The First Step Act was a bipartisan project several years in the making. The goal of the bipartisan effort was simple but important. It aimed to reduce the number of people in federal prisons while maintaining public safety.
Defendants in criminal cases have a constitutional right to a jury of their peers. But courts have made it clear that they don't have the right to a jury of their own race. So, when a prosecutor strikes a juror for their “tone of voice,”
In an opinion authored by Justice Anita Earls, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that retroactive application of the General Assembly’s repeal of the NC Racial Justice Act violated the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws.
With the General Assembly’s repeal of the Racial Justice Act, defendants don’t have a clear path to challenge death sentences on racial grounds. And, with the General Assembly backtracking on previous steps it took to fix that problem, it’s unlikely that North Carolina residents will