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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - May 2017

Note: Beginning in June 2012, opinions will be posted as Adobe PDFs. You can download a free copy of Adobe Reader here.

The summary following each opinion is prepared to offer lawyers and the public a general overview of what a particular opinion decides. The summary is not necessarily a full description of the issues discussed in an opinion.

5-3-2017 - Opinions

5482 - Chapman v. SCDSS

William Henry Chapman filed a grievance against his employer, South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), alleging his termination was improper. On appeal, he argues the Administrative Law Court (ALC) erred in (1) finding he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, and (2) failing to find DSS was estopped from raising the issue even if he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.

5483 - State v. Scott

The State appeals the circuit court's finding Shannon Scott was immune from prosecution for murder based on section 16-11-440 of the South Carolina Code (2015). We affirm as modified.

5484 - Davis v. SCDMV

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) appeals the administrative law court's (ALC)decision to reinstate James Davis's driver's license. The court of appeals upholds the ALC's ruling, finding the DMV's six-year delay in declaring Davis a habitual offender was fundamentally unfair and required reinstatement of Davis's driver's license.

5-11-2017 - Opinions

5485 - State v. Thompson

Appellants, Courtney Shante Thompson and Robert Antonio Guinyard, were tried jointly and convicted of homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child. They now seek review of their convictions, arguing the trial court erred in denying their respective motions for a directed verdict on each charge because the State failed to present substantial circumstantial evidence of guilt. Appellants also challenge the admission of photographs of their son pursuant to Rule 403, SCRE, arguing any probative value the photographs may have had was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. We affirm.

5486 - SC Public Interest Foundation v. Courson

The South Carolina Public Interest Foundation (SC Public Interest) appeals the circuit court's order denying SC Public Interest's motion for attorney's fees and costs, arguing the state action statute, section 15-77-300 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2015), applies to Senators John E. Courson, Darrell Jackson, Joel Lourie, and John L. Scott, Jr. (the Senators). We affirm.

5-24-2017 - Opinions

5487 - State v. Trapp

In this criminal appeal, Toby Trapp appeals his conviction for trafficking crack cocaine, arguing the circuit court erred in (1) admitting drug evidence when the State failed to establish a strict chain of custody; (2) admitting testimonial evidence in violation of the Confrontation Clause; (3) failing to grant a Franks v. Delaware hearing and subsequently refusing to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the invalid search warrant; and (4) admitting Trapp's alleged confession without a Jackson v. Denno hearing when the totality of circumstances demonstrated Trapp's statements were involuntary and thus inadmissible. The court of appeals affirms the circuit court.

5-31-2017 - Opinions

5489 - State v. Spears

Eric Terrell Spears appeals his conviction and sentence for trafficking crack cocaine between ten and twenty-eight grams. He argues the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress drug evidence because he was seized within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment and law enforcement lacked a reasonable suspicion he was involved in criminal activity. We reverse.