in the Court of Appeals 28 February 2019.
by Defendant from an Order entered 26 January 2018 by Judge
Susan E. Bray in Guilford County, Nos. 13 CRS 82502-03
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Kristin J. Uicker, for the State.
Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate
Defender James R. Grant, for defendant-appellant.
and Procedural Background
matter involves a Motion for Appropriate Relief (MAR) filed
by Daniel Yair Marino (Defendant) on 25 October 2017, seeking
relief from criminal convictions. The Record based upon the
proceedings on the MAR below tends to show the following
September 2013, a Guilford County Grand Jury indicted
Defendant for one count of Trafficking in Cocaine, a Class D
felony; two counts of Trafficking in Marijuana, Class H
felonies; one count of Possession with Intent to Sell or
Deliver Marijuana, a Class I felony; and one count of
Maintaining a Dwelling for the Keeping or Selling of
Marijuana and Cocaine, a Class I felony. Pursuant to a plea
arrangement, Defendant entered an Alford plea to the
charged offenses on 11 June 2015. The terms and conditions of
the parties' plea agreement provided:
1. That the charges shall be consolidated [under the Class D
Trafficking in Cocaine charge] for judgment purposes.
2.That prayer for judgment shall be continued until on or
after the criminal term beginning pursuant to [ N.C. Gen.
Stat. §] 90-95(h)(5). That the defendant agrees, if
called upon by the State, to provide truthful testimony
against any charged co-defendant in these matters.
3. That upon the State's prayer for judgment, the Court
shall impose any additional terms deemed appropriate.
19 months later, the State prayed for entry of judgment
against Defendant. The trial court held Defendant's
sentencing hearing on 4 January 2017. At this hearing, the
State and defense counsel were given the opportunity to
present arguments regarding Defendant's sentence. The
State informed the trial court that Defendant had provided
the State with "substantial assistance" within the
meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-95(h)(5),  and
Defendant's counsel urged the trial court to consider
Defendant's efforts when sentencing Defendant.
finding Defendant provided substantial assistance to the
State, the trial court sentenced Defendant to an active term
of a minimum of 48 months and a maximum of 70 months, and
ordered Defendant to pay a $25, 000 fine. This sentence was
substantially lower than the sentence Defendant would have
received had he not provided substantial assistance to the
State, which the trial court acknowledged was a minimum of
175 months and a maximum of 222 months, plus a $250, 000
fine. The written Judgment was entered on 6 January 2017;
however, there was a clerical error in this Judgment, which
was corrected by written Judgment on 27 February 2017.
October 2017, Defendant filed a MAR requesting the trial
court set aside the sentence imposed on Defendant. According
to Defendant's MAR, the trial court lacked jurisdiction
to enter the sentence because of N.C. Gen. Stat. §
15A-1331.2, which requires the trial court enter final
judgment on certain high-level felonies, including Class D
felonies, within 12 months of the trial court entering a
prayer for judgment continued (PJC). After hearing arguments
from the State and defense counsel, the trial court issued an
Order denying Defendant's MAR (MAR Order) on 26 January
2018. In its MAR Order, the trial court concluded Section
15A-1331.2 does not mention jurisdiction and that a violation
of this statute does not divest the trial court of
jurisdiction to enter judgment on a PJC after 12 months.
Defendant petitioned this Court for a Writ of
Certiorari to review the MAR Order. We granted
Defendant's Petition for the purpose of granting
Defendant an appeal. Defendant has prosecuted his appeal, and
we now review the merits of his argument.
sole issue on appeal is whether Section 15A-1331.2 of our
General Statutes divested the trial court of jurisdiction to
enter Judgment on ...