State v. Crooms, ___ N.C. App. ___, 819 S.E.2d 405 (Sept. 4, 2018)

The trial court erred by partially granting the surety’s motion for relief from bond forfeiture. The defendant absconded during trial while subject to pretrial release conditions of electronic monitoring and a $50,000 secured bond. After a final judgment of forfeiture was entered, the surety filed a petition for remission, arguing that there were extraordinary circumstances that would justify relief. The trial court found that extraordinary circumstances existed and ordered the County Board of Education to remit $7,500 to the surety. The Board appealed, arguing that the surety’s motion did not comply with G.S. 15A-544.8 and that the trial court erred in granting the motion. The court agreed. Under G.S. 15A-544.8, a court may grant relief from a final judgment of forfeiture only when extraordinary circumstances exist that the court, in its discretion, determine should entitle the person to relief or when notice was not properly given to the person seeking relief. The statute requires that a motion for relief state reasons and set forth evidence supporting each reason. Here, the surety’s motion merely alleged that “there were extraordinary circumstances” warranting relief “said circumstances to be presented via affidavit and/or testimony at the hearing on this Motion.” The surety failed to comply with the statutory requirement to set forth evidence. Because of the deficiencies in the motion, the trial court had no grounds on which to grant the motion and it should have been summarily denied