Heard in the Court of Appeals June 5, 2014.
Pitt County. No. 12 CRS 55715.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Kimberly N. Callahan, for the State.
New Hanover County Public Defender Jennifer Harjo, by Assistant Public Defender Brendan O'Donnell, for defendant.
ERVIN, Judge. Judge ROBERT N. HUNTER, JR., concurred in the result only prior to 6 September 2014. Judge DAVIS concurs.
Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 29 May
2013 by Judge Quentin T. Sumner in Pitt County Superior Court.
Defendant Lynwood Eugene Harris, Jr., appeals from judgments based upon his convictions for misdemeanor sexual battery and contributing to the abuse or neglect of a juvenile. On appeal, Defendant contends that his trial counsel provided him with constitutionally deficient representation by failing to properly preserve his challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction for contributing to the abuse or neglect of a juvenile for the purpose of appellate review, incorrectly instructing the jury concerning the issue of his guilt of contributing to the abuse or neglect of a juvenile, failing to intervene ex mero motu for the purpose of addressing certain remarks made during the prosecutor's final argument, and allowing the admission of testimony that was irrelevant and improperly vouched for the prosecuting witness' credibility. After careful consideration of Defendant's challenges to the trial court's judgments in light of the record and the applicable law, we conclude that the trial court's judgments should remain undisturbed.
I. Factual Background
A. Substantive Facts
On 23 June 2012, Diane Phillips had a birthday party at her house. Among those in attendance were Defendant and J.W., Ms. Phillips' eight-year-old granddaughter. As of the date of the party, Ms. Phillips and Defendant had been involved in a romantic relationship for approximately 14 years. On the day of the party, Defendant came and ...