in the Supreme Court on 11 October 2017.
pursuant to N.C. G.S. § 7A-30(2) from the decision of a
divided panel of the Court of Appeals, __ N.C.App. __, 795
S.E.2d 598 (2016), finding no error after appeal from
judgments entered on 15 January 2016 by Judge R. Allen
Baddour in Superior Court, Orange County.
H. Stein, Attorney General, by Jessica V. Sutton and Teresa
M. Postell, Assistant Attorneys General, for the State.
Allegra Collins for defendant-appellant.
MARTIN, Chief Justice.
was convicted of committing four crimes over a two-month
period. He received two suspended sentences and was placed on
probation. His probation was revoked after he was charged
with committing additional crimes. We now consider whether
defendant received adequate notice of his probation
revocation hearing pursuant to N.C. G.S. § 15A-1345(e).
We modify and affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals and
uphold the revocation of defendant's probation.
August 2012, defendant was arrested for and charged with
breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and
entering. Defendant was released on bond and then, in
September 2012, was arrested for and charged with committing
those same offenses again. Defendant pleaded guilty to the
August crimes and entered an Alford plea for the
September crimes. Defendant received a suspended sentence of
eight to nineteen months and supervised probation for
twenty-four months for the August crimes. He received a
suspended sentence of six to seventeen months and supervised
probation for twenty-four months for the September crimes.
The punishments for these crimes were to run consecutively.
The judgments in both instances listed many of the
"regular conditions of probation" under N.C. G.S.
§ 15A-1343(b). The listed conditions included that
"defendant shall . . . [c]ommit no criminal offense in
any jurisdiction, " consistent with the language of N.C.
G.S. § 15A-1343(b)(1).
probation for the September crimes was modified and extended
a number of times due to violations of probation conditions.
On 3 June 2015, the State filed two probation violation
reports relating to defendant's probation for the August
and September 2012 crimes, respectively. The reports alleged
violations of monetary conditions of probation. Each report
also alleged an "Other Violation" that listed
various pending criminal charges. Specifically, under
"Other Violation" the reports each stated the same
The defendant has the following pending charges in Orange
County. 15CR 051315 No Operators License 6/8/15, 15CR 51309
Flee/Elude Arrest w/MV 6/8/15. 13CR 709525 No Operators
License 6/15/15, 14CR 052225 Possess Drug Paraphernalia
6/16/15, 14CR 052224 Resisting Public Officer 6/16/15,
14CR706236 No Motorcycle Endorsement 6/29/15, 14CR 706235
Cover Reg Sticker/Plate 6/29/15, and 14CR 706234 Reg Card
Address Change Violation.
(Original in all uppercase.)
January 2016, after many months of continuances, the trial
court held a hearing on these violation
reports. Defendant's probation officer
testified about the new offenses alleged in the reports, and
two police officers testified about defendant's fleeing
to elude arrest two different times. The trial court found
that defendant had violated the condition of probation to
commit no criminal offense, and specifically found that
defendant had "committed the charges of" fleeing to
elude arrest and of not having an operator's license. The
trial court accordingly revoked defendant's probation and
activated the suspended sentences for defendant's August
and September 2012 crimes, to be served consecutively.
appealed to the Court of Appeals, claiming that the probation
violation reports did not give him adequate notice because
they did not specifically state the condition of probation
that he allegedly violated. In a divided opinion, the Court
of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgments.
State v. Moore, __ N.C. App.__, __, 795 S.E.2d 598,
600 (2016). The Court of Appeals concluded that the notice
was adequate-that there was "no ambiguity"-because
the allegations in the violation reports could point only to
the revocation-eligible violation of the condition to commit
no new criminal offense. Id. at__, 795 S.E.2d at
600. Defendant appealed to this Court based on the dissenting
opinion in the Court of Appeals.
revoking a defendant's probation, a trial court must
conduct a hearing to determine whether the defendant's
probation should be revoked, unless the defendant waives the
hearing. N.C. G.S. § 15A-1345(e) (2015). "The State
must give the probationer notice of the hearing and its
purpose, including a statement of the violations
alleged." Id. Probation can be revoked only if
a defendant (1) commits a criminal offense in any
jurisdiction in violation of N.C. G.S. § 15A-1343(b)(1);
(2) absconds from supervision in violation of N.C. G.S.
