State v. Perry, __ N.C. __, 794 S.E.2d 280 (2016)

Reversed and Remanded

The defendant’s mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole for a murder he committed at age seventeen violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment under Miller v. Alabama. In 2008, defendant was convicted of armed robbery and first-degree murder based on malice, premeditation, and deliberation and the felony murder rule resulting from an incident that occurred when defendant was 17-years old. In 2013, defendant filed a motion for appropriate relief challenging his sentence of life without parole based on the recent decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012) (mandatory life without parole for a juvenile offender violates the Eighth Amendment), and asserting that Miller applied retroactively to his sentence. The trial court denied defendant’s motion, and defendant sought appellate review. During the pendency of defendant’s appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court filed an opinion in Montgomery v. Louisiana, __ U.S. __, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016), holding that Miller announced a new substantive rule that applied retroactively to cases on collateral review. As a result, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order denying defendant’s motion for appropriate relief and remanded the case for resentencing pursuant to G.S. 15A-1340.19A et. seq.

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