Senate passes Goolsby's bill to repeal Racial Justice Act - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Senate passes Goolsby's bill to repeal Racial Justice Act

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The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to repeal the Racial; Justice Act, and move past a moratorium on the death penalty The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to repeal the Racial; Justice Act, and move past a moratorium on the death penalty

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WECT) - The state Senate agrees that the Racial Justice Act should be repealed completely in North Carolina as one way to restart executions after a more than six-year hiatus.

Senators voted along party lines Wednesday in favor of several changes to capital punishment laws. Some reflect a state court ruling that found doctors are required by state law to oversee executions. The bill also ends the 2009 law allowing death-row inmates to argue for a life sentence on the grounds of racial prejudice.

Bill sponsor Sen. Thom Goolsby of Wilmington says lawmakers have a moral obligation to ensure executions are carried out in accordance with state law.  "Since 2006, liberal death penalty opponents have orchestrated legal challenges to impede the law in North Carolina," Goolsby said in a statement to WECT. "This legislation will see to it that justice is served for the families of long silent victims, for the juries of North Carolina who did their solemn duty and for the District Attorneys who prosecuted these cases."

Democratic opponents argue the Racial Justice Act has determined black residents have been unfairly left off capital murder juries.

The SB 306 now moves over to the House for debate. Click here to read the entire text of the bill.

Copyright 2013 WECT. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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