§ 15A-1343(b)(3a); or (3) has already served two periods
of confinement for violating other conditions of probation
according to N.C. G.S. § 15A-1344(d2). Id.
§ 15A-1344(a) (2015). Only the first of these
statutorily-enumerated instances-the commission of a criminal
offense-is at issue here.
argues that, because the probation violation reports did not
specifically list the "commit no criminal offense"
condition as the condition violated, the reports did not
provide the notice that subsection 15A-1345(e) requires. We
must address whether these reports complied with the
statute's notice requirement. To do that, we need to
examine what exactly that statutory provision means. This is
a matter of first impression for this Court.
resolving issues of statutory construction, this Court must
first ascertain legislative intent to assure that both the
purpose and the intent of the legislation are carried out. In
undertaking this task, we look first to the language of the
statute itself." Poole v. Miller, 342 N.C. 349,
351, 464 S.E.2d 409, 410 (1995) (citation omitted).
"[O]rdinarily words of a statute will be given their
natural, approved, and recognized meaning." Victory
Cab Co. v. City of Charlotte, 234 N.C. 572, 576, 68
S.E.2d 433, 436 (1951).
15A-1345(e) provides that "[t]he State must give the
probationer notice of the hearing and its purpose, including
a statement of the violations alleged." Neither the term
"violation" nor the term "violations, "
as used in the statutory framework of which subsection
15A-1345(e) is a part, are defined by statute.
Black's Law Dictionary defines
"violation" as "1. An infraction or breach of
the law; a transgression. . . . 2. The act of breaking or
dishonoring the law; the contravention of a right or
duty." Violation, Black's Law
Dictionary (10th ed. 2014). Similarly,
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines
"violation" as "the act of violating" and
indicates in its definition of "violate" that
"violating" means "break[ing]" or
Collegiate Dictionary 1396 (11th ed. 2007). These
definitions show that a violation is an action that violates
some rule or law; a violation is not the underlying rule or
law that was violated. In section 15A-1345, and hence in
subsection 15A-1345(e), the words "violation" and
"violations" refer to violations of conditions of
probation. See, e.g., N.C. G.S. § 15A-1345(a)
(2015) (discussing when "[a] probationer is subject to
arrest for violation of conditions of probation"). It
follows that the phrase "a statement of the violations
alleged" refers to a statement of what a probationer
did to violate his conditions of probation. It does
not require a statement of the underlying conditions that
effectuating legislative intent, it is our duty to give
effect to the words actually used in a statute and not to
delete words used or to insert words not used."
Lunsford v. Mills, 367 N.C. 618, 623, 766 S.E.2d
297, 301 (2014). Defendant would have us insert a requirement
into the statute that simply is not there: one that requires
the State to provide notice of the specific condition of
probation that defendant allegedly violated. This approach
would effectively add words to the statute so that the
statute would read "a statement of the violations
alleged and the conditions of probation allegedly
violated." But the statute as it actually reads,
without the italicized words, requires only a statement of
the actions that violated the conditions, not of the
conditions that those actions violated.
straightforward interpretation is further supported by
looking at the use of the word "violation" in N.C.
G.S. § 15A-1344(a). This provision appears in the
statute that directly precedes the statute in which
subsection 15A-1345(e) appears and is part of the same
statutory framework regarding probation. Subsection
15A-1344(a) pertains to the authority of trial courts to
modify or revoke probation. In discussing when a court can
revoke probation, the provision states that "[t]he court
may only revoke probation for a violation of a condition
of probation under" certain specified provisions.
N.C. G.S. § 15A-1344(a) (emphasis added). So the word
"violation" cannot be synonymous with the phrase
"condition of probation, " because subsection
15A-1344(a) uses "condition of probation" to
modify "violation." And that makes sense,
because the phrase "condition of probation" is
describing what was violated rather than the action that
constituted the violation.
interpretation is also consistent with the notice
provision's purpose. Just as with the notice provided by
criminal indictments, see, e.g., State v.
