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Constitution of North Carolina

ARTICLE I Declaration of Rights

Sec. 27. Bail, fines, and punishments.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.

Cross References. - For general provisions as to bail, see G.S. § 15A-531 et seq.

History Note. - The provisions of this section are similar to those of Art. I, § 14, Const. 1868.

Legal Periodicals. - For article on punishment for crime in North Carolina, see 17 N.C.L. Rev. 205 (1939).

For case law survey as to cruel and unusual punishment, see 44 N.C.L. Rev. 936 (1966); 45 N.C.L. Rev. 864 (1967).

For note on appellate review of legal but excessive sentences, see 44 N.C.L. Rev. 1118 (1966).

For comment on bail in North Carolina, see 5 Wake Forest Intra. L. Rev. 300 (1969).

For article surveying recent decisions by the North Carolina Supreme Court in the area of criminal procedure, see 49 N.C.L. Rev. 262 (1971).

For article, "Sentencing Due Process: Evolving Constitutional Principles," see 18 Wake Forest L. Rev. 523 (1982).

For note, "United States v. Bryant, Federal Habitual Offender Laws, and the Rights of Defendants in Tribal Courts: A Better Solution to Domestic Violence Exists," see 39 Campbell L. Rev. 205 (2017).

CASE NOTES





I. In General.

II. Particular Statutes.

III. Illustrative Cases.



I. IN GENERAL.



Editor's Note. - Some of the cases cited below were decided under former Art. I, § 14, Const. 1868.

Punishment Is Within Province of Legislature. - It is within the province of the General Assembly and not the judiciary to determine the extent of punishment which may be imposed on those convicted of crime. State v. Cradle, 281 N.C. 198, 188 S.E.2d 296, cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1047, 93 S. Ct. 537, 34 L. Ed. 2d 499 (1972). See also, State v. Atkinson, 278 N.C. 168, 179 S.E.2d 410, rev'd, 403 U.S. 948, 91 S. Ct. 2292, 29 L. Ed. 2d 861 (1971); State v. Cross, 27 N.C. App. 335, 219 S.E.2d 274 (1975); State v. Legette, 292 N.C. 44, 231 S.E.2d 896 (1977); State v. Jenkins, 292 N.C. 179, 232 S.E.2d 648 (1977).

This section restricts the judiciary from imposing excessive punishments where the legislature has not prescribed a fixed maximum, and does not apply to the legislative power to impose the penalty for acts made an offense by them. State v. Blake, 157 N.C. 608, 72 S.E. 1080 (1911).

But May Affect Legislative Enactments in Exceptional Cases. - This section is an admonition to the judiciary in imposing sentence left to an extent within its discretion by the statutes; however, there is a decided intimation that in extraordinary and exceptional cases it may be held to affect legislative enactments as well. State v. Smith, 174 N.C. 804, 93 S.E. 910 (1917).

Discretion of Court in Sentencing. - Within the limits of the sentence permitted by the law, the character and extent of the punishment is committed to the sound discretion of the trial court, and may be reviewed only in case of manifest and gross abuse. State v. McKinney, 4 N.C. App. 107, 165 S.E.2d 689 (1969).

Punishment ought to be left to the judge who inflicts it under the circumstances of each case, and ought not to be interfered with, except when the abuse is palpable. State v. Driver, 78 N.C. 423 (1878); State v. Reid, 106 N.C. 714, 11 S.E. 315 (1890).

Where the question of punishment is left to the sound discretion of the court, the court is limited only by the prohibition against cruel or unusual punishment in this section. State v. Richardson, 221 N.C. 209, 19 S.E.2d 863 (1942).

What constitutes cruel and unusual punishment is a question of law for the court and is not subject to proof by expert opinion evidence. State v. Rogers, 275 N.C. 411, 168 S.E.2d 345 (1969), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 1024, 90 S. Ct. 599, 24 L. Ed. 2d 518 (1970).

