Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Stevens

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

July 2, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
HARVEY LEE STEVENS, JR., Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 11 April 2019.

          Appeal by the State from order entered 14 February 2017 by Judge Gregory R. Hayes in Catawba County Superior Court No. 13 CRS 57442.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Christopher W. Brooks, for the State-appellant.

          Blair E. Cody, III for defendant-appellee.

          MURPHY, JUDGE.

         Defendant, Harvey Lee Stevens, Jr., was charged by citation for two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. The State subsequently filed a misdemeanor statement of charges charging Defendant with the same two offenses. While this action was pending in District Court, the grand jury made a presentment and subsequently returned an indictment for two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Defendant moved to dismiss the charges in Superior Court, arguing the presentment and indictment were returned more than two years after the commission of the offense in violation of the statute of limitations for misdemeanors in N.C. G.S. § 15-1. The trial court allowed Defendant's motion.

         A citation and misdemeanor statement of charges, as valid criminal pleadings, toll the two-year statute of limitations for misdemeanors set out in N.C. G.S. § 15-1. The statute of limitations remains tolled by the criminal pleadings while that action is pending. When a presentment and indictment are returned in Superior Court during the tolling period, N.C. G.S. § 15-1 does not bar prosecution based upon the indictment. We reverse the trial court's order allowing Defendant's motion to dismiss.

         BACKGROUND

         On 24 December 2013, Defendant was charged by Citation and Magistrate's Order with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle arising out of an accident on Interstate 40 in Catawba County. Defendant's case was pending in Catawba County District Court from this time until 21 December 2015, when a Misdemeanor Statement of Charges was filed charging Defendant with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. The matter was continued in District Court on 3 March 2016 to 23 June 2016.

         Before Defendant's charges were heard in the District Court on 23 June 2016, the grand jury in Catawba County made a Presentment for the two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle on 7 March 2016 and subsequently returned an Indictment for the same charges on 21 March 2016. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss in Catawba County Superior Court, arguing "the statute of limitations ha[d] run" on the two offenses. The trial court allowed Defendant's motion, concluding the Defendant was charged with the two offenses by indictment "after the two[-]year statute of limitations had run" and that the "statute of limitations bars further prosecution on the Defendant." The State timely appealed.

         ANALYSIS

         The State argues the trial court erred in concluding the 21 March 2016 indictment charging Defendant with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle was returned after the two-year statute of limitations. More specifically, it argues the statute of limitations from the date of offense was tolled by the misdemeanor statement of charges at the time the indictment was issued. Accordingly, it asserts it was not barred from issuing the indictment. We agree.

         The State does not challenge any findings of fact in the trial court's order, so those findings of fact are binding on appeal. State v. Biber, 365 N.C. 162, 167-68, 712 S.E.2d 874, 878 (2011). "Conclusions of law drawn by the trial court from its findings of fact are reviewable de novo on appeal." State v. Williams, 362 N.C. 628, 632, 669 S.E.2d 290, 294 (2008) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "Under a de novo review, the court considers the matter anew and freely substitutes its own judgment for that of the lower tribunal." Id. at 632-33, 669 S.E.2d at 294. Whether a defendant is entitled to dismissal of the charges against him or her is a conclusion of law. Id. at 632, 669 S.E.2d at 294.

          N.C. G.S. § 15-1 sets forth the statute of limitations for misdemeanors. The version of the statute in effect from 1943 to 2017, the relevant time period for the events occurring herein, stated that "all misdemeanors except malicious misdemeanors, shall be presented or found by the grand jury within two years after the commission of the same, and not afterwards[.]"[1] N.C. G.S. § 15-1 (2015). In State v. Curtis, 371 N.C. 355, 817 S.E.2d 187 (2018), our Supreme Court addressed the types of criminal pleadings required to toll the two-year statute of limitations in this version of the statute. In Curtis, the defendant was issued a citation for driving while impaired, and a magistrate's order was issued on that charge (among others). Id. at 356, 817 S.E.2d at 187-88. Over two years later, the defendant objected to trial on citation and moved to dismiss the charges. Id. at 356, 817 S.E.2d at 188. "In her motion [the] defendant argued that, because she was filing a pretrial objection . . . to trial on citation, the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.