November 27, 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinions

In the Matter of Kevin Michael Hughes

Hughes failed to respond to an order to show cause and was found in contempt. He agreed to discipline and the Court publicly reprimanded him.

In the Matter of Scott D. Reynolds

Reynolds entered into deferred discipline contracts for his substance abuse issues. He broke both agreements by failing to attend meetings, file reports and by abusing alcohol. He agreed to discipline after the second failed deferral contract. The Court accepted the agreement to discipline and suspended Reynolds for 9 months. The order also required a new two year contract with testing, meeting attendance, reporting and other provisions.

State v Brockmeyer

Brockmeyer was convicted of murder and weapons charges. On appeal, he challenged the denial of his motion to subpoena a media company for the identity of an anonymous commentator, the admission of physical evidence without requiring the state to call every person in the chain of custody and the admission of two photographs. The Court affirmed. As to the subpoena, it held the issue was not preserved as the motion was not renewed at trial and in any event no error occurred given the defense had the identity of everyone present at the time of the shooting and was allowed to bring in evidence supporting his theory of accidental shooting. As to the physical evidence, the court held that the chain of custody logs were not testimonial as their primary purpose was not to support the prosecution of a crime. Thus, they were admissible as business records under state law. Additionally, the items were unique instead of fungible so the identification by the officers who seized the items was sufficient. Also, the court noted that Brockmeyer admitted the gun and other items were in his possession at the time of the shooting and this in itself was sufficient to authenticate the items. As tot eh photographs, the court held one photo was admissible to undermine Brockmeyer’s evidence that he was upset after the shooting and while it was error to admit the other photo, the error was harmless as Brockmeyer admitted the gun in the photo was his.

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