Test as to Reasonableness of Punishment. - There are two things which have been looked upon as very good guides in determining the reasonableness of punishment: (1) what has formerly been expressly done in like cases, and (2) for the want of such particular discretion then to consider that which comes nearest to it. State v. Driver, 78 N.C. 423 (1878).

Punishment Within Limits Fixed by Statute Cannot Be Held Cruel or Unusual. - A punishment which is within the limits authorized by statute cannot be held cruel or unusual in the constitutional sense. State v. Stansbury, 230 N.C. 589, 55 S.E.2d 185 (1949); State v. Welch, 232 N.C. 77, 59 S.E.2d 199 (1950); State v. Davis, 267 N.C. 126, 147 S.E.2d 570 (1966); State v. Bruce, 268 N.C. 174, 150 S.E.2d 216 (1966); State v. Carter, 269 N.C. 697, 153 S.E.2d 388 (1967); State v. Greer, 270 N.C. 143, 153 S.E.2d 849 (1967); State v. LePard, 270 N.C. 157, 153 S.E.2d 875 (1967); State v. Hilton, 271 N.C. 456, 156 S.E.2d 833 (1967); State v. Robinson, 271 N.C. 448, 156 S.E.2d 854 (1967); State v. Hopper, 271 N.C. 464, 156 S.E.2d 857 (1967); State v. Lovelace, 271 N.C. 593, 157 S.E.2d 81 (1967); Mathis v. North Carolina, 266 F. Supp. 841 (M.D.N.C. 1967); State v. Mosteller, 3 N.C. App. 67, 164 S.E.2d 27 (1968); State v. McKinney, 4 N.C. App. 107, 165 S.E.2d 689 (1969); State v. Culp, 5 N.C. App. 625, 169 S.E.2d 10 (1969); State v. Powell, 6 N.C. App. 8, 169 S.E.2d 210 (1969); State v. Price, 8 N.C. App. 94, 173 S.E.2d 644 (1970); State v. Blake, 14 N.C. App. 367, 188 S.E.2d 607 (1972); State v. Harris, 27 N.C. App. 385, 219 S.E.2d 306 (1975).

Unless Punishment Provisions of Statute Itself Are Unconstitutional. - When punishment does not exceed the limits fixed by statute it cannot be classified as cruel and unusual in a constitutional sense, unless the punishment provisions of the statute itself are unconstitutional. State v. Rogers, 275 N.C. 411, 168 S.E.2d 345 (1969), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 1024, 90 S. Ct. 599, 24 L. Ed. 2d 518 (1970); State v. Atkinson, 278 N.C. 168, 179 S.E.2d 410, rev'd, 403 U.S. 948, 91 S. Ct. 2292, 29 L. Ed. 2d 861 (1971); State v. Cradle, 281 N.C. 198, 188 S.E.2d 296, cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1047, 93 S. Ct. 537, 34 L. Ed. 2d 499 (1972); State v. Sellars, 52 N.C. App. 380, 278 S.E.2d 907, appeal dismissed and cert. denied, 304 N.C. 200, 285 S.E.2d 108 (1981).

The Department of Correction has a duty to provide adequate medical care to inmates in its custody, and that duty is of such great importance that the State cannot avoid liability by contracting with someone else to perform it. Medley v. North Carolina Dep't of Cor., 330 N.C. 837, 412 S.E.2d 654 (1992).

Consecutive Sentences. - Where there was a conviction of the violation of two separate criminal statutes, consolidated and tried as two counts under one bill of indictment, a sentence for each offense, the one to begin upon the expiration of the other term, confining the punishment as to each within that prescribed in the statute relating to it, could not be considered under the facts of the case as cruel and unusual within the inhibition of this section. State v. Malpass, 189 N.C. 349, 127 S.E. 248 (1925).

Imposition of two life sentences to run consecutively does not contravene the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. State v. Mosteller, 3 N.C. App. 67, 164 S.E.2d 27 (1968). See also, State v. Bruce, 268 N.C. 174, 150 S.E.2d 216 (1966).

