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State v. Crockett

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

December 16, 2014

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
Darrett Crockett, Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals: October 9, 2014.

Page 79

Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 3 July 2013 by Judge Richard D. Boner in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Nos. 11 CRS 246037, 12 CRS 202386, 12 CRS 000961.

Roy Cooper, Attorney General, by Catherine F. Jordan, and Kimberly N. Callahan, Assistant Attorneys General, for the State.

Staples S. Hughes, Appellate Defender, by Jason Christopher Yoder, Assistant Appellate Defender, for defendant-appellant.

BELL, Judge. Judges GEER and STROUD concur.

OPINION

Page 80

BELL, Judge.

Darrett Crockett (" Defendant" ) appeals from his conviction of two counts of failure to register as a sex offender pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.11.[1] Defendant

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argues on appeal that the trial court erred by (1) denying his motion to dismiss based on the State's failure to prove the offenses alleged in the indictment; and (2) admitting irrelevant evidence that the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office had a policy that the Urban Ministry Center for the Homeless was not a valid address for the purpose of statutorily required sex offender registration. He also argues that the trial court violated his right to a unanimous jury verdict under Article I, § 24 of the North Carolina Constitution. After careful review, we conclude that Defendant received a fair trial free from error.

Factual Background

Defendant stipulated at trial that on 8 October 1997, he was convicted of a reportable offense for which he was required to register as a sex offender and comply with the North Carolina Sex Offender Registration requirements, including the time period on and between 20 January 2011 and 23 February 2012. The State's evidence at trial tended to establish the following facts: On 9 April 1999, Defendant signed initial registration paperwork at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office entitled " Requirements for Sex Offender and Public Protection Registration." This paperwork was provided to Defendant to assist him in understanding his registration requirements throughout the registration period. One of the statutory requirements listed on the registration form states that

[w]hen an offender required to register changes address, he/she must provide written notification of this address change to the Sheriff in the county where he/she most currently registered. This notification must be sent to the Sheriff within 10 days of the address change. This written notification may be made in the form of a letter, or by going personally to the Sheriff's department and completing a Change of Address Form.

Defendant completed a similar registration form again on 10 December 2004. In compliance with the statute, Defendant reported changes of address in writing to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office on the following dates: 1 March 2005, 30 May 2006, and 4 October 2006.

On 27 June 2007, Defendant returned an " Address Verification Notice" form[2] to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office indicating that he had changed his address to 945 North College Street, Charlotte, North Carolina. 945 North College Street is the address of the Urban Ministry Center (" Urban Ministry" ), a non-profit organization that provides various services to the homeless community. The facility is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. during the week and 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on weekends. It provides services such as food, shower facilities, counseling, restrooms, laundry, phones, changing rooms, a post office box, and transportation. However, there are no beds at Urban Ministry and visitors are prohibited from staying there overnight. At trial, Laura Stutts (" Ms. Stutts" ), an administrative assistant with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, testified that the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office does not allow sex offenders to use Urban Ministry as an address for registration purposes.

From 15 April 2009 through 20 January 2011, Defendant was incarcerated in Mecklenburg County. Upon his release, he refused to sign a " Notice of Duty to Register" form and did not provide the sheriff's office with written confirmation of an address at

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which he would reside. The sheriff's office received an email from the Mecklenburg County jail stating that Defendant was going to live at 945 North College Street. That was the last time the sheriff's office received any information concerning Defendant's address until 7 November 2011.

On 11 February 2011, Defendant filed a Petition and Order for Termination of Sex Offender Registration on which he listed 945 North College Street as his current mailing address. The petition was dismissed when Defendant failed to appear for court.

On 7 November 2011, Defendant was arrested and incarcerated in Mecklenburg County. On 17 November 2011, he was released from the Mecklenburg County jail and signed a " Notice of Duty to Register" form, on which he listed 945 North College Street as his address. Defendant reported his address as 945 North College Street again on 17 January 2012.

Defendant mailed a letter postmarked 15 February 2012 to the Honorable Yvonne Evans, Resident Superior Court Judge at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. The envelope listed the York County Detention Center in South Carolina as Defendant's return address. In the letter, Defendant mentioned that he had been living at his cousin's house in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office did not receive any written notification from Defendant informing them of this change of address.

On 28 November 2011, Defendant was indicted on one count of failing to register as a sex offender, as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.11, for the time period from 24 January 2011 until 6 November 2011. On 9 January 2012, Defendant was indicted for attaining habitual felon status. On 12 March 2012, Defendant was indicted on a second count of failing to register as a sex offender for the time period from 1 December 2011 until 23 February 2012.

A jury trial commenced on 1 July 2013 in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. On 3 July 2013, the jury returned a verdict finding defendant guilty of both counts of failing to register as a sex offender. Defendant pled guilty to attaining habitual felon status. The trial court sentenced Defendant to an active ...


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