An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute
controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance
with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.
NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
Filed: 01 October 2002
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Nos. 96 CRS 3697
96 CRS 3698
96 CRS 3700
96 CRS 3701
JEFFERY ALLEN STEPPS
On writ of certiorari to review judgments entered 11 September
1997 by Judge W. Russell Duke, Jr. in Martin County Superior Court.
Heard in the Court of Appeals 30 September 2002.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special
General W. Dale Talbert, for the State.
Paul Pooley for defendant-appellant.
On 31 July 1997, defendant pled guilty pursuant to a plea
agreement to two counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of
larceny and two counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle.
consolidated the offenses for sentencing into the two counts of
first-degree burglary and continued entry of judgment until 11
In September, the trial court found defendant had a prior
-2aggravation or mitigation. The trial court imposed sentences of 96
to 125 months imprisonment, which were within the presumptive
On 15 November 2000, defendant filed a pro se petition for
writ of certiorari with this Court.
Defendant sought a belated
appeal of right pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1444(a2)(1)
(1999) to argue that his prior record level had been incorrectly
determined. In an order entered 5 December 2000, this Court issued
its writ of certiorari “for the purpose of reviewing [defendant’s]
sentence and prior record level calculation in judgments entered 11
September 1997 by Judge W. Russell Duke, Jr.”
The trial court
appointed counsel for defendant, who subsequently filed the record
on appeal with this Court on 29 May 2001.
When defendant pled guilty to the criminal charges in superior
court, he originally had an appeal of right only in very limited
circumstances. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1444(e). In his petition
for writ of certiorari, defendant sought a belated appeal in one
such circumstance - that the sentence imposed “[r]esults from an
incorrect finding of the defendant’s prior record level . . . .”
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1444(a2)(1) (1999).
This Court’s order in
issuing its writ of certiorari limited defendant’s appeal to review
of the calculation of his prior record level and the sentence
Defendant failed to assign error or advance any argument
as to that issue in his appeal.
Because the record before this Court supports the trial
-3court’s use of defendant’s prior convictions in calculating his
prior record level, see N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1340.11(7) (1999),
that issue would have been found to be without merit had counsel
brought it forward in this appeal.
Defendant attempts to raise two other issues on appeal.
first seeks to argue the trial court erred by accepting his plea of
guilty in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1022(a)(6) (1999).
Defendant then seeks to argue the trial court erred by declining to
take into consideration the purposes of sentencing in violation of
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1340.12 (1999).
Those arguments could not
have been presented in defendant’s original appeal of right and
they are not within the scope of appeal permitted by this Court’s
writ of certiorari on 5 December 2000.
See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-
Accordingly, those arguments are dismissed.
Judges WALKER and BIGGS concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).