Sentences within the statutory limits that impose consecutive sentences do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. State v. Handsome, 300 N.C. 313, 266 S.E.2d 670 (1980).

Two Year Sentence. - When no time was fixed by the statute, an imprisonment for two years would not be held cruel and unusual. State v. Driver, 78 N.C. 423 (1878); State v. Miller, 94 N.C. 904 (1886); State v. Farrington, 141 N.C. 844, 53 S.E. 954 (1906); State v. Moschoures, 214 N.C. 321, 199 S.E. 92 (1938); State v. Crandall, 225 N.C. 148, 33 S.E.2d 861 (1945); State v. Lee, 247 N.C. 230, 100 S.E.2d 372 (1957).

Jury Instructions. - While trial court's jury instructions may have been confusing initially, the court ultimately set forth the required elements as to felonious assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and, therefore, did not violate the defendant's constitutional rights under this section and N.C. Const., Art. I, §§ 19 and 23. State v. Parker, 350 N.C. 411, 516 S.E.2d 106 (1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1084, 120 S. Ct. 808, 145 L. Ed. 2d 681 (2000).

Failure to charge jury with exact language requested by defendant did not violate defendant's rights under the Eighth or Fourteenth Amendments or N.C. Const., Art. I, §§ 19 or 27, where the trial court used the pattern jury instruction to given in substance those of defendant's requested instructions which were correct in the law. State v. Morgan, 359 N.C. 131, 604 S.E.2d 886 (2004).

Peremptory instruction on nonstatutory mitigating circumstances which required the jury to find both that the circumstances existed and that the circumstances had mitigating value did not preclude the sentencer from considering relevant mitigating evidence in violation of the Constitution; the Constitution does not require that the sentencing jury "find" each circumstance which the court submits as potentially mitigating, but requires only that the sentencer be permitted to consider any relevant mitigating evidence. State v. Huff, 325 N.C. 1, 381 S.E.2d 635 (1989), vacated and remanded for further consideration at, 497 U.S. 1021, 110 S. Ct. 3266, 111 L. Ed. 2d 777 (1990) in light of McKoy v. North Carolina, 494 U.S. 433, 110 S. Ct. 1227, 108 L. Ed. 2d 369 (1990), death sentence vacated, remanded for new capital sentencing proceeding, State v. Huff, 328 N.C. 532, 402 S.E.2d 577 (1991).

Scope of Evidence in Determining Punishment upon Plea of Guilty or Nolo Contendere. - In making a determination of what punishment should be imposed after a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, a court is not confined to evidence relating to the offense charged. It may look anywhere, within reasonable limits, for other facts calculated to enable it to act wisely in fixing punishment. Hence, it may inquire into such matters as the age, the character, the education, the environment, the habits, the mentality, the propensities, and the record of the person about to be sentenced. In so doing, the court is not bound by the rules of evidence which obtain in a trial where guilt or innocence is put in issue by a plea of not guilty. State v. McKinney, 4 N.C. App. 107, 165 S.E.2d 689 (1969).

Letter to Parole Commissioner and Instructions to Prosecuting Attorney Not Part of Sentence. - Defendant's contention that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in that the trial court sentenced him to the maximum prison term permitted by statute for the offense of seduction of which he was convicted, and in addition dictated a letter to the parole commissioner in which he requested that no clemency be extended defendant, and also directed the prosecuting attorney to institute prosecution against defendant for failure to support his illegitimate child, was untenable, since the letter to the parole commissioner and the instructions to the prosecuting attorney were not parts of the sentence. State v. Brackett, 218 N.C. 369, 11 S.E.2d 146 (1940).

Sterilization. - The contention that sterilization amounts to cruel and unusual punishment is without basis in law, since the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Constitution refers to those persons convicted of a crime, and sterilization is not a criminal proceeding within the meaning of this section. In re Moore, 289 N.C. 95, 221 S.E.2d 307 (1976).

