State v. Curry, 256 N.C. App. 86 (Oct. 17, 2017)

(1) The court rejected the defendant’s assertion that counsel was ineffective by failing to state for the record details of an absolute impasse between himself and counsel. Although the defendant initially wanted counsel to make certain admissions in opening statements to the jury, after discussing the issue with counsel he informed the court that he would follow counsel’s advice. The court noted there was neither disagreement regarding tactical decisions nor anything in the record suggesting any conflict between the defendant and defense counsel. Although counsel made statements to the trial court indicating that he was having difficulty believing things that the defendant told him, the court noted: “Defendant points to no authority which would require a finding of an impasse where defense counsel did not believe what a criminal-defendant client told him.” (2) Trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance when he failed to cross-examine witness Tarold Ratlif for a third time about who shot the victim. The defendant asserted that additional questioning would have supported his theory that someone else killed the victim. The court concluded that even assuming arguendo that the defendant satisfied the first prong of the Strickland ineffective assistance of counsel test, he could not--in light of the evidence presented--satisfy the second prong, which requires a showing of prejudice.