North Carolina v. Challenge

May a trial court judge reverse an order without receiving new facts into evidence?


The Court of Appeals held that a trial court can change a preliminary ruling without additional evidence being submitted. The State presented many exhibits and affidavits to the court, and moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied the motion, specifically stating that several issues were still contested by Challenge, that summary judgment was improper, but that his ruling was without prejudice to future motions. Later in the trial, additional evidence was admitted by the State showing Challenge's violations of the alleged statutes. The judge ruled that the additional evidence was not contested, and was deemed admitted, along with the evidence previously ruled to be contested. Challenge appealed, claiming that the evidence was in controversy, and that the judge could not reverse a previous ruling without Challenge submitting addition evidence themselves. The Court of appeals held that because the trial judge had specifically made his previous ruling without prejudice, he was allowed to reverse his previous ruling at his own discretion. The Appeals Court noted that the additional time between the preliminary and final rulings allowed additional time for the judge to review the record and correct an erroneous ruling.

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Reference Info:State, 4th Circuit, North Carolina | United States

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