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Jury Instructions

Jun 8, 2021

Supreme Court overrules itself, orders new trial for improper jury instructions 

  The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a Laurens County man convicted of drug offenses, finding that a trial judge inappropriately instructed the jury that it may infer “knowledge and possession” when illegal drugs are found on property under a defendant’s control.   The unanimous May 19 ruling reverses the precedent set by the court in […]

Jul 24, 2017

Criminal Practice – Jury Instructions – Reasonable Doubt – Search & Seizure – Reasonable Suspicion – Confidential Informant

State v. Pradubsri (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-046-17, 11 pp.) (Stephanie McDonald, J.) Appealed from Lexington County Circuit Court (Clifton Newman, J.) S.C. App. Holding: Even though the trial court instructed the jury that reasonable doubt “is doubt which makes an honest, sincere, conscientious juror in search of the truth hesitate to act,” the court also […]

May 27, 2016

Criminal Practice – CSC with a Minor – Jury Instructions – Harmless Error — § 16-3-657 – Corroborating Evidence

State v. McBride(Lawyers Weekly No. 011-043-16, 13 pp.) (Paul Short Jr., J.) Appealed from Williamsburg County Circuit Court (John Hayes III, J.) S.C. App. Holding: Even though the trial court erred when it instructed the jury as to S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-657 (“The testimony of victims in criminal sexual conduct cases need not be […]

Jun 15, 2015

Criminal Practice — Murder – Jury Instructions – Voluntary Manslaughter – Self-Defense Evidence

State v. Niles (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-059-15, 11 pp.) (Jean Hoefer Toal, C.J.) (Costa Pleicones, J., dissenting) Appealed from Horry County Circuit Court (Benjamin Culbertson, J.) On writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. Substituted opinion. S.C. S. Ct. Holding: Where defendant’s testimony focused on who shot first – apparently to support defendant’s theory […]

Oct 29, 2013

Court ruling a missed opportunity?

The South Carolina Court of Appeals squandered the chance to establish a standard for the state’s trial judges to follow when responding to jury requests for copies of instructions, according to a Greenwood criminal defense lawyer. “They’re OKing a hodgepodge of ways to do it, some of which are going to be OK and some […]

Oct 11, 2012

Criminal Practice – Felony DUI – No Video Recording – Accident – Blood Test Evidence – Severed Charges – Jury Instructions

State v. Manning No video recording of defendant’s conduct at the incident site was required because police Corporal Hallman was conducting an investigation of a traffic accident and defendant was arrested at the hospital.

Sep 5, 2012

Criminal Practice – ABWIK – Jury Instructions – Malice – Deadly Weapon

State v. Price Where there was no evidence of self-defense or anything else which could excuse or justify assault and battery with intent to kill, the trial court did not err when it instructed the jury that it could infer malice from defendant’s use of a deadly weapon. We find no error in defendant’s conviction of assault and battery with intent to kill (ABWIK).

Jul 26, 2012

Tort/Negligence – Auto/Train Collision – Crossing Safety – Evidence – Subsequent Remedial Measures – Jury Instructions

Stephens v. CSX Transportation, Inc. After a collision between a train and a car at a railroad crossing, the defendant-railroad company cut down trees near the crossing. Plaintiff argued that this evidence should have been admitted to impeach the railroad company’s position that the crossing was reasonably safe even with the trees in place.

Nov 22, 2011

Criminal Practice – Manslaughter – Jury Instructions – Self-Defense

State v. Jackson Our Court of Appeals held, Where it was unclear whether defendant or the victim started their fight, the trial court should have instructed the jury on self-defense. We affirm the trial court’s exclusion of evidence of the victim’s violent history, but we reverse its refusal to charge the jury on self-defense. We conclude that the writ of certiorari to review the Cour[...]

Nov 2, 2011

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Expert Witness – Pathologist – Manner of Death – Jury Instructions

State v. Commander Since the prosecution’s pathologist did not testify as to the defendant’s state of mind, he was correctly permitted to testify as to his determination that the manner of death was homicide. As modified, we affirm the Court of Appeals’ decision upholding the circuit court’s rulings. A medical examiner is required to determine both the “cause of death” -[...]

Sep 6, 2011

Real Property – Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act – Mold – Sellers & Real Estate Agent – Jury Instructions – Rule 59 — Evidence – State Agency Consent Order

Winters v. Fiddie Although the complaint does not cite the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act, the complaint’s allegations are sufficient to state a claim under the Act. We reverse the trial court’s grant of a new trial. Otherwise, we affirm, and the jury’s verdict is reinstated.

Jun 28, 2011

Criminal Practice – Jury Instructions – Accomplice Liability – Equivocal Evidence

Barber v. State Even though the state’s evidence tended to show that only defendant was armed with a semi-automatic handgun during the robbery, defense counsel elicited testimony that all three robbers were armed - one with a rifle and two with .380 handguns, the type of weapon forensic experts testified fired all the shots in the victim’s home that evening. Further, defense counsel o[...]

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