AN ACT TO ESTABLISH PROCEDURE FOR WAIVER OF THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL IN CRIMINAL CASES IN SUPERIOR COURT.
Enacts new GS 15A-1201(c), concerning the waiving of a jury trial by defendants for which the state is not seeking the death penalty, providing that a defendant that seeks to waive a jury trial pursuant to subsection (b) must give notice of intent to waive a jury trial by any of the following three specified methods: by a stipulation signed by both the state and the defendant and served any counsel for co-defendants, by filing a written notice of intent to waive a jury trial with the court and serving it on the state and any counsel for any co-defendants within the specified time limits, and by giving notice of intent to waive a jury trial on the record in open court by the earlier of either the time of arraignment or the calling of the calendar under GS 7A-749(b) or 7A-749.4(c). Provides that such waivers extend to the whole matter of law and fact, including all factors referred to in GS 20-179 and GS 15A-1340.16(a1). Allows the state, once given notice of the waiver, to contact the presiding judge to determine whether the judge agrees to waiving the jury trial. Provides that once waived and consented to by the judge, it can not be revoked if the judge determines that the revocation would cause unreasonable hardship or delay to the state. Provides that it may be appropriate to make a motion to recuse the trial judge if the trial judge decides any motions made by the defendant to suppress evidence pursuant to GS Chapter 15A, Article 53. Requires the court deciding such a motion to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Enacts new GS 20-179(a3) and GS 15A-1340.16(a6), providing that when a defendant waives the right to a jury trial, pursuant to GS 15A-1201, the trial judge is required to make all findings that would be required of the jury.
Effective July 1, 2015, applying to defendants waiving their right to trial by jury on or after that date.
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