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
State v. Greenfield  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 11A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals remanding this case for a new trial on an assault charge and vacating the judgment convicting Defendant of first-degree murder...

State v. Augustine  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 130A03-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the order of the trial court dismissing Defendant's motion for appropriate relief (MAR) in which Defendant asserted claims under the Racial Justice Act (RJA), holding that the retroactive applic...

Estate of Savino v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 18PA19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court modified and affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals holding that Plaintiff failed properly to plead administrative negligence under N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-21.11(2)(b), ho...

In re L.M.M.  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 21A20

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her son, holding that the trial court's findings of fact and the evidence supported the conclusion that Mother willfully...

State v. McAllister  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 221A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's conviction, holding that the rationale underlying State v. Harbison, 337 S.E.2d 504 (N.C. 1985) applies equally when defense counsel i...

State v. Collington  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 290PA15-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals concluding that Defendant received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, holding that Defendant failed to prove that his appellate counsel's represen...

N.C. Bowling Proprietors Ass'n, Inc. v. Cooper
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 314PA20
In re J.D.C.H.  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 401A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his two children on the ground of willful abandonment, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in terminat...

In re S.J.B.  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 409A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that it was in the child's best interest to terminate...

In re E.B.  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 429A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights on the grounds of willful abandonment, holding that Petitioners failed to prove...

State v. Golphin
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 441A98-4
In re Z.K.  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 476A19

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her minor child, holding that the issues identified by counsel in Mother's brief were without merit. The trial court termin...

State v. Walters
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 548A00-2
State v. Byers  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 69A06-4

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing a superior court order, holding that Defendant failed to meet the required condition of N.C. Gen. Stat. 15A-269(a) that postconviction DNA testing...

In re J.A.M.  
Date: September 25, 2020
Docket Number: 7PA17-3

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court terminating Mother's parental rights in her daughter, holding that the issues raised by Mother and her counsel were meritless. The district court adjudicated gr...

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.