Thursday, April 8, 2021

Governor Cooper Announces Formation of North Carolina Juvenile Sentence Review Board Executive Order No. 208 paves way for review mechanism of juvenile sentences

Apr 8, 2021

Today, Governor Roy Cooper announced the formation of the North Carolina Juvenile Sentence Review Board (“Review Board”). The four-person advisory board, established by Executive Order 208, will review certain sentences imposed in North Carolina on individuals who were tried and sentenced in adult criminal court for acts committed before turning 18. The Review Board will make recommendations to the Governor concerning clemency and commutation of such sentences when appropriate.

“Developments in science continue to show fundamental differences between juvenile and adult minds,” said Governor Cooper. “For those who have taken significant steps to reform and rehabilitate themselves, this process can provide a meaningful opportunity for release and a life outside of prison.”

Prior to recommending clemency, commutation, or other action to the Governor, members of the Review Board will conduct a thorough and individualized review based on criteria outlined in the Executive Order, including rehabilitation and maturity demonstrated by the individual. This review will be available to qualifying individuals who have served at least 20 years of their sentence, or at least 15 years in certain instances of consecutive or "stacked" sentences.

In 2017, Governor Cooper signed Senate Bill 445 into law, reducing the wait time for criminal record expungement for first-time, non-violent offenders. Following the passage of Raise the Age legislation, the Governor also signed a proclamation recognizing the expansion of juvenile jurisdiction in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Juvenile Sentence Review Board is a recommendation of the Governor’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice which found that the group of people included in this Executive Order are disproportionately Black. The full report of the Task Force is available here.

The Governor appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Juvenile Sentence Review Board:

  • Marcia Morey of Durham as Chair. Morey is the Representative for House District 30. She previously served and worked as a District Court Judge, and as an Assistant District Attorney in Durham. As both a judge and district attorney, she has been a champion of diversionary programs for young people charged with crime. In 1998, Governor Jim Hunt appointed Morey as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Juvenile Crime and Justice to reform North Carolina's juvenile justice system. Morey is also a current member of the Governor’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.
  • Henry McKinley “Mickey” Michaux Jr. of Durham is a civil rights activist and former member of the North Carolina General Assembly. He represented the state's 31st House District from 1983 to 2019 and previously served from 1973 through 1977. Upon his retirement, Michaux was the longest-serving member of the North Carolina General Assembly. He is an attorney and partner at Michaux and Michaux, P.A., which was established in 1970.
  • Thomas G. Walker of Charlotte is a Partner at Alston & Bird and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. In that position, he oversaw all federal criminal and civil matters in the eastern portion of the state. He has also served as Special Counsel to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
  • Allyson K. Duncan of Raleigh is a former judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Duncan was a partner at Kilpatrick Stockton. Duncan became the first African American woman to serve as judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the first African American president of the North Carolina Bar Association and the first African American woman to sit on the Fourth Circuit bench.

Read Executive Order 208.


Related Topics: