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NC court: 'Life' inmates to continue sentences

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By MIKE BAKER
Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, NC (AP)- - North Carolina's Supreme Court says prisoners sentenced to life in prison more than 30 years ago should not qualify for credits that would allow them to go free. The justices issued a ruling Friday in the cases of convicted killers Alford Jones and Faye Brown. Their "life" sentences were defined as only 80 years long under a 1970s law. The inmates had argued that credits earned behind bars had shortened their sentences to completion.

Justice Robert H. Edmunds Jr. wrote in the opinion that the Department of Correction had a rational basis for denying sentence-reduction credits to those convicted of first-degree murder.

State officials had calculated that more than two dozen violent criminals could have qualified for release if their credits were applied.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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