in the Court of Appeals 18 October 2017.
by defendant from judgments entered 27 July 2016 and order
entered 1 August 2016 by Judge Robert T. Sumner in Catawba
County No. 15 CRS 053927 Superior Court.
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney
General Melody R. Hairston, for the State.
Law Office of Sterling Rozear, PLLC, by Sterling Rozear, for
Charles Adam Friend appeals his conviction and sentence for
assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and
first degree burglary.
explained below, Friend concedes that his challenge to the
admission of his videotaped interrogation must be reviewed
for plain error. Under that narrow standard of review, Friend
has not shown that "absent the error, the jury probably
would have returned a different verdict." State v.
Lawrence, 365 N.C. 506, 519, 723 S.E.2d 326, 335 (2012).
dismiss Friend's corresponding claim for ineffective
assistance of counsel because it involves questions of fact
not suited for review on direct appeal. State v.
Todd, __ N.C. __, __, 799 S.E.2d 834, 838 (2017).
also argues that the trial court erred by entering a civil
judgment against him for the attorneys' fees incurred by
his court-appointed counsel under N.C. Gen. Stat. §
7A-455 without providing him with notice and an opportunity
to be heard. As explained in more detail below, we agree and
therefore vacate that money judgment and remand for further
respect to counsel fees incurred under § 7A-455, the
interests of defendants and their counsel may not always
align. Because indigent defendants may feel that the fees
charged by counsel were unreasonable in light of the time,
effort, or responsibility involved in the case, and because
those defendants might reasonably believe-as is the case at
various stages of the criminal trial and sentencing-that they
may speak only through their counsel, we hold that trial
courts must provide criminal defendants, personally and not
through their appointed counsel, with an opportunity to be
heard before entering a money judgment under § 7A-455.
Because Friend was not informed of his right to be heard
before the court entered the money judgment in this case, we
vacate that judgment and remand for further proceedings.
and Procedural History
July 2015, Friend got into a fight with an acquaintance,
André Douglas Gay, during which Friend repeatedly
stabbed Gay with a knife. The fight occurred around midnight
at Gay's apartment, where Gay was staying with his sister
and his girlfriend.
Friend's version of events, which the jury heard through
the testimony of law enforcement officers and a videotape of
Friend's police interrogation, Friend went to Gay's
apartment to discuss money that Gay owed him and an argument
ensued. According to Friend, Gay came out of the apartment
and hit Friend with a floor lamp. After Gay hit Friend with
the lamp, the two fell to the ground and into the apartment
fighting. At some point during the struggle, Gay grabbed a
knife. Seeing this, Friend took out his own knife and stabbed
Gay in self-defense.
Gay's version of events, the fight began with Friend
standing outside Gay's apartment and Gay remaining inside
while the two argued through a screen door. During this
heated, verbal argument, Friend pulled out his knife and
threatened to "gut" Gay. Gay then grabbed a knife