Inmate releases blocked by court

© WTVD

December 14, 2009 10:03:36 PM PST
The North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay that blocks the court ordered release of Alford Jones and Faye Brown from jail.

The judicial order came after Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand ruled that the two inmates, who are serving life sentences, should go free by 5 p.m. Monday.

Judge Rand said that the Department of Correction is wrongly interpreting its regulations on sentence-reduction credits.

About a hour before the deadline, a clerk for the Court of Appeals stated that "a ruling on the petitions for writ of supersedas and certiorari will be made upon the filing of a response to the petitions or the expiration of the time for a response if no response is filed."

No further explanation was given.

Jones and Brown are two of several dozen inmates sentenced to life in prison in the 1970s.

Other inmates have also asked to be released, but judges have not yet ruled on their cases.

Attorneys for Jones and Brown had argued they had received years of sentence-reduction credits while behind bars. They contended the credits, combined with a 1970s law that defined their "life" sentences as only 80 years long, mean their prison terms are complete.

Governor Beverly has been very vocal about her opposition to free the inmates. Monday she told reporters at Camp Lejeune she is "furious with Judge Rand's decision."

"I've been in politics a long time, and I've never been as disgusted with the system in my life," Perdue said.

Perdue held an impromptu press conference after the court announced the stay were she said she would do everything she could to keep them behind bars.

Attorneys for the inmates say they aren't surprised by the last-minute stay. They say they're preparing for the long legal battle ahead.

Friday Brown took the stand in a hearing related to her release.

She's the only woman in a group of 27 inmates whose pending releases has sparked outrage and debate. All of the inmates were given life sentences under a court ruling that determined a life sentence is 80 years.

Last Wednesday convicted murder Jones went before a judge in Goldsboro and asked for his freedom.

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