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Gov. Perdue vetoes death-row racial bias bill

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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue has vetoed a bill that would have essentially repealed a 2009 law designed to address alleged racial bias in death penalty cases.

Perdue announced her veto Wednesday of the measure that would eliminate key provisions of the Racial Justice Act.

Perdue also signed the 2009 bill into law. It says a judge must reduce a death sentence to life in prison without parole if he determines racial bias was a significant factor to impose the death sentence.

Prosecutors who pushed the repeal said the act would clog up the court system with new appeals, creating a permanent moratorium on capital punishment.

Perdue's decision means she must call the Legislature back to Raleigh by Jan. 8 to consider an override.

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

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