June 9, 2020/Press

As Demonstrators Demand Equal Justice, Newby Shows He’s Still Out of Touch

In a landmark ruling on Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the Republican repeal of the Racial Justice Act cannot be applied retroactively, allowing more than 100 people on death row to seek a life without parole sentence if they can show that racial bias played a role in the handling of their case. 

The decision marks a major step in how the state looks to address potential racial bias in its judicial system, and has been praised by leading organizations including the ACLU.

The lone dissenting voice in the 6-1 ruling? Republican Justice Paul Newby.  

In his decision, Newby showed that he continues to be out of touch with North Carolinians when it comes to criminal justice reform and ending systemic racism. In 2011, Newby famously said that he didn’t think racial discrimination played a role in the criminal justice system, telling a conservative audience that he didn’t believe “race [was] relevant to any of this.” 

Nearly 10 years later, his views apparently haven’t changed much, even as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets after a police officer murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. 

NCDP Communications Director Austin Cook has released the following statement: 

“In North Carolina — where black people represent 22% of the population but 50% of the jail and prison population — willfully ignoring systemic racism is unbecoming of a member of the Supreme Court. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Justice Newby has long refused to acknowledge the gaping racial disparities in how justice is served in our country. 

“Thousands of North Carolinians have rightly protested in recent weeks to demand widespread reforms, but with his ruling last week, Newby has once again shown that as long as he sits on the bench, he will never be an agent for the change we need. Luckily for our state, voters will have the chance to send him to an early retirement come November.”