In what the LA Times calls a landmark ruling, a judge in North Carolina vacated the death penalty for a man convicted of murder due to prosecutors allegedly engaging in systematic racial discrimination.
The prosecutors deliberately struck black potential jurors in death penalty cases.
According to the NY Times, Friday Judge Gregory A. Weeks order the death sentence of the convicted to be changed to life in prison without parole, which is the first decision of its kind under the controversial Racial Justice Act of North Carolina, passed in 2009.
It is also reported Weeks said in a 167-page ruling the prosecutors "intentionally used the race of [jury pool] members as a significant factor in decisions to exercise peremptory strikes in capital cases."
Prosecutors plan to appeal the decision.