State v. Hill, ___ N.C. App. ___, 821 S.E.2d 631 (Oct. 16, 2018)

In this child sexual assault case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court’s consecutive sentences, totaling a minimum of 138 years, violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. The court began by finding that because the defendant failed to object to the sentencing on constitutional grounds in the trial court, he failed to preserve the issue for appellate review. The court went on however to reject the defendant’s argument on the merits. It noted that a punishment may be cruel or unusual if it is not proportionate to the crime for which the defendant has been convicted. Here, the trial court exercised its discretion and consolidated the 70 verdicts into six identical judgments, each of which were sentenced in the presumptive range, and the trial court ordered that these 276-month sentences be served consecutively.