State v. Maready, 205 N.C. App. 1 (Jul. 6, 2010)

Because defense counsel admitted the defendant’s guilt to assault with a deadly weapon and involuntary manslaughter to the jury without obtaining the defendant’s express consent, counsel was per se ineffective under State v. Harbison, 315 N.C. 175 (1985). A majority of the panel distinguished the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Florida v. Nixon, 543 U.S. 175 (2004) (under federal law, when the defendant alleges ineffective assistance due to an admission of guilt, the claim should be analyzed under the Strickland attorney error standard), on grounds that Nixon was a capital case and the case before the court was non-capital. The majority further concluded that post-Nixon decisions by the North Carolina Supreme Court and the court of appeals required it to apply the Harbison rule.