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State v. Shaw

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

May 15, 2018

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
WADE LEON SHAW, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 8 March 2018.

          Appeal by defendant from order entered 14 December 2015 by Judge David L. Hall in Forsyth County No. 11 CRS 50213, 9998-99 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Joseph L. Hyde, for the State.

          Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender David W. Andrews, for defendant-appellant.

          ZACHARY, Judge.

         Defendant Wade Leon Shaw appeals from the trial court's order denying his "Request for Post Conviction DNA Testing and Discovery" pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-269. We vacate and remand.

         Background

         In June 2011, defendant was indicted for second-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, assault by strangulation, first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense, and attaining habitual felon status. The matter was tried before a jury beginning on 30 January 2012.

         The evidence presented at defendant's trial included, among other things, testimony by the State's expert in forensic DNA analysis concerning the DNA evidence that was recovered from the victim. The DNA analyst concluded that defendant's DNA "cannot be excluded as a contributor to the DNA mixture" that was recovered, and that "the chance of selecting an individual at random that would be expected to be included for the observed DNA mixture profile" was approximately, "for the North Carolina black population, 1 in 14.5 million[.]" Defendant was convicted on all charges, and this Court affirmed defendant's convictions in May 2013.

         On 22 October 2015, defendant filed a pro se motion with the trial court entitled "Request for Post Conviction DNA Testing and Discovery N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-269, § 15A-902." This motion simply paraphrased the applicable statute, stating only that defendant was moving for post-conviction DNA testing "because the evidence is material to [his] defense, is related to the investigation or prosecution . . ., and it was previously tested and the requested DNA retesting would provide results that are significantly more accurate and probative, having a reasonable probability of contradicting prior test results." Defendant also provided a sworn affidavit maintaining his innocence.

         Although defendant moved for post-conviction DNA testing pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-269, the trial court decided that "the caption of Defendant's Motion notwithstanding, this Court will review it as a Motion for Appropriate Relief" pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1411(c). The trial court then determined that defendant had not complied with the service and filing requirements provided for motions for appropriate relief in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1420(a)(2). The trial court also concluded that "Defendant does not allege newly discovered evidence or other genuine issues that would require an evidentiary hearing, and that the claims raised either were or could have been raised upon direct appeal[, ]" which are grounds for denial of a motion for appropriate relief pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1419. The trial court denied defendant's motion on 14 December 2015.

         On 29 June 2017, defendant filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking this Court to review the trial court's order denying his motion for post-conviction DNA testing. We granted certiorari on 10 July 2017.

         On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion for post-conviction DNA testing because the facts at issue are sufficient to satisfy "the criteria for additional DNA testing" provided in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-269. Defendant also argues that his motion for post-conviction DNA testing was denied in error by the trial court "based on a statute [pertinent ...


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