State v. Langley, 371 N.C. 389 (Aug. 17, 2018)

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 803 S.E.2d 166 (2017), the court reversed, holding that a habitual felon indictment was not fatally defective. The statute requires that a habitual felon indictment set forth “the date that prior felony offenses were committed;” “the name of the state or other sovereign against whom said felony offenses were committed;” “the dates that pleas of guilty were entered to or convictions returned in said felony offenses;” and “the identity of the court wherein said pleas or convictions took place.” Here, the indictment alleged that the three prior felony offenses were committed on 11 September 2006, 8 October 2009, and 24 August 2011; that the offenses that led to defendant’s felony convictions were committed against the State of North Carolina; that defendant was convicted of committing these offenses, the identity of which was specified in the body of the habitual felon indictment, on 15 February 2007, 21 September 2010, and 5 May 2014; and that each of these convictions occurred in the Superior Court, Pitt County. As a result, the habitual felon indictment contains all of the information required by G.S. 14-7.3 and provides defendant with adequate notice of the bases for the State’s contention that defendant had attained habitual felon status. The court noted that the indictment alleged that the defendant had committed the offenses of armed robbery and had been convicted of the lesser included offenses of common-law robbery. Because an indictment for an offense includes all lesser offenses, when the defendant allegedly committed the offense of armed robbery 8 October 2009 and 24 August 2011, he also committed the lesser included offense of common law robbery. Thus, the Court of Appeals was incorrect to state that “[i]t would be an impermissible inference to read into the indictment that common law robbery took place on 8 October 2009 or 24 August 2011 because that is not what the grand jury found when it returned its bill of indictment.”