H.B. 424
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
Mar 25, 2021
SESSION 2021 HOUSE PRINCIPAL CLERK
H D
HOUSE BILL DRH40249-ML-27
Short Title: Juveniles/Eliminate LWOP/Parole Eligibility. (Public)
Sponsors: Representative Faircloth.
Referred to:
1 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
2 AN ACT TO ELIMINATE LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR JUVENILES AND TO MODIFY
3 PAROLE ELIGIBILITY FOR JUVENILES SENTENCED TO MORE THAN FIFTEEN
4 YEARS IMPRISONMENT.
5 The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
6 SECTION 1. G.S. 15A-1340.13(d) reads as rewritten:
7 "(d) Service of Minimum Required; Earned Time Authorization. – An offender sentenced
8 to an active punishment shall serve the minimum term imposed, except as provided in
9 G.S. 15A-1340.18. G.S. 15A-1340.18 and Part 2A of this Article. The maximum term may be
10 reduced to, but not below, the minimum term by earned time credits awarded to an offender by
11 the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety or the
12 custodian of the local confinement facility, pursuant to rules adopted in accordance with law."
13 SECTION 2. Part 2A of Article 81B of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes reads
14 as rewritten:
15 "Part 2A. Sentencing and Parole Eligibility for Minors Subject to Life Imprisonment Without
16 Parole.Certain Minors.
17 "§ 15A-1340.19A. Applicability.
18 Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 14-17, a defendant who is convicted of first degree
19 murder, and who was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, shall be sentenced in
20 accordance with this Part. For the purposes of this Part, "life imprisonment with parole" shall
21 mean that the defendant shall serve a minimum of 25 years imprisonment prior to becoming
22 eligible for parole.
23 "§ 15A-1340.19B. Penalty and parole eligibility determination.
24 (a) In determining a sentence under this Part, the court shall do one of the following:
25 (1) If the sole basis for conviction of a count or each count of first degree murder was the
26 felony murder rule, then the court shall sentence the defendant to life imprisonment with parole.
27 (2) If the court does not sentence the defendant pursuant to subdivision (1) of this
28 subsection, then the court shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the defendant should be
29 sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, as set forth in G.S. 14-17, or a lesser sentence of
30 life imprisonment with parole.Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 14-17, Part 2 of this
31 Article, and G.S. 15A-1371, a defendant who is convicted of first degree murder, and who was
32 under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, shall be sentenced to life imprisonment with parole
33 and shall be eligible for parole consideration after serving 25 years imprisonment.
34 (b) The hearing under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section shall be conducted
35 by the trial judge as soon as practicable after the guilty verdict is returned. The State and the
36 defendant shall not be required to resubmit evidence presented during the guilt determination
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General Assembly Of North Carolina Session 2021
1 phase of the case. Evidence, including evidence in rebuttal, may be presented as to any matter
2 that the court deems relevant to sentencing, and any evidence which the court deems to have
3 probative value may be received.Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 15A-1371, a defendant
4 who was (i) convicted of a crime other than first degree murder, (ii) under the age of 18 at the
5 time of the offense, and (iii) sentenced to more than 15 years imprisonment shall be eligible for
6 parole consideration after serving 15 years imprisonment.
7 (c) The defendant or the defendant's counsel may submit mitigating circumstances to the
8 court, including, but not limited to, the following factors:
9 (1) Age at the time of the offense.
10 (2) Immaturity.
11 (3) Ability to appreciate the risks and consequences of the conduct.
12 (4) Intellectual capacity.
13 (5) Prior record.
14 (6) Mental health.
15 (7) Familial or peer pressure exerted upon the defendant.
16 (8) Likelihood that the defendant would benefit from rehabilitation in
17 confinement.
18 (9) Any other mitigating factor or circumstance.
19 (d) The State and the defendant or the defendant's counsel shall be permitted to present
20 argument for or against the sentence of life imprisonment with parole. The defendant or the
21 defendant's counsel shall have the right to the last argument.
