An activist judge in North Carolina said prosecutorial racism was the reason he commuted the sentences of four convicted killers.
Described as three of the state’s most notorious death row killers, among the group’s victims are three law enforcement officers, two women and a teenager. The judge was able to overrule the first sentence under the state’s controversial Racial Justice Act.
Commuting a black man’s death sentence to life in prison, the judge cited “the persistent, distorting role of race in jury selection in North Carolina.”
He never argued the man – found guilty of kidnapping and robbing a teenager before shooting him in the face – might be innocent. Since the Racial Justice Act gave him the discretion, he simply declared prosecutors were racist and gave a murderer a get-out-of-death-row-free card.
Republicans subsequently gained control of the state’s legislature and enacted a new, pared down, version of the act. Apparently, that didn’t present an obstacle for the black judge who commuted the sentences of three more murderers – including two cop killers – later the same year.
Concluding race was a factor in jury selection, he presented some handwritten notes supposedly proving prosecutors tried to eliminate blacks from jury pools to back up his claim.
One killer is a Lumbee Indian convicted of murdering two women and shooting another in a gang initiation; the other two are black men who killed a total of three law enforcement officers in separate incidents.
“This conclusion is based primarily on the words and deeds of the prosecutors involved in these cases,” the judge ruled. To the casual observer, though, it seems his conclusion might have roots in his own idea of racial justice.
Some in the courtroom expressed vocal disagreement to the ruling, including the brother of one murdered state trooper who shouted an expletive as the judge spoke. As about sixty uniformed police officers left the courtroom, a woman in attendance yelled at them, urging them to shed their badges because the legal system could not protect them from criminals.
Activist judges from the Supreme Court down can cause significant damage to our system of law. Although prosecutors plan to appeal the judge’s ruling, this case proves America’s justice system is not immune to moral relativism and race baiting tactics.
B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.
Photo credit: Doug (Creative Commons)