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NC senate panel votes to repeal death row law

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By TOM BREEN
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A Senate panel has voted to essentially repeal a landmark state law allowing death row inmates to appeal their sentences based on statistical evidence showing racial bias.

The judiciary committee's move Monday evening sent the bill to the full Senate chamber, which was scheduled to take it up later in the night.

House Majority Leader Paul Stam argued that the bill approved by the committee fixes flaws in the 2009 Racial Justice Act that threatened to clog up the courts. Supporters of the repeal also say the act is virtually a moratorium on the death penalty in North Carolina.

Opponents who spoke at a public hearing said the law has withstood court challenges and is necessary to ensure fairness in how the death penalty is administered.

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

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