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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.
6-6-2018 - Opinions
We find the trial court abused its discretion by admitting testimony showing Appellant's ten-print fingerprint card originated at a prison in July 2003 when the reference indicated to the jury Appellant had a prior criminal record. We find the reference was unnecessary to authenticate the fingerprints, and the State may not render improper character evidence admissible by claiming it is needed to authenticate other evidence. Furthermore, the trial court's error was not harmless.
Yvonne Burns appeals the order of the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission denying her claim for death benefits. We reverse and remand to the Appellate Panel.
Brittany Martin (Mother) appeals the family court's order granting custody of her minor child (Child) to Child's paternal grandparents (Grandparents). Mother argues Grandparents lacked standing to pursue custody, the family court erred in dismissing the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) as a party to the case, and the family court erred in finding her in contempt for failing to attend mediation in a family court case to which SCDSS was a party. We affirm.
6-13-2018 - Opinions
Preston Shands, Jr., appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary, kidnapping, attempted murder, first-degree assault and battery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. On appeal, Shands argues the trial court erred by (1) improperly applying the Batson comparative juror analysis; (2) refusing to quash the indictments; (3) allowing the State to impeach him with a prior conviction; (4) refusing to charge the jury on involuntary intoxication; (5) denying his motion to strike the State's improper comments during closing argument; (6) instructing the jurors they could infer malice from the use of a deadly weapon; (7) failing to require the State to open fully on the law and facts during its initial closing argument; and (8) denying his motion for directed verdict on the kidnapping charge. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
6-20-2018 - Opinions
Coretta McMillan appeals a circuit court order quieting title in favor of Ralph Johnson for a property he purchased at a tax sale. On appeal, she argues the circuit court erred in (1) failing to overturn the tax sale despite concluding the notice of levy was not posted on the property, (2) finding the two year statute of limitations expired prior to McMillan filing her counterclaim, (3) ruling the Forfeited Land Commission properly assigned its bid to Johnson, and (4) declining to find the tax sale void as a matter of law because it was not held in strict compliance with statutory requirements. We reverse and remand.
6-27-2018 - Opinions
William Crenshaw appeals the trial court's order granting Erskine College's (Erskine) motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). We reverse.
Steven Otts appeals his conviction for the murder of Hydrick Burno, arguing the circuit court erred in (1) denying his motion for a directed verdict; (2) failing to tailor a self-defense instruction to the evidence presented; (3) instructing the jury on the law of defense of others with no accompanying explanation of the necessary elements or the burden of proof; and (4) declining to provide the jury with specific and clarifying language regarding involuntary manslaughter. We reverse and remand for a new trial.