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N.C. serial killers agree 

Executing murderers is racist

It sounds so terrible, so completely and grossly unfair.

The sponsors of the North Carolina Racial Justice Act and the state chapter of the NAACP want you to believe that the death penalty is handed out in an utterly racist manner in this state. Their statistics sound convincing.

While only 22 percent of the state's population is African-American, some 53 percent of the state's death row inmates are black. So juries and prosecutors must be horribly racist, they conclude.

What we need to do to make it fair, Racial Justice Act sponsors say, is to commute death sentences, no matter how horrendous the crime or the circumstances that surrounded it, if the inmate can prove race played a factor in his sentencing. And incredibly, according to this legislation, an inmate only needs to show that someone of his race is statistically more likely to get a death sentence in this state and they're off the hook.

It's the ultimate get out of jail free card, and if the North Carolina Racial Justice Act passes, both black and white death row inmates will be able to use it to get their sentences commuted.

Consider statistics from a different source. According to the FBI's 2005 Uniform Crime Report, the latest available, it's white inmates who are actually being discriminated against. While 38 percent of those arrested for murder in this state are white, 39 percent of those on death row are white. See? Discrimination!

Meanwhile, according to the FBI stats, 57 percent of those arrested for murder here are African-American while only 53 percent of those on death row are. No fair!

Guess we'll just have stick to executing Asians and American Indians. Almost three percent of those arrested for murder in North Carolina self-identify as American Indians, yet only 1.5 percent of those on death row are American Indians, so clearly we need to kill more of them -- to make it fair, of course.

The beauty of this bill, from an axe murderer's perspective, is that it is retroactive and there are no limits on which statistics you can use. So if you don't like the 2005 FBI statistics, you could just use the 2004 statistics. Reporting to the FBI is voluntary, though most law enforcement agencies increasingly do it. In 2004, 380 North Carolina law enforcement agencies reported homicides to the FBI. In 2005, 448 did. That means the stats fluctuate annually, so there's plenty of statistical "diversity" to choose from.

If a serial killer still can't get the results he wants from those statistics, there's always the murder incarceration statistics kept by the North Carolina Department of Correction, which can be used as a last resort.

This is the single most idiotic piece of state legislation I've seen come down the pike in years, and that includes the recent Mike Nifong Protection Act (see my April 25 column.) Incredibly, some Mecklenburg County legislators have hopped on board to sponsor it. Mecklenburg sponsors include Republican House member Ruth Samuelson and Democrats Martha Alexander, Pete Cunningham and Tricia Cotham.

The bill is so outrageous it really has to be read to be believed. (Go to http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ and use the bill text search.)

It even has a back door clause. If your lawyer is too drunk or incompetent to use the above-mentioned statistics to get you out of the death penalty, he or she can use the racial make-up of the jury that convicted you. If your jury didn't match the state's demographic make-up, you can argue that you've been discriminated against.

Incredibly, the sponsors of this bill would rather have your prosecutor and defense attorney pick a racially diverse jury rather than the most fair and impartial one. I guess that means that prosecutors should place more importance on the race of a juror who says "kill them all and let God sort them out" than on his bad attitude?

The problem, as anyone who has witnessed a criminal trial knows, is that the prosecutor and the defense attorney both play a part in selecting who will be on the jury through the use of pre-emptory challenges.

So if your prosecutor doesn't do you the favor of discriminating against you during jury selection so you can get out of your death sentence later, your own attorney can cover that and then claim later that he or she discriminated against you. Insta discrimination!

The most offensive part of this bill, from a victim's perspective, is the line that contains the words "irrespective of statutory factors." It essentially says that statistical proof that those of your race have been discriminated against in sentencing will trump every other aggravating factor in determining whether your death sentence is overturned.

So you robbed your victim before you tortured her for three days and stabbed her 43 times? No biggie. That's just a "statutory factor."

After the Nifong debacle, I thought there was nothing state leaders could do to embarrass this state worse before the nation on Court TV. As usual, I've underestimated them.

So from now on, I guess it's "Death to the Indians!"

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