder between Oct. 1, 1994 and Dec. 1, 1998 could be eligible for release after 25 years. The court ruled it unconstitutional to increase a sentence to life without parole.
And as many predicted, the law has been severely abused. Nearly every death row inmate has filed a Racial Justice Act appeal, including criminals who are the same race as their victims and most members of their juries.
SB 9 does not keep convicted criminals from appealing their sentence on the grounds of racial bias – it simply clarifies that state courts must use the standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court, ensuring murders cannot manipulate statistics or use arbitrary data to avoid justice.Tweet