The problem here was that both parties were wrong.
The Democrats had set up a system where certain statistics based in the judges and courts involved on a convicts sentence of death would trigger the ability to file for a hearing. If racism was determined, then the sentence was reduced to life in prison.
The Republicans were pretending that racism didn't exist and calling the whole thing a Democratic attack on the death penalty.
The problem with the Republican position here is obvious, and although many were more articulate, that was the overall gravity of it. Some of the key players were personally focused on statistics also, but still played it politically like an attack on the death penalty etc.
The Democrat position is even worse, but deceiving in it's rationality.
The fundamental problem is that statistics don't commit crime. Statistics don't commit racism to hand out verdicts or sentences. People do that. You can't hang justice on statistics. We aren't mush, we are people, and the more government forgets that, the more we will continue to erode our individual rights.
What should have happened in the RJA was the creation of a very low man-power preliminary hearing process, a place where such statistics would then be allowed as evidence, where a defendant has apprx 90 minutes to argue that racism had a negative impact on his sentence or conviction, and then a judge and a panel work much like a grand jury with indictments, but instead of handing out an indictment they are handing out full trials to determine 1) did racism occur? and 2) if so what is the corrective action for justice."
The RJA09 was almost worse than nothing for several procedural and practical reasons alone. But on principle it made the act several orders worse than nothing. Leaving aside the statistics piece, the RJA09 only allowed an empaneled judge to reduce sentence from death to life. So, what if the Judge actually found that racism somehow led to that innocent man's conviction in the first place? Sorry guy, here's your life in prison now. I suppose he might get a pardon from the Governor then. So it actually harms justice directly in some cases. Also, it only covers the death penalty. I understand the whole creeping incrementalism camel's nose under the tent, but isn't the community a lot more affected by racism in drug convictions than murder convictions? I believe I recall that African Americans make up some 12% of drug users but 54% of drug convicts. Why not start where you will have the most real benefit instead of just symbolic?
So the Democrats were wrong in the RJA09 to attach justice to statistics instead of to individuals and people where it belongs. The Republicans were wrong to just sit there and act like racism wasn't an issue at all in the justice department, and to not try and replace the RJA centered on our own Republican principles.
I knew above all we had to repeal the statistics piece, because it would do serious long-term damage to the whole concept of 'justice' at the State level. Yet I was horrified by the justification under which we were operating. Later I voted against overriding the governor's veto on the 'compromise.' The compromise worse than the original repeal.
I argued on the House floor "do I want to be shot in the head or in the heart?" and called both parties out for childishness and hard headedness.
One thing that did though is Speaker Tillis and President Berger suddenly took me awful serious on my threat to oppose the override of the budget. and asked me what I wanted. So I asked for a House Resolution, (985?) condemning the suspension of Habeas Corpus in the 2012NDAA. A House Resolution only, no Senate involvement. Forty minutes later they came back and told me I had a vote on HB36 Ballot Access in the Senate.
They dead refused to hear a House only Resolution only on the NDAA Indefinite Detention, and instead pressured the Senate to hear my Ballot Access bill.
So I opposed the veto override of the RJA compromise, and called out every party involved while doing so. It was fun in a 'a million people are watching right now, am I going to survive this?' kind of way.
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