The trial court should have sustained defendant’s objection to the prosecutor’s questions about defendant’s communications with his lawyer; however, the questions were posed to impeach defendant’s credibility, and defendant had already admitted that he had lied to the police about what happened on the morning that his girlfriend’s young son passed away. Defendant had also already testified that he had not told anyone about the version of events he testified to at trial in the two years between lying to the police and his trial. The trial court’s error was not prejudicial.
We find no prejudicial error in defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder.
Defendant testified that he had told police a false version of events and that he had not told anyone the true version of events until his testimony at trial. The prosecutor asked defendant if – in the two years between the child’s death and his trial – he had not told his lawyer the version of events he testified to at trial.
Because the prosecutor’s questions probing the substance of defendant’s communications with counsel were pertinent to the substance of defendant’s communications with counsel, the communications were privileged and the prosecutor’s questions should not have been permitted. Nonetheless, given defendant’s prior admissions on the stand, his credibility was already at issue. Defendant has not established prejudice sufficient to warrant a new trial.
The trial court instructed the jury, “When an adult has exclusive custody of a child for a period of time during which that child suffers injuries that are neither self-inflicted nor accidental, there is sufficient evidence to create an inference that the adult intentionally inflicted those injuries.” This language – especially in the context of the rest of the jury instructions – cannot reasonably be interpreted as meaning that the basic facts, if proven necessarily create an inference of intent. Viewing the jury instruction contextually and in its entirety, the instruction provides no reasonable cause to believe the jury was misled or misinformed by the instruction.
No prejudicial error.
State v. Graham (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-120-22, 15 pp.) (Jefferson Griffin, J.) Appealed from Gaston County Superior Court (David Phillips, J.) John Barkley for the state; Dylan Buffum for defendant. 2022-NCCOA-297