in the Court of Appeals 2 May 2018.
by defendant from judgments entered 1 December 2016 by Judge
R. Stuart Albright in Guilford County No. 15 CRS 70255
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Melissa H. Taylor, for the State.
F. Herzog for defendant.
Juan Carlos Gomez Perez appeals his convictions on multiple
serious drug offenses. He argues that the trial court
violated his Confrontation Clause rights and other related
constitutional rights when the court permitted him to
stipulate to the admission of a forensic laboratory report
without first addressing him personally and ensuring that he
understood the stipulation would waive those rights.
explained below, the trial court was not required to
personally address Perez about his stipulation and
corresponding waiver. Both Perez and his counsel signed the
stipulation. It is for his counsel-not the trial court-to
discuss the strategic implications of that stipulation and
the effect is has on his right to confront the witnesses
against him. If Perez did not understand the implications of
the stipulation, his recourse is to pursue a claim for
ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, we find no
error in the trial court's judgments.
and Procedural History
State indicted Defendant Juan Carlos Gomez Perez for
conspiracy to traffic by possession of 400 grams or more of
cocaine, trafficking by possession of 400 grams or more of
cocaine, and trafficking by transportation of 400 grams or
more of cocaine. The charges stemmed from a drug task force
investigation that intercepted a truck containing multiple
"bricks" of cocaine.
trial, the prosecutor informed the court that Perez intended
to stipulate to admission of forensic laboratory reports
confirming that the substance seized from the truck was
cocaine. The following exchange occurred:
THE COURT: Is there a written stipulation to that effect?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: There is, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay.
[PROSECUTOR]: In retrospect, I should have included the
signature line ...