Thanks to an override of governor Beverly Perdue, the North Carolina death penalty is safe from statistical scrutiny. The state legislature acted right before the holiday to radically reduce the scope of NC's signature Racial Justice Act. The Act, adopted in 2009, allowed the use of extensive statistical evidence to establish that an individual death sentence was imposed as a result of race. The fresh modifications shrink the field of data that can be considered in a case and prohibit use of statistics alone to establish race bias.
To be clear, this simply returns North Carolina to a situation akin to - and slightly better than - other states imposing capital punishment. But it also provides stiff tonic to policy advocates who imagined that states might choose to be thoughtful about race and capital punishment notwithstanding Justice Powell's legendary wimp-out decision in McCleskey v. Kemp.