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4097Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19990513Primary Sponsor: J.H. NealAll Sponsors: J.H. NealDrafted Document Number: l:\council\bills\bbm\9280som99.docResiding Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 25 HJSubject: Racial Justice Act, Courts, Crimes and Offenses, DiscriminationHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 19990513 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to Committee Versions of This Bill
TO AMEND CHAPTER 25, TITLE 17, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO JUDGMENT AND EXECUTION AGAINST PERSONS CONVICTED OF CRIME, BY ADDING ARTICLE 7 SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA RACIAL JUSTICE ACT" WHICH PROHIBITS THE EXECUTION OF THE DEATH SENTENCE FOR ANY PERSON IF THE SENTENCE WAS IMPOSED BASED ON RACE; TO PROVIDE FOR ESTABLISHING AN INFERENCE THAT RACE WAS THE BASIS OF A DEATH SENTENCE; TO PROVIDE FOR THE REBUTTAL OF AN INFERENCE BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE RETROACTIVE APPLICATION OF THIS ACT.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 25, Title 17 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 17-25-710. This article may be known as the 'South Carolina Racial Justice Act'.
Section 17-25-730. (A) A person shall not be put to death under color of state law in the execution of a sentence which was imposed based on race.
(B) An inference that race was the basis of a death sentence is established if valid evidence is presented demonstrating that race was a statistically significant factor in decisions to seek or impose the sentence of death in this State at the time the death sentence for a particular defendant was sought or imposed.
(C) Evidence relevant to establish an inference that race was the basis of a death sentence may include evidence that death sentences were sought or imposed significantly more frequently:
(1) upon persons of one race more than upon persons of another race; or
(2) as punishment for capital offenses against persons of one race more than as punishment for capital offenses against persons of another race.
(D) If statistical evidence is presented to establish an inference that race was the basis of a sentence of death, the court shall determine the validity of the evidence and whether the evidence provides a basis for that inference. The evidence must take into account, to the extent it is compiled and publicly made available, evidence of the statutory aggravating factors and must include comparisons of similar cases involving persons of different races.
(E) If an inference that race was the basis of a death sentence is established, the death sentence must not be carried out unless the State rebuts the inference by clear and convincing evidence. The state may not rely on mere assertions that it did not intend to discriminate or that the case fits the statutory criteria for seeking or imposing the death sentence.
Section 17-25-750. Data collected by public agencies concerning factors relevant to the imposition of the death sentence is subject to Chapter 4 of Title 30 of the 1976 Code, the Freedom of Information Act.
Section 17-25-770. This article must be applied retroactively. Notwithstanding any other law, a person is not barred from raising a claim under this article on the ground that the person failed to raise or to prosecute such a claim before the effective date of this article or by reason of any adjudication rendered before the effective date of the article."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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