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North Carolina v. Keyes

Filed: February 16, 1982.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
JOHNNY LEE KEYES



Appeal by defendant from Wood, Judge. Judgment entered 5 December 1980, Superior Court, Rowan County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 14 October 1981.

Morris, Chief Judge. Judges Arnold and Becton concur.

Morris

Defendant brings forward and argues twenty of his twenty-three assignments of error and combines them into fifteen arguments.

He first contends that the court committed reversible error in failing to quash the indictment and dismiss the habitual felon prosecution. Defendant takes the position that because the principal felony indictment did not refer to his alleged status as an habitual offender, the indictment alleging habitual offender status must be quashed and that prosecution dismissed. We disagree.

The Habitual Felons Act provides in pertinent part as follows:

§ 14-7.1. Persons defined as habitual felons. -- Any person who has been convicted of or pled guilty to three felony offenses . . . is declared to be an habitual felon.

§ 14-7.2. Punishment. -- When any person is charged by indictment with the commission of a felony . . . and is also charged with being an habitual felon as defined in § 14-7.1, he must,

upon conviction, be sentenced and punished as an habitual felon, as in this chapter provided, except in those cases where the death penalty is imposed.

§ 14-7.3. Charge of Habitual Felon. -- An indictment which charges a person who is an habitual felon within the meaning of § 14-7.1 with the commission of any felony under the laws of the State of North Carolina must, in order to sustain a conviction of habitual felon, also charge that said person is an habitual felon. The indictment charging the defendant as an habitual felon shall be separate from the indictment charging him with the principal felony.

§ 14-7.5. Verdict and Judgment. -- When an indictment charges an habitual felon with a felony as above provided and an indictment also charges that said person is an habitual felon as provided herein, the defendant shall be tried for the principal felony as provided by law. The indictment that the person is an habitual felon shall not be revealed to the jury unless the jury shall find that the defendant is guilty of the principal felony. . . . If the jury finds the defendant guilty of a felony, the bill of indictment charging the defendant as an habitual felony may be presented to the same jury. Except that the same jury may be used, the proceedings shall be as if the issue of habitual felon were a principal charge. If the jury finds that the defendant is an habitual felon, the trial judge shall enter judgment according to the provisions of this article.

§ 14-7.6. Sentencing of habitual felons. -- When an habitual felon as defined in this chapter shall commit any felony under the laws of the State of North Carolina, he must, upon conviction or plea of guilty under indictment in form as herein provided . . . be sentenced as an habitual felon; and his punishment must be fixed at a term ...


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