State v. Hunt, 221 N.C. App. 489 (Jul. 17, 2012)

aff’d per curiam, 367 N.C. 700 (Dec. 19, 2014)

Although counsel provided deficient performance in this sexual assault case, the defendant was not prejudiced by this conduct and thus the defendant’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel must fail. The defendant argued that counsel was ineffective when he asked the defendant on direct examination if he had “ever done such a thing before,” despite knowing that other sexual offense charges were pending against the defendant. When the defendant responded in the negative, this opened the door to the State calling another witness to testify about the defendant’s alleged sexual abuse of her. Counsel’s performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness because there was no strategic benefit in opening the door to this testimony. However, because the evidence about the other pending charges did not likely affect the verdict, no prejudice resulted.