State v. Williams, 227 N.C. App. 209 (May. 7, 2013)

(1) The trial court did not put the burden on the State to disprove extraordinary mitigating factors. After the defendant presented evidence of mitigating factors, the trial court asked the State to respond to the defendant’s evidence by explaining why it believed these factors were not sufficient reasons for finding extraordinary mitigation. The trial court did not presume extraordinary mitigating factors and then ask the State to present evidence to explain why they did not exist. (2) The trial court erred by finding extraordinary mitigation. The trial court found ten statutory mitigating factors and four extraordinary factors. Two extraordinary factors were the same as corresponding normal statutory mitigating factors and thus were insufficient to support a finding of extraordinary mitigation. The third factor was not a proper factor in support of mitigation; the fourth was not supported by the evidence.