State v. Perkins, 2022-NCCOA-38, ___ N.C. App. ___ (Dec. 6, 2022)

This opinion arose from a Wake County order imposing satellite-based monitoring (“SBM”) on defendant for first-degree rape of a child, incest, and two counts of first-degree sexual offense. This matter has a complicated procedural history, resulting in four Court of Appeals opinions. Pages 3-5 of the slip opinion describe the relevant history. The court held that the indictments for defendant’s offenses were valid and issued a writ to consider the 2020 SBM orders by the trial court, but did not reach a majority opinion on whether the orders violated the Fourth Amendment, leaving the 2020 SBM orders undisturbed.

Judge Jackson wrote the opinion of the court, taking up defendant’s petition for writ of certiorari to review the orders imposing SBM; Judge Murphy concurred in the issuance of certiorari, while Judge Tyson disagreed with issuing the writ. The opinion explored three questions regarding the SBM orders: (1) Were the indictments valid when they used initials and date of birth to identify the victim? (2) Were the 2020 SBM orders properly before the court? (3) Did the SBM orders violate the Fourth Amendment?

The panel was unanimous in holding that (1) the indictments were valid even though they used initials and date of birth to identify the victim. Judge Jackson explained that short-form indictments using initials were acceptable in rape and statutory sexual offense cases under the court’s holding in State v. McKoy, 196 N.C. App. 652 (2009) and G.S. §§ 15-144.1 and -144.2, and the court applied this reasoning to the incest allegation as well. Slip Op. at 12-13.

Considering (2), the panel looked to the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Ricks, 378 N.C. 737 (2021). The Ricks opinion held that the Court of Appeals abused its discretion in reviewing an SBM order upon issuance of a writ of certiorari where the defendant’s petition did not show merit. Slip Op. at 7. Judge Jackson and Judge Murphy agreed that Ricks was distinguishable from the instant case and that the court could properly grant the writ, although they varied on their reasoning for doing so. Judge Tyson did not support granting the writ.

Reaching (3), each member of the panel split on the question of the 2020 SBM orders and the Fourth Amendment. Judge Jackson wrote that the orders did not violate the Fourth Amendment following recent precedent in State v. Carter, 2022-NCCOA-262, and State v. Anthony, 2022-NCCOA-414, arguing that the court could not overrule itself with this relevant precedent. Slip Op. at 32-33. Judge Tyson argued that the orders were not properly before the court, as noted in issue (2), and the court lacked jurisdiction to consider them under Ricks. Id. at 45-46. Judge Murphy wrote that the 2020 SBM orders should be vacated, leaving 2012 SBM orders in place, as the trial court lacked appropriate jurisdiction under State v. Clayton, 206 N.C. App. 300 (2010). Slip Op. at 69-70.