Bill Summary for S 404 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Mar 28 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 404 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 28, 2019
AN ACT TO INCREASE JUDICIAL DISCRETION IN SENTENCING FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING OFFENSES.
Intro. by Steinburg, Daniel, Britt.

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Bill summary

Refers to amendments as "The North Carolina First Step Act."  Amends GS 90-95(h), concerning drug trafficking, by adding new subdivision (5a) authorizing a judge to reduce fines, impose a sentence lower than the applicable minimum prison term provided by statute, or to suspend a sentence altogether, upon finding and stating (1) substantial and compelling reasons for doing so, (2) imposition of the applicable minimum term would (a) result in substantial injustice to the defendant and (b) is not necessary for the protection of the public.  Excludes from consideration persons determined by the judge to be an organizer or supervisor in a continuing criminal enterprise.  Amends GS 90-95(h)(5) to add reference to new subdivision (5a) and makes one change to add a gender-neutral term. 

Amends GS 90-95 to add new subsection (j) requiring the Administrative Office of the Courts to publish annually online a report of the number of sentences modified under GS 90-95(h)(5a) for the prior calendar year, beginning on December 1, 2020.

Directs persons currently serving an active sentence solely for a violation of GS 90-95(h) or (i) for drug trafficking or conspiracy to commit drug trafficking may seek a modification of their sentence by filing a motion for appropriate relief (MAR) within 36 months of the act's effective date.  Requires courts to direct the state to respond within 60 days of the date of filing and to hold any necessary hearings within 180 days.  

Effective December 1, 2019.

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