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State Supreme Court Hears Racial Justice Act Cases

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

This morning, the state supreme court will hear the cases of four defendants who were removed from death row under the state's racial justice act. The court will review whether the now repealed-act should apply to these defendants.

State lawmakers repealed the Racial Justice Act last year. It allowed death row inmates to receive life imprisonment if they could show that racial bias contributed to their sentences.

The four defendants whose cases will be heard today were removed from death row in 2012. They are Marcus Robinson, Tilmon Golphin, Quintel Augustine and Christina Waters.

Experts say the  state supreme court could come out with a narrowly tailored decision that would only affect those four people, or their decision could be broader and affect the more than 150 defendants who have filed motions for relief under the act.

The state is appealing a superior court decision that commuted the defendants' sentences to life in prison. The state has not executed a prisoner on death row since 2006.


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