A Catawba County trial judge has been scolded by the N.C. Court of Appeals for invoking Christian teachings into a lecture during a defendant’s sentencing phase.
In its opinion released yesterday, however, the court ruled that the judge’s word choice did not violate the due process of the defendant, Max Earls, who was sentenced to 45-55 years in prison for sexually abusing his children.
State case law deems that if a judge considers irrelevant and improper material in determining a sentence, it would violate the defendant’s rights. Earls cited that case law in his appeal from a trial last year.
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