State v. Bryant, ___ N.C. App. ___, 833 S.E.2d 641 (Oct. 1, 2019)

Defendant was charged by citation with misdemeanor larceny under G.S. 14-72. The prosecutor amended the citation by striking through the charging language and handwriting the word “shoplifting” on the citation, along with the prosecutor’s initials and the date. The defendant entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of shoplifting under G.S. 14-72.1, but later filed an MAR in district court arguing that the amendment was improper and the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter judgment. The district court denied the MAR, and the superior court denied defendant’s petition for writ of certiorari to review the denial. The Court of Appeals granted the defendant’s petition for writ of certiorari, and held that the lower courts erred and the MAR should have been granted. The purported amendment to the citation impermissibly changed the nature of the offense because larceny and shoplifting are separate crimes with different elements. “Thus, the amendment was not legally permissible and deprived the district court of jurisdiction to enter judgment against Defendant.” The Court of Appeals reversed the superior court’s denial of the petition for writ of certiorari and vacated the shoplifting judgment.