Law
5:40 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Death Row Sentence Changed Under Racial Justice Act

Advocates of the state's Racial Justice Act are hailing a judge's ruling today that race was a factor in a death row inmate's jury selection. Marcus Robinson was sentenced in 1994 for murder. Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks ruled that prosecutors in the trial disqualified potential black jurors more often than others. Stephen Dear with People of Faith Against the Death Penalty says he thinks this decision shows that bias has played a role in convictions.

Stephen Dear: It's as if he was standing up to all of that and saying these legacies exist in our courts and they have no business in our courts and they will not be allowed to rule this decision.

Robinson's case was the first case to be reviewed under the Racial Justice Act. Currently about 150 of the state's 158 remaining death row inmates have filed to have their cases re-examined. Prosecutors say they will appeal today's ruling.