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Acceding to the demands of state prosecutors, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill Monday by a 27-14 vote that will effectively repeal the Racial Justice Act, jeopardizing what had been heralded as a step forward for the criminal justice system. The act, which a coalition effort passed in a Democrat-controlled legislature back in 2009, allows death row inmates to appeal on the grounds that racism played an operative role in their sentencing. The first defendant to make a case under the act, Marcus Robinson, will present his evidence in January.

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