North Carolina

Eyewitness Identification Reform

State statute requires that law enforcement agencies follow specific policies in eyewitness identification procedures. These include: blind administration, sequential presentation, specific instructions to the witness, appropriate filler photo usage, obtaining a confidence statement and recording the procedure when practicable. The statute also provides for training of law enforcement officers in employing these practices and offers possible legal remedies in cases where the law enforcement agency failed to comply with these policies. Effective: 2008; Amended most recently: 2015.

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Recording of Interrogations

North Carolina state statute mandates the electronic recording of interrogations in homicide investigations after March 1, 2008. When evidence of noncompliance with the requirements of the law has been presented at trial, the jury will be instructed that it may consider credible evidence of noncompliance to determine whether the defendant's statement was voluntary and reliable. Effective: 2008; Amended most recently: 2011.

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Post Conviction DNA Testing

Any defendant may petition the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction for post-conviction DNA testing. Effective: 2001; Amended most recently: 2009.

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Evidence Preservation

State statute requires the automatic preservation of biological evidence for convictions resulting in a sentence of death (until execution), a sentence of life without parole (until the death of the convicted person), or any homicide, sex offense, assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, arson or burning, for which a Class B1-E felony punishment is imposed (during the period of incarceration and mandatory supervised release, including sex offender registration). When convicted on a plea of guilty, evidence must be preserved for three years from the date of conviction or until released, whichever is earlier. Any biological evidence collected as part of a criminal investigation of any homicide or rape, in which no charges are filed, must also be preserved for the period of time that the crime remains unsolved. Effective: 2001; Amended most recently: 2013.

North Carolina's statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.

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Exoneree Compensation

Any person with a pardon for innocence is eligible for $50,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration with a maximum of $750,000. Also includes provision of job skills training and education tuition waivers. (NC Gen Stat §§ 148-82 to 148-84). Effective: 1947; Amended most recently: 2008.

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