North Carolina v. Rice

PETITIONER: North Carolina
RESPONDENT: Rice
LOCATION: Stanford University

DOCKET NO.: 70-77
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1971-1972)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

CITATION: 404 US 244 (1971)
ARGUED: Oct 12, 1971
DECIDED: Dec 14, 1971

ADVOCATES:
Jacob L. Safron - for the petitioner
William W. Van Alstyne - for the respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for North Carolina v. Rice

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 12, 1971 in North Carolina v. Rice

Warren E. Burger:

-- in Number 70-77, North Carolina against Rice.

Mr. Safron, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Jacob L. Safron:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case is before this Court upon a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit which held in Rice versus North Carolina that upon the strength of Pearce, the imposition of a greater sentence is impermissible in a situation in which a defendant receives a trial de novo in the Superior Court from a Lower Criminal Court.

And that was the legal conclusion without the Courts giving any legal reasoning.

The course then went on to stage in reference to all the cases to the contrary, but they simply disagreed and ordered the State of North Carolina to expunge any record of Mr. Rice’s conviction in the Buncombe County Superior Court.

Wayne Claude Rice was originally arrested on July 2, 1968 for driving under the influence of alcohol.

On July 19, 1968, he was tried in the Buncombe County Court which was then in existence and received a sentence of a nine-month sentence suspended upon payment of a fine of $100.00 and costs.

As was his absolute right, he applied for a trial de novo in the Buncombe County Superior Court.

On August 2, his right to trial de novo was assured and on that day he first pled guilty to twelve offenses of uttering worthless checks and then was tried upon his plea of not guilty on the charge of driving under the influence.

Potter Stewart:

I noticed Mr. Safron in the brief the reference to the worthless check charge, that has nothing to do with the issues before us (Voice Overlap)

Jacob L. Safron:

Only in this regard, Your Honor.

There were these twelve worthless check charges.

Potter Stewart:

Yes.

Jacob L. Safron:

He pled guilty to those, was then tried upon the plea of not guilty as driving under the influence.

The sentence or the sentences that were then imposed, he received a two-year active sentence for driving under the influence, the maximum then permitted under the law, but the same time when the judge sentenced him as to the worthless check charges, he was sentenced to the consecutive one-month sentences to run concurrently with the sentence imposed for driving under the influence.

Potter Stewart:

But was only partially concurrent.

In other words, one with a total of one year and on the driving intoxicated was a two-year sentence?

Jacob L. Safron:

Yes, Your Honor.

It was concurrent --

Potter Stewart:

So, we do not have really the concurrent sentence doctrine?

Jacob L. Safron:

No, not except for -- to the first year of the sentences were concurrent whereas the Court could have imposed the sentence consecutively, it was imposed concurrently and he received no greater sentence as result of having pled guilty to the twelve worthless check charges.

Potter Stewart:

Now, we have at least one additional year based on the driving while intoxicated?

Jacob L. Safron:

Yes Your Honor, that is true.

Potter Stewart:

And in the original so-called sub-constitutional court, “your adversary” his sentence was what?

Jacob L. Safron:

His original sentence was nine months suspended upon payment of $100.00 fine and costs.

Potter Stewart:

So, we do have before us -- this issue is clearly presented?

Jacob L. Safron:

Oh yes, Your Honor, quite clear!

Potter Stewart:

It is not blunted at all really by the concurrent sentence doctrine?

Jacob L. Safron:

No, not at all.