July 30, 2014 South Carolina Court of Appeals published opinions

State v Pearson

Pearson moved for a directed verdict on the burglary and other charges he faced at his trial. The circuit court denied his motion and the jury convicted him on all counts. The panel reversed. It held that the evidence presented by the state, namely a fingerprint on the victim’s car and participation in a job training work program with a codefendant, was insufficient to connect Pearson to the crime as Pearson could have placed the fingerprint on the car when he worked on victim’s landscaping and it was speculation that Pearson and the codefendant knew each other based solely on the job training program.

State v Mimms

Mimms appealed her DUI conviction arguing the state was required to prove intent to commit DUI and there was insufficient evidence to convict her. The panel affirmed. It held that the DUI statute creates a strict liability crime aimed at the behavior of driving drunk and not at any evil state of mind. It noted the statute is a safety measure and absurd results would result in allowing people to argue that while they drank and drove they did not intend to do so impaired. The panel also held that the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to pull Mimms over based on leaving the road and her failed sobriety tests, manner and demeanor suggesting intoxication and the smell of alcohol on her breath were sufficient to allow the case to go to a jury.

Sierra Club v South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

On reamed, the administrative law court ruled that an applicant for renewal of a license to operate a radioactive waste treatment facility complied with all regulations identified by the Court of Appeals in the readme order. The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part. It held that applicant had proven it complied with the regulations concerning stabilizing the waste, isolating the waste, minimizing contact between wastewater and surrounding waters. however, it held that applicant failed to prove compliance with technical section concerning protection of groundwater because it took no steps to prevent rainwater form getting into the treatment trenches,  took insufficient action to minimize wastewater migration and took no action to capture wastewater for testing. The panel stated its concern that Department did not require compliance with these technical provision. It ordered Department and applicant to file a plan to remedy the violations within 90 days and ordered the license to operate be revoked if the administrative law court determines the plan will not result in full compliance.

State v Parvin

Parvin appealed his murder convictions arguing the trial court erred in admitting certain statements. The panel affirmed holding that, while the trial court did err in allowing hearsay statements about Parvin soliciting sex, the error was harmless because the same statements came in through another witness without objection.

Katzburg v Katzburg

Husband appeled an order holding him in contempt. The panel vacated the order. It held that because wife registered her New York judgment in the circuit court, the family court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when she later registered the divorce decree in family court and sought a contempt order.

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