State v. Crudup, ___ N.C. App. ___, 2021-NCCOA-179 (May. 4, 2021)

The defendant was charged and convicted of felonious breaking and entering, felonious larceny after breaking and entering, and attaining the status of habitual felon for breaking into a neighbor’s house on April 24, 2018 and stealing a coffee canister of cash.

(1) The defendant, who had been arrested two days after the crime, did not receive copies of the initial indictment or a superseding indictment until December 17, 2018 – the day his trial began. After receiving the indictment, the defendant said he was ready to proceed with trial. The defendant argued on appeal that the trial court’s failure to follow the timely notice requirements of G.S. 15A-630 undermined his ability to prepare for trial and to assert certain statutory rights. The Court of Appeals disagreed, reasoning that although the defendant was not timely served with the indictment, the delay was not jurisdictional, and the defendant did not show that he was prejudiced by the delay. The record established that the defendant was aware of the charges, had viewed the evidence against him, including home surveillance footage, and had ample opportunity to prepare an adequate defense.

(2) The defendant, who had waived counsel twice before in the case, requested standby counsel on the second day of trial. The trial court denied the request, noting that the jury was empaneled and there were no attorneys in the courtroom other than prosecutors. The defendant then changed into his orange jail jumpsuit and refused to participate in the trial. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred in denying his request. The Court of Appeals disagreed, determining that the trial court properly exercised its discretion to deny the request.