22 (e) The provisions of Article 58 of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes apply to
23 proceedings under this Part.
24 "§ 15A-1340.19C. Sentencing; assignment for resentencing.
25 (a) The court shall consider any mitigating factors in determining whether, based upon
26 all the circumstances of the offense and the particular circumstances of the defendant, the
27 defendant should be sentenced to life imprisonment with parole instead of life imprisonment
28 without parole. The order adjudging the sentence shall include findings on the absence or
29 presence of any mitigating factors and such other findings as the court deems appropriate to
30 include in the order.
31 (b) All motions for appropriate relief filed in superior court seeking resentencing under
32 the provisions of this Part may be heard and determined in the trial division by any judge (i) who
33 is empowered to act in criminal matters in the superior court district or set of districts as defined
34 in G.S. 7A-41.1, in which the judgment was entered and (ii) who is assigned pursuant to this
35 section to review the motion for appropriate relief and take the appropriate administrative action
36 to dispense with the motion.
37 (c) The judge who presided at the trial of the defendant is empowered to act upon the
38 motion for appropriate relief even though the judge is in another district or even though the
39 judge's commission has expired; however, if the judge who presided at the trial is still unavailable
40 to act, the senior resident superior court judge shall assign a judge who is empowered to act under
41 subsection (b) of this section.
42 (d) All motions for appropriate relief filed in superior court seeking resentencing under
43 the provisions of this Part shall, when filed, be referred to the senior resident superior court judge,
44 who shall assign the motion as provided by this section for review and administrative action,
45 including, as may be appropriate, dismissal, calendaring for hearing, entry of a scheduling order
46 for subsequent events in the case, or other appropriate actions.
47 "§ 15A-1340.19D. Incidents of parole.
48 (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a defendant sentenced to life
49 imprisonment with parole eligible for parole consideration under this Part shall be subject to the
50 conditions and procedures set forth in Article 85 of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes,
51 including the notification requirement in G.S. 15A-1371(b)(3).
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1 (b) The term of parole for a person released from imprisonment from a sentence of life
2 imprisonment with parole based on parole consideration pursuant to this Part shall be five years
3 and may not be terminated earlier by the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission.
4 (c) A defendant sentenced to life imprisonment with parole who is paroled, and paroled
5 pursuant to this Part, and who then violates a condition of parole and is returned to prison to serve
6 the life remainder of his or her sentence, shall not be eligible for parole for five years from the
7 date of the return to confinement.
8 (d) Life imprisonment with parole under this Part means that unless the defendant
9 receives parole, the defendant shall remain imprisoned for the defendant's natural life."
10 SECTION 3. G.S. 15A-1371(a) reads as rewritten:
11 "(a) Eligibility. – Unless his sentence includes a minimum sentence, a prisoner serving a
12 term of imprisonment for a conviction of impaired driving under G.S. 20-138.1 other than one
13 included in a sentence of special probation imposed under authority of this Subchapter is eligible
14 for release on parole at any time. A prisoner whose sentence includes a minimum term of
15 imprisonment imposed under authority of this Subchapter is eligible for release on parole only
16 upon completion of the service of that minimum term or one fifth of the maximum penalty
17 allowed by law for the offense for which the prisoner is sentenced, whichever is less, less any
18 credit allowed under G.S. 15A-1355(c) and Article 19A of Chapter 15 of the General Statutes. A
19 prisoner sentenced under the Fair Sentencing Act for a Class D through Class J felony, who meets
20 the criteria established pursuant to this section, is eligible for parole consideration after
21 completion of the service of at least 20 years imprisonment less any credit allowed under
22 applicable State law. A prisoner who is sentenced under the Fair Sentencing Act, and who was
23 under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, shall be eligible for parole consideration after
24 completion of 20 years imprisonment."
25 SECTION 4. This act becomes effective December 1, 2021, and applies to offenses
26 committed on or after that date.
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Statutes affected:
Filed: 15A-1340.13, 15A-1371