Habitual Felon Law
What is Habitual Felon Law? In essence, it is Mecklenburg County’s version of a “three-strikes” law. If someone is convicted of three separate felony offenses, a district attorney can choose to indict them as a “habitual felon.” This means that the person being charged will face significantly more time in jail.
This practice leads to extremely excessive and unjust sentences. As a criminal defense attorney for the past 20 years, Tim has witnessed this firsthand many times. He’s had clients receive absurd prison sentences for non-violent crimes, including one who was sentenced to 10 years after stealing a TV from their brother. He has also seen how Habitual Felon disproportionately sentences Black people to extreme lengths.
Population wise, Mecklenburg County is about 33% Black. Despite this, since 2017, 88.2% (442 out of 501) of the people sentenced as Habitual Felons in Mecklenburg County have been Black. That disparity is inhumane, unjust, and completely unacceptable.
Disbanding the Habitual Felon Unit
Currently, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office has a specialized unit dedicated to Habitual Felon prosecutions. Prior to becoming District Attorney, Spencer Merriweather himself led this unit. As District Attorney, Tim will be focused on promoting racial justice and ending mass incarceration policies like Habitual Felon. As such, Tim pledges to disband the Habitual Felon Unit once he is District Attorney.