State v. RamseurAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court dismissing Defendant's motion seeking relief pursuant to the newly enacted North Carolina Racial Justice Act (RJA) on the basis that the RJA had been repealed before the trial court ruled on Defendant's motion, holding that applying the repeal retroactively violates the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws.
In 2010, Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Defendant subsequently brought his RJA motion, claiming that race was a significant factor in the decision to seek or impose the death penalty. In 2012, the General Assembly amended the RJA. In 2013, the General Assembly repealed the RJA in its entirety. The trial court dismissed Defendant's RJA claims, concluding that this repeal rendered Defendant's pending motion void. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the RJA repeal and the provisions of the amended RJA altering the evidentiary requirements for an RJA claim constitute impermissible ex post facto laws and cannot constitutionally be applied retroactively to Defendant's pending RJA claims.