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State v. Randall

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

June 5, 2018

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
JEREMY MICHAEL RANDALL, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 20 February 2018.

          Appeal by Defendant from order entered 3 March 2017 by Judge Alan Z. Thornburg in Buncombe County Superior Court, Nos. 08 CRS 122-124; 08 CRS 51510-51524

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

          Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender Nicholas C. Woomer-Deters, for the Defendant-Appellant.

          DILLON, JUDGE.

         Jeremy Michael Randall ("Defendant") appeals from an order entered by the trial court denying his motion for post-conviction DNA testing.

         I. Background

         In 2008, Defendant pleaded guilty to twelve counts of first-degree rape and six counts of statutory rape. He was sentenced pursuant to his plea agreement to a minimum of 240 and a maximum of 297 months.

         In May 2016, Defendant filed a motion with the trial court, pro se, seeking DNA testing of evidence he alleged was collected by law enforcement during their investigation, including vials of blood and saliva, a bag of clothes, and a rape kit. Defendant contended that the evidence he sought to have tested "would prove that [] Defendant was NOT the perpetrator of the crimes allegedly committed on or between the years 2006, and 2007, and the requested D.N.A. testing is material to [] [D]efendant's exoneration." Defendant also filed a motion for appropriate relief ("MAR"), filed several addendums, and requested an inventory of biological evidence related to the investigation.

         The trial court denied Defendant's motions. Defendant has filed a petition for writ of certiorari with our Court in the event that he has failed to properly preserve his right of appeal. We hereby grant Defendant's petition as to any potential defect in order to reach the merits of Defendant's appeal.

         II. Analysis

         On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) denying his motion for post-conviction DNA testing, and (2) failing to order an inventory of biological evidence. We address each argument in turn.

         A. Motion for Post-Conviction DNA Testing

         The standard of review for denial of a motion for post-conviction DNA testing is "analogous [to the] standard of review for a denial of a motion for appropriate relief . . . because the trial court sits as finder of fact in both circumstances." State v.Lane, __ N.C. __, __, 809 S.E.2d 568, 574 (2018). Accordingly, the trial court's findings of fact are "binding on [our] Court if they ...


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