N.C. Gen. Stat. 15-167 Interpretation
In State v. Locklear, 174 N.C. App. 547, 621 S.E.2d 254 (2005), the felony trial was not completed by the last Friday of the criminal session and the trial court extended the trial to the following Monday.
Although the record did not contain a written order specifically referencing N.C. Gen. Stat. 15-167 and stating that the session was extended thereunder, this Court determined that there were "sufficient statements made by the trial court in the record to comply with N.C. Gen. Stat. 15-167 and to effectively extend the court session." Id. at 550, 621 S.E.2d at 256.
Those statements were reflected in the transcript from Friday, 9 July 2004, as follows:
THE COURT: . . . It is Friday afternoon, after three o'clock. . . . So, in my discretion, and I do apologize that you will need to come back on Monday, but, in my discretion, I'm going to let you go for the day but you will need to be back here on Monday. Now, on Mondays, we don't start at 9:30. We start at 10:00. and what will happen on Monday, that should be the last day, one way or the other in this case. But, as I told you at the outset, I can't make any guarantees, one way or the other, but you do need to be here Monday. You do need to be here at 10:00 o'clock. . . . As I indicated, please be mindful that the starting time on Monday is 10:00 instead of 9:30. When you come back on Monday, I ask that you come back to the same room that you've been coming back to.
THE COURT: It will give you an opportunity over the weekend to look at it to just make sure there's no error, omission or anything else that we need to clarify Monday morning. . . . Anything else we need to take up today? State or Defendant?
THE STATE: No, Your Honor.
DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right then, as I understand it, Monday morning we will basically conclude the charge conference and at that time move forward.
THE COURT: . . . Anything else we need to take up at this time?
THE STATE: No, Your Honor.
DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: All right, have a good weekend and I'll see you Monday.
(Court is recessed for the day at 4:00 p.m.)
The trial court reconvened the following Monday at 10:00 a.m. the transcript from Monday, 12 July 2004, read in pertinent part:
(July 12, 2004 - 10:00 a.m.)
THE COURT: Good morning. Let the record reflect we are back in court. Twelve members of the jury are here but they are not in the courtroom.
THE COURT: All right. the charge conference is closed. Are there any other issues to take up on the record at this time before we proceed with closing arguments? Anything from the State?
THE STATE: No, sir.
THE COURT: Anything from the Defendant?
DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor. Id. at 550-51, 621 S.E.2d at 256-57.
The Court explained that "while it would have been the better practice for the trial court to expressly set forth in the minutes a formal order extending the court session, we hold that the trial court, in making repeated announcements in open court without objection from defendant, satisfied N.C. Gen. Stat. 15-167." Id. at 551, 621 S.E.2d at 257.