Heard in the Court of Appeals September 24, 2014
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General William P. Hart, Jr., for the State.
Glenn Gerding and Anne M. Hayes for petitioner.
BRYANT, Judge. Judges ELMORE and ERVIN concur.
Appeal by petitioner from order entered 30 September 2013 by Judge W. Robert Bell in Mecklenburg County Superior Court, No. 81 CRS 065575.
Where the language of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.12A shows a clear intent by our legislature to incorporate the requirements of the federal sex offender registration statutes, SORNA, into our State's statutory provisions governing the sex offender registration process, and to retroactively apply those provisions to sex offenders currently on the registry, we affirm the trial court's order doing so. It is well-established by our Courts that the application of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.5 et seq. which governs the sex offender registration process does not violate our prohibition against ex post facto laws. Where petitioner fails to raise a constitutional argument before the trial court, that argument is deemed waived on appeal.
On 18 January 1982, petitioner David Paul Hall pled guilty to first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping and was sentenced to life in prison. After serving over twenty years, petitioner was released on parole in April 2003 and properly registered himself as a sex offender in Mecklenburg County.
On 3 May 2013, petitioner filed a petition in Mecklenburg County Superior Court seeking termination of his sex offender registration. After a hearing on 23 September 2013, the trial court entered an order on 30 September denying the petition. Petitioner appeals.
Petitioner raises three issues on appeal: (I) whether the trial court erred in relying on the federal SORNA statute to deny his petition to terminate his sex offender registration; (II) whether the trial court's application of SORNA to support denying the petition constituted an ex post facto violation; and (III) whether the denial of the petition violated petitioner's substantive due process rights.
Petitioner contends the trial court erred in relying on the federal SORNA statute to justify the denial of his petition for termination of his sex offender registration. Specifically, petitioner contends such reliance on SORNA was erroneous because N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.12A was not meant to be applied retroactively. We disagree.
Resolution of issues involving statutory construction is ultimately a question of law for the courts. Where an appeal presents a question of statutory interpretation, full review is appropriate, and we review a trial court's conclusions of law de novo. . . .
When the language of a statute is clear and without ambiguity, it is the duty of this Court to give effect to the plain meaning of the statute, and judicial construction of legislative intent is not required. However, when the language of a statute is ambiguous, this Court will determine the purpose of the statute and the intent of the legislature in its enactment. Moreover, when confronted with a clear and unambiguous statute, courts are without power to interpolate, or superimpose, provisions and limitations not contained therein.
The best indicia of the legislature's intent are the language of the statute or ordinance, the spirit of the act and what the act seeks to accomplish. Moreover, in discerning the intent of the General Assembly, statutes in pari materia should be construed together and harmonized whenever possible. In pari materia is defined as upon the same matter or subject.
In re Borden, 216 N.C.App. 579, 581, 718 S.E.2d 683, 685 (2011) (citations and quotations omitted).
North Carolina General Statutes, section 14-208.12A, provides that
(a) Ten years from the date of initial county registration, a person required to register under this Part may petition the superior court to terminate the 30-year registration requirement if the person has not been convicted of a ...