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Tag Archives: Evidence

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Crack Cocaine – Possession with Intent to Distribute (access required)

State v. Breda The state presented evidence that (1) defendant was found in an area of high drug activity, walking away from a residence known for its drug activity; (2) a search incident to defendant’s arrest for providing a false address revealed four individually wrapped rocks of crack cocaine weighing a total of 0.31 grams; (3) defendant carried no drug paraphernalia and did not appear high, and there was no evidence that he had any money in his possession; and (4) defendant made several statements denying the substance was crack cocaine and asked law enforcement why he, a white man, would be selling crack cocaine in a predominantly African-American neighborhood. The state’s evidence merely created a suspicion that defendant intended to distribute the crack cocaine in his possession.

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Criminal Practice – Murder & Racketeering — Evidence – Gang Expert (access required)

U.S. v. Palacios A defendant who served as “first word” for a local “clique” of the transnational gang La Mara Salvatrucha cannot overturn his murder and racketeering-related convictions for the murder of a woman who had contacts with rival gang members; the 4th Circuit approves the use of testimony from a police expert on gangs as an element of the case against defendant.

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Criminal Practice – Assault with Intent to Commit Third-Degree CSC – Intent – Assault & Battery – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts – Other Young Employees (access required)

State v. Atieh The teenage victim testified that defendant – her boss – put his hands down the front of her pants just barely below the waistline, never coming near her vaginal area. The victim said she was in shock and just stood there, and there was no evidence of any outside force interrupting or prematurely halting defendant’s actions. The evidence does not give rise to an inference that defendant intended to do more than what he did. A jury could not reasonably and naturally infer that defendant intended to penetrate any orifice of the victim’s body. Consequently, the trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion for a directed verdict as to the charge of assault with intent to commit third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop (access required)

U.S. v. McBride Police had a reasonable articulable suspicion to detain defendant’s truck after a traffic stop, based on an experienced officer’s observations of defendant’s contacts with others at the site of a club known for drug activity, but the trial court erred reversibly in admitting prior “bad act” evidence, the 4th Circuit says.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Forensic Interviewing Expert – Victim’s Credibility (access required)

State v. McKerley There is no way to interpret the extensive testimony by a forensic interviewing expert other than to mean she believed the victim was being truthful. Such testimony was patently inadmissible. Considered in the context of the other evidence of defendant’s guilt, we cannot say the erroneous admission of the expert’s testimony did not contribute to the jury’s decision to find defendant guilty of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree and lewd act upon a child under 16.

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Criminal – Supervised Release Hearing — Evidence – Hearsay – Crime Lab Report – Chemist’s Failure to Appear (access required)

U.S. v. Doswell A district court that admitted and relied on hearsay evidence of defendant’s state-court heroin charge, nolle prossed after the chemist who authored the crime lab report failed to appear in state court, violated Rule 32.1, and the 4th Circuit vacates the district court order revoking defendant’s supervised release for an earlier robbery conviction.

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Workers’ Compensation – Notice – Repetitive Trauma Injury – Medical Care or Disability – Evidence – Unlicensed Doctor (access required)

McCall v. Sandvik, Inc. The claimant’s obligation to provide notice under S.C. Code Ann. § 42-15-20(C) was triggered only after her repetitive trauma injury (RTI) required medical care or interfered with her ability to perform her job – neither of which occurred prior to her diagnosis on Nov. 29, 2007.

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Tort/Negligence – Construction Defects – Evidence – Other Projects – Corporate Amalgamation — Punitive Damages (access required)

Magnolia North Property Owners’ Association, Inc. v. Heritage Communities, Inc. Since construction defects at defendants’ other projects were substantially similar to those at Magnolia North, the trial court did not err in admitting evidence of the defects at other projects. Moreover, such evidence was admissible to prove many of the elements required for a punitive damages award.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Identification – ‘Show-Up’ — Biggers Factors — Carjacking (access required)

State v. Mitchell Even though the single-person show-up identification procedure used in this case has been disfavored as suggestive, the circuit court properly found the victim’s identification of defendant was sufficiently reliable pursuant to the factors set out in Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188 (1972): The victim was able to view defendant’s face very closely during the carjacking, which took place outside during the day...

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