State v. Swink, ___ N.C. App. ___, 797 S.E.2d 330 (Mar. 7, 2017)

In this child sexual assault case, the court upheld the defendant’s conviction, obtained after a bench trial. (1) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court lacked authority to try him without a jury. The defendant asserted that the statute allowing a jury trial waiver applies only to cases arraigned on or after December 1, 2014. The defendant argued that the statute did not apply to him because he was never formally arraigned and thus should not have been allowed to waive his jury trial right. The court noted in part that arraignment is not mandatory, and will be held only if a defendant files a written request for arraignment. Here, the defendant never made such a request. Additionally, the March 2, 2015 hearing on the defendant’s motion to waive a jury trial--a hearing date after the statute’s effective date--“essentially served the purpose of an arraignment.” (2) The defendant’s waiver of his jury trial right was knowing and voluntary where the court engaged in a full colloquy with the defendant.