Source: Indy Week

The Supreme Court of North Carolina ruled that the Republican-led General Assembly’s repeal of the Racial Justice Act in 2013 cannot be applied retroactively, Indy Week reported.

North Carolina has not executed anyone since 2006, and this decision will allow a majority of those who remain on Death Row to have their impending executions overturned. The Racial Justice Act was passed in 2009 and was meant to ensure that in the justice system no one “shall be subject to or given a sentence of death or shall be executed pursuant to any judgment that was sought or obtained on the basis of race,” Indy Week reports.

The law allowed defendants the opportunity to show that race played a significant factor in the decision to seek the death penalty for their alleged crimes. North Carolina prosecutors were shown for decades how to exclude Black jurors, Indy Week reports, underscoring the importance of the legislation that Republican leaders repealed seven years ago.

The majority decision, written by Justice Anita Earls, said that the legislation should have applied to everyone who was eligible for it at the time. Of the current slate on Death Row, 55 percent are Black, Indy Week reports. A number of cases were reduced to life without parole and subsequently resentenced to death after the law’s repeal.

The decision made waves, particularly with the nation’s focus on race and the justice system. 

Read the full story from Indy Week here.