2015 Sentencing Commission Statistical Report Available

It’s a snow day across much of North Carolina. If your power is on (and your internet connection is working), today’s post will give you something to read by the fire. Allow me to make my annual plug for the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission’s Structured Sentencing Statistical Report for Felonies and Misdemeanors.

As always, the fiscal year 2013/14 report contains a mountain of sentencing data, with appendices breaking the numbers down by judicial district, crime type, and specific offense. Judges, use it as a measuring stick for your own sentencing tendencies. Advocates, use it to support your argument about the appropriate sentence in a particular case. Parents, use it to create an impromptu statistics lesson for your kids, who—if they’re like mine—have been out of school all week and spent a little too much time on Netflix.

The report once again includes two short Quick Facts pages, one for felonies and one for misdemeanors. Here are some other numbers that jumped out at me:

  • As is generally the case, almost 40 percent of all felony defendants fell in four grid cells: Class H and I, prior record levels I and II.
  • 84 percent of felony offenders were men.
  • 49 percent of felony offenders were black, 46 percent white, and 3 percent Hispanic.
  • 39 percent of felons received active sentences. There was some thought that the percentage of active sentences would increase in response to recent legislative changes making it more difficult to revoke probation. (The theory was that judges wouldn’t put people on probation if they couldn’t get them off probation). That hasn’t happened. It was 39 percent last year and 41 percent the year before that.
  • The presumptive/mitigated/aggravated slash line of 68/28/4 is virtually unchanged from prior years. Habitual felons continue to be sentenced in the mitigated range more frequently than other defendants.
  • Fiscal year 2013/14 saw 4 death sentences, 71 life without parole sentences, and 1 life with parole sentence for a defendant under age 18 at the time of the crime (under North Carolina’s “Miller fix” law, described here).
  • There were 851 habitual felon sentences, 154 habitual breaking and entering sentences, and 2 violent habitual felon sentences.
  • The firearm enhancement of G.S. 15A-1340.16A was used 7 times! It had been used only one time over the two previous years.
  • 71 convictions received an Advanced Supervised Release (ASR) date, which is about the same as last year. I expect the number to go up a little bit in next year’s report.


Thank you to the talented Commission staff members who prepare the report each year. And best wishes to everyone for a speedy and safe return to normal after the snow.

2 thoughts on “2015 Sentencing Commission Statistical Report Available”

  1. Jamie, Thank you for giving us the condensed version of the report! This is interesting and useful information.

  2. Jamie,

    I was looking for some research on pro se litigants in North Carolina. When I searched pro se in the sites search box, this was one of the articles that came up.

    I don’t see anything about pro se litigants, but am curious if you know anything about the Public Defenders office of fiscal year regions statistics. In the spreadsheet it has certain cells that are titled, “PRIVATELY RETAINED (SELF).” Do you know if this means that a person is strictly self-represented, or could mean they either hired an attorney, or represented themselves?



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