Russell, 282 N.C. 240, 243-44, 192 S.E.2d 294, 296
(1972), "[t]he purpose of the notice mandated by [ N.C.
G.S. § 15A-1345(e)] is to allow the defendant to prepare
a defense and to protect the defendant from a second
probation violation hearing for the same act, "
State v. Hubbard, 198 N.C.App. 154, 158, 678 S.E.2d
390, 393 (2009) (citing Russell, 282 N.C. at 243-44,
192 S.E.2d at 296). A statement of a defendant's alleged
actions that constitute the alleged violation will give that
defendant the chance to prepare a defense because he will
know what he is accused of doing. He will also be able to
determine the possible effects on his probation that those
allegations could have, and he will be able to gather any
evidence available to rebut the allegations. Our
interpretation is therefore consistent with both the language
of the statute and its purpose.
Court of Appeals in this case based its holding on, and the
parties primarily argue over, a line of cases with which we
disagree. Before the Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) was
enacted in 2011, the Court of Appeals correctly interpreted
subsection 15A-1345(e) in State v. Hubbard, 198
N.C.App. 154, 678 S.E.2d 390 (2009). In Hubbard, the
Court of Appeals held that the State had complied with the
notice requirement because, "while the condition of
probation which Defendant allegedly violated might have been
ambiguously stated in the [violation] report, the report also
set forth the specific facts that the State contended
constituted the violation." Id. at 158, 678
S.E.2d at 394. "Defendant received notice of the
specific behavior Defendant was alleged and found to have
committed in violation of Defendant's probation."
Id. at 159, 678 S.E.2d at 394. In other words,
notice of the factual allegations-the specific behavior-that
constituted the violation was enough.
the JRA was passed, however, the Court of Appeals began
imposing an additional notice requirement that is not found
in the text of subsection 15A-1345(e). Starting with
State v. Tindall, 227 N.C.App. 183');">227 N.C.App. 183, 742 S.E.2d 272
(2013), the Court of Appeals began requiring that, when the
State seeks to revoke a defendant's probation at a
revocation hearing, the notice of the hearing provided by the
State must indicate the revocation-eligible condition of
probation that the defendant has allegedly violated. See
id. at 187, 742 S.E.2d at 275. The Court of Appeals
noted in Tindall that the JRA changed the law by
making only some of the conditions of probation
revocation-eligible instead of all of them. Id. at
185, 742 S.E.2d at 274; see also Justice
Reinvestment Act of 2011, ch. 192, sec. 4(b), 2011 N.C. Sess.
Laws 758, 767-68 (amending N.C. G.S. § 15A-1344(a)). The
Court of Appeals then concluded that Hubbard did not
apply because it was decided before the JRA changed the law.
Tindall, 227 N.C.App. at 187, 742 S.E.2d at 275. The
Court of Appeals reasoned that, after the JRA, a probationer
needs to "receive[ ] notice that the alleged violation
was the type of violation that could potentially result in a
revocation of her probation." Id. at 187, 742
S.E.2d at 275.
State v. Kornegay, 228 N.C.App. 320');">228 N.C.App. 320, 745 S.E.2d 880
(2013), the Court of Appeals recognized that it was bound by
Tindall and applied that decision. See id.
at 323, 745 S.E.2d at 883. The Court of Appeals stated that,
in order "[t]o establish jurisdiction over specific
allegations in a probation revocation hearing, the defendant
either must waive notice or be given proper notice of the
revocation hearing, including the specific grounds on
which his probation might be revoked." Id.
at 324, 745 S.E.2d at 883 (emphasis added). The Court of
Appeals later applied the Tindall and
Kornegay line of cases in State v. Lee, 232
N.C.App. 256, 753 S.E.2d 721 (2014).
JRA did not change the notice requirements for probation
revocation hearings. So, to the extent that Tindall,
Kornegay, and Lee created a new notice
requirement not found in ...