DO NOT PUBLISH
JAMES T. WORTHEN, Chief Justice.
Deodrea Markiese Dudley appeals his convictions for burglary of a habitation with intent to commit another felony, burglary of a habitation, robbery, and obstruction/retaliation. In a single issue, he contends he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. We affirm.
Appellant was charged by indictment with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit another felony, burglary of a habitation, robbery, and obstruction/retaliation. Appellant pleaded "not guilty." A jury found Appellant "guilty" of all four counts alleged in the indictment. The jury sentenced Appellant to imprisonment for thirty-five years for burglary with intent, ten years for burglary, twenty years for robbery, and ten years for obstruction/retaliation. This appeal followed.
INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL
In his sole issue, Appellant contends he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to timely request a mistrial.
In reviewing an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, we apply the United States Supreme Court's two-pronged test established in
To establish deficient performance, an appellant must show that trial counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness under prevailing professional norms. See
Review of trial counsel's representation is highly deferential. See
Evaluation of Trial Counsel's Representation
On appeal, Appellant alleges that his attorney's performance at trial fell below the professional norm because he failed to timely object and move for mistrial following the State's questioning of a witness. According to Appellant, the State's questions informed the jury that he was incarcerated and trial counsel failed to timely and effectively move for mistrial.
During trial, the State asked witness Tayla Morrison if Appellant lives with her at her apartment. Morrison testified that he has belongings at the apartment, and the prosecutor followed up saying, "Because he remains incarcerated?" Morrison replied, "Yes, ma'am." Defense counsel did not object. The State then asked Morrison if she continued to communicate with Appellant. Morrison responded, "Yes, ma'am. I was going to see him while he was in jail . . . and I was taking my son to go see him too." At this point, the trial court called for a bench conference and asked the prosecutor why she mentioned incarceration. The prosecutor replied that she "didn't mean to." Defense counsel stated, "I was fixing to say something, but you caught it before I did, Judge." Counsel then made a motion for mistrial outside the presence of the jury, which the trial court denied. However, the trial court gave the jury the following instruction:
Appellant contends his trial counsel should have objected and moved for mistrial immediately following the prosecutor's question about incarceration. The record is silent regarding trial counsel's decision to not object and move for mistrial following the State's first mention of incarceration. While we do not speculate as to trial counsel's intentions, it is possible that defense counsel did not wish to draw attention to the evidence. See
Moreover, the trial court applied its limiting instruction to the "last two questions and answers that you heard prior to the Court releasing you into the jury room." Instructions to the jury are generally considered sufficient to cure any improprieties that occur during trial, and we generally presume that the jury followed the trial court's instructions.
Accordingly, under the circumstances of this case, we conclude that Appellant has failed to (1) rebut the presumption that trial counsel's actions and decisions were reasonably professional and motivated by sound trial strategy, and (2) show that counsel's actions and decisions prejudiced the defense such that there is a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different. See
Having overruled Appellant's sole issue, we
THIS CAUSE came to be heard on the appellate record and briefs filed herein, and the same being considered, it is the opinion of this court that there was no error in the judgment.
It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that the judgment of the court below