Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.

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E.g., 10/22/2021
E.g., 10/22/2021

In a per curiam decision, the Court determined that defense counsel’s performance in the punishment phase of a capital murder trial was deficient and remanded the case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for that court to address the prejudice prong of a Strickland ineffective...

The presumption of prejudice recognized in Roe v. Flores-Ortega, 528 U.S. 470 (2000), applies regardless of whether the defendant has signed an appeal waiver. Defendant Garza signed two plea agreements arising from charges brought by the State of Idaho. Each agreement included a...

Under the Sixth Amendment, a defendant has the right to insist that defense counsel refrain from admitting guilt, even when counsel’s experienced-based view is that confessing guilt offers the defendant the best chance to avoid the death penalty. The defendant was charged with three counts of...

By wrongly advising the defendant that a guilty plea to a drug charge would not result in deportation, counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) in connection with the defendant’s plea. After he was charged with possessing ecstasy with intent to distribute, the defendant feared...

Weaver v. Massachusetts, 582 U.S. ___, 137 S. Ct. 1899 (June 22, 2017)

In a case where the defendant failed to preserve a claim of structural error with respect to improper closure of the courtroom and raised it later in the context of an ineffective assistance claim, the Court held that the defendant was not relieved of his burden of establishing prejudice, which...

In this Texas capital murder case, the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel was violated when his lawyer introduced evidence from a psychologist that the defendant was statistically more likely to act violently because he is black. A Texas jury convicted the...

The Court reversed the state decision below which had held that the defendant’s lawyers were ineffective under Strickland. At the defendant’s 1995 murder trial, the State offered FBI Agent Peele as an expert witness on Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (CBLA). Peele’s testimony linked a...

In this habeas corpus case, the Court reversed the Sixth Circuit, which had held that defense counsel provided per se ineffective assistance of counsel under United States v. Cronic, 466 U. S. 648 (1984), when he was briefly absent during testimony concerning other defendants. The Court...

Defense counsel in a capital case rendered deficient performance when he made an “inexcusable mistake of law” causing him to employ an expert “that he himself deemed inadequate.” Counsel believed that he could only obtain $1,000 for expert assistance when in fact he could have sought court...

Lafler v. Cooper, 566 U.S. 156 (Mar. 21, 2012)

The Court held that defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by advising a defendant to reject a plea offer and it specified the appropriate remedy for the constitutional violation. The defendant was charged with assault with intent to murder, possession of a firearm by a felon,...

Missouri v. Frye, 566 U.S. 133 (Mar. 21, 2012)

The Court held that a defense lawyer rendered ineffective assistance by allowing a plea offer by the prosecution to expire without advising the defendant of the offer or allowing him to consider it. The defendant was charged with felony driving with a revoked license, an offense carrying a...

In a capital case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals improperly granted the defendant habeas relief on his claim of penalty-phase ineffective assistance of counsel. The defendant and two accomplices broke into a house at night, killing two men who interrupted the burglary. A jury convicted the...

The Court reversed the Ninth Circuit, which had held that the state court unreasonably applied existing law when rejecting the defendant’s claim that his counsel was deficient by failing to present expert testimony on serology, pathology, and blood spatter patterns; the defendant had asserted...

Premo v. Moore, 562 U.S. 115 (Jan. 19, 2011)

The Court reversed the Ninth Circuit, which had held that the state court unreasonably applied existing law when rejecting the defendant’s claim that counsel was ineffective by failing to file a motion to suppress the defendant’s confession to police before advising him to accept a plea offer....

Sears v. Upton, 561 U.S. 945 (June 29, 2010)

After the defendant was sentenced to death in state court, a state post-conviction court found that the defendant’s lawyer conducted a constitutionally inadequate penalty phase investigation that failed to uncover evidence of the defendant’s significant mental and psychological impairments....

After pleading guilty to a charge of transportation of a large amount of marijuana, the defendant, a lawful permanent resident of the United States for more than 40 years, faced deportation. He challenged his plea, arguing that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to inform him...

Wood v. Allen, 558 U.S. 290 (Jan. 20, 2010)

The state court’s conclusion that the defendant’s counsel made a strategic decision not to pursue or present evidence of his mental deficiencies was not an unreasonable determination of the facts. The Court did not reach the question of whether the strategic decision itself was a reasonable...

Smith v. Spisak, 558 U.S. 139 (Jan. 12, 2010)

Even if counsel’s closing argument at the sentencing phase of a capital trial fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, the defendant could not show that he was prejudiced by this conduct.

