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State v. McCaster

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

April 4, 2017

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
FALECIA ANN RICHMO MCCASTER

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 10 January 2017.

         Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 2 September 2015 by Judge R. Allen Baddour Jr. in Alamance County, No. 14 CRS 55089 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Tenisha S. Jacobs, for the State.

          Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender Michele A. Goldman, for defendant-appellant.

          BRYANT, Judge.

         Where defendant fails to establish any fundamental error had a probable impact on the jury verdict, defendant cannot show plain error where the trial court did not instruct the jury on self-defense. Also, where defendant fails to establish Harbison error as a basis for ineffective assistance of counsel, we deny her motion for appropriate relief.

         On 5 January 2015, defendant Falecia Ann Richmo McCaster was indicted on charges of assault on a government official/employee inflicting physical injury and disorderly conduct in a public building. The State elected not to proceed on the charge of disorderly conduct and dismissed that charge. The charges of assault on a government official came on for trial during the 31 August 2015 criminal session of Alamance County Superior Court, the Honorable R. Allen Baddour Jr., Judge presiding.

         At trial, the State's evidence tended to show that in the morning on 27 August 2014, defendant met Alamance County Clerk of Court David Barber in the Office of the Clerk of Court in regard to an estate matter. Barber testified that defendant asked him to reopen her deceased husband's estate, refund money to her, and pay bills for her. Barber informed defendant that all of the estate's funds had been distributed and that the estate had been closed. Barber testified that defendant began yelling and screaming at him. "She wanted her money. She wanted us to open the estate and accusing us of, you know, cheating her."

Q. Okay. And how close was she to you?
A. I would say about a foot away.
Q. Okay. So she was in your personal space?
A. Yes.
Q. And were you concerned?
. . . .
A. Yes.

         On that morning, Captain Paul Fine with the Alamance County Sheriff's Department was in uniform, working as a courtroom bailiff when he received notice that there was a problem in the Clerk's Office and help was needed immediately. Captain Fine heard "a lot of hollering and cursing coming from the estates division in the clerk's office, " and when he entered the clerk's office, observed defendant "probably a foot away from [Barber's] face cursing and screaming at him." When Captain Fine walked up behind defendant, she turned to face him. Being directed to leave, she responded, "I ain't going no damn where." When Captain Fine took her by her upper arm, defendant struck and scratched his face. Captain Fine described defendant's conduct as "[w]ell, she was like somebody deranged. I mean, she just went off." A ...


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