State v. Quick, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Oct. 20, 2020)

In 2000, the defendant was convicted of felony possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a weapon on school property, misdemeanor resisting a public officer, second-degree trespass, and carrying a concealed weapon. The defendant gave notice of appeal in open court and a lawyer was notified that he was responsible for the defendant’s appeal. That lawyer withdrew in 2002 and a new lawyer, Mr. Hinton, was appointed. Nothing was done to process the appeal until 2019 when the Appellate Defender was appointed to represent the defendant. Mr. Hinton had mistakenly allowed time to lapse for preparing the appeal. The defendant argued that he was deprived of his right to a speedy appeal and effective assistance of counsel during the nineteen years it took to process his appeal. The Court considered the following factors, derived from State v. China, 150 N.C. App. 469 (2002), in its analysis: the length of the delay; the reason for the delay; defendant’s assertion of his right to a speedy appeal; and any prejudice to defendant. The Court found that the first two factors were relatively well-established on the record because nineteen years was a very lengthy delay and the defendant’s prior appellate counsel acknowledged his mistake. However, analysis of the remaining factors required additional evidentiary development. The Court therefore dismissed the appeal without prejudice so that the Defendant could seek a Motion for Appropriate Relief in the trial court to develop the facts relevant to his claim.