Karon Joye

Justice System Reform
Image of Roy Cooper's Executive Order No. 208 establishing the Juvenile Sentence Review Board

Case Summary

Filed 06/01/2023
Updated 06/04/2024

SCSJ is submitting a clemency petition to the Juvenile Sentencing Review Board (JSRB) on behalf of Karon Joye. Karon was sentenced to over 34 years in prison for a crime he committed when he was 14 years old. He has presently served over 20 years and is currently in medium custody at Lumberton Correctional Institution. During the crime, a 32-year-old man acted as the ringleader and recruited four young men who were all under the age of 18 to participate. Karon is the only teenager charged who is still incarcerated.

The JSRB was established by Governor Roy Cooper by Executive Order in 2021 to review the large number of cases in North Carolina involving children who were sentenced to extraordinarily long prison sentences.

Why it's Important

Kids should be treated like kids. An increasing number of courts and state legislators have recognized the ever-growing body of research in developmental psychology and neuroscience which confirms that adolescent brains are not yet fully mature when it comes to higher-order executive functions such as impulse control, planning ahead, and risk avoidance. Yet people like Karon Joye, who was a child at the time of his crime, have been sentenced to extraordinarily long prison sentences. Moreover, there are massive racial disparities in North Carolina’s criminal legal system; more than 80% of people sentenced to state prisons for crimes they committed as juveniles are people of color.

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Case Documents

Filed: 04/08/2021