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N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-3(b) (1981), entitled punishment of misdemeanors, infamous offenses, offenses committed in secrecy and malice or with deceit and intent to defraud, provides in part that if a misdemeanor offense as to which no specific punishment is prescribed be infamous, done in secrecy and malice, or with deceit and intent to defraud, the offender shall, except where the offense is a conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, be guilty of a Class H felony. A crime is "infamous" within the meaning of the statute if it is an act of depravity, involves moral turpitude, and reveals a heart devoid of social duties and a mind fatally bent on mischief. Courts look to the crime to determine whether it shows such depravity in the perpetrator as to create a violent presumption against his truthfulness under oath. Infamous crimes are defined as those whose commission involves an inherent baseness and which are in conflict with those moral attributes upon which the relations of life are based. They are said to be those which involve moral turpitude. The infamous crime includes anything done contrary to justice, honest, modesty, or good morals. Generally speaking, moral turpitude involves an act of inherent baseness in the private, social, or public duties which one owes to his fellowmen or to society, or to his country, her institutions and her government.
Prosecution witnesses testified that defendant formed the original idea to rob the elderly victim, that he masterminded the plan, and that he counseled and enticed others to rob the victim. The victim was ultimately murdered during the robbery. Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of soliciting another to commit common law robbery. Defendant was sentenced to imprisonment for seven years for conviction of a Class H felony under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-3(b) (1981). Defendant appealed to the Court of Appeals (North Carolina), which found no error in defendant's trial but remanded the case for resentencing of defendant as a misdemeanant.
Was solicitation to commit common law robbery an infamous crime within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-3?
The Court held that solicitation to commit common law robbery was an infamous crime within the meaning of N.C.G.S. § 14-3, where the defendant has counseled, enticed, or induced another to commit as degrading an offense as theft from the person or presence of a victim by force or by putting him in fear, and as such, he has committed an act of depravity and a crime involving moral turpitude and has demonstrated that he has a mind fatally bent on mischief and a heart devoid of social duties.