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State v. Bryant

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

October 1, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
BRITTANY SUE OPAL BRYANT, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 3 September 2019.

          Appeal by Defendant from an order entered on 18 September 2018 by Judge Paul C. Ridgeway in Wake County No. 14CR754465 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 Nicholas C. Woomer-Deters, for Defendant.

          BROOK, JUDGE.

         Brittany S. O. Bryant ("Defendant") appeals from the superior court's order entered on 18 September 2018. Defendant argues the superior court erred in denying her petition for writ of certiorari, which sought review of a district court order denying her motion for appropriate relief. We agree. We therefore reverse the superior court's order and vacate Defendant's conviction.

         I. Background

         On 6 September 2014, Defendant was cited with larceny for $14.94 worth of merchandise ("acne toner and towelettes") from a Wal-Mart store located in Wake County. Specifically, the citation stated:

The officer named below has probable cause to believe that on or about Saturday, the 06 day of September, 2014, at 03:08 PM in the county named above you did unlawfully and willfully STEAL, TAKE, AND CARRY AWAY (ACNE TONER AND TOWELETTES), THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF (WAL-MART STORES INC. STORE#1372, 4500 FAYETTEVILLE RD, RALEIGH, NC 27603), SUCH PROPERTY HAVE A VALUE OF ($14.94). (G.S. 14-72(A)).

         Pursuant to a plea agreement with the State, Defendant pleaded guilty to the purportedly amended charge of shoplifting on 3 March 2015. The prosecutor reduced the charge by drawing a line through the capitalized text, handwrote "Shoplifting," and beside the word initialed her name with the date. The trial court entered judgment against Defendant for shoplifting by concealing merchandise-defined under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14.72.1(a). Defendant was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 15 days imprisonment and placed on nine months of supervised probation.[1]

         On 13 August 2018, Defendant filed a motion for appropriate relief in Wake County District Court challenging her conviction. The Honorable Louis B. Meyer denied her motion in an order dated 12 September 2018.

         On 13 September 2018, Defendant filed a petition for writ of certiorari in Wake County Superior Court seeking reversal of the order denying her motion for appropriate relief. The Honorable Paul C. Ridgeway entered an order denying her petition on 18 September 2018.

         Defendant sought review of that decision and filed a petition for writ of certiorari in this Court, which ...


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