Right Not Compromised. - Defendant was not denied his rights to confrontation, to effective assistance of counsel, to due process, to a jury trial, and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when the trial court denied defendant's motion for a mistrial based on the alleged misconduct of a juror; the juror inadvertent failure to disclose the 40-year-old information she had forgotten did not amount to concealment, and the juror demonstrated no bias. State v. Maske, 358 N.C. 40, 591 S.E.2d 521 (2004).

First-Degree Murder. - Defendant's right was not violated when the trial court set bond as "no bond" and "zero" because defendant was charged with first-degree murder, a crime for which, under G.S. § 15A-533(c), the trial court had the discretion not to set bail. State v. Hocutt, 177 N.C. App. 341, 628 S.E.2d 832 (2006).

Jurisdiction to Consider 1973 Sentence in 2014. - Trial court had jurisdiction over a 1973 judgment to consider whether defendant's sentence was invalid under G.S. § 15A-1415(b)(8), because he argued that a sentence of life for burglary was excessive under evolving standards of decency and U.S. Const., amend. VIII and N.C. Const., Art. I, § 27. State v. Stubbs, 232 N.C. App. 274, 754 S.E.2d 174 (2014), dismissed 758 S.E.2d 876, 2014 N.C. LEXIS 428 (2014), review denied 758 S.E.2d 867, 2014 N.C. LEXIS 426 (2014), cert. dismissed 2015 N.C. LEXIS 278 (N.C. 2015), aff'd 2015 N.C. LEXIS 259 (2015).

Applied in Shore v. Edmisten, 290 N.C. 628, 227 S.E.2d 553 (1976); State v. Barrett, 58 N.C. App. 515, 293 S.E.2d 896 (1982); State v. Long, 58 N.C. App. 467, 294 S.E.2d 4 (1982); State v. Ford, 71 N.C. App. 748, 323 S.E.2d 358 (1984); State v. Moseley, 338 N.C. 1, 449 S.E.2d 412 (1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1091, 115 S. Ct. 1815, 131 L. Ed. 2d 738 (1995); State v. Roseboro, 351 N.C. 536, 528 S.E.2d 1 (2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1019, 121 S. Ct. 582, 148 L. Ed. 2d 498 (2000); State v. Duke, 360 N.C. 110, 623 S.E.2d 11 (2005); State v. Hurst, 360 N.C. 181, 624 S.E.2d 309 (2006), cert denied 364 N.C. 244 (2010); State v. Wilkerson, 363 N.C. 382, 683 S.E.2d 174 (2009), cert. denied 130 S. Ct. 2104, 2010 U.S. LEXIS 3379, 176 L. Ed. 2d 734 (U.S. 2010); State v. Lovette, 233 N.C. App. 706, 758 S.E.2d 399 (2014).

