April 23, 2014 South Carolina Court of Appeals published opinions

Digital Ally, Inc. v Light-N-Up, LLC

Ally obtained a default judgment against Light-N-Up in Missouri and moved to enforce it in South Carolina. The circuit court entered an order allowing enforcement. The panel affirmed. It held that Missouri had jurisdiction over Light-N-Up because it entered into contracts in Missouri, mailed payments to ma Missouri address and took possession of the goods involved in Missouri.

State v Battle

At Battle’s murder trial, he moved for a jury instruction on involuntary manslaughter. The trial judge refused and Battle was convicted of murder. The panel reversed and remanded for a new trial. It held that Battle’s testimony that he struggled with eh victim over a firearm and may have touched the trigger was some evidence supporting involuntary manslaughter and thus an instruction was required. The panel held the error was not harmless as the jury could have convicted on involuntary manslaughter instead of murder if the testimony was believed.

Roberts v State

At Roberts drug trafficking trial, he moved for a directed verdict (which was denied) and objected to the jury verdict on the grounds that the indictment had been altered and different weights appeared in different parts of the indictment and verdict form. His objections were overruled and the verdict was accepted. The panel reversed and remanded. It held the directed verdict issue was not preserved. However, it held that because the indictment was altered in an untimely manner and the jury afifiemd when polled both guilt as to less than 200 grams and more than 200 grams, the verdict was ambiguous and this error was not harmless as Roberts has the right to have a jury, not a judge, determine what if anything he is guilty of.

State v Robinson

Robinson moved to suppress drugs and other evidence seized form his home arguing the warrant was obtained using an affidavit which omitted material facts and lacked facts demonstrating reliability. The motion was denied and Robinson was convicted of drug trafficking. The panel reversed. It held that the issuing judge clearly erred in finding no falsehoods in the affidavit submitted to support of eh warrant as it implied that the confidential informant rather than another person actually made drug purchases. While that would not require suppression, the panel held the affidavit contained no facts form which an inference of reliability could be drawn. As the good faith exception is not available when reliability facts are omitted form the application, the drugs and other evidence must be suppressed. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

State v Hendricks

Hendricks objected to the admission of a recorded 911 call containing statements made by the victim and victim’s mother. His objection was overruled and he was convicted of rape and kidnaping. The panel affirmed. It held the statements by victim were admissible as excited utterances as there was evidence she was stressed by the rape and made statements about the event under the influence of that stress. The panel held it was error to allow mother’s statements in as she was calm and did not observe the rape and thus had no present sense impression to convey. However, the panel held this error was harmless as mother was allowed to testify about the same maters in live testimony without objection.

State v Gordon

Gordon moved to dismiss his DUI charge arguing his field sobriety tests did not appear on the recovering of his testing and arrest. The magistrate denied his motion and he was convicted of DUI. The circuit court reversed ruling Gordon’s head was not visible and thus the test was not recorded. The panel affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded. It held that under the current version of South Carolina Code 56-5-2953(A), all field sobriety tests must be recorded. However, whether the recording here meets the requirement is a matter for the magistrate as fact finder. Thus, the case was remanded to review Gordon’s motion under the correct standard.

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