Porter v. McCollum, 558 U.S. 30 (Nov. 30, 2009)

A capital defendant’s trial counsel’s conduct fell below an objective standard of reasonableness when counsel failed to investigate and present mitigating evidence, including evidence of the defendant’s mental health, family background, and military service. The state court’s holding that the...

Wong v. Belmontes, 558 U.S. 15 (Nov. 16, 2009)

Even if counsel’s performance was deficient with regard to mitigating evidence in a capital trial, the defendant could not establish prejudice. Trial counsel testified that he presented a limited mitigating case in order to avoid opening the door for the prosecution to admit damaging evidence...

Bobby v. Van Hook, 558 U.S. 4 (Nov. 9, 2009)

Although restatements of professional conduct, such as ABA Guidelines, can be useful guides to whether an attorney’s conduct was reasonable, they are relevant only when they describe the professional norms prevailing at the time that the representation occurred. In this case, the lower court...

Knowles v. Mirzayance, 556 U.S. 111 (Mar. 24, 2009)

Counsel was not ineffective by recommending that the defendant withdraw his insanity defense. The defendant entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI) at his first-degree murder trial in state court. State procedure required a bifurcated trial consisting of a guilt...

The rule of State v. Harbison, 315 N.C. 175 (1985) that a criminal defendant suffers a per se violation of the right to effective assistance of counsel when counsel concedes the defendant’s guilt to the jury without the defendant’s prior consent applies to situations involving an...

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision below, 259 N.C. App. 127 (2018), the court reversed the Court of Appeals and held that appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to cite a particular line of cases because the facts of this case were distinguishable from those in the line...

State v. Ryan, 371 N.C. 445 (Sept. 27, 2019)

After a hung jury and mistrial in 2009, the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in 2010 and sentenced to death. Defendant appealed, but the case was remanded to the trial court to resolve the defendant’s post-conviction motions, including a motion...

The court per curiam affirmed an unpublished decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 813 S.E.2d 478 (2018) holding that the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel with...

(1) Addressing the merits of the defendant’s Strickland ineffective assistance of counsel claim in this direct appeal in a capital case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his lawyers disclosed to law enforcement where to...

State v. Todd, 369 N.C. 707 (June 9, 2017)

The Court of Appeals erred by holding that the defendant received ineffective assistance of counsel when appellate counsel failed to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the defendant’s armed robbery conviction. Before the Supreme Court, the State argued that appellate counsel...

State v. Hunt, 367 N.C. 700 (Dec. 14, 2014)

The court affirmed per curiam that aspect of the decision below that generated a dissenting opinion. In the decision below, State v. Hunt, 221 N.C. App. 489 (July 17, 2012), the court of...

State v. Choudhry, 365 N.C. 215 (Aug. 26, 2011)

Although the trial court’s inquiry of the defendant was insufficient to assure that the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to conflict free counsel, because the defendant failed to show that counsel’s performance was adversely affected by the conflict, he is not...

State v. Phillips, 365 N.C. 103 (June 16, 2011)

The trial court did not err by failing to inquire into defense counsel’s alleged conflict of interest and by failing to obtain a waiver from the defendant of the right to conflict-free counsel. According to the defendant, the conflict arose when it became apparent that counsel might have to...

State v. Phillips, 365 N.C. 103 (June 16, 2011)

(1) Investigators did not violate the capital defendant’s constitutional right to counsel by continuing to question him after an attorney who had been appointed as provisional counsel arrived at the sheriff’s office and was denied access to the defendant. The interrogation began before the...

In this Stokes County case, the defendant was an undocumented Mexican citizen living in North Carolina. In 2010, he was charged with felony drug offenses and pled guilty. Defense counsel advised the defendant that there “may” be immigration consequences as a result. In 2017, he was arrested by...

In this Lincoln County case, the defendant’s trial counsel also represented the City of Lincolnton. Lincolnton police officers investigated and charged the defendant and testified at his trial. After the charge conference, the defendant expressed concerns about his attorney’s potential conflict...

The defendant was charged with first degree burglary after she was found inside the victims’ home in the early morning hours, having taken items from their cars and placed them inside a purse belonging to one of the homeowners. The defendant appeared to be impaired at the time she was arrested....

The defendant was indicted for stalking, violating a domestic violence protective order, and making a false report to law enforcement. The state gave notice of two statutory aggravating factors under G.S. 15A-1340.16(d)(5) (disrupting enforcement of laws) and 1340.16(d)(15) (taking...

