State v. Maness, 363 N.C. 261 (Jun. 18, 2009)

The trial judge properly denied a defense motion for imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment when polling revealed that the jury had returned a non-unanimous verdict after deliberations of just over 1 hour and 30 minutes. Under 15A-2000(b) “the only contingency in which a trial court unilaterally shall impose a life sentence in a capital case is when the jury is non[-]unanimous after having deliberated for a ‘reasonable time.’”