Friday, March 9, 2012

NC Supreme Court Criminal Decisions, 3/9/2012

State v. Anderson. Aff'd, per curiam.

State v. Henry Brown. Per curiam affirmed and digged.

State v. Samuel Hunt. Appeal of COA decision reversing judgment.

Lower court found insufficient evidence of lack of consent, where victim was 17, had a 61 IQ, and testimony showed it would be difficult but not impossible for her to get a community college associates degree.

Supreme Court Reversed: finding that, although the state did not put on an expert to say the victim lacked the capacity to consent, it put on multiple lay witnesses familiar with her functioning. This was sufficient evidence for a jury to determine no capacity to consent.

State v. Aeric Whitehead. Appeal of denial of MAR in 2nd degree murder case.

Defendant was sentenced in 1994 to 2nd degree murder and sentenced as a class C felon under the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), as a first offender. Under the FSA, the sentence options were 15 years to life. Defendant was sentenced to life (with parole).

Later in 1994, the legislature passed the Structured Sentencing Act (SSA), which mandates a 10-16 year term for 2nd degree murder.

Defendant filed an MAR to withdraw his plea as involuntary and arguing that his sentence violated his right to due process, since later persons committing the same conduct would receive lighter sentences.

Judge Sumner ruled that the SSA should be applied retroactively and modified the defendant's sentence to 157 to 198 months, and with credit, ordering his release.

Held: this sentence contravenes the appropriate sentencing statutes. The SSA is not retroactive and it is no violation of due process for it to be prospective only. The consent of the DA does not negate the authority of the court to invalidate an illegal sentence.

State v. Christopher Woodard. Digged.

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