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May 14, 2020

Supreme Court sets new standard for “common scheme” evidence

  Returning to the standard of “logical relevancy” or “logical connection” for admitting evidence of a criminal defendant’s “common scheme or plan,” a divided South Carolina Supreme Court overruled precedent and reversed a Greenville County man’s convictions for criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Wallace Steven Perry and Laura Jones had two sets of twins […]

Oct 2, 2018

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Suicide Attempt – First Impression – Case-by-Case Admission

Evidence of a defendant’s suicide attempt may be admitted as evidence of consciousness of guilt only if (1) a jury could reasonably find that a suicide attempt occurred, (2) the defendant was aware of the occurrence of the alleged crimes at the time of the suicide attempt, (3) an unmistakable nexus exists linking the suicide […]

Aug 31, 2018

Criminal Practice – Evidence – GPS Records – Insufficient Authentication

Where a probation agent’s authentication of GPS records amounted simply to, “We use it in court all the time,” this was insufficient to authenticate the GPS records. Although the GPS evidence from the ankle monitor of defendant’s accomplice should not have been admitted into evidence, this error was not prejudicial because there was other, overwhelming […]

Aug 29, 2018

Tort/Negligence – Evidence supported punitives for understaffing

In three wrongful death suits in which the jury found liability and awarded punitive damages, the district court erred in finding that the plaintiffs failed to show an “aggravating factor” under North Carolina law that would support punitives. Extensive trial testimony showed that the Defendants willfully and wantonly disregarded legal staffing requirements for nursing facilities […]

Aug 9, 2018

Criminal Practice – Voluntary Manslaughter – Evidence – Hearsay – Jury Instructions – Allen Charge

Although witness Larry Kinloch testified that he did not shoot the victim, since defendant did not lay the foundation required by Rule 613(b), SCRE, he could not put on another witness, Quinton Grant, to testify that Kinloch had told him (Grant) that Kinloch did shoot the victim. Without the required foundation, Grant’s hearsay testimony was […]

Jun 14, 2018

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Prior Conviction – ‘Confinement’ – Parole – First Impression

Where defendant was convicted of murder in 1976, and where he was released on parole in 2003 (more than 10 years before the incident at issue), evidence of defendant’s 1976 conviction was not admissible under Rule 690(b). Evidence of the 1976 conviction was nevertheless admissible because defendant opened the door to such evidence. We reverse […]

Jun 11, 2018

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Fingerprint Authentication – Prior Bad Acts – Prison

Evidence may not be authenticated with evidence that is otherwise inadmissible. In any event, the state could have authenticated defendant’s 2003 fingerprint card without referring to his previous stay in prison. We reverse defendant’s conviction for breaking into a motor vehicle. After a car was broken into, police lifted fingerprints from the car and then […]

Jun 11, 2018

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Chain of Custody – Contradictory Testimony

The state’s evidence on the first day of trial did not indicate how cocaine – which was seized from defendant’s car at a McDonald’s parking lot – was transported from the hood of Officer Brewer’s car to Officer Craven, who apparently conveyed the cocaine to the police department’s evidence lock-up. When Officer Brewer was recalled […]

Mar 16, 2018

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Ex-Girlfriend’s Testimony – Neighbors’ Testimony – Photographs

Defendant’s ex-girlfriend could testify about his previous threat – that, if she called the police, she would be the one to go to jail – after defendant opened the door by saying he did not remember making such a statement. We affirm defendant’s murder conviction. Ex-Girlfriend’s Testimony On cross-examination, the state asked defendant if he […]

Feb 9, 2018

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Hearsay – Credit Card Bill – No Prejudice

State v. Osborne (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-020-18, 7 pp.) (Per Curiam) Appealed from Lexington County Circuit Court (Thomas Russo, J.) S.C. App. Unpub. Holding: Where the only foundation the state laid for admission into evidence of a robbery victim’s credit card statement was the victim’s testimony as to the regularity and correctness of her credit […]

Jan 19, 2018

Criminal Practice – Solicitation of Murder – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts – Threats

State v. Stegall (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-006-18, 5 pp.) (Per Curiam) Appealed from Greenville County Circuit Court (D. Garrison Hill, J.) S.C. App. Unpub. Holding: Defendant and his now ex-wife started fighting over their child in 2011, when the ex-wife recorded a fight in which defendant said he would “bury” her and that he wouldn’t […]

Oct 26, 2017

Criminal Practice – Attempted Murder – Specific Intent – Evidence – Hearsay – Officer Canvas – Jail Phone Call

State v. King (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-059-17, 24 pp.) (Donald Beatty, C.J.) (John Kittredge, J., concurring in the result) (Costa Pleicones, Acting Justice, concurring in the result only without separate opinion) Appealed from Charleston County Circuit Court (J. C. Nicholson Jr., J.) On writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. S.C. S. Ct. Holding: […]

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