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NC death penalty bias law heading to governor

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- The Legislature has given its final approval to a bill limiting the use of statistics in a 2009 law designed to give people on North Carolina's death row another method to prove racial bias in sentencing.

The Senate voted Wednesday 30-18 in favor of the overhaul of the Racial Justice Act, which now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue's desk. Perdue vetoed a different bill last year that would have essentially voided the law, but lawmakers couldn't override the veto.

It appears the General Assembly now has veto-proof majorities on the new bill.

The Racial Justice Act directs judges to reduce a death row inmate's sentence to life in prison if they find race was a significant factor in a case. Opponents say the changes gut the intent of the law.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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