In this sex offense case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial and instead giving a curative instruction to the jury in response to the State’s objectionable questioning of a witness.  Defense counsel did not admit the defendant’s guilt...

In this Moore County case, the defendant was convicted of first-degree rape and sex offense, crime against nature, possession of firearm by felon, communicating threats and various assaults stemming from attacks on his estranged then-wife. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court...

Defendant was convicted in December 2016 of trafficking in opium or heroin and related offenses He appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury that possession pursuant to a valid prescription was a defense to trafficking by possession. The Court of Appeals in...

State v. Chavez, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Apr. 7, 2020) rev’d in part on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, 2021-NCSC-86 (Aug 13 2021)

This Mecklenburg County case involved charges of attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. The defendant and two other men (one of whom was unidentified) entered the victim’s home and...

This Pitt County case involved charges of attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury (“AWDWIKISI”) and felony breaking or entering. Before trial, the defendant signed a document allowing his attorney to argue that he was guilty of...

In this Duplin County case, the defendant was convicted by a jury of financial card fraud, obtaining property by false pretenses, identity theft, and habitual felon. She appealed, arguing that her motion to dismiss for insufficiency of the evidence should have been granted as to the identity...

The defendant, a lawful permanent resident, was charged with various drug offenses and pled guilty under Alford to the charges of possession of heroin and maintaining a vehicle or dwelling, for which the trial judge imposed a two-year suspended sentence. About one year into his sentence...

The defendant was convicted by a jury of two counts of statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult and one count of first-degree kidnapping based on his repeated sexual assaults of his seven-year-old niece. The trial court sentenced the defendant to prison and ordered him to enroll in...

In this indecent liberties case, the defendant waived any right of appellate review with respect to his arguments challenging admission of his inculpatory statements (he had asserted a Miranda violation and that the statements were involuntary). The defendant has the burden of establishing that...

In this child sexual assault case, the court reversed the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s Motion for Appropriate Relief (MAR) seeking a new trial for ineffective assistance of counsel related to opinion testimony by the State’s expert. The defendant was convicted of sexual offenses...

Addressing the merits of an IAC claim raised in a MAR, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that attorney Warmack provided ineffective assistance of counsel at an evidentiary remand hearing because of a dual representation conflict arising from having previously represented codefendant...

In this child sex offense case, because the record was insufficient to allow review of the defendant’s claim that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial, the court dismissed the appeal without prejudice to the defendant’s right to pursue the claim in a motion for appropriate...

The court reversed the trial court’s order granting the defendant’s motion for reconsideration and motion for appropriate relief (MAR), holding that the requirement that counsel advise the defendant of the immigration consequences of a plea agreement established by Padilla does not...

The court declined to address the defendant’s claim that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his lawyer failed to object to and agreed to the admission of a hearsay statement and failed to request a jury instruction on the ultimate user exception to the Control Substances Act. The...

In this second-degree murder and armed robbery case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to ensure the jury knew that the State’s key witness, Damon Bell, could have been but was not charged with first-degree murder in the case. The defendant...

In this drug trafficking case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) which asserted ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Drug were discovered after a vehicle stop. The defendant lost his motion to suppress and after being convicted appealed...

In this assault case tried as a bench trial, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that he received ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) when his lawyer failed to assert and argue self-defense. The defendant filed a MAR with his direct appeal, asserting the IAC claim. Finding that it...

Considering the merits of the defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim on direct appeal from his conviction of felony assault, the court held that the defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel consented to a mistrial at the first trial. Analyzing...

Finding the record in this child sexual assault case insufficient to rule on the defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the court denied the claim without prejudice to the defendant’s right to assert it in a MAR proceeding. The defendant argued that he received ineffective...

On an appeal from an adverse ruling on the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) in this murder case, the court held that because the defendant’s attorney made an objectively reasonable determination that the defendant’s uncle would qualify as his “guardian” under G.S. 7B-2101(b) and...

In this attempted murder and assault case, the court rejected the defendant’s claim that his lawyer rendered ineffective assistance by failing to object to the introduction of testimony about street gangs. The court rejected the assertion that there was no strategic reason for trial counsel to...

(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...

