NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
HOUSE BILL 619
AN ACT TO CREATE THE OFFENSE OF HABITUAL FELON AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE PUNISHMENT OF THE VIOLATION THEREOF.
The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:
Section 1. Persons Defined as Habitual Felons. Any person who has been convicted of or pled guilty to three felony offenses in any Federal court or State court in the United States or combination thereof is declared to be an habitual felon. For the purpose of this Act, a felony offense is defined as an offense which is a felony under the laws of the State or other sovereign wherein a plea of guilty was entered or a conviction was returned regardless of the sentence actually imposed. Provided, however, that federal offenses relating to the manufacture, possession, sale and kindred offenses involving intoxicating liquors shall not be considered felonies for the purposes of this Act. For the purposes of this Act, felonies committed before a person attains the age of 21 years shall not constitute more than one felony. The commission of a second felony shall not fall within the purview of this Act unless it is committed after the conviction of or plea of guilty to the first felony. The commission of a third felony shall not fall within the purview of this Act unless it is committed after the conviction of or plea of guilty to the second felony. Pleas of guilty to or convictions of felony offenses prior to the effective date of this Act shall not be felony offenses within the meaning of this Act. Any felony offense to which a pardon has been extended shall not for the purpose of this Act constitute a felony. The burden of proving such pardon shall rest with the defendant and the State shall not be required to disprove a pardon.
Sec. 2. Punishment. When any person is charged by indictment with the commission of a felony under the laws of the State of North Carolina and is also charged with being an habitual felon as defined in Section 1 of this Act, he must, upon conviction, be sentenced and punished as an habitual felon, as in this Chapter provided, except in those cases where the death penalty is imposed.
Sec. 3. Charge of Habitual Felon. An indictment which charges a person who is an habitual felon within the meaning of Section 1 of this Act with the commission of any felony under the laws of the State of North Carolina must, in order to sustain a conviction of habitual felon, also charge that said person is an habitual felon. The indictment charging the defendant as an habitual felon shall be separate from the indictment charging him with the principal felony. An indictment which charges a person with being an habitual felon must set forth the date that prior felony offenses were committed, the name of the state or other sovereign against whom said felony offenses were committed, the dates that pleas of guilty were entered to or convictions returned in said felony offenses, and the identity of the court wherein said pleas or convictions took place. No defendant charged with being an habitual felon in a bill of indictment shall be required to go to trial on said charge within 20 days of the finding of a true bill by the grand jury; provided, the defendant may waive this 20-day period.
Sec. 4. Evidence of Prior Convictions of Felony Offenses. In all cases where a person is charged under the provisions of this Act with being an habitual felon, the record or records of prior convictions of felony offenses shall be admissible in evidence, but only for the purpose of proving that said person has been convicted of former felony offenses. A judgment of a conviction or plea of guilty to a felony offense certified to a Superior Court of this State from the custodian of records of any state or Federal court under the same name as that by which the defendant is charged with habitual felon shall be prima facie evidence that the identity of such person is the same as the defendant so charged and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts so certified.
Sec. 5. Verdict and Judgment. When an indictment charges an habitual felon with a felony as above provided and an indictment also charges that said person is an habitual felon as provided herein, the defendant shall be tried for the principal felony as provided by law. The indictment that the person is an habitual felon shall not be revealed to the jury unless the jury shall find that the defendant is guilty of the principal felony or other felony with which he is charged. If the jury finds the defendant guilty of a felony, the bill of indictment charging the defendant as an habitual felon may be presented to the same jury. Except that the same jury may be used, the proceedings shall be as if the issue of habitual felon were a principal charge. If the jury finds that the defendant is an habitual felon, the trial judge shall enter judgment according to the provisions of this Article. If the jury finds that the defendant is not an habitual felon, the trial judge shall pronounce judgment on the principal felony or felonies as provided by law.
Sec. 6. Sentencing of Habitual Felons. When an habitual felon as defined in this Chapter shall commit any felony under the laws of the State of North Carolina, he must, upon conviction or plea of guilty under indictment in form as herein provided (except where the death penalty is imposed) be sentenced as an habitual felon; and his punishment must be fixed at a term of not less than 20 years in the State Prison nor more than life imprisonment; and such offender shall not be eligible for parole until he has actually served seventy-five per cent (75%) of the prison sentence so imposed. Said sentence imposed under the terms of this Act shall not be reduced for good behavior, for other cause, or by any means below seventy-five per cent (75%) of the prison sentence so imposed, nor shall the same be suspended. For the purposes of determining the eligibility for parole for a person sentenced to life imprisonment under the provisions of this Act, the life sentence shall be considered as a sentence of 40 years. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed or considered as seeking or tending to impair the pardoning powers of the Governor of the State of North Carolina.
Sec. 7. All laws and clauses of laws in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed.
Sec. 8. This Act shall be in full force and effect from and after the date of its ratification.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 6th day of July, 1967.