Cited in In re Reddy, 16 N.C. App. 520, 192 S.E.2d 621 (1972); State v. Foster, 284 N.C. 259, 200 S.E.2d 782 (1973); State v. Woodson, 287 N.C. 578, 215 S.E.2d 607 (1975); Bolding v. Holshouser, 575 F.2d 461 (4th Cir. 1978); State v. Overton, 60 N.C. App. 1, 298 S.E.2d 695 (1982); Cinema I Video, Inc. v. Thornburg, 83 N.C. App. 544, 351 S.E.2d 305 (1986); State v. Robbins, 319 N.C. App. 465, 356 S.E.2d 279 (1987); State v. Green, 321 N.C. 594, 365 S.E.2d 587 (1988); State v. Degree, 322 N.C. 302, 367 S.E.2d 679 (1988); State v. Artis, 325 N.C. 278, 384 S.E.2d 470 (1989); Hawkins v. Hawkins, 101 N.C. App. 529, 400 S.E.2d 472 (1991); State v. Robinson, 330 N.C. 1, 409 S.E.2d 288 (1991); State v. O'Neal, 108 N.C. App. 661, 424 S.E.2d 680 (1993); State v. Jennings, 333 N.C. 579, 430 S.E.2d 188 (1993); State v. Fisher, 336 N.C. 684, 445 S.E.2d 866 (1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1098, 115 S. Ct. 768, 130 L. Ed. 2d 665 (1995); State v. Williams, 339 N.C. 1, 452 S.E.2d 245 (1994), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 833, 116 S. Ct. 109, 133 L. Ed. 2d 61 (1995), overruled in part, State v. Warren, 347 N.C. 309, 492 S.E.2d 609 (1997); State v. Robinson, 342 N.C. 74, 463 S.E.2d 218 (1995); State v. Best, 342 N.C. 502, 467 S.E.2d 45 (1996); State v. Bond, 345 N.C. 1, 478 S.E.2d 163 (1996), reh'g denied, 345 N.C. 355, 479 S.E.2d 210, cert. denied, 521 U.S. 1124, 117 S. Ct. 2521, 138 L. Ed. 2d 1022 (1997); State v. Cummings, 346 N.C. 291, 488 S.E.2d 550 (1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 1092, 118 S. Ct. 886, 139 L. Ed. 2d 873 (1998); State v. Bonnett, 348 N.C. 417, 502 S.E.2d 563 (1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1124, 119 S. Ct. 909, 142 L. Ed. 2d 907 (1999); State v. Atkins, 349 N.C. 62, 505 S.E.2d 97 (1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1147, 119 S. Ct. 2025, 143 L. Ed. 2d 1036 (1999); State v. Parker, 350 N.C. 411, 516 S.E.2d 106 (1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1084, 120 S. Ct. 808, 145 L. Ed. 2d 681 (2000); State v. Peterson, 350 N.C. 518, 516 S.E.2d 131 (1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1164, 120 S. Ct. 1181, 145 L. Ed. 2d 1087 (2000); State v. McNeil, 350 N.C. 657, 518 S.E.2d 486 (1999), cert. denied, 529 U.S. 1024, 120 S. Ct. 1432, 146 L. Ed. 2d 321 (2000); State v. Cheek, 351 N.C. 48, 520 S.E.2d 545 (1999), cert. denied, 530 U.S. 1245, 120 S. Ct. 2694, 147 L. Ed. 2d 965 (2000); State v. Greene, 351 N.C. 562, 528 S.E.2d 575 (2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1041, 121 S. Ct. 635, 148 L. Ed. 2d 543 (2000); State v. Holman, 353 N.C. 174, 540 S.E.2d 18 (2000), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 910, 122 S. Ct. 250, 151 L. Ed. 2d 181 (2001), cert. denied, - N.C. - , 619 S.E.2d 854 (2005); In re Allison, 143 N.C. App. 586, 547 S.E.2d 169 (2001); Pittman v. N.C. Dep't of Health and Human Servs., 155 N.C. App. 268, 573 S.E.2d 628 (2002); State v. Boggess, 358 N.C. 676, 600 S.E.2d 453 (2004); State v. Cortes-Serrano, 195 N.C. App. 644, 673 S.E.2d 756 (2009), review denied, 363 N.C. 376, 679 S.E.2d 138 (2009); State v. Norman,

213 N.C. App. 114, 711 S.E.2d 849 (2011), review denied, 718 S.E.2d 401, 2011 N.C. LEXIS 940 (2011); State v. Wilkerson, 232 N.C. App. 482, 753 S.E.2d 829 (2014); Robinson v. Shanahan, 233 N.C. App. 34, 755 S.E.2d 398 (2014); State v. Royster, 237 N.C. App. 64, 763 S.E.2d 577 (2014); State v. James, - N.C. App. - , 786 S.E.2d 73 (2016), appeal dismissed, 796 S.E.2d 789, 2017 N.C. LEXIS 134 (2017).

