NC death row prisoners to argue sentences tainted by race

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s highest court is hearing from six inmates who say they ended up on death row because of racism – and because a law meant to protect them was repealed.

The state Supreme Court began hearing arguments Monday in the cases of four inmates who briefly were resentenced to life without parole when legislators approved the Racial Justice Act in 2009. Legislators repealed the law in 2013.

Justices also will hear from attorneys for two other death row prisoners whose Racial Justice Act claims weren’t decided before the law’s repeal.

Under the act, condemned men and women could seek a life sentence by using statistics to show that race tainted their trials.

Of the 142 people on North Carolina’s death row, 36% are white.

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