The News Scan reported several days ago that the North Carolina legislature voted to override Governor Perdue's veto of much needed reform to the state's Racial Justice Act. The Act in its original version allowed killers sentenced to death to have their sentences reduced based on statistical evidence of past racial discrimination, even absent specific evidence of discrimination affecting the killer's individual case.
The logic of this always struck me as having the same appeal as allowing the court to convict Defendant X because the last hundred defendants were guilty -- there must be something in the "system" that results in only guilty defendants being brought to trial. The fact that there is no specific evidence of Defendant X's guilt is to be disregarded because, ya know, North Carolina has a long and disturbing history of guilty defendants.
Reforming this "logic" in the original Racial Justice Act required a revised edition, and getting the revised edition put on the books required overriding Ms. Perdue's veto of the reforming legislation. That in turn required five courageous Democrats to turn away from the race-baiting drumbeat and intimidation tactics used against them and support the override. The five state representatives are:
Rep. William D. Brisson, Bladen County
Rep. James W. Crawford Jr., Granville County
Rep. Dewey L. Hill, Brunswick County
Rep. Bill Owens, Camden County
Rep. Timothy L. Spear, Washington County
Anyone looking for modern profiles in courage now knows where to find them.