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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.
12-6-2004 - Opinions
This is an attorney disciplinary matter in which the attorney is publicly reprimanded.
This appeal presents a challenge to the constitutionality of Charleston County's Unified Development Ordinance, and whether the circuit court properly granted County summary judgment.
In this case, the Court held the probate judge erred in interpreting the words “then-living grandchildren” in two wills to include those grandchildren born after the testator’s death but prior to distribution.
This case involves the issues of whether the Court of Appeals erred by finding a directed verdict should have been entered on the charges of breach of peace and threatening a public official.
This death penalty case involves the issues of whether the trial court erred by striking a juror for cause, by failing to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter, and by finding a statute constitutional; and whether the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to sentence appellant to death.
The Court reversed the PCR court’s ruling to grant a new trial and held that (1) the PCR court erred in ruling Respondent was not notified of the charges against him; (2) the PCR court erred in ruling counsel was ineffective for failing to use all available peremptory strikes; and (3) the PCR court erred in ruling counsel was ineffective for failing to request a jury charge on the lesser-included offense.
This is a cocaine-trafficking case. The State presented evidence that Respondent attempted and conspired to purchase cocaine, so the Court of Appeals erred by holding that Respondent was entitled to a directed verdict. Reversed and Remanded.12-13-2004 - Opinions
In this post-conviction relief (PCR) action, Petitioner argued the PCR judge erred in dismissing his application as untimely because neither trial nor appellate counsel informed him of the availability of PCR following his conviction and unsuccessful appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the application, concluding neither trial nor appellate counsel has a duty to inform a convicted defendant of the availability of PCR or the one-year deadline to file an application.
In this Horry County condemnation action, the circuit court granted Respondents' motion for partial summary judgment. The circuit court ruled that certain property owned by Respondents near the intersection of S.C. Highway 22 (Conway Bypass) and S.C. Highway 31 (Carolina Bays Parkway) was not landlocked due to a previous condemnation, and a public road bordering the property had not been abandoned in the manner outlined by statute. The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of partial summary judgment to Respondents, holding the circuit court correctly concluded the old public road remains publicly accessible because no formal action has been instituted to abandon it under the statutory process.12-20-2004 - Opinions
This is a judicial discipline opinion imposing a public reprimand.
This is a Court of Appeals certiorari. The issue on appeal is whether a party to an action is entitled to mileage and a witness fee for attending a deposition.
In this PCR, the Court reversed and remanded the denial of relief. The Court found trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the solicitor’s closing argument vouching for an absent witness' testimony.
In this appeal, the Supreme Court, addressing a novel issue, declined to recognize a cause of action for "wrongful life" in South Carolina. Such a lawsuit is brought by or on behalf of an infant or child born with a congenital defect. The infant or child alleges that, because of the negligence of the defendant health care provider, his parents either decided to conceive him ignorant of the risk of an impairment or birth defect, or were deprived of information during gestation that would have prompted them to terminate the pregnancy.
The sole issue in this capital appeal is whether the trial court’s comments concerning the defendant's waiver of his right to a jury trial constitute reversible error.12-20-2004 - Orders
ORDER - In the Matter of Cletus K. Okpalaeke
This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension from the practice of law.