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Judge: Race played role in NC racial justice case

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EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, NC (AP) -- A North Carolina judge has ruled in a precedent-setting case that race was a factor in prosecution decisions to reject potential jurors who were black.

Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks ruled Friday in Fayetteville that, since race played a significant factor in his sentence, death row inmate Marcus Robinson's sentence should be vacated.

Weeks then converted Robinson's sentence to life without parole

North Carolina's 2009 Racial Justice Act allows death row prisoners and capital murder defendants to use statistics and other evidence to show racial bias played a significant role in prosecutors' decisions or their sentences.

North Carolina and Kentucky are the only states with laws like it.

Robinson's case is the first test of that law. Prosecutors said they would appeal Weeks' ruling.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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