In The Court of Appeals

The State,        Respondent,


Bruce Green,        Appellant.

Appeal From Beaufort County
Perry M. Buckner, Circuit Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No. 2003-UP-170 
Heard February 25, 2003 – Filed March 4, 2003


Assistant Appellate Defender Aileen P. Clare, of Columbia; for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Charles H. Richardson, Assistant Attorney General W. Rutledge Martin, all of Columbia;  and Solicitor Randolph  Murdaugh, III, of Hampton; for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Bruce Green appeals his conviction for first-degree burglary, for which he received a twenty-year sentence.  He argues the trial court erred in admitting evidence of his convictions for resisting arrest and fleeing to avoid arrest.  We affirm.

About 4:15 p.m. on July 29, 2000, Shalaya Calhoun returned home to hear the sound of glass breaking as she stepped onto her front porch.  When Calhoun went to investigate the cause of the sound, she saw Green exiting the back door.  Green, a co-worker and friend, ran past her.  Calhoun called 911 and reported the break-in.  She told authorities she knew the intruder and provided a description.  About nine dollars in quarters and a 1921 silver dollar were missing from a coffee can.

Officer Robert Carson responded.  Shortly afterward he went to nearby Marsh Road, where he saw another officer struggling with Green.  Green was arrested.  A search incident to Green’s arrest produced, among other things, a 1921 silver dollar, later identified by Calhoun as the one that she kept in the coffee can inside her home.

Officers found Green’s latent fingerprints on the coffee can.  Shoe tracks on Calhoun’s back porch matched Green’s shoes.

At trial and following testimony from the officers involved in Green’s arrest, the State called a witness to present documentation of Green’s conviction on August 17, 2000, in the municipal court for fleeing and resisting arrest.  Green objected on the ground of relevancy.  The trial court refused to admit the evidence under State v. Lyle, [1] but admitted it as part of the res gestae of the crime.

We agree with Green.  Evidence of his convictions formed no part of the so-called res gestae of the offense of burglary.  The convictions occurred almost a month later in a municipal courtroom.  By definition, a conviction rendered by a court in a courtroom is not “[a] statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.” [2]   They did not occur “substantially contemporaneous[ly] with the litigated transaction” [3] and were not “the instinctive, spontaneous utterances of the mind while under the active, immediate influences of the transaction.” [4]

Nevertheless, we hold the evidence was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, considering the other evidence of Green’s guilt. [5]   The owner whose home was burglarized knew Green and saw him exit her back door; officers found property taken from the owner’s home on Green’s person shortly after the burglary occurred; Green’s fingerprints matched those found on a coffee can that had been stored inside the burglarized house; shoe tracks matched his shoes; and the officers testified about Green’s resisting arrest and fleeing the scene. 


HEARN, C.J., and GOOLSBY and SHULER, JJ., concur.

[1]   125 S.C. 406, 118 S.E. 803 (1923).

[2]   Rule 803(2), SCRE; State v. Sims, 348 S.C. 16, 21, 558 S.E.2d 518, 521 (2002).

[3]   State v. Long, 186 S.C. 439, 445, 195 S.E. 624, 626 (1938).

[4]   Id.

[5] oSee State v. Mitchell, 286 S.C. 572, 573, 336 S.E.2d 150, 151 (1985) (“Whether an error is harmless depends on the particular circumstances of the case.”).