I'm currently working on an essay topic that a mate of mine happened to have done before on another course. He gave me his reference list on some ideas that coincide with my topic and stance, but I'm afraid that if I use them it might count as academic dishonesty. Am I in the clear?
For purposes of homework it would be good to acknowledge the source to clear up any claim of misrepresentation.
I hope you actually read the referenced articles, however. Otherwise, I'd worry about the honesty of it. If you just copied the references without further exploration you are on very shaky ground. And if you didn't go beyond those references in a search then you haven't learned anything from the assignment. The professor would be justified in marking you down, of course.
Assignments aren't about producing results. They are about learning. If you bypass the learning step you are defeating yourself in the long run.
Moreover, if you are using the other person's work, generally, without citation, you are engaged in plagiarism.