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State v. Doss

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

December 3, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
JEFFERY WADE DOSS, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 2 October 2019.

          Appeal by Defendant from order entered 4 January 2019 by Judge Lawrence J. Fine in Forsyth County No. 99 CR 14063 District Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Tammera S. Hill, for the State.

          Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, by J. Scott Smith, for Defendant-Appellant.

          DILLON, Judge.

         Twenty years ago, in 1999, Defendant Jeffery Wade Doss was found guilty of assault on a female in Forsyth County District Court. The trial court entered a prayer for judgment continued (PJC) on that charge. Two years ago, in 2017, Defendant, now residing in West Virginia, was informed that he was ineligible for a concealed carry permit due to the 1999 matter. A year later, in 2018, Defendant moved the Forsyth County District Court to enter a final judgment on his 1999 matter, presumably so that he could (1) appeal the matter to superior court in hopes that the State would then be forced to dismiss the charge due to the staleness of the matter and (2) he could then regain his concealed carry permit in West Virginia. However, by order entered 4 January 2019, the district court denied Defendant's motion. Defendant appeals from that order.

         I. Background

         In May of 1999, Defendant was charged with and found guilty of assault on a female in district court. The record contains a 2018 correspondence from the Clerk of Court in Forsyth County certifying that all of its records concerning the 1999 matter have been destroyed/purged "in accordance with the retention period established by the History Department of Cultural Resources and endorsed by our Administrative Office of the Court."

         The record, though, also contains a printout of information concerning Defendant's 1999 matter contained on the Automatic Criminal/Infraction System (ACIS) maintained by our judicial branch. The ACIS printout records that (1) Defendant pleaded "not guilty" of assault on a female, (2) the trial court found him "guilty," (3) rather than imposing judgment, such as a fine or term of imprisonment, the trial court entered a PJC, and (4) the trial court ordered Defendant to pay, and Defendant in fact did pay, $86.00 in court costs.

         Almost two decades later, Defendant applied in West Virginia to have his concealed carry permit renewed. However, on 21 February 2017, upon learning of the 1999 matter, West Virginia sent Defendant a letter revoking his permit because (1) his 1999 Forsyth County case resulted in a conviction for a crime involving "domestic violence, "[1] and (2) Defendant had misstated on his renewal application that he had "never been convicted of an act of violence or an act of Domestic Violence[.]"[2]

         In August 2018, Defendant filed a Motion to Enter Judgment in his 1999 case in district court. Defendant's apparent reason for filing the motion was as follows: (1) he wanted a final judgment to be entered (2) so that he could appeal that judgment to the superior court for a trial de novo (3) whereupon his case would most likely be dismissed by the State, as it would be all but impossible for the State to retrieve any evidence of the 1999 incident and (4) with the 1999 charge dismissed, he would be most likely eligible under West Virginia law for a concealed carry permit. Defendant's Motion, however, was denied by the district court, reasoning that it did "not have statutory authority" to grant the motion.

         Defendant appeals.

         II. Jurisdiction

         To be properly before this Court, there must be a conviction or a guilty plea amounting to a final judgment in a criminal case. See State v. Pledger, 257 N.C. 634, 638, 127 S.E.2d 337, 340 (1962) ("A defendant is entitled to appeal only from a final judgment."). A PJC, by definition, places the entry of a potential final judgment on hold until the court is ready to address the matter, or in some cases, the matter is postponed indefinitely. See State v. Southern, 71 N.C.App. 563, 566-67, 322 ...


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