State v. Campbell, 243 N.C. App. 563 (Oct. 20, 2015)

rev’d on other grounds, 369 N.C. 599 (Jun. 9, 2017)

In a case involving a breaking or entering of a church, counsel was not ineffective by failing to challenge the admissibility of evidence that the defendant broke into a home on the night in question. The court noted that because the issue pertains to the admission of evidence no further factual development was required and it could be addressed on appeal. It went on to hold that the evidence was admissible under Rule 404(b) to show that the defendant’s intent in entering the church was to commit a larceny therein and to contradict his testimony that he entered the church for sanctuary. The evidence also was admissible under Rule 403. As to the defendant’s argument that counsel should have requested a limiting instruction that the jury could not consider the evidence to show his character and propensity, the court agreed that a limiting instruction would have mitigated any potential unfair prejudice. But it held: “any resulting unfair prejudice did not substantially outweigh the evidence’s probative value, given the temporal proximity of the breaking or entering offenses and the evidence’s tendency to show that defendant’s intent in entering the church was to commit a larceny therein.” Because the defendant failed to show that admission of the evidence was error he could not prevail on his ineffective assistance claim.