We get a lot of questions about motions for appropriate relief (“MARs”). Post-conviction can be a daunting area for practitioners and judges alike. On the state and federal levels, the procedural issues alone can feel like a maze. A recent(ish) case from the Court of Appeals, State v. Blake, ___ N.C. App. ___, 853 S.E.2d 838 (Dec. 31, 2020), shines some light on aspects of the procedural bar in state post-conviction proceedings and is the subject of today’s post.
Suppose that after judgment is entered a defendant wants to challenge a plea. Maybe he alleges that the plea wasn’t knowing and voluntary. Or maybe he claims that the judge imposed an illegal sentence. Can the defendant do this? I like to break this question into two parts: (1) Does the claim survive the plea? (2) If so, what procedural mechanism can be used to assert it? This post addresses both issues.