RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court has stopped the release of a handful of inmates sentenced to life in prison so it can consider the case further.
The high court’s stay was issued Friday after a lower court ruling that some inmates sentenced to life more than 30 years ago should be released because of a legal quirk.
The 2-1 Court of Appeals ruling applied to two men sentenced in the late 1970s for second-degree murder and second-degree burglary. At least 13 other inmates have similar cases, including some convicted of rape.
At the time, the law defined a life term as 80 years, but rules allowed inmates to reduce their sentences through good behavior, taking classes or working. The inmates contend they have earned their release.
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