North Carolina Supreme Court Decisions

Founded in 1799, the North Carolina Supreme Court is located in Raleigh. It holds jurisdiction over questions of law presented by cases in lower courts and proceedings in administrative agencies. The Court also has developed the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct, which provides seven canons to guide the actions of judges throughout the state. The Code emphasizes impartiality, independence, transparency, and other values that preserve public trust in the judiciary.

Seven justices currently serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court, which has fluctuated in size at various points throughout its history. To become a justice, a candidate must be an attorney who is no older than 71. North Carolina imposes a mandatory retirement age on justices, who must retire before the last day of the month in which they turn 72. Justices are chosen through elections in even-numbered years. These elections recently became partisan in 2018, which means that the party affiliation of the candidate appears on the ballot. In 2015, the legislature passed a law that would have replaced these competitive elections with retention elections. However, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court that struck down this law as unconstitutional, leaving the current system in place.

If a vacancy arises in the middle of a justice’s term, the Governor of North Carolina will appoint a replacement. That justice must run in the first election that occurs at least 60 days after the vacancy arose to retain their seat. Each justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court serves an eight-year term, and the Chief Justice serves in that capacity for the full eight years. Voters determine the Chief Justice in an election, in contrast to the procedures used in most states. The North Carolina Constitution provides that the term of any justice begins on January 1 after they are elected or reelected.

Browse Opinions From the North Carolina Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the North Carolina Supreme Court
In re C.M.C.  
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 109A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights in her daughter C.M.C., holding that the trial court did not err by entering the set of termination orders which Mother sought...

In re C.B.C.  
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 115A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's order terminating Father's parental rights to his minor child, C.B.C., on the grounds of neglect and willful abandonment, holding that the trial court's conclusion that ground...

In re A.U.D.  
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 133A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court declining to terminate Father's parental rights to his children based on its determination that termination would not be in the best interests of the children, h...

In re Foster  
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 215A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court ordered that Angela C. Foster be censured for conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2A, 3A(3) and 3A(4) of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of ju...

State v. Ryan
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 366A10
Chávez v. Wadlington
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 366A18
State v. Helms  
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 397A18

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's conviction of taking indecent liberties with a child and determining that the State presented sufficient evidence of the N.C. Gen. Sta...

Hampton v. Cumberland Cty
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: 60PA18
In re Z.L.W.  
Date: August 16, 2019
Docket Number: 116A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Respondents' parental rights to his two children, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that termination of Respondent...

State v. Lewis  
Date: August 16, 2019
Docket Number: 140PA18

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming in part and reversing in part the trial court's denial of Defendant's motion to suppress, holding that the omission o...

State v. Morgan  
Date: August 16, 2019
Docket Number: 150A18

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's judgment revoking Defendant's probation after his probation period expired without making a finding of fact that good caused exi...

State v. Courtney  
Date: August 16, 2019
Docket Number: 160PA18

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals holding that Defendant's right to be free from double jeopardy was violated when the State voluntarily dismissed Defendant's charge after his first trial en...

State v. McDaniel  
Date: August 16, 2019
Docket Number: 161A18

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of a divided panel of the court of appeals vacating Defendant's convictions of felonious breaking and entering and felonious larceny, holding that the evidence presented at trial c...

State v. Grady  
Date: August 16, 2019
Docket Number: 179A14-3

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court modified and affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals reversing, but only as to Defendant individually, the superior court's determination that North Carolina's satellite-based monitoring (SBM) of s...

In re T.T.E.  
Date: August 16, 2019
Docket Number: 238A18

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the district court denying a juvenile's motion to dismiss a petition alleging disorderly conduct, holding that the court of appeal...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.