An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA02-928


Filed: 1 April 2003


         v.                        Forsyth County
                                Nos. 01 CRS 22045
                                     01 CRS 22180


    Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 17 January 2002 by Judge William Z. Wood, Jr. in Forsyth County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 24 March 2003.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Teresa L. White, for the State.

    James L. Goldsmith, Jr. for defendant-appellant.

    ELMORE, Judge.

    Defendant was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and second degree kidnapping. He was found guilty of common law robbery and second degree kidnapping. He was sentenced to a minimum prison term of seventy-four months and a maximum term of ninety-eight months for common law robbery and was sentenced to a minimum prison term of twenty-nine months and a maximum term of thirty-five months for second degree kidnapping. The sentences were ordered to run consecutively.
    The sole assignment of error defendant brings forward is to the court's allowing defendant to represent himself at trial. He contends that the court did not make a thorough inquiry ofdefendant as required by Section 15A-1242 of the General Statutes before allowing defendant to represent himself. This statute provides:
        A defendant may be permitted at his election to proceed in the trial of his case without the assistance of counsel only after the trial judge makes thorough inquiry and is satisfied that the defendant:    
            (1) Has been clearly advised of his right to the assistance of counsel, including his right to the assignment of counsel when he is so entitled;

            (2) Understands and appreciates the consequences of this decision; and
            (3) Comprehends the nature of the charges and proceedings and the range of permissible punishments.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1242 (2001). This inquiry is mandatory and the trial judge's failure to conduct it is prejudicial error. State v. Pruitt, 322 N.C. 600, 603, 369 S.E.2d 590, 592 (1988). When the court complies with this statute, assurance is given that the defendant “voluntarily made a knowing and intelligent waiver of his constitutional right to counsel in order to exercise his constitutional right to represent himself.” State v. Dunlap, 318 N.C. 384, 388, 348 S.E.2d 801, 804 (1986) (citation omitted).     The record shows that defendant was represented at trial by Mr. John Michael. During Mr. Michael's cross examination of the prosecuting witness, defendant notified the court that he wished “to fire” his attorney because he believed Mr. Michael was not looking out for his best interests. Defendant asked the court for another attorney. The court informed defendant that it was notgoing to appoint another attorney and that defendant was limited to two choices, either to represent himself or to continue with Mr. Michael as counsel. Defendant responded that he wished to represent himself. The court then advised defendant of the range of possible maximum punishments for robbery with a dangerous weapon and second degree kidnapping. The court advised defendant that he had the right to an attorney. The court also advised defendant that the court may not act as defendant's attorney and may not give defendant any legal advice. The court further advised defendant that Mr. Michael would remain available to answer any legal questions defendant may have. To each of the foregoing inquiries by the court, defendant responded that he understood. Defendant informed the court that he would not need Mr. Michael's assistance and that he would be representing himself.
    The foregoing satisfies us that the court did make thorough inquiry and that defendant voluntarily and intelligently exercised his right to represent himself. We find no error.
    No error.
    Judges HUNTER and BRYANT concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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