Currently Browsing:SC Supreme Court Decision

SC Supreme Court OK’s Prolonged Traffic Stop & Search

State v. Stepheno Jemain Alston (No. 2015-002134) On March 28, 2011, Deputy Donnie Gilbert, employed with the Interstate Criminal Enforcement Team of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, was monitoring traffic on northbound Interstate 85. At approximately 1:00 p.m., Deputy Gilbert observed a green Hyundai Santa Fe pass him while continuing to strike the dotted lines

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SC Supreme Court: Pro Se Defendant Gave Up His Right to Counsel

Kenneth Hilton v. State (No. 2015-002140) Kenneth Lee Hilton appeals the denial of post-conviction relief (PCR) claiming the PCR court did not obtain a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to counsel before allowing him to represent himself at his PCR trial. The Supreme Court finds that the PCR court obtained a valid waiver of

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SC Supreme Court Grants Relief to Deported Jamaican Citizen

Gregg Taylor v. State (No. 2015-001118) This is a post-conviction relief (PCR) matter in which Petitioner Gregg Taylor, a Jamaican citizen, pled guilty to a drug offense. Taylor resided in South Carolina for years with his wife and two children, all three of whom are United States citizens. In plea negotiations, Taylor’s primary concern was whether

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SC Supreme Court Reverses Granted PCR, No Relief in Meth Trafficking Case

Marshall Collins v. State (No. 2014-002397) A jury convicted Marshall Collins of trafficking methamphetamine (third offense), and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Collins’ conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal. Collins later filed an application for PCR. The PCR judge issued an order granting Collins a new trial. The State

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SC Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeals: Trial Court Erred by Denying Defendant the Right to Represent Himself

State v. Lamont Antonio Samuel (No. 2105-002401) In this case the SC Supreme Court clarifies the proper scope of a circuit judge’s inquiry under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), when a criminal defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waives his right to counsel and requests to proceed pro se. Prior to his trial for murder, Lamont Antonio Samuel

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SC Supreme Court: No Mid-Trial Appeal for the State

State v. David Ledford (No. 2016-000791) During the charge conference in Mr. Ledford’s trial for inflicting great bodily injury upon a child, there was a dispute between the parties regarding the proper jury instructions. Ledford’s proposed jury instruction included a requirement that he acted “willfully” in order for the jury to convict. Ledford explained his requested jury

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SC Supreme Court Rejects Domestic Violence Equal Protection Claim

State v. Elias Walker (No. 27763) In this appeal, the defendant argues that his ineligibility for early parole under 16-25-90 violates his constitutional right to equal protection. The applicable statute permits an offender to receive early parole for their crime against a “household member” if their attorney presents credible evidence of ” a history of

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SC Supreme Court: PCR Granted in Armed Robbery Case, Counsel’s Deficient Performance Requires Retrial

Stephen Smalls v. State (No. 27764) In this PCR case, the Court of Appeals held that trial counsel was deficient, but found that the evidence against Smalls was overwhelming, undermining his Strickland claim. The Supreme Court now reverses, finding that the evidence was not overwhelming, and therefore Smalls is entitled to relief. The underlying case involves an

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SC Supreme Court Reverses Denial of PCR in Criminal Sexual Conduct Case

Michael Lee Robinson v. State (No. 2015-001773) In this PCR case, Robinson was charged with criminal sexual conduct for acts that took place between 1998 and 2000. At the time the alleged acts occurred, criminal sexual conduct with a minor carried a sentencing range of 0-30 years. Subsequently, the statute was amended to increase the

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SC Supreme Court Affirms Dorchester PCR Court; Death Sentence Affirmed in 2001 Murder Case

Marion Bowman v. State (No. 27661) During the sentencing phase of this capital murder case, defense counsel elicited testimony regarding the defendant’s adaptability to the prison environment, in hopes of convincing the jury to impose a life sentence. During one witness’ testimony on this subject, counsel elicited testimony that the defendant would not be going to a “kiddy

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