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Hurtful words

//May 15, 2015

Hurtful words

//May 15, 2015

Linwood Duffie isn’t going to be nominated for a Big Brother award anytime soon.

Duffie, who is in his late 50s, had his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son, Kumetrius Friason, commit several armed robberies while he hung out in his car. Despite sitting around on his duff while his teenage accomplice did all the hard work, Duffie still helped himself to a generous portion of the ill-gotten gains.

That is until the law caught up with the duo after a keen passerby spotted the elder criminal’s car parked outside a Dollar General store with a black rag obscuring the license plate and called the police.

A jury in 2013 found Duffie guilty of three counts each of common law robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. Jurors also determined that he had attained habitual felon status, which prompted the trial judge to hand down three consecutive sentences of 12 and a half to 16 years.

On appeal, Duffie argued that jurors shouldn’t have been allowed to see “highly inflammatory” video footage of police interrogating Friason. The cops repeatedly talked trash about Duffie during the interview, calling him a “coward,” a “career criminal” and a “piece of crap.”

Duffie and his appellate lawyer, Paul Herzog of Fayetteville, contended that the insulting portions of the tape should have been muted and also that the footage was inadmissible hearsay. But the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision to admit the video in its entirety.

However, the appellate court went on to determine that the lower court had misconstrued the sentencing guidelines to require consecutive sentences for habitual felons when, in fact, it is at the trial judge’s discretion to impose that penalty.

So ol’ Duffer … er, Duffie, gets a mulligan.

Phillip Bantz

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