II. PARTICULAR STATUTES.



Criminal Trespass. - Although not expressly limited by statute, the extent of punishment for the crime of criminal trespass was limited by this section, proscribing cruel or unusual punishments, and decisions of the State court indicate that imprisonment for up to two years would not be an "unusual punishment." Klopfer v. North Carolina, 385 U.S. 916, 87 S. Ct. 226, 17 L. Ed. 2d 141 (1966).

Armed Robbery. - The punishment provisions concerning armed robbery are constitutionally valid. State v. Legette, 292 N.C. 44, 231 S.E.2d 896 (1977).

Death Penalty. - The State Supreme Court reaffirmed its position that the death penalty statute does not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and N.C. Const., Art. I, § 19 and this section. State v. McHone, 334 N.C. 627, 435 S.E.2d 296 (1993), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1046, 114 S. Ct. 1577, 128 L. Ed. 2d 220 (1994).

Sections § 14-190.1, § 14-190.13, § 14-190.16 and § 14-190.17 are constitutional as drawn; while potentially beyond constitutional bounds if improperly applied, these sections are not so substantially overbroad as to require constitutional invalidation on their face. Cinema I Video, Inc. v. Thornburg, 320 N.C. 485, 358 S.E.2d 383 (1987).

Prohibition. - Sentence prescribed by statute for violation of prohibition law was held not to be cruel or unusual within the meaning of this section. State v. Daniels, 197 N.C. 285, 148 S.E. 244 (1929).

Although consent is not a defense to "statutory" rape under G.S. § 14-27.7A, the sentencing scheme does not violate the North Carolina Constitution. State v. Anthony, 133 N.C. App. 573, 516 S.E.2d 195 (1999), appeal dismissed, cert. granted, 351 N.C. 109, 516 S.E.2d 195 (1999), aff'd, 528 S.E.2d 321 (2000).

Habitual Felon Act. - Defendant's constitutional challenges to his sentence as an habitual felon failed because (1) the North Carolina Habitual Felon Act was not violative of the Separation of Powers Clause; (2) there was no double jeopardy infirmity inherent in the Habitual Felon Act as applied in conjunction with the North Carolina Structured Sentencing Act; and (3) the state appellate court and the state supreme court have rejected constitutional challenges to the Habitual Felon Act based on allegations of cruel and unusual punishment. State v. McIlwaine, 169 N.C. App. 397, 610 S.E.2d 399 (2005).

Life Sentence for Burglary. - Defendant's 1973 sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for second-degree burglary was not cruel and unusual under U.S. Const., amend. VIII and N.C. Const., Art. I, § 27, although in 2014 the maximum sentence was less than four years and defendant had served nearly 40; defendant had been paroled and returned to prison for driving while impaired. The Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission was created to review matters of proportionality, G.S. § 143B-720. State v. Stubbs, 232 N.C. App. 274, 754 S.E.2d 174 (2014), dismissed 758 S.E.2d 876, 2014 N.C. LEXIS 428 (2014), review denied 758 S.E.2d 867, 2014 N.C. LEXIS 426 (2014), cert. dismissed 2015 N.C. LEXIS 278 (N.C. 2015), aff'd 2015 N.C. LEXIS 259 (2015).

III. ILLUSTRATIVE CASES.

.

Armed Robbery. - A sentence of 24 to 30 years for the offense of robbery with firearms did not exceed the maximum prescribed by statute and did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. State v. LePard, 270 N.C. 157, 153 S.E.2d 875 (1967).

Breaking and Entering and Other Property Crimes - Three sentences of 47 months each, to run concurrently, imposed on defendant's plea of nolo contendere to three felony counts charging felonious breaking and entering, larceny, and larceny of an automobile, being well within the statutory limits, could not be considered cruel and unusual punishment. State v. Carter, 269 N.C. 697, 153 S.E.2d 388 (1967).

A sentence of 25 years' imprisonment, imposed after a plea of guilty to 4 indictments charging felonious breaking and entering and larceny, did not exceed the statutory maximum and was not cruel and unusual punishment in the constitutional sense. State v. Greer, 270 N.C. 143, 153 S.E.2d 849 (1967).

