State v. Defoe, 364 N.C. 29 (Apr. 15, 2010)

The 2001 amendments to the capital sentencing statutes revoked the statutory mandate that provided the rationale for State v. Rorie, 348 N.C. 266 (1998) (holding that the trial court exceeded its authority to enforce Rule 24 by precluding the State from prosecuting a first-degree murder case capitally). Thus, the trial court has inherent authority to enforce Rule 24 by declaring a case noncapital in appropriate circumstances. Declaring a case noncapital is appropriate only when the defendant makes a sufficient showing of prejudice resulting from the State’s delay in holding the Rule 24 conference. In this case, the defendant did not show sufficient prejudice to warrant declaring the cases noncapital.