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NC Judge Rules "No Release" In Case Similar To Alford Jones And Faye Brown

Friday, the NC Supreme court halted the release of two convicted murderers from Eastern Carolina, after the NC Court of Appeals ruled the two should be freed.

As WITN followed the story this week on WITN News at 6:00 p.m., we recapped our conversation withe Governor's office about the latest developments on the controversial inmate release question.

Thursday, the Governor's office told WITN one judge's ruling, like the court of appeals ruling, was not going to be the final deciding factor in this overall issue. The Governor's office said there are other cases in front of other judges that would have impact on the issue.

Below is a news release the Governor's office has sent out on one of those cases.

"Judge Gentry Caudill of Cleveland County on Friday ruled in favor of the state and denied release for Wilbur Folston, one of several inmates sentenced to life in prison in the 1970s whose sentences are in question due to recent court rulings.

Judge Caudill’s ruling directly contradicts Judge Ripley Rand’s decision earlier this week in the cases of inmates Faye Brown and Alford Jones.

In his decision, Judge Caudill ruled that: 'no Secretary of Correction has ever directed good-behavior credits to be applied to calculate an unconditional release date for a life sentence.'

Additionally, the state Supreme Court on Friday afternoon blocked the scheduled release of Brown and Jones and will review the case.

According to news reports the Supreme Court is likely to decide within the next 10 days on a potential hearing.

Governor Perdue believes Judge Caudill’s decision is the correct one as this important issue now moves to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s decision is the most appropriate step as the state seeks a conclusive answer on how to make sure inmates are not released without a proper and thorough review by the Parole Commission.

The bottom line remains: inmates sentenced to life should not be allowed to walk out the prison door without a parole review and appropriate post-release supervision."

--End of release--

Brown is in prison for killing Trooper Tom Davis in Martin County in 1975, while Jones was sent to prison for the murder of a Kinston man, also in 1975.


North Carolina's Supreme Court has temporarily halted the release of two convicted murderers.

The court granted a request from the attorney general's office Friday afternoon, shortly before Alford Jones and Faye Brown were set to go free.

The ruling provides state attorneys with another chance to bring their arguments after two lower courts sided with the inmates this week. Gov. Beverly Perdue has said that she's disgusted with the state's legal system for saying the inmates should go free.

State courts previously determined that so-called life sentences during a period in the 1970s were defined as 80 years long. Two dozen inmates could be freed immediately because of sentence-reduction credits applied to their terms.

PREVIOUS STORY:

The state attorney general's office is petitioning the North Carolina Supreme Court to block the release of two convicted murderers.

Lawyers filed a request Friday for the state's high court to hear arguments. It came a day after the state appeals court rejected a request to keep Alford Jones and Faye Brown behind bars. The appeals court order is set to go into effect at 5 p.m., allowing the inmates to then go free.

State courts previously sided with the inmates in determining their life sentences were actually defined in the 1970s as 80-years long. The inmates also contend sentence-reduction credits means their terms are now complete.

The state disagrees and says the prisoners should not receive any sentence-reduction credits for good behavior.


Attorneys are turning to the state Supreme Court to decide the fate of two convicted murderers who were sentenced to life.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals rejected a request Thursday to keep the inmates behind bars and set a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday. The attorney general's office has said it is preparing to petition the state's highest court.

State courts previously sided with the inmates in determining their life sentences were actually defined in the 1970s as 80 years long. The inmates, Alford Jones and Faye Brown, also contend a variety of sentence-reduction credits means their terms are now complete.

The state disagrees and says the prisoners should not receive any sentence-reduction credits for good behavior.



Previous Story:

North Carolina's appeals court says two convicted murders should be released from prison.

The court issued an order Thursday rejecting a request from state attorneys to keep inmates Alford Jones and Faye Brown behind bars. The order is to become effective Friday evening, meaning the inmates would go free then unless the state Supreme Court intervenes.

A spokeswoman for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said his office is preparing petitions to send to the state's highest court.

Brown is in prison for killing Trooper Tom Davis in Martin County in 1975, while Jones was sent to prison for the murder of a Kinston man, also in 1975.

The decision was the second legal appeal in the case of inmates seeking freedom under a state law that allowed so-called life sentences to be time limited. Gov. Beverly Perdue said earlier in the week she was disgusted when a lower court judge ordered the inmates released.

WITN talked with the Governor's office after the appeals court made its ruling Thursday. Governor Perdue says she will continue to fight to keep these inmates behind bars.

The Governor's office said similar cases before other judges may have an impact on the release. There's no word on when those rulings might happen or when the NC Supreme Court may make a ruling.

(Copyright 2009 by WITN and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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