As a judge, Cheri Beasley wanted a lighter sentence for a career criminal who possessed a ‘weapon of mass death’
Beasley, a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice, said an ‘attempted assault with a deadly weapon’ is ‘not a crime’
Collin Anderson • September 13, 2022 2:00 p.m.
North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley voted to rescind a career criminal’s habitual criminal status just after the man was caught with a ‘weapon of mass death’, a decision that would have received a lighter sentence if he had committed another crime.
In October 2013, a North Carolina jury found 35-year-old Corey Deon Floyd guilty of possession of a “weapon of mass death and destruction” and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. Those convictions — which came after Floyd was spotted “hanging” on the streets of Kinston, North Carolina, with a sawed-off shotgun in his pants — led to Floyd being designated with habitual felon status, which state prosecutors apply to a person who commits crimes in three separate cases. Under North Carolina law, habitual criminals receive harsher sentences for any subsequent crimes they commit.
If Beasley succeeded, however, the career criminal would have lost his regular criminal status. As a state Supreme Court justice in 2016, Beasley voted to overturn Floyd’s usual felony conviction, arguing that one of Floyd’s former prosecutors used to justify the designation – attempted assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury – “is not a crime in North Carolina.” A majority of Beasley’s fellow justices rejected the Democrat’s opinion, and as such, Floyd’s convictions were upheld. In addition to his attempted assault and illegal firearms convictions, Floyd has been convicted of criminal possession of cocaine on at least two occasions, court documents obtained by the Free Washington Beacon To display.
Beasley’s vote disagrees with her pledge at “[keep] North Carolina communities are safe” in his campaign to replace retired Republican North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. This race has seen Beasley attempt to avoid GOP criticism over his public safety record as a judge in denounces the defunding of the police movement, which caught fire in the summer of 2020 after the death of George Floyd. But then Beasley partly defended the Black Lives Matter riots that swept the nation after the event – at a June 2020 conference press conference, the Democrat said Americans “must recognize the pain and the legitimate weight of years of disparate treatment that fuels these protests.” About three months later, Beasley said she was “excited that since the death of George Floyd and so many others, we have thought differently about how we do our jobs.”
Beasley’s campaign did not return a request for comment.
Floyd’s habitual criminal status conviction came after local police received a tip that the criminal was carrying a “sawed-off shotgun in his pants” in public. Officers arrived at the scene and quickly recognized Floyd, citing their “frequent face-to-face contact” with the criminal. Floyd fled when officers approached, eventually throwing his gun “into a nearby yard”, according to court documents obtained by the Free tag.
Prosecutors later sought to characterize Floyd as a habitual criminal, partly using his attempted assault conviction – which came in 2005 – to justify the charge. The jurors agreed, finding Floyd “guilty of obtaining habitual criminal status” in 2013.
Floyd appealed the conviction, arguing that “attempted assault is not a recognized criminal offense in North Carolina.” Prosecutors, however, did not initially charge Floyd with attempted assault – instead they charged the criminal with robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill, charges they did not ‘ve watered down only as part of a plea deal. Still, Beasley and the North Carolina Court of Appeals sided with Floyd in opinions that a majority of state Supreme Court justices rejected in 2016, with Beasley ultimately saying “an attempted assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury is not a recognizable offense in North Carolina.”
Beasley, who served on the North Carolina Supreme Court from 2012 to 2020, has previously come under fire from Republicans for the controversial opinions she has offered during her judicial career. In 2019, Beasley was part of a Democratic majority on court that sided with a child porn offender who used a technicality to reduce his sentence.
After a stint in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Beasley was nominated by former Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue to the state Supreme Court in 2012. Voters elected Beasley to a full eight-year term in 2014 – five years later, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper appointed Beasley’s leader. justice following the retirement of Republican Mark Martin. Beasley lost his run for a second eight-year term to Republican Justice Paul Newby in 2020 and joined international firm McGuireWoods as a partner in January 2021.
A few months later, in June 2021, Beasley launched her Senate bid, which will see her take on Republican Congressman Ted Budd in November after both candidates won their party’s primaries by double digits in May. Beasley raised $16 million to Budd’s $6.5 million.