SB 306: Capital Punishment/Amendments

Summary: Repeals The Racial Justice Act, which allowed death row inmates to seek relief if racial bias existed in their case, by using statistics and anecdotal evidence. Research by Matthew Robinson, PhD, Professor of Government and Justice Studies, Appalachian State University demonstrates the following realities of capital punishment in NC:

  • Capital punishment in North Carolina is characterized by serious disparities based on extra-legal factors such as race and gender. Systematic studies of the state’s death penalty system consistently find that the race of the murder victim meaningfully impacts the likelihood of receiving a death sentence—a “race of victim” bias—even after controlling for legally relevant factors. Studies show this bias emerges both from prosecutorial and jury decision making.
  • Innocent people are wrongly convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in North Carolina.  For a variety of reasons, substantial procedural errors plague highly emotional capital trials.

The mechanism for redressing bias shown to be inherent in capital cases, has been eliminated with this bill.

Click here for official bill history, bill text, and vote records.

Status: Introduced in the Senate, heard in Senate Committee on Judiciary I and House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee B. Passed 6/13/2013. Signed by Gov. McCrory into law 6/19/2013.

WNC Legislators sponsoring the bill: none

Voting for SB 306
Rep. Roger West (R)
Rep. Michelle Presnell (R)
Rep. Chuck McGrady (R)
Rep. Tim Moffitt (R)
Rep. Nathan Ramsey (R)
Rep. Chris Whitmire (R)
Rep. Mike Hager (R)
Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R)
Rep. Josh Dobson (R)
Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R)

Sen. Jim Davis (R)
Sen. Tom Apodaca (R)
Sen. Ralph Hise (R)
Sen. Warren Daniel (R)
Sen. Dan Soucek (R)
Voting Against SB 306
Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D)
Rep. Susan Fisher (D)

Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D)
Not Voting