State v. Bowlin, __ N.C. App. __, 783 S.E.2d 230 (2016)

No Error

The defendant’s constitutional rights were not violated when he was sentenced as an adult, following transfer, for three counts of first-degree sexual offense committed when he was 15. Defendant argued that the mandatory adult sentencing requirements violated the Eighth Amendment by prohibiting the court to consider his youth and immaturity at the time of the offenses based on Roper, Graham, and Miller. However, the court concluded that defendant’s argument was not the type of categorical challenge at issue in cases such as Roper and Graham in which the Supreme Court decided whether a particular punishment could ever be imposed on a juvenile. Instead, defendant challenged the proportionality of his sentence given his status as a juvenile at the time of the offenses. Graham instructed that the correct standard for reviewing the proportionality of a term-of-years sentence requires the court to consider whether under all the circumstances, the length of the sentence is grossly disproportionate to the defendant’s crime. In this case, defendant failed to show that his sentence of 202 to 254 months for three counts of sexual offense against a 6-year-old was grossly disproportionate to the crime.

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