Professor Ron Wright quoted by The Associated Press regarding N.C. Racial Justice Act

RALEIGH, N.C. –  When critics of the Racial Justice Act made their case at the General Assembly this week, they used an attention-grabbing scenario to argue that the law is fatally flawed: the prospect of North Carolina’s worst murderers roaming the streets, free on parole. 

Republicans in the state Senate who voted to approve a bill that would essentially repeal the Racial Justice Act, and prosecutors who support the effort, argue that it could happen to convicts who successfully appeal their death sentences under the disputed law. But legal experts say it’s not so simple, especially because none of the appeals filed under the 2009 law has been decided in court yet. 

“We are fearful that, based on case law, 119 death row inmates would be eligible for parole,” Susan Doyle, president of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, told lawmakers before the Senate voted to send the measure to Gov. Beverly Perdue, who has not yet said whether she’ll veto it. 

Professor Ron Wright told The Associated Press that the real question policymakers should answer is not whether the Racial Justice Act carries the potential for unintended consequences, but whether the law’s goals are worth that potential.

Read the full story here.