State v. Freeman, 2022-NCCOA-654, ___ N.C. App. ___ (Oct. 4, 2022)

In this Wake County case, defendant petitioned for writ of certiorari after pleading guilty to robbery and trafficking heroin charges, arguing the trial court did not properly consider mitigating factors during his sentencing. The Court of Appeals disagreed, denying the petition for writ. 

Defendant argued that his cooperation and testimony against a co-conspirator represented mitigating factors the trial court should have applied in sentencing. Summarizing why defendant’s petition did not have merit, the court noted that defendant’s appeal was based on precedent related to the Fair Sentencing Act, which was repealed and replaced with the Structured Sentencing Act. Under the Structured Sentencing Act, a trial court is under no obligation to mitigate a sentence, and in the current matter the trial court sentenced defendant within the presumptive range for his offenses. The court explained that “[b]ecause the trial court sentenced defendant within the presumptive range, as this Court has stated many times, it was not required to find mitigating factors or sentence defendant to a mitigated sentence.” Slip Op. at 5.