August 21, 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinion

State v Isaac

Isaac moved for immunity in his murder case under South Carolina’s defense of Person’s and Property act SC Code Section 16-11-410 to 450. The trial court denied his motion. The Court, with one justice concurring separately, dismissed the appeal. The majority held that a denial of an immunity motion is not a final order in a case and thus is interlocutory and the general rule barring appeal before conviction controls. The majority reasoned that denial of an immunity motion is similar to the denial of a double jeopardy motion which the court has held is not immediately appealable. The majority clarified the Court’s 2011 precedent allowing appeal when an immunity motion is granted holding that a granted motion is a final order and any language in the 2011 case which appears to allow appeals of denied motions is superseded by this opinion. The majority also held that Act does not apply retroactively as there is no indication in the statute that the legislature intended for the provisions to apply retroactively. The concurring judge argued that immediate appeals of immunity motions denials should be allowed to effectuate the purpose of the legislature in enacting the Act namely preventing criminal prosecution from those immune from prosecution under the Act.

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