Target: The North Carolina Legislature
Goal: Ensure evidence of racial bias is permitted in death penalty appeals.
It is an unfortunate fact that the law is not always applied equally, and the place where this is most dangerous is in the application of the death penalty. Once applied, there is no way to undo a death sentence, thus there must be absolute certainty that a killer is guilty and was given a fair assessment under the law before the death penalty can be fairly applied. Unfortunately, the state of North Carolina has recently passed a bill which would limit the types of proof which could be presented by the condemned in order to prove racial bias in their sentencing and seek a commuting of their execution.
In July of 2012, a bill limiting appeals evidence for death penalty cases was passed by the North Carolina legislature, vetoed by the governor and passed anyway due to a veto override vote. This bill limits admissible evidence of racial bias to statistical evidence and renders all specific evidence of bias inadmissible. Basically, the condemned can present statistical evidence that their race has been discriminated against before or that the death penalty has not been fairly applied, but they cannot point to specific cases of bias in their sentencing. Even if somebody involved in the case (ex. the judge or an expert witness) acted in an improper and racially biased manner during their case, this evidence cannot be presented in order to show racial bias.
It is absolutely absurd that specific cases of racism during a legal proceeding are inadmissible, yet statistical figures are allowed. This will only lead to racism being covered up, executions being applied unequally, and the perpetuation of the bias within the American justice system. Please sign this petition in order to protest the limiting of admissible evidence during death row appeals based upon racial bias to statistical evidence; in cases of life and death, all available evidence and proof of bias should be considered in order to avoid miscarriages of justice which cannot be fixed.
Dear North Carolina Legislators,
In July of 2012, the North Carolina state legislature made a terrible mistake: you – or the people who work with you – passed a bill, even in the face of a gubernatorial veto, which would limit the admissible evidence during death penalty appeals based upon racial bias to statistical data. This limit will preclude the presentation of specific evidence of racial bias in cases which led to the sentence of death and will result in the further tilting of the criminal justice system away from racial equality.
If an individual cannot present specific evidence of racial bias in their cases, and is instead relegated to presenting non-specific statistical evidence, the likelihood that their appeal will fail is drastically increased. We should take into account all evidence, statistical and specific in cases where a person’s life is at stake. It is very possible that those convicted are guilty and were tried fairly, but these are not the people harmed by this law; the only people to suffer under this law are those who have evidence of racial bias being use during their sentencing, yet are unable to present it in support of their case.
I, as well as everybody else to sign this petition, implore you and your colleagues to reconsider this terrible law. Please repeal this law immediately, lest it results in terrible miscarriages of justice. In death penalty cases, all evidence and potential bias should be investigated before the sentence is carried out; after all, there is no way to undo an execution after the fact.
[Your Name Here]