Good News for the Rule of Law

Wake County Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand ruled earlier this week that Faye Brown and Alford Jones. Both were convicted under North Carolina’s old sentencing system to “life” in prison which was defined as 80 years. By earning degrees, abiding by prison regulations, and displaying good behavior, both Jones and Brown, had worked down their prison terms from 80 years to no more than 35 years. That means they are set for release soon.

The matter has become a political controversy after Governor Bev Perdue indicated that she would seek to have the two kept in jail past their release dates.

Rand, a good and fair judge, ruled that under the law the two should be released. That’s how it should be. North Carolina has laws. These laws apply to everyone, including convicts. These individuals committed heinous acts, and they were sentenced to prison. They abided by the rules as they existed in the 1970s.

The case was appealed to the NC Court of Appeals, which declined to hear the matter, and set the release of the individuals for Friday. It is not set to be heard by the NC Supreme Court.

It’s important to note that under North Carolina’s Structured Sentencing system, put into effect in the mid-1990s, life is life. A person sentenced to life cannot get out of prison, except by commutation, pardon, or proof of actual innocence.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.