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Published Sun, Jul 08, 2012 09:00 PM

Elliot M. Cramer: Gutted? Good

Published in: Letters

Gutted? Good

As I told the House Select Committee on Racial Discrimination in Capital Cases, there are few political issues that Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam and I agree on. As a liberal and long-time member of the ACLU, I oppose prayer in the legislature and the public schools; I opposed the gay marriage amendment; while not an advocate for abortion, I favor a woman’s right to choose. With regard to the Racial Justice Act, Stam and I are in complete agreement; the original act was an abomination and had nothing to do with racial justice.

Because of that act, a brutal murderer was taken off death row in Cumberland County despite the fact that there is no valid statistical evidence of discrimination in the death penalty. There is no evidence that the murderer Marcus Robinson was ever discriminated against. Although it is true that “prosecutors in North Carolina were more than twice as likely to strike black jurors as they were white jurors,” the defense was just as likely to strike white jurors. Where’s the discrimination?

I agree that the original Racial Justice Act was gutted; it should never have been passed in the first place.

Elliot M. Cramer

Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology

UNC-Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill