[SPEAKER CHANGES] Chair will come to order. The Sergeant of Arms will close the doors. Members will go to their seats. Members and guest of the gallery will please silence all electronic devices. Leading the Senate in prayer today is Doctor Ruffin Snow of Tri City Baptist Church in Clermont North Carolina. Doctor Snow is the guest of Senator Austin Allran. All members and guest will please stand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. Let’s bow together and truly pray. Heavenly father, we come before you confessing our sins. Acknowledging that without you we can do nothing that is riotous. Lord how I thank you for these Senators, for their families, for their sacrifices they make to serve others. Lord I know that each one has challenges that have nothing to do with legislation. Family, friends, finances, health, I pray that you will administer to each one in a special way. And now Lord we ask your blessing upon this session. I pray oh Lord, you would sanctify this time by your truth, for your word is truth. You are the one who raises one up and brings another down. It is to you that we all should give account. We’re not playing so we pray the prayer of second President, John Adams, when he said, May none but those who are wise and honest ever rule under this roof. And we proclaim to all that would hear, to the world that is seen and the world that is not seen, that Jesus Christ is Lord of this habitation. And we pray these things in the name of him who said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. In the name of Jesus, amen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Reports of standing committees. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise, what purpose do you wise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Send forth committee report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Send forth your report. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise, with the Health care Committee submits for passage, Senate Bill Three Thirty Six. Unfavorable as to Bill but favorable as to Committee Substitute Bill titled, an act [??] to division of medical assistance in public health within the Department of Health and Human Services and the State Health Plan Division within the Department of State Treasure. Coordinates diabetes program to each administer through each developed plans, to reduce incidents of diabetes, to improve care and control complications, and to report to the Joint Legislative of Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services in the Fiscal Research Division. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Calendar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Soucek, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Send forth the community report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Send forth your report. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Soucek, on the Education on Higher [??] Committee submits for passage, Senate Bill Three Thirty Seven. Unfavorable as to Bill but favorable as to Committee Substitute Bill titled, an act to create the North Carolina public charter schools and board and to make other changes to charter school laws. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Bill has a serial referral to Appropriations and Base Budget.
Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, the bill just read in by the reading clerk from the education committee charter school bill was a ?? referral to Appropriations. I also move that it be ?? referred and sent immediately to Finance then to Appropriations. It has Finance implications also. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection. So ordered. Members we’re about to go to the calendar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Can we do a few more motions while we’re waiting on our tardy members to show up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Members, Senate Bill 622 drivers license bill was filed today and had two primary sponsors, Senator McKissick and Senator Bingham. Senator Bingham wants to be removed from this bill so I move that Senator Bingham be removed from Senate Bill 622. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection, so ordered. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Announcement? Out of order please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Members, if you look on your desk, there should be a memo on dealing with last minute floor amendments. I encourage you to read it. If human nature holds, we always do things last minute around here. So if you’ll familiarize yourself with that, it’ll help us move a little quicker in session. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Anything further before we go to the calendar? Local bill. Senate Bill 258. Clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 258. Asheboro charter amendments. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman, is there any reason to say anything about this bill? Local bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] To not speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of Senate Bill 258 on its second reading. All in favor will say aye. All opposed, no. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let’s try that again. All in favor will say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed, no. The ayes have it. The Senate Bill 258 passes its second reading and will without objection be read a third time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] North Carolina General Assembly enacts. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate on Senate Bill 258? Hearing none, all in favor of the passage of Senate Bill 258 on its third reading will say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed, no. The ayes have it. And Senate Bill 258 passes its third reading and will be sent to the House. House Bill 270. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] House Bill 270. Ronda Recall. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Who’s handling this bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Randleman? For what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] This is a local bill and I’d just appreciate your support. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of House Bill 270 on its second reading. All in favor will say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed, no. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The ayes have it and House Bill 270 passes its second reading and will without objection be read a third time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] North Carolina General Assembly enacts. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate at this time is the passage of House Bill 270 on its third reading. All in favor will say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed, no. The ayes have it and House Bill 270 has passed its third reading and will be enrolled. Public bills. Senate Bills 306. Clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 306 Capital punishment amendments. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Goolsby is now in the chamber.
and the is recognized to involve the first is today [SPEAKER CHANGES] to start at fifty two percent has not conducted an execution since two thousand six. this is to face the challenges that have resulted in an effective moratorium on the death penalty in our study, which is the morale among mathematicians to ensure that the criminals as crimes imaginable process justice in North cabana victims families have suffered far too long. just another piece in the corrosion observed the victims across North Carolina to impose punishment that I am as prior. nothing there, nothing lasts without prejudice and without passion is asked to reduce uncertainty and to ensure that capital punishment is administered in a constitutionally sound manner in our state professionals in this will change the execution scope overnight and they certainly were rushed to the process requires them to provide the certainty that Iraq currently lacks most of them is a see to it that justice is served, both for the families of the Senate veterans, sharers in North Carolina,November seventeen eighty five, district attorneys prosecute these cases, the highest time with me two hours him, as does the first test factors, nurses and pharmacists. the first sections in a matter of nurses, pharmacists, to participate in executions without punishment had been back in two thousand seven mission statement, they would have prohibited doctors from participating in executions in the state that requires a doctor to be present to us," you cannot punish doctors who participated in executions. in addition to does the size that Supreme Court ruling next that clarifies who initiates the execution process. Nichols was exhausted. this is a clear direction to our current Attorney General and our Attorney General was to notify the Department of Public Safety is an exhaustive particular case is not happened out there also provides flexibility to ensure that human condition and constitutionally sound execution protocol as observed in our state 's purpose. specifically, using grants the Secretary Department of Public Safety. the flexibility necessary to ensure North Carolina's lethal injection protocol enhancements in the Constitution in exile. fastest improve dialogue between the Attorney General asked the General assembly. Attorney General to provide us with periodic updates on the status of post conviction capital appears in the state 's immunity press conference. we did with the district attorney 's couple weeks ago to suppress ask you a question about how many people are ready for execution. I cannot answer that question revenue rose resume their throat and he doesn't think has any influence from not know when to him who else is a tragedy. I put him first thing that sets up the protocol. this bill does that, but also ensures high execution professionals I know that education is true with the supervisor is the Department of Public Safety Jerusalem dramatically in the status of this training. the net effect is to ensure that professionals asked to participate in judicial executions have the phone is available to ensure executions compliance with all applicable statutory and constitutional mandates passed since the initial Justice act, which I use nothing but capital punishment in North Carolina, Woodland Hills, Orange model is available to ensure for his
can-half as the senate and the sense that this is a chance to test the change of-business-size son, Spencer-mansions-comes-systems and Janice Chaffin, and has happened in the span ID-questions that have set an as-servicing for Xerox CEO bill now before the studies that have been giving concerts. ?? that is the center of the last year was reinforced no data that competition-casts a ?? if the defense as you stated that it, as in the times the conditions in the water in his opinion that the Federal Reserve on hospital ?? as you have acted body that the city and review of the setup in message and beyond the cemeteries and will now I'm a as he was happens is that, and 1/2 into the two countries including ?? accidentally had a case involving the nation as a sign that was the site: can the multimedia data sent into that even if not be familiar with these events at other, the statement and reviewed riled activism and his acts as those at seven and 19 as well as those events in the county can be better to say that ultimate penalty was imposed by the finances of age in the frame-by its we all went in as the integrity and competence and the justice system after the times when the evidence existed before then and we have not been these as mechanics has been we know a number of things that we don't score at Anaheim’s his system and exclusion of patterns which time on the subject of the cases when that if you are at an air in you will find that the judge and jury pool and prosecutors in a state that has to decide riled it- and excluding strategy because of the rights of small ?? to the situation except that demand that a few weeks ago we went to the Allstate capital ?? deceptively talk about the bill runs up with sheriff Louisiana Cajun it with the times for you and your DB anybody active in this country to retain some time restraints that provision in the bill of rights is intended to channel water years instead of Kent’s economies of fact, Scott was at the time that the last thing the individual cases act as a strong message that prosecutors must meet with you that the pentagon's that exclude the days that, as to the five-mile it is true that the mayor and that's without losing a system would riled it was that about the Internet is that the use of physical evidence ?? that the face of a sudden, and then-assembly of an even higher than that this contest last year the physical evidence was neither things that advocates that that in the visiting days, isn't it and copy via your ?? say other 200 pages of 4200 pages when things he says it's a it's not hard-eighths of an audience times in the central issue in addition to these cases where the race was kidnapped in factor in the prosecutor has insisted that have been adding that if interesting, and then added, that the timing finals ?? ……………….
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[Speaker changes.] Since that time, these cases have plummeted. I'm proud of that work. The imposition of the death penalty has dropped precipitously since those measures were passed. Such that last year no death penalties were awarded by the jury in North Carolina. I believe this reflects the feelings of the people of our state. I was also instrumental with medical doctors in persuading the medical board that killing a person is inconsistent with their life-giving and live-sustaining mission. Apparently my colleague agrees with that, as this bill allows anyone...not a health professional to administer the chemicals to kill the inmate. I was also an author, with Senator McKissick of the Racial Justice Act. The bill was the result of several studies that showed the unfairness of the imposition of the death penalty. We have on our desk, a concern that that was not accurate. That those studies were not accurate but I wanna' tell you the way that those studies were carried out. UNC law school graduates went into 100 counties' court houses and looked at every death penalty jury selection in the results so you can argue with statistics as percentages but you cannot argue with their findings. And, of course, what we found in addition, is a poor defendant, person from a rural area...and finally the race of the defendant and the race of the victim will more often result in the imposition of the death penalty. And, of course, this is most dramatically reflected in jury selection. The studies done after the passage of the Racial Justice Act reveal the role of racial bias in jury selection. In one case, tried last year, the District Attorney's notes from the capital trial were found with explicit comments about the potential jurors race. Victims families. Senator Goolsby says that those victims' families need closure. They need justice but not all victim's families speak in one voice. There is an organization called Murder Victims Against Death Penalty and they are against this bill. They are against all killing, including by the state. What difference does this make? We must have a system that is fair and untainted with racial bias. Over and over, since I have been engaged in this debate, I was told that there are numerous court reviews which guarantee that mistakes can't be made in imposing the death penalty, but what happened in those seven wrongfully convicted people? Over and over, repeal after appeal said the conviction was fair but they were not fair. What difference does all of this make? Dead is dead. Those with numerous court reviews were still wrongfully convicted. Those outside the system who believe in a fair and just system, have found those seven innocent people on death row who were exonerated, and, may I say that two of those prosecutors who hid exculpatory evidence in those cases...in one case...did not lose their jobs and were not even censored. But those seven people lost their lives, their families lost the years of their lives together. We cannot afford more wrongfully convicted people. We need safeguards. The District Attorneys seem to feel they are under attack..that this questions their competency, their integrity. I ask the District Attorneys to work with us for a fair and just system. We can all be proud when we have the most fair and just system possible. This bill does not do that. It takes that away. I ask that you vote against this bill. Thank you. [Speaker changes.] Mister President? [Speaker changes.] Mister President? [Speaker changes.] Will the Senator yield for a question? [Speaker changes.] Senator Goolsby, you have the floor. [Speaker changes.]I yield. [Speaker changes.] Senator, can you.....
Tell the body how RJA impacts the guilt or innocence of the defendant on Death Row. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Pate, what it impacts is a system of jury selection, and we know that guilt or innocence is decided by a jury, and we also know that an impartial jury - and that's the word in the constitution - would reflect the people of the state and that's why it is so important that we have impartial jury selection and we know who picks the jury - the prosecutor and the defending attorney. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up, Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Kinnaird, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] She yields. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Kinnaird, you tell the body how RJA impacts the guilt or the innocence of a defendant on Death Row. How does RJA impact their guilt or innocence? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You may answer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We will find out through trials, such as the two that have taken place, whether a person was perhaps - in these cases they were found guilty, that's not... But there are other cases where the jury that was constituted may very well have been biased and at that point it would affect the guilt or the innocence. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Last follow up, Mr President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Kinnaird, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] She yields. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, isn't it a fact that the Racial Injustice Act's impact on the guilt or innocence of a defendant on Death Row is zero? The only thing that can happen under Racial justice is for a defendant to be taken off death row and placed life in prison. There is no impact. This is a cold-blooded, deliberative killer, and everything that you say beyond that is completely irrelevant. Am I not correct, ma'am? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You may answer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] They get a re-trial and they can have an MAR, at that point we would start over again. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sorry, Mr. President. One more question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Kinnaird, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Have you read the Racial Justice Act and are you familiar that it is simply appealing on whether or not racial bias was used to put you on Death Row instead of for life in prison, it has no impact on a motion for appropriate relief or for any other type of appeal? It's not a constitutional appeal, it's one simply based on statistics, and it's used solely to get someone off Death Row and to put them in prison for life. It has nothing to do with their guilt or innocence whatsoever. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Kinnaird, you have the floor to answer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You are right within a certain parameter, but it can lead to further. And that's what I think we need to consider. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Robinson, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. And to the members of this body. I'm certainly not an attorney, I don't profess to be - I guess in this sense I'm probably one of the normal people. But I am certainly concerned about this being brought up again in this body. We all remember that in 2012 Senate Bill 416, Section 3G said that if the court finds that race was a significant factor in decisions to seek or impose a sentence of death, in the defendant's case at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed, the court shall order a death sentence not to be sought or that the death sentence imposed by the judgment shall be vacated and the defendant re-sentence to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. And since that time, we all should be aware of the findings, let me cite a few of those. Black jurors have been intentionally excluded from jury service in capital trials, and this is evidenced information, you can have a copy. Four Death Row inmates have proven that qualified African Americans were intentionally excluded from their juries. All four were re-sentenced to life in prison without parole, and just as Senator Kinnaird said that we all should expect, and we have a right, and I hope we're saying...
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I just want you to ask yourselves that. I think we would err on making sure that fairness is afforded to every person that's in our courtroom and particulary in capital cases. 'Cause once you kill someone, we cannot go back and get a bill to bring them back to life. With that, Mr. President I'd like to send forth an amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do members have copies? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. Send forward your amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK, we have it up here. The clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Parmon moves to amend the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Parmon has the floor to explain the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President and members. This amendment would simply allow the racial justice act portion of senate bill 306 to be removed so that members that's in favor of the death penalty can vote on the death penalty, and support the racial justice act. I've heard time and time again that people support the death penalty, but also support the racial justice act, because they want to ensure that people we may kill in the future was given a fair trial. I ask you to support the amendment thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate on amendment one? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Goolsby, for what purpose do you arise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Speak on the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like to point out in this section of the law that it does reiterate all the rights available, and I've heard two of the members the last to speak about unfairly convicted, about minorities being excluded from juries, and again, as I question senator Connaird, all RJA does is attempt to take a cold blooded, convicted killer off death row and give them life in prison. RJA does not address in any way the murder. And the people that have totally been forgotten about in all of these discussions, as I heard senator Connaird talk about how wonderful it was to deal with the death penalty, and to do all that we could in the grand debates, I keep thinking about the families of the murder victims that I've met. I met Fayetteville police officer's Roy Turner's family. He was murdered in cold blood. His murderer appealed under RJA, and right before udge Wakes made his ruling have retired, never to face the voters, he took of the murderer of Officer Roy Turner, Fayetteville police department, off death row. Now here's the ultimate irony. Roy Turner was black. His murderer was black. And that's a result of RJA. One more even crazier, for those of you who were at the ?? committee meeting last week. When senator Harrington's district attorney, Lot Bell appeared and stood up and said I'm accused of being a racist. I'm a white district attorney. And the three people I put in Gaston county are in death row, have accused me of being a murderer. I mean, have accused me of being a racist, the murderers have. All three of them. And the evidence is that I put only people of one color on death row. Guess what the color of the three murderers accusing Lot Bell, a white man of murder, I mean of, forgive me, of racial discrimination. Those three murderers are all white. They're accusing the white district attorney, under the racial justice act, for only seeking the death penalty against white men. And Lot said, I looked at all the cases, and the only people that I thought warranted the death penalty, black or white, were these three white men. Racial justice act, because it uses frequency, allows those individuals to appeal under the racial justice act and claim that they've been discriminated against. Folks, the racial justice act is bad law when you have those kinds of results. The last person I will tell you about his Marsha Howell. She was the mother of murder victim Yvette Howell. Those of you at the ?? meeting, you heard her mother's impassioned plea to please put this to an end. It is time for my daughter's murder to meet his maker. He was sentence back in 1994 to death row, and he has appealed under RJA. Yvette Howell
was a black 17 year old woman who was murdered with a shotgun blast, by a black criminal who has appealed under RJA. It is wrong, it needs to be repealed, and I ask you to vote against this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Further discussion or debate on Amendment 1. Senator McKissick for what purpose? [SPEAKER CHANGES]To speak on the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES]You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES]First, I believe it's a good amendment, we need to pull this out. Secondly, I heard Senator Goolsby speak about a variety of cases. There's one way to resolve those issues, let the judge in Superior Court, whose going to hear these Racial Justice Act claims, hear them one by one. If they have validity, the person will stay in jail for life without the possibility of parole. If they lack validity, they will be strucken down, and they will remain on death row. It's very simple. That's what we do, we let judges hear the cases. The claims are claims that a Superior Judge can hear and render an appropriate decision based upon the facts of that case. No 2 cases are alike. Never have been, never will be. Different defendants, different victims, completely different circumstances. One thing we know, that race ought not to be a fact in these cases. And if we look at Judge Weeks, and we look at his decision, he talks about the systematic exclusion of African Americans in these juries, and in these states, the courts find no joy in these conclusions. Indeed, the court cannot overstate the gravity and somber nature of these findings, nor can the court overstate the harm to African Americans, and to the integrity of the justice system that results from racially discriminatory jury selection practices that purposely exclude black persons from juries, undermines the public confidence in the fairness of our system of justice. That's what were talking about. And let me tell you, every claim that's been called on the Racial Justice Act is valid. If they don't have validity, they ought to be strickened down. But the problem is. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Senator Wilford, yield a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Senator McKissick, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES]I do not. [SPEAKER CHANGES]He does not. [SPEAKER CHANGES]The fact of the matter is, the facts of each case will determine the outcome of each case. It's not a broad brush answer to every case, but when it's appropriate, that person stays in jail for life without the possibility of parole. What we passed was commendable. What we passed sent a message to our prosecutors. don't sit there and let racial bias come into the court room. And the last thing we need is seminars to tell them how to get around the constitutional law. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Will the Senator now yield for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Senator Goolsby, for what purpose do you rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES]I'm sorry, to ask if the Senator will now yield for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Senator McKissick, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES]No. [SPEAKER CHANGES]He does not yield. Further discussion or debate on Amendment 1, to Senate Bill 306. Senator Nesbitt, for what purpose do you rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you Mr. President, to speak on the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES]You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you Mr. President, and members of the Senate. I rise today to point out what all of you know. This is your opportunity to vote to get the Racial Justice Act out of this bill so you can support the death penalty. I guarantee the vote for the death penalty, and get this out of the way if you care as we do about racial bias in death penalty cases. I've listened to the debate, and here's kind of what we're all about. I'm an officer of the court, all of us lawyers are, judges are, DA's are, and we are bound to make that system fair, and impartial, and balanced, and to do everything in our power, I think, to make
to earn the public's respect for the court system. We don't like it when the system fails but were all thought from the time we start studying law that it is not a perfect system and that injustice can occur. The person that should win civil cases doesn't always win them, they can go either way. We've got a little saying you go to a jury when you ?? it's kinda like jumping out of a burning building you go to a jury when you got no other place to go because you lose control when you do that and bad things can happen to good people and I think were sitting here were trying to do what the court system has always done and that is good at the ability to clean up it's own mess. We did that with DNA, when that came along you know some people thought it was snake oil and we didn't know what it was and we didn't know if it was really pure you know they used to have breathalyzers that said they were perfect and we found out they weren't and so we didn't know what to do but we adapted and we started accepting scientific evidence and we found out we have totally innocent people on death row some had been there in the teens of years waiting to be executed that were totally innocent. We did another thing we realized if those people are innocent there might be some more out there. Justice I Beverly Lake who was a republican lead us in an effort to create the innocence commission they go and look at cases to determine if somebody else is in prison that shouldn't be there and have their case heard so that if in fact they are in they must prove their innocence you can get them out of there they let two people who had been convicted in my county of Buncombe out of prison last year because they were innocent. They were charged in a home invasion. This is how we clean up our mess, this is how we have a court system that keeps the respect of the public because were all willing to admit its not perfect we are willing to admit mistakes are made and fix it so going forward it doesn't happen again and to the extent you can remediate it. If you wanna see something you cant fix wait till one of these people who have been in prison for 12 or 15 years on death row appear before one of your committees and say that they are not angry at anyone most humbling experience you'll have in your life that someone can have their life taken away and not be biter about it and be willing to go on with life but they cant sleep at night etc, etc, etc. If you can imagine being in prison as an innocent man sitting there waiting for the death penalty and we passed the racial justice act for a simple principle. Is racial bias playing a part in people being put to death if it is then we don't want them put to death we want to have life without parole their probably murderers their probably the most despicable people in the world so we want to keep them there for life without parole but just on the outside chance that they got the death penalty because of racial bias we don't want them executed. Now to some of you all that might look like good versus evil and all this stuff but those of us that practice in the courts we don't want the courts to impact someone society in that way and racial bias can occur in any number of ways a DA can decide whether to charge a death case or not well he probably not going to prove that one way or the other cause only the DA knows then you pick a jury
When we passed the Racial Justice Act, we did not know what we would find when we looked at picking juries. You've been read what the Judge found. He found handwritten notes from the D.A.'s that they were using race to throw people off the jury. Now, the genie's out of the bottle. When we passed the Racial Justice Act, none of us in here knew that that was going on. It can be any number of other things during the trial. Well, we told the courts, look at these cases, see if it's there. If it is, give them life without parole and let's go forward and sin no more. And, we found that there is, I believe, in virtually every case that's been heard. I haven't kept up with how many have been heard but the ones that I've heard about, they have found this problem. Now the answer apparently today is I don't want to talk about it anymore. It's kind of like the bill we had last year to stop the sea level rise by introducing a bill. I just don't want to talk about that anymore, so I'll pass a bill and say don't talk about it. The sea is going to keep rising and we're going to bury our heads in the sand. I was reading a clip today where apparently there's some theory now that we can create a state religion because the Supreme Court doesn't matter in North Carolina and we can do what we want to or something like that. You can't just do what you want to. And, I don't know what's going to come of all of this but you can't put this genie back in the bottle. Now, I'm telling you. We gave these people the right to be heard. The ones that have been heard, they found a problem, they remedied it. The world is still as safe as it was before the hearings and we need to continue to let the court clean up this mess. I said when we passed this bill that I hoped that no one got relief under this bill. That would mean that we didn't have a problem. That's what we all wanted to find. That's not what we found. The best thing we can do, you all amended the bill last year the way you wanted it and I thought we were done and the cases would move forward. And the way to allow that to happen and for us to clean up this mess in a timely and orderly fashion is to pass this amendment, get this out of the bill and then you can proceed on with what you want to do with this bill, the main thrust of this bill which has to do with the death penalty. And I would ask you to please consider this amendment and vote for it and give us a chance to clean up the court system so that we can earn the respect of the people. The only way the court's can survive is if they have the respect of the people who stand before them. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Is there any further discussion or debate on Amendment 1? Senator Meredith, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Mr. President, speak on the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGE] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. President. Members of the Senate, I have listened to the debate here and we continue to use Cumberland County as an example of how this is a poster child for doing the right thing to look at the facts and based on those facts make a decision. I'd like to let the members of the Senate know if you don't know a little bit about the case in Cumberland County. The District Attorney, with all the facts that he needed, went to Judge Weaks and asked himself to recuse himself from the case based on his prior knowledge and being involved in the case prior to it coming back to his court.
now ?? share with y'all, if everything that was stated here, about racial bias and the facts being as they are in this case, why did Judge Weeks not recuse himself after being asked by the local district attorney, all the facts being presented to him, why did he feel led to not recuse himself? If everything was there that needed to be there, and racial bias could be proved and was proved, why did Superior Court Judge Weeks decide that he needed to hear the case? That is what I would like to share with the Senate, that if we're going to be fair, and equitable, and each one of these cases are going to stand on their own, then why do we need a judge, a minority judge, who knew the facts, prior to this case, why did he need to hear the case? Why could he not recuse himself? And with that said, I cannot support this amendment because of that fact alone. If each one of these cases can stand on their own, let them stand on their own. But I think that is a poster child of them not being able to stand on their own. Because a judge would not recuse himself after being asked to recuse himself. So I cannot support this amendment, this is not something we need to support in this chamber, and I'm glad that I'm here at this moment at this time to be able to vote against this amendment and vote for this bill. Thank you and I appreciate y'all's time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate on amendment one? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of amendment one to Senate bill 306. All in favor of the amendment will vote aye. All opposed will vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for voting. The clerk will record the vote. 14 having voted in favor of the amendment and 33 against the amendment, amendment one to Senate bill 306 fails and Senate bill 306 is back before you on second reading. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate? Senator Bryant, to what point do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members of the Senate, Mr. President, as a constitutional officer myself, I want to say that I am disappointed that our district attorneys are determined to push us to proceed to cover up the actual deeds and misbehaviors and actions that have been unearthed in the cases that have been heard so far on the parts of their staffs in implementing and perpetuating racial discrimination in these particular cases where that has been found. While it is true that the symptoms of this problem were indicated to us by the frequencies and the statistics that have been noted, and though they surely have amplified the nature of the problem, the underlying racial prejudice involved in the actions of the prosecutors in these cases have been clarified in detail and with direct evidence from their own words and deeds, not based on statistics. And they are, by pursuing and pushing us to repeal this bill, drawing all of us into the web of racial prejudice that afflicts the criminal justice system in some instances. They know as well as many of you know that our current procedures and avenues do not provide a way in the existing cases for these issues to be raised. That is the reason that the Racial Justice Act was needed, just as we need the innocence commission to judicate and investigate the cases of actual innocence. We need that process because our existing post conviction and appellate procedures are in many instances not sufficient to address these issues. Yes, most of these folks are probably guilty, and even they have the constitutional right to not be convicted or tried in a racially discriminatory manner. Our fidelity to the constitutional principles that we are sworn
--to uphold and the integrity of our system, our only assurance that innocent people will not be convicted, and that those who are convicted are done so fairly. This cover-up that the DA's want here and want to draw us into, through the appeal--repeal--is the same dynamic that we've seen with the bogus crime lab statistics and hiding DNA tests and not coming forth with files and evidence and we can go on and on in terms of these behaviors that we've seen. We make a mistake in thinking that only black and brown people can be hurt by racial prejudice. Indeed, if you all are discriminating against me as a person of color--as an African American representative--you not only hurt me, you also hurt the white people that I'm elected and sworn to represent. Similarly, if Senator Hise is a DA, and he has some thinking in his mind that he can't trust me to serve on a commu-on a jury because of my background or experience somehow. He thinks I won't be favorable to his side, and Senator Newton is the defendant, it just--it doesn't just hurt me, that he is--has a prejudice against black people serving. It also hurts Senator Newton, who is white who will be the defendant in the case, who is entitled to a jury of his peers and a fairly selected jury that include [sic] all kind of opinions from the community that might raise questions, look at the evidence, make sure there's an adequate consideration of his consideration of his case. So these behaviors of racial discrimination are not just isolated and against any one person, they weave everybody in the courtroom into a web of racial discrimination--that--and then ultimately it pervades into the whole community. And, we are being brought into that web today by being asked to repeal this bill. Our complicity here in repealing the Racial Justice Act, rather than our fidelity, to the principles of fairness and justice, put at risk our whole system. And for that reason, Mr. President, I'd like to send forth a motion, and I have that motion in writing. A motion under Rule 28. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Send forward your motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, it's my understanding that you need to sign the motion, it's not been signed. If you'll come up to the Clerk's desk and sign the motion, please. And if the pages will go ahead and pass around copies to the members, please. [pause] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, could you come up here, please? Senator Bryant, [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes-- [SPEAKER CHANGES] --if you would like to come up here, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Senate will stand at ease for just a couple of minutes. [pause] [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, the Senate will come back to order. Motion 11 to divide the question, the Clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 306, motion to divide; Senator Bryant moves pursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of the Senate; divide the question with Section 5 of the bill as a separate question. And, the remainder of the bill as a separate question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant is recognized to explain the motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members of--this is an effort to divide the question so that we can vote on the death penalty provisions and the Racial Justice Act provisions, but while it may be a nuance, it's different from whether you're voting to remove it. It is divided the question so we can vote up or down on each part. And so, I would appreciate your support of the motion. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca is recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Members, I ask that you vote no on this amendment. There is no need to divide this question, and we ought to just go ahead and hear it as one. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate on the motion. Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of Motion 11, to divide the question. All in favor will vote aye; all opposed will vote no; five seconds will be allowed for voting. Clerk will record the vote. [??] aye. Fourteen having voted in the affirmative and thirty-three in the negative, the motion fails and we're back on Senate Bill 306, second reading. Further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question befor-- [end of data...]
The Senate is the passage of Senate Bill 306 on its second reading. All in favor will vote aye. All opposed will vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for voting. The clerk will record the vote. [PAUSE] 33 having voted in the affirmative, and 14 in the negative, Senate Bill 306 passes its second reading and will, without objection, be read a third time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] North Carolina General Assembly enacts. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Objection. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It’s already been read in third reading. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The bill was read in third reading. We’ll proceed to vote third reading. All in favor? Further discussion or debate on third reading? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage on third reading of Senate Bill 306. All in favor will say aye. All opposed, no. The ayes have it and Senate Bill 306 having passed its third reading, will be sent to the House. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Blue, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Rule 15, point of personal privilege. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, fellow Senators, I just want to make a quick observation. Because what we say on the floor of this chamber is immune from anybody attacking on the basis of slander or libel. But I must rise to say and I’m sure he didn’t mean it in this context, but when I see individuals, especially elected officials, attack on this floor, I think it’s our responsibility to defend them. Judge Greg Weeks, I’ve known for 30 plus years, he served with distinction on the Superior Court from Cumberland County, one of the most highly respected judges in the state. And not only by legal groups across the spectrum but among judges and received many rewards from them. There is a process or procedure within the Judicial branch, the Judicial Standards Commission and the court itself, to determine whether judges should recuse themselves when they hear certain kinds of motions. And in fact with Judge Newby, the same kinds of issues were raised and I respected the Commission as well as the court in determining when a judge is so enmeshed in a case that he or she can’t be impartial. And I’m sure that that procedure probably occurred with respect to the death penalties in the Fayetteville cases. And I know that Senator ?? did not mean to impugn the integrity of Judge Weeks but I just wanted to point that out to you. That he retired recently but again was one of the most highly respected judicial officials in this state, across the bar and across the judiciary. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members, I would point out that Rule 15 is in the rules for the purpose for explaining a vote, and not for any other purpose. It is also in the rules that under Rule 15 to explain a vote, it should be the last order of business for the day. As a courtesy, I recognized Senator Blue. We will not generally do that in the future. Senate Bill 445. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] A motion, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 445, House Bill 139, next two items on our calendar. I ask that they be removed from this calendar and placed on tomorrow’s calendar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection, so ordered. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, will Senator Goolsby yield for a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Goolsby, will you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Reluctantly, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, I’ll speak with you Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] He yields. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 316, are you ready to go on that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is that Senator McKissick’s bill from yesterday? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, I am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 316, the clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 316, pretrial release rebuttal resumption. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Goolsby is recognized to explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, that’s Senator McKissick’s bill. I just objected to third reading yesterday, that’s all. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, any further discussion or debate? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No further discussion. I think Senator Goolsby’s concerns have been addressed. We’ve already discussed it privately. It’s already precedent for this being done in the state of North Carolina. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion or debate on Senate Bill 316 on third
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Waynesville annexation. Unfavorable to bill but favorable to committee substitute bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate bill 290 has a sequential referral to the finance committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister president. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Sanderson, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] For an announcement and a brief moment of personal privilege. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would like to announce that tomorrow morning at seven thirty at room four fourteen of the LOB, we will have our annual or weekly peer caucus legislative meeting. For a moment of personal privilege. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would like to thank the members of the senate from the very bottom of my heart. All the kind words and all of the emails, all of the phone calls that you have forwarded me in the last week on the passing of my mother. Thank you, mister president. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, your microphone is on. Further business to come before the senate. No further business coming before the senate, the chair recognizes senator Pate for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, mister president. I move the senate do now adjourn subject to the introduction of bills, resolutions, the receipt, the referral and re-referral of committee reports and the receipt of messages from the house and the governor to reconvene tomorrow, April fourth, 2013 at eleven A.M. Thank you, mister president. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The motion is that the senate do now adjourn subject to the stipulations stated by senator Pate to reconvene Thursday, April four, 2013 at eleven A.M. Seconded by senator Sanderson. All in favor will say aye. All opposed, say no. The ayes have it and the senate stands adjourn.