TO MAKE VARIOUS AMENDMENTS TO THE LAWS REGARDING THE INNOCENCE INQUIRY COMMISSION.
Amends GS 15A-1460 to limit claims of factual innocence to those who originally pled not guilty or nolo contendere to the crime for which they were convicted and makes conforming changes throughout Article 92 of GS Chapter. Amends GS 15A-1467(a) to provide that only the defendant or the trial court (was, any court, person, or agency) may refer a claim of factual innocence to the Innocence Inquiry Commission (Commission). Amends GS 15A-1468 to allow a prosecutor or other representative of the state to cross-examine witnesses or present rebuttal evidence during Commission proceedings. Removes the provision prohibiting the Commission chair from ordering witnesses to testify or provide other information that might incriminate them in the prosecution of offenses other than those for which they have been granted immunity. Likewise removes the provision allowing the Commission to close its proceedings to the victim. Amends GS 15A-1469(a1) to require significant evidence of prosecutorial misconduct (was, allegation of or evidence of prosecutorial misconduct) before allowing the Director of the Conference of District Attorneys (was, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts) to appoint a special prosecutor to represent the state before the three-judge panel, and removes the prohibition on appointing as special prosecutor any attorney who prosecuted or assisted with the prosecution of the convicted person. Limits the evidence that may be considered by the three-judge panel to credible, verifiable evidence of innocence that has not previously been presented at trial or any postconviction proceeding (was, all relevant evidence, even if considered by a jury or judge in a prior proceeding). Requires the convicted person to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she is innocent (was, by clear and convincing evidence). Repeals GS 15A-1470(b). Enacts new GS 7A-413(a)(5), authorizing the Conference of District Attorneys to assign a qualified attorney to serve as prosecutor in a hearing for a claim of factual innocence, upon Commission request. Effective October 1, 2011, and applies to claims of factual innocence filed on or after that date.