N.C. Appeals Court overrules Cumberland judge who scrapped life sentence for burglary

In a case that generated separate opinions from all three judges, a unanimous N.C. Court of Appeals panel has overturned a Cumberland County judge’s decision to throw out a life sentence handed down 40 years ago in a burglary case.

Despite unanimity on that outcome, the panel split on whether the Appeals Court should have addressed the issue at all. One judge used her opinion to urge the N.C. Supreme Court to step into the case and settle the dispute.

The case involves Larry Stubbs, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1973 after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary. Stubbs had been paroled in 2008 but returned to prison when his parole was revoked after a drunk driving conviction. Judge Gregory Weeks ruled in 2012 that the life sentence for burglary was excessive, and he ordered Stubbs released.

This morning’s Appeals Court ruling overturns Weeks’ decision.

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