State v. Haymond, 203 N.C. App. 151 (Apr. 6, 2010)

Ordering a new sentencing hearing where there was a reasonable inference that the trial judge ran the defendant’s ten felony sentences consecutively in part because of the defendant’s rejection of a plea offer and insistence on going to trial. Even though the sentences were elevated to Class C felonies because of habitual felon status, the trial judge could have consolidated them into a single judgment. At a pretrial hearing and in response to an offer by the prosecutor to recommend a ten-year sentence, the defendant asked the trial court to consider a sentence of five years in prison and five years of probation. The trial court responded saying, “So I’m just telling you up front that the offer the State made is probably the best thing.” The defendant declined the state’s offer, went to trial, and was convicted. At sentencing, the trial judge stated: “[w]ay back when we dealt with that plea different times and, you know, you told me . . . what you wanted to do, and I told you that the best offer you’re gonna get was that ten-year thing, you know.” This statement created an inference arises that the trial court based its sentence at least in part on defendant’s failure to accept the State’s plea offer.