State v. Augustine, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Sept. 25, 2020)

The complex procedural history of this case, which involves motions for appropriate relief filed by three defendants under the Racial Justice Act and associated proceedings occurring over a years-long period of time when the RJA was amended and then repealed, is recounted in detail in the court’s opinion which vacates the trial court’s order ruling that the repeal of the RJA voided the defendant’s RJA MAR and remands the case for the reinstatement of the defendant’s sentence of life imprisonment without parole.  For the reasons stated in State v. Robinson, ___ N.C. ___, 846 S.E.2d 711 (2020), the retroactivity provision of the RJA repeal violates the double jeopardy protections of the North Carolina Constitution.  For the reasons stated in State v. Ramseur, 374 N.C. 658 (2020), the retroactive application of the RJA repeal violates the prohibitions against ex post facto laws contained in the United States Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution.

Justice Davis concurred in the result for the reasons stated in Justice Ervin’s concurring opinions in State v. Golphin, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Sept. 25, 2020) and State v. Walters, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Sept. 25, 2020). 

Justice Newby dissented for the reasons stated in his dissenting opinions in Robinson and Ramseur.