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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Right to Counsel – Admission of Guilt – Defendant’s Consent – Larceny

Where defendant consented to his counsel’s admission of guilt to misdemeanor larceny, and where counsel admitted that defendant took items from a store clerk but did not threaten him, defendant was not deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

We find no error in defendant’s convictions of larceny from the person and attaining the status of habitual felon.

After being charged with common law robbery, defendant signed an “Authorization to Make Admission of Criminal Culpability” authorizing defense counsel to admit that defendant “was the person [a store clerk] handed the bag of cigarettes to on September 13, 2020. [Defendant] accepted the bag, and picked up a case of beer, and he left the Speedway without paying for the items. [Defendant] has committed the crime of misdemeanor larceny.”

The trial court conducted a colloquy wherein defendant indicated that he consented to his counsel’s strategy and fully understood the implications of the admission. Counsel then argued to the jury that defendant took responsibility for what he had done: “He knew that he didn’t pay for the items. He knew that that was wrong. But he also knew that he had not threatened anybody, and that was never his intent.”

Despite the fact that the jury convicted defendant of the felony of larceny from the person instead of misdemeanor larceny, defendant consented to his counsel’s admission, and there was no Harbison error here. State v. Harbison, 315 N.C. 175, 337 S.E.2d 504 (1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1123 (1986).

State v. Flowers (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-029-23, 8 pp.) (John Arrowood, J.) Appealed from Forsyth County Superior Court (Susan Bray, J.) Bradley Brecher for the state; Gilda Rodriguez for defendant. N.C. App. Unpub.

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