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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.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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