Uncategorized

NC Supreme Court: Life means life, regardless of good behavior

The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that two convicted killers must remain incarcerated, despite their claims that their life sentences should be reduced because of credits for good behavior.

Attorneys for Faye Brown and Alford Jones argued that when the two were sentenced in the 1970s life terms were defined as “80 years” by the legislature. They maintained over time credits for their work and good behavior cut their sentences in half.

In a 5-2 ruling, the high court determined that regardless of such merit time, there was no regulation explicitly stipulating that the credits were to be used to calculate an unconditional release date.

Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson wrote in her dissent that the decision “offends” common notions of fundamental fairness:

This decision violates the DOC’s own regulations and policies, Jones’s constitutional rights, and the doctrine of separation of powers. And by doing so, I fear that a cornerstone of our legal system, the writ of habeas corpus, is devalued.

You can read the full opinion here.

3 Comments


  1. Victor Erimita

    August 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    On reading this decision, one has to ask if elected judges can ever be effective protectors of the least in society.

    These persons are surely the least. How hard would it be to stick your neck out and say, sure, you hate them electorate, but they did their time and we can’t go changing the rules now to keep them in.

  2. James

    August 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Victor makes an excellent point.

  3. Jack

    August 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    The “…least…”! The word reflects how society views people who have been convicted of a crime. It’s contemptuous language and tags people as a prime target for discrimination, employment and financial to name two.

    Whether elected or appointed judges are in the political arena. I would prefer that judges stay beholding to the electorate for their jobs rather than people in smoked fill rooms.

Check Also

AARP President: Latest GOP effort to repeal Obamacare would cause ‘many, many millions’ to lose coverage (video)

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and South Carolina Sen. ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

The 12 minutes spent on the phone with Duke Energy customer service shed no light on how — or if — c [...]

Crumbling ceilings. Failing air conditioning and heating systems. Broken down school buses. Mold inf [...]

This story has been updated with comments from Jim Womack, who did not respond earlier to questions. [...]

For the 18 months, Gary Brown has been traveling through northeastern North Carolina like an itinera [...]

Last week, the General Assembly announced which legislators will serve on the Joint Legislative Task [...]

The latest effort in Washington to repeal and not actually replace the Affordable Care Act has a dif [...]

Conservative group “reviewing” bigoted attacks; funding from major NC corporations implicated Nearly [...]

5---number of days since Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham unveiled a new proposal to repeal [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more