The closing arguments in North Carolina’s initial Racial Justice Act (RJA) concluded a few weeks ago in Fayetteville, and the public will be waiting for another one or two months for the ruling.
Under the RJA, convicted murderers can appeal their sentence under the guise that race played a factor in their sentences. Curiously, appeals can be made regardless of the race of the convicted murderer or their victim.
While three convicted killers are getting publicity, the victims and their families are longing for loved ones who do not have a voice.
Senate Bill 416, passed last session over a Gov. Perdue veto, still allows for the death row appeals but limits the use of statistics in the appeals process.
Critics of the RJA believe SB 416 didn’t go far enough, and that the RJA should be repealed completely.
In the meantime, the families of the victims now have to painfully relive all the details of the deaths of their loved ones due to the appeals process allowed under the RJA.
Below is part one of a four part video series that explores the controversial and flawed Racial Justice Act. The intent is to not only expose the flaws of this legislation, but to remind viewers of the devastation these convicted murderers left behind.
The day their loved ones died will stay etched in their relatives’ minds forever. We often just hear the story about the murderer and of how they supposedly were not treated fairly; it is time to know who the real victims of the Racial Justice Act are.
Video by Alex Rector
Part 1 – This four minute video provides a brief introduction and background on the Racial Justice Act. Included is a discussion of SB 416 and interviews with district attorneys sharing their concerns about the RJA. Future videos in this series will include interviews with victims’ family members discussing their loss and their views of the ability of convicted murderers to appeal their sentence under RJA.
In part 2 of this video series, we hear the compelling words of Marsha Howell, whose daughter was murdered by a man currently sitting on death row. Ms. Howell adamantly rejects the notion that race played a factor in the sentencing of her daugher’s killer – who also seriously injured her son. Ms. Howell also shares her thoughts on the NAACP’s and Gov. Perdue’s poor handling of the issue. This powerful and heartbreaking video reminds us about the horrific acts committed by those on death row and why the Racial Justice Act is unjustified.
Part 3 of this video series contains an interview with Crystal Davis, whose mother was murdered in 1999 by an inmate currently sitting on death row. Ms. Davis questions the legitimacy of the Racial Justice Act, especially the fact that a killer and victim can both be the same race but the killer can still appeal his sentence under the RJA under its flawed premise of racial bias in sentencing. Davis also discusses the difficulty of victims’ families having to relive the tragic killing of a loved one all over again during the sentence appeal hearings allowed by the RJA.
In the final installment of this four-part video series, we hear from District Attorneys who are concerned about the negative consequences of the Racial Justice Act. Included in the concerns are the high financial cost of re-opening high volumes of files from past cases as well as the inappropriate use of statistics allowed in the RJA appeals process.