Imposition of a sentence of imprisonment of 7 to 9 years upon plea of nolo contendere to the offenses of breaking and entering and larceny was not cruel or unusual punishment in a constitutional sense. State v. Robinson, 271 N.C. 448, 156 S.E.2d 854 (1967).

Concealed Weapons. - Punishment of 30 days confinement in jail for carrying concealed weapons would be upheld. State v. Woodlief, 172 N.C. 885, 90 S.E. 137 (1916). See also, State v. Mangum, 187 N.C. 477, 121 S.E. 765 (1924).

Drug Trafficking - The defendant's sentence was not disproportionate to her crimes although her more culpable co-conspirators received lesser or equivalent sentences after plea-arrangements where the sentences imposed upon defendant, albeit consecutive, were within the presumptive statutory range authorized for her drug trafficking offenses under the Structured Sentencing Act. State v. Parker, 137 N.C. App. 590, 530 S.E.2d 297 (2000).

Escape. - A sentence of imprisonment for 12 months for felonious escape did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of this section. State v. Dixon, 5 N.C. App. 514, 168 S.E.2d 418 (1969).

Kidnapping and Rape. - Imposition on defendant of two concurrent terms of life imprisonment for kidnapping and first-degree rape did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment since the sentences were authorized by statute. State v. Squire, 302 N.C. 112, 273 S.E.2d 688 (1981).

Letting Dogs Run at Large. - As to fine or imprisonment for owners of bird dogs who permit them to run at large during the closed season for quail, see State v. Blake, 157 N.C. 608, 72 S.E. 1080 (1911).

Imposition of two consecutive life sentences did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the State Constitution, where the defendant was convicted of four first-degree burglaries, three first-degree rapes, and eight first-degree sexual offenses. The sentence imposed was authorized under the statutes, and the sentence was not disproportionate to the crimes committed. State v. Woodard, 102 N.C. App. 687, 404 S.E.2d 6 (1990), cert. denied, 329 N.C. 504, 407 S.E.2d 550 (1991).

Thirteen-year Old Sentenced to Life Imprisonment. - A life sentence imposed on a 13-year old was not excessive as cruel and unusual punishment, where the sentence was imposed for a first-degree sexual offense, and the punishment was suitable both with regard to evolving community standards, the nature of the crime, as well as the defendant's reaction to the crime, the likelihood of his rehabilitation, and his home situation. State v. Green, 348 N.C. 588, 502 S.E.2d 819 (1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1111, 119 S. Ct. 883, 142 L. Ed. 2d 783 (1999).

Life Sentence for Sex Abuse Committed When Defendant Was 16 Years Old. - As sentencing a juvenile to life imprisonment was constitutionally permissible, the fact that defendant was 16 when he sexually abused his half-brother did not render his sentence of 32 to 40 years cruel and unusual punishment under U.S. Const., amend. VIII or N.C. Const., Art. I, § 27. State v. Pettigrew, 204 N.C. App. 248, 693 S.E.2d 698 (2010), dismissed 364 N.C. 439, 2010 N.C. LEXIS 1160 (2010).

Mandatory Life Sentence. - Mandatory life sentence for first degree sexual offense does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the State or federal Constitution. Supreme Court of North Carolina has repeatedly rejected argument that a life sentence for first degree sexual offense is cruel and unusual punishment. State v. Norman, 100 N.C. App. 660, 397 S.E.2d 647 (1990).

Mandatory Life Imprisonment Without Parole. - Imposing a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on defendant, who was convicted of first degree murder under the felony murder rule, violated defendant's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment because defendant was under 18 years of age at the time he committed the offense. State v. Pemberton, 228 N.C. App. 234, 743 S.E.2d 719 (2013).

