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Racial Justice Act for death row appeals upheld

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A judge has upheld a North Carolina law designed to allow death row inmates to appeal their sentences based on racial bias.

Attorney Ken Rose said that Forsyth County Superior Court Judge William Wood upheld the Racial Justice Act in a ruling from the bench Thursday.

Wood says the judge rejected arguments from prosecutors that the 2009 law was too vague and failed to provide key guidelines and procedures.

Prosecutors say most of North Carolina's 158 death row inmates are trying to use the law to overturn their sentences, including what they say are absurd challenges from white inmates convicted of killing white victims.

Rose says the ruling bolsters the racial arguments defense attorneys have made about the state's application of the death penalty.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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