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More changes approved for NC racial bias law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican legislators keep trying to narrow the focus of the Racial Justice Act to satisfy enough colleagues so changes to the 2009 law on the death penalty can withstand any veto by Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.

A judiciary committee voted along party lines Monday to rework the law, which allows death row inmates to use statistics to persuade a judge that racial bias influenced their sentences.

Condemned inmates who win in court have their sentences reduced to life in prison without parole.

Bill supporter Rep. Paul Stam of Apex said the bill was reworked a second time in part to address concerns from opponents. But House Democrats and appellate defense attorneys say the measure still guts the purpose of the 2009 law.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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