Death Row Inmate Gets New Sentencing Hearing

In a rare move, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (which handles cases from North and South Carolina, as well as Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) granted relief to death row inmate Dr. William Gray[FN] earlier this week. The Court said that Gray, who was sentenced to die for the 1992 murder of his wife in Lenoir County, should receive a new sentencing hearing because his lawyers failed to investigate and present considerable evidence that Gray was severely mentally ill.

Dr. Gray had been exhibiting bizarre behavior for months before he shot his wife. After he was arrested, he was kept in the state mental hospital for five weeks. Once Dr. Gray returned to the jail, he had to be kept in the juvenile cell block for his own safety. Everyone around him in the months before and after the murder noticed that Gray had made a precipitous decline into mental illness, but his attorneys – neither of whom had tried a capital case before - presented no such evidence to the jury. Now William Gray has a second chance.

Binker's blog

In the interest of fair and balanced, I give you the latest from Mark Binker, who runs neck-and-neck with Laura Leslie for best Capital news reporting.

A nice round-up and report on the 50 year anniversary of school integration. My take: things haven't exactly worked out as planned.

More coverage of the anti-planning zealots than they deserve.

A good report on the Imperial NC Senate's effort to keep local governments from managing their own affairs.

And finally, a great example of what happens when a journalist dares to report on the shady dealings of the Puppetshow. They swarm like mosquitoes on a baby's butt.

After dark

You're invited to our 17th annual July 4th party, on Friday, July 4th, from 3 to 7. We'll have barbecue, lemonade and sweet tea. Please come and bring a side dish or dessert. And your bathing suit!

Open thread

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Remember how we hated primaries? Well, it looks like 2010 could be shaping up to be a slug fest. Between the Blue Dogs in Congress and the corporatists in the NC Senate, some rough-and-tumble primary challenges would seem entirely in order, depending on the strength of our majorities after November. Sure, it'll be tough to unseat incumbents, but we should at least make them sit up and take notice.

Contact North Carolina Legislators – Keep Yadkin River Study Commission

With North Carolina’s Budget Conference Committee meeting this week to iron out final details on the state budget, anyone who seeks a fair deal regarding the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project must urge officials to maintain a provision that establishes a study commission regarding the project.

NC Legislature Conference Budget Indicates Serious Cuts for K-12 Public Education

The House and Senate Education Appropriation Committee distributed a version of the Conference Budget this afternoon. Our public schools received less funding in the Conference Budget than was included for public schools in the House or the Senate passed Budgets. The Conference Budget is $33.9 million less than the Budget passed by the House for public schools. The Conference Budget is $10.2 million less than the Budget passed by the Senate for public schools.

Don't Forget to Vote TODAY

Hey folks--I'm a long-time reader around here, though this is my first post on BlueNC.

I'm breaking my silence to ask that you PLEASE vote on Tuesday (June 24th) in the Democratic run-off for NC Commissioner of Labor.

I encourage you to vote for my friend Mary Fant Donnan. Mary is an incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, and talented leader who I believe would excel as head of the Department of Labor.

Mary joined this community last week for a live chat. If you have any doubts before heading to the polls, please read her thoughtful answers to the questions posed by BlueNC readers.

Updated by James: Election results here.


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