If you decide to read yesterday’s court of appeals opinion in State v. Miller, ___ N.C. App. ___ (May 17, 2016) do yourself a favor and skip to page 9. Not having the benefit of this advice, I got lost on page 3. At first, I thought my printer had malfunctioned, since page 3 seemed to be saying the same thing as page 2. But there’s no problem with my printer. I can’t say the same for the procedural history in this case. Tortured is not a sufficiently negative adjective to describe its path. Fortunately, things pick up half way through the opinion and an important rule emerges: The State may obtain a de novo hearing in superior court under G.S. 20-38.7(a) without setting forth the specific findings of fact to which it objects.
So that’s the rule. Unless the senior resident superior court judge says otherwise. You’re going to have to read the rest of this post to make sense of that.