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MVFR Press Statement

Submitted by MVFR on Wed, 05/22/2013 - 16:51
For Immediate Release
Wednesday May 22, 2013 @ 10a.m. EST

 

VICTIMS' NEEDS, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND RACIAL BIAS IN DEATH SENTENCING

Raleigh, NC - Victims’ families deserve a judicial system they can trust to deliver justice without regard for the race of the victim, the jurors, or the accused.  The problem of race discrimination in our capital punishment system is a serious cancer and an embarrassing stain on North Carolina.  Court rulings in the past two years have proven beyond reasonable doubt that North Carolina needs the NC Racial Justice Act.

The NC Racial Justice Act is helping to expose, correct and prevent race discrimination in death sentencing cases.  While at times painful and inconvenient, the treatment is working and needs to be allowed to continue to work.

Numerous murder victim family members worked in support of the NC Racial Justice Act over the past several years because they believe it helps North Carolina provide a higher quality of justice – a justice not tainted by intentional or unintentional bias.  All lives matter, regardless of race.

In the six years since North Carolina carried out an execution, homicide rates have dropped in our state.  In the six years since North Carolina’s last execution, six states have seen the wisdom of replacing the death penalty.  In some of those states, funds saved by ending the death penalty have been redirected to policies, programs and services that better serve victims’ families and that better ensure public safety.

Executions should not resume in North Carolina unless those who champion the death penalty can demonstrate that it is the best way to make us safe, is the best way to address the needs of the thousands of murder victim family members across our state, and can be done without racial bias and without the risk of executing an innocent person.

Too much time, talent and treasure is diverted to the very few cases that ever result in a death sentence.  Meanwhile, thousands of murder victim family members in our state go without their most pressing and relevant needs being taken seriously.  North Carolina would do better to direct more resources to help law enforcement solve unsolved murders and bring more offenders to justice.  We better serve victims’ families by making counseling more accessible, providing advocates who work for victims to keep them informed about investigations and judicial proceedings, and expanding financial compensation to help them with burial costs and work-time lost due to the murder.

For additional information please contact Scott Bass, Executive Director at sbass@mvfr.org or via phone at 919760-5430.

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