STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v. Guilford County
THOMAS EVERETTE CRAWFORD
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Gaines M. Weaver, for the State.
Bryan Gates for defendant-appellant.
Defendant was convicted of sale of heroin and of being an
habitual felon. He was sentenced to an active term of imprisonment
of 107 months to 138 months. His petition for a writ of certiorari
was allowed by this Court on 20 May 2004.
In defendant's first argument, he contends that the indictment charging him with sale of heroin is fatally defective because the boxes for A True Bill and Not a True Bill are both marked, thereby making it impossible to determine whether the grand jury returned a true bill. We disagree.
The converse situation was presented in State v. Hall, 131 N.C. App. 427, 508 S.E.2d 8 (1998), in which neither box on the indictment was checked. This Court, relying upon the presumptionof validity of trial court proceedings, held that the defendant failed to carry his burden of showing prejudicial error. Id. at 430, 508 S.E.2d at 11. Defendant has not carried this burden in the case at bar. A close examination of the indictment shows that the grand jury foreman initially checked the box marked NOT A TRUE BILL and then marked an X through it and her initials adjacent to the X mark. All other marks appearing on the form are in the form of check marks instead of X. Moreover, during his opening argument to the jury, defendant's counsel, with defendant's consent, conceded that defendant was guilty of the sale and delivery charge. Defendant may not claim he was prejudiced by this apparent scrivener's error. This argument is without merit.
In his second argument, defendant contends that the sentence imposed by the court exceeds that which is authorized by law. We disagree.
He argues that pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90_95(b)(1), a sentence imposed for a controlled substance offense may be increased only by certain conditions listed in the statute, none of which apply here. Defendant's argument fails. Defendant was convicted not only of sale of heroin but of habitual felon status. When a person is convicted of habitual felon status, he must be sentenced as a Class C felon even though the classification of the substantive felony offense to which the habitual felon charge is attached is of a lesser class. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-7.6 (2005); State v. Dammons, 159 N.C. App. 284, 297, 583 S.E.2d 606, 614, disc. review denied, 357 N.C. 579, 589 S.E.2d 133 (2003), cert.denied, 541 U.S. 951, 158 L. Ed. 2d 382 (2004). This argument is without merit.
Because defendant has not argued his other assignment of error in his brief, it is deemed abandoned. N.C. R. App. P. Rule 28(b)(6) (2005).
Judges McCULLOUGH and HUDSON concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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