A headline from today’s Charlotte Observer says it all.
Yet, what makes this case even more interesting is the accusation by Sen. Malcolm Graham (D – Mecklenburg), a co-sponsor of the Racial Justice Act, that lawyers are “hiding behind this new legislation” in seeking a delay for the accused. Graham goes even further on WSOC TV stating, “Anytime you kill a public officer, a police officer, I think you ought to face the ultimate penalty.”
Graham is likely unaware that this has already been the case in western North Carolina, as lawyers seek to delay the trial of an accused murder of a N.C. State Trooper.
However, regardless of a victim’s employment, every innocent victim deserves justice.
In Forsyth County alone, at least 4 cases have been delayed by District Attorney Jim O’Neill since his appointment by Governor Perdue last year. O’Neill replaced retiring District Attorney Tom Keith, an outspoken critic of the Racial Justice Act.
Accused murder suspects are pushing to delay their trials in hopes that a study to be released this August will provide “data” to stop prosecutors from pursuing the death penalty under the new law. This state-wide study is funded by private organizations including Z. Smith Reynolds and the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. These foundations have histories of contributing to organizations opposed to capital punishment.
For the victims and their families, the Racial Justice Act is nothing more than an unnecessary and costly delay of justice.