Manslaughter. - Upon conviction of manslaughter, punishment for 9 years in the penitentiary would be upheld. State v. Lance, 149 N.C. 551, 63 S.E. 198 (1908).

Sentence of 12 to 20 years' imprisonment for involuntary manslaughter was within the discretionary limits fixed by statute, and while the punishment inflicted was substantial, the judgment pronounced did not come within the constitutional inhibition against "cruel or unusual punishments." State v. Smith, 238 N.C. 82, 76 S.E.2d 363 (1953). See also, State v. Brooks, 260 N.C. 186, 132 S.E.2d 354 (1963), in which the sentence imposed was for not less than 10 nor more than 20 years' imprisonment.

Possession of Housebreaking Implements. - A sentence of not less than 20 nor more than 30 years on a plea of guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of implements of housebreaking constituted cruel and unusual punishment within the meaning of this section. State v. Blackmon, 260 N.C. 352, 132 S.E.2d 880 (1963).

Referral of Bail Setting to Another Judicial Officer Not Wrongful Confinement. - Where the defendant was taken before a judicial officer for the setting of bail within a reasonable time, although the magistrate may have erred at that point by referring the defendant's case to another judicial officer for the setting of bail rather than setting reasonable bail himself, the error did not make the defendant's temporary further confinement an unreasonable seizure or "wrongful confinement" in any constitutional sense so as to necessitate suppression of his confession. State v. Simpson, 320 N.C. 313, 357 S.E.2d 332 (1987), cert. denied, 485 U.S. 963, 108 S. Ct. 1230, 99 L. Ed. 2d 430 (1988).

Failure to Intervene Ex Mero Motu. - Defendant's rights to due process and a fair trial under N.C. Const., Art. I, §§ 18, 19, 23, 24, and 27 were not violated by the trial court's failure to intervene ex mero motu in the prosecutor's closing argument, as while comparisons between criminal defendants and animals were strongly disfavored, the state's use of an analogy to animals in packs helped explain the complex legal theory surrounding premeditation and deliberation. State v. Oakes, 209 N.C. App. 18, 703 S.E.2d 476 (2011), review denied 365 N.C. 197, 709 S.E.2d 920, 2011 N.C. LEXIS 534 (N.C. 2011), dismissed 365 N.C. 197, 709 S.E.2d 918, 2011 N.C. LEXIS 541 (N.C. 2011).

Robbery. - A sentence for robbery which was within the statutory maximum did not constitute the cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by this section. State v. Witherspoon, 271 N.C. 714, 157 S.E.2d 362 (1967).

Vagrancy. - The punishment for vagrancy could not exceed 30 days under the statute. In re Watson, 157 N.C. 340, 72 S.E. 1049 (1911).

Worthless Check. - A sentence to 18 months labor on the roads entered upon defendant's plea of guilty to a charge of drawing and uttering a worthless check was held not to be "cruel and unusual" in a constitutional sense. State v. White, 230 N.C. 513, 53 S.E.2d 436 (1949).

False Pretenses Enhanced By Habitual Offender Status. - Defendant had a lengthy criminal record and was sentenced accordingly for G.S. § 14-100 false pretenses, which sentence was enhanced by his status of being an habitual offender under G.S. § 14-7.6; the sentence of 142 months to 180 months was within the range for a Class C level V felon, was not disproportionate to the defendant's 25-year history of criminal convictions, and was not cruel and unusual under U.S. Const., amends. VIII, XIV. State v. Ledwell, 171 N.C. App. 314, 614 S.E.2d 562 (2005).

Fine Imposed Not Unconstitutional. - Defendant failed to show that the fine imposed was unconstitutional because the $ 1,000 fine against defendant did not constitute an abuse of discretion and was not otherwise unlawful; given the relatively modest amount of the fine as compared with the seriousness of the offense, strangulation of defendant's two-year-old daughter, the fine was not grossly disproportional to the gravity of defendant's offense. State v. Zubiena, - N.C. App. - , 796 S.E.2d 40 (2016).

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