State v. Meadows, , ___ N.C. App. ___, 806 S.E.2d 682 (Oct. 17, 2017) modified and affirmed on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Dec 7 2018)

(1) In this drug case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that she received ineffective assistance of counsel when defense counsel elicited damaging testimony from a law enforcement officer that a witness was “honest.” Declining to address whether counsel’s conduct constituted deficient...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that trial counsel was deficient by failing to give notice to the State of the defendant’s intention to offer an alibi witness. The defendant had argued that trial counsel’s failure was a violation of the discovery rules and resulted in the trial court...

Counsel was not ineffective by failing to allege a Fourth Amendment violation in a motion to suppress a warrantless blood draw. Here, no prejudice occurred under the Strickland test because there was sufficient evidence for a conviction based driving while under the influence of an...

(1) Counsel did not render ineffective assistance by failing to object to a witness’s expert testimony. The expert testified that the fire was intentionally set with the use of an accelerant. The defendant’s trial defense did not challenge this issue but rather focused on whether the State had...

In this attempted felony breaking or entering and habitual felon case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel did not attempt to introduce certain items into evidence. The defendant failed to show that counsel’s...

In this sex offense case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to object to 404(b) evidence that was properly admitted.

State v. Cook, 246 N.C. App. 266 (Mar. 15, 2016)

(1) In this murder case, counsel’s statement in closing argument did not exceed the scope of consent given by the defendant during a Harbison inquiry. In light of the Harbison hearing, the defendant knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily, and with full knowledge of the...

State v. Cook, 246 N.C. App. 266 (Mar. 15, 2016)

The Harbison standard did not apply to counsel’s comments regarding the “dreadfulness” of the crimes because these comments were not concessions of guilt. Considering these statements under the Strickland standard, the court noted that counsel pointed out to the jury that while...

In this murder case, trial counsel did not render ineffective assistance by failing to produce evidence, as promised in counsel’s opening statement to the jury, that the shooting in question was justified or done in self-defense. After the trial court conducted a Harbison inquiry,...

In this murder case, trial counsel did not render ineffective assistance by failing to produce evidence, as promised in counsel’s opening statement to the jury, that the shooting in question was justified or done in self-defense. After the trial court conducted a Harbison inquiry,...

In this appeal from a motion for appropriate relief (MAR), the court held that advice provided by the defendant’s counsel in connection with his plea did not comply with Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010) (incorrect advice regarding the immigration consequences of a guilty plea...

Where appointed counsel was allowed to withdraw, on the sixth day of a bribery trial, pursuant to Comment 3 of Rule 1.16(a) of the N.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that private counsel retained after this incident was presumptively ineffective given...

Without addressing the deficient performance prong of the Strickland test, the court held that the defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel where he was not prejudiced by counsel’s conduct. The defendant had complained of counsel’s failure to object to a law...

The trial court erred by ordering, under threat of contempt, that defense counsel’s legal assistant appear as a witness for the State. The State served the assistant with a subpoena directing her to appear to testify on the weeks of Friday, November 8, 2013, Monday, December 2, 2013, and Monday...

(1) Even if counsel provided deficient performance by informing the trial court, with the defendant’s consent, that the defendant wanted to go to trial and “take the chance that maybe lightning strikes, or I get lucky, or something,” no prejudice was shown. (2) The court declined the defendant’s...

In an attempted murder case, counsel did not commit a Harbison error when he stated during closing argument: “You have heard my client basically admit that while pointing the gun at someone, he basically committed a crime: Assault by pointing a gun.” Because assault by pointing a gun is...

State v. King, 235 N.C. App. 187 (July 15, 2014)

No error occurred when the trial court denied defense counsel’s request for an overnight recess after having to defend himself against the State’s motion for contempt based on an allegation that counsel violated the court’s order regarding the rape shield rule in connection with his examination...

State v. King, 235 N.C. App. 187 (July 15, 2014)

No error occurred when the trial court denied defense counsel’s request for an overnight recess after having to defend himself against the State’s motion for contempt based on an allegation that counsel violated the court’s order regarding the rape shield rule in connection with his examination...

State v. Rouse, 234 N.C. App. 92 (May. 20, 2014)

The defendant was denied his constitutional right to counsel when the trial court held a resentencing hearing on the defendant’s pro se MAR while the defendant was unrepresented. The court vacated the judgment and remanded for a new sentencing hearing.

Considering the defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim on appeal the court rejected his contention that counsel was ineffective by eliciting hearsay evidence that conflicted with his claim of self-defense, concluding that the evidence did not contradict this defense. It also...

The defendant was not denied effective assistance of counsel in a case where defense counsel had a meeting with the State’s witnesses in which they offered to drop the charges against the defendant in exchange for compensation. Defense counsel cross-examined the witnesses extensively about their...

