June 21, 2013. We are extremely disappointed that Governor Pat McCrory signed SB 306, which repeals the NC Racial Justice Act (RJA) and attempts to restart executions.
Many murder victim family members in North Carolina worked hard to pass RJA and to protect it from repeal. RJA improved the quality of justice for victims and their families by addressing well-documented racial bias that distorts and taints our capital punishment system. A racially-biased judicial system is a disservice to victims and their families. Enacting this law undermines trust in the judicial system.
The death penalty in North Carolina is a broken system that fails victims’ families and all citizens. It distracts attention from the most pressing needs of victims’ families and drains resources that could be allocated to provide services and supports desperately needed by the thousands of victims’ families in our state.
SB 306 raises additional legal issues that will have to be resolved. This is a further failure of victims’ families by continuing to pour money and time into a hopelessly broken system rather than focus on the needs of victims’ families and communities impacted by murder.
North Carolina can do better for families of homicide victims and all citizens than restarting executions. We can do better to restore confidence in our judicial process than removing a reform that is working. We need a serious conversation that leads to smart-on-crime solutions that better address the harms created by violence, help families heal, prevent violent crime, and build safer communities.
Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) is a murder victims’ led national nonprofit membership-based organization that provides public education, advocacy and support to murder victim family members. MVFR’s members are persons whose loved ones have been murdered, and who believe the death penalty is a response to murder that only creates more harm. MVFR members help their friends, co-workers, and policymakers understand, raise awareness of the needs of victims’ families and communities impacted by violence, and the express in public forums the negative impact of capital punishment. For more information about the organization visit online – www,mvfr.org.