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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - July 2023

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.

7-19-2023 - Opinions

28145 - State v. Timothy Ray Jones Jr.

Appellant Timothy Ray Jones Jr. admitted to killing his five young children and was indicted for five counts of murder. He was convicted by jury and sentenced to death. In this direct appeal, Jones raises eight issues centering on three points: juror qualification, requested voir dire and a related jury instruction, and evidentiary rulings made during the guilt and sentencing phases. We affirm the juror qualification, voir dire, and jury instruction rulings. We hold the trial court erred in certain evidentiary rulings; however, we hold the errors were harmless and affirm Jones's conviction and death sentence accordingly.

7-26-2023 - Opinions

28166 - Rummage v. BGF Industries

This Court granted Vickie Rummage's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the court of appeals in Rummage v. BGF Industries, 434 S.C. 441, 865 S.E.2d 380 (Ct. App. 2021). We now dismiss the writ on the basis it was improvidently granted.

28167 - State v. John Ernest Perry, Jr.

We reverse the court of appeals and conclude the trial court improperly instructed the jury on intent. However, because a disinterested eyewitness testified at trial, we hold the error was harmless.

28168 - Sanders v. Savannah Highway Automotive Company

Petitioners Rick Hendrick Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and Isiah White argue an arbitrator, rather than the court, must decide whether they can enforce an arbitration provision in a contract even after assigning the contract to a third party. The circuit court and court of appeals concluded the court is the proper forum for deciding the gateway question of whether the assignment terminated Petitioners' right to arbitration. Sanders v. Savannah Highway Auto. Co., 432 S.C. 328, 332-34, 852 S.E.2d 744, 746-47 (Ct. App. 2020). We reverse the court of appeals' decision and hold that, under the facts of this case, the Prima Paint doctrine requires an arbitrator to decide whether the assignment extinguished Petitioners' right to arbitration.