The court dismissed the defendant’s claim that counsel’s trial strategy constituted ineffectiveness under Strickland. This claim was dismissed without prejudice to the defendant’s right to assert the claim in a Motion for Appropriate Relief.

In a murder case, trial counsel did not impermissibly concede the defendant’s guilt under Harbison. Although defense counsel never explicitly conceded the defendant’s guilt during trial, she did make factual concessions, including admitting that the defendant was present at the shooting...

Counsel was ineffective by failing move to suppress evidence obtained by a “patently unconstitutional seizure.” The State conceded that the evidence was obtained illegally but argued that counsel’s failure to move to suppress could have been the result of trial strategy. The court rejected this...

In Re C.W.N., 227 N.C. App. 63 (May. 7, 2013)

(1) On direct appeal, the court rejected the juvenile’s assertion that counsel’s failure to make a closing argument in a delinquency proceeding was per se ineffective assistance. (2) In a delinquency case in which the juvenile was alleged to have assaulted another child, the court rejected the...

The defendant was entitled to a new trial where the trial court proceeded to trial over the defendant’s objection to continued representation by appointed counsel who had previously represented one of the State’s witnesses. At a pretrial hearing the State informed the trial court that defense...

In an appeal from a conviction obtained in the Eve Carson murder case, the court held that counsel did not commit a Harbison error (unconsented to admission of guilt by counsel). Even taken out of context, the remark at issue did not even approach a concession of guilt.

State v Canty, 224 N.C. App. 514 (Dec. 18, 2012)

Counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to file what would have been a meritorious motion to suppress.

Citing Lafler v. Cooper, 566 U.S. 156 (2012) (defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by advising a defendant to reject a plea offer), the court dismissed without prejudice the defendant’s claim that defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by advising him to reject a...

When a defendant discharges counsel and proceeds pro se, he or she may not assert a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel with regard to his or her own representation.

State v. Hunt, 221 N.C. App. 489 (July 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...

The trial court did not err by removing the defendant’s retained counsel, Wayne Eads, based on the possibility that Eads might be called to testify as a witness at trial. The defendant was charged with attempted murder and felony assault. The defendant was having an affair with the victim’s wife...

The court rejected the defendant’s Harbison claim (it is ineffective assistance of counsel for a defense lawyer to concede guilt without the defendant’s consent) where defense counsel raised the admission with the trial court before it was made and the defendant consented to counsel’s...

The court dismissed the defendant’s Harbison claim without prejudice to it being raised in a motion for appropriate relief. During closing argument, defense counsel stressed that the defendant was a drug user, not a drug dealer. With regard to a charge of possession of drug...

Although concluding that counsel admitted the defendant’s guilt to the jury, the court dismissed the defendant’s Harbison claim without prejudice to his right to file a motion for appropriate relief on that basis in the trial court. Counsel conceded guilt to resisting a public officer...

The court dismissed the defendant’s Harbison claim without prejudice in order for it to be raised by way of a motion for appropriate relief in the trial division. As to a charge of resisting an officer, defense counsel had argued to the jury that “[T]he elements are there. They were...

In a sex offense case, the defendant received ineffective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to object to the prosecutor’s motion in limine to exclude specific reference to a prior DSS hearing and/or to clarify the evidence regarding that hearing. At the prior hearing the district court...

(1) Defense counsel did not commit a Harbison error during the habitual felon proceeding by admitting that the defendant had pled guilty to three felonies. Although defense counsel admitted the defendant’s prior convictions, he never argued that the jury should find that the defendant...

The trial court’s denial of a motion to continue in a murder case did not violate the defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel. The defendant asserted that he did not realize that certain items of physical evidence were shell casings found in defendant’s room until the eve of trial...

In a child sexual assault case, defense counsel’s failure to move to strike testimony of a forensic interviewer that the fact that a young child had extensive sexual knowledge suggested that “something happened,” did not constitute deficient performance.

The defendant’s claim that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to object to a videotape of the defendant’s interrogation was properly considered on appeal. Although the defendant asked the court to dismiss his claim without prejudice to raise it in a motion for appropriate relief, he failed...

(1) The defendant’s claim that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to object to a videotape of the defendant’s interrogation fails because even if counsel had objected, the objection would have been overruled when the defendant opened the door to the evidence through his own trial testimony...

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...

No Harbison error occurred in this murder case where the defendant consented, on the record, to counsel’s strategy of admitting guilt.

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