State v. Thorpe, ___ N.C. App. ___, 2021-NCCOA-701 (Dec. 21, 2021)

The defendant, who had underlying health conditions, was not entitled to relief on a MAR under G.S. 15A-1415(b)(8) on the basis of his prison sentence being invalid as a matter of law as a form of cruel and unusual punishment due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The Court of Appeals explained that the defendant’s 77 to 105 month term of imprisonment was lawful at the time it was imposed before the pandemic began and that the defendant had identified no precedent indicating that requiring a person to serve an otherwise lawful sentence during pandemic times makes the sentence cruel and unusual.  The defendant was not entitled to state habeas relief because of procedural deficiencies in his MAR.