May 15, 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinions

Town of Hollywood v Floyd

Floyd received permission from the zoning administrator to start a subdivision. Town sued to halt the subdivision and for a declaration that the planning commission needed to approve the subdivision. Floyd countersued for due process and equal protection violations. The trial court granted summary judgment to Town on its suit and a jury awarded damages to Floyd on hiss equal protection claim. The Court affirmed in part and reversed in part. It held that summary judgment on Town’s suit was proper as the zoning ordinance plainly required zoning commission approval for all subdivision greater than 3 lots. The Court admonished Town to keep its ordinances publicly available, but, held there was sufficient evidence the approval requirement existed when Floyd submitted his application. The Court reversed on the equal protection judgment holding there was no evidence that a similarly situated applicant was treated differently as the proposed similarly situated applicants wither applied before the approval requirement was enacted, were parks or were unopposed.

Gibbs v South Carolina

Gibbs sought post conviction relief based on ineffective assitance of counsel arguing failure to object to certain out of court identifications and failing to request a jury charge on alibi prejudiced him. The circuit court found no prejudice and denied the petition. The Court affirmed. On the identification issue, three Justices, one concurring only in result, agreed that there was no prejudice as trial court conducted a though review of the identification procedures and would have admitted the evidence over objection.  On the alibi, three justices, one concurring in result only, agreed that the jury charge as a whole required the government to prove Gibbs committed the robbery and was not at home as claimed. Two justices dissented on the alibi issue arguing that Gibbs was entitled to a jury charge on alibi and the evidence against him was not overwhelming. Thus, the dissent would have found prejudice and remanded for a new trial.

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