Opponents claim bill will gut Racial Justice Act

June 14, 2012 10:16:46 AM PDT
Family members of murder victims stood beside Democratic lawmakers at a news conference Thursday bashing a vote by the NC House that, they said, would gut the Racial Justice Act.

The historic act allows death row inmates to use statistics and other evidence to show racism may have been a part of their trial and sentencing.

The historic act allows death row inmates to use statistics and other evidence to show racism may have been a part of their trial and sentencing.

Among the family members in attendance was Yolanda Littlejohn. She said she still hopes investigators can find out who really killed her sister Jaquetta Thomas in Raleigh after Greg Taylor was exonerated in 2010.

Littlejohn, along with Darryl Hunt who was exonerated after serving nearly two decades in prison for the murder of a white newspaper editor he did not commit, talked about the House vote being an injustice itself and wanting to make sure that there is equality in the justice system.

"When a man served 17 years for murdering her and it wasn't him, this did not make me lose faith in the justice system, however, what happened on yesterday saddens me because yes, the state of North Carolina is now going backwards," Littlejohn said.

"To hear them say the system is so good, is a slap in the face to me, because I'm not here because the system worked," Hunt added. "I didn't spend 19 years and 19 days in prison because our system worked. If our system worked, I would have never went to prison."

The House bill that passed Wednesday is being called the death penalty bill. House majority leader Skip Stam said it lifts the moratorium on the death penalty that has essentially been in place since the Racial Justice Act was passed. It also limits the statistics inmates can use to appeal their convictions.

The Senate could take up the issue as early as next week.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments