Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - October 2020

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.


10-7-2020 - Opinions

5731 - Jericho State v. Chicago Title Insurance

We are presented with the question of whether a reservation of a right of way on an official county map as authorized by section 6-7-1220 of the South Carolina Code (2004), and a county ordinance constitutes a defect in or encumbrance on the title to the affected land or renders its title unmarketable so as to come within the coverage of two title insurance policies. Based on the specific circumstances of this case, we hold it does. We further conclude none of the policies' coverage exclusions apply. We therefore reverse the order of the special referee granting Chicago Title Insurance Company (Chicago Title) summary judgment as to Jericho State Capital Corporation of Florida's (Jericho's) and Lynx Jericho Partners, LLC's (Lynx Jericho's) (collectively Appellants) claims for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. We affirm, however, the order granting summary judgment to Chicago Title on Appellants' bad faith claim.

5773 - State v. Washington

Mack Seal Washington appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary, malicious injury to property, and obtaining goods by false pretenses, arguing the trial court erred in admitting an audio recording of certain hearsay statements a police detective made while interrogating him. We agree this was error and reverse and remand for a new trial.

5774 - Simuel v. State

In this action for post-conviction relief (PCR), Lucius Simuel argues the PCR court erred in finding trial counsel provided effective assistance of counsel despite counsel's erroneous belief that Simuel's prior Georgia conviction for false imprisonment should not qualify as a predicate offense for sentencing purposes in South Carolina. Thus, Petitioner alleges, trial counsel failed to advise him to accept the State's plea offer or inform him that, if convicted, he would be exposed to a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP) under section 17-25-45 of the South Carolina Code. We affirm.

10-14-2020 - Opinions

5775 - In the Matter of Bilton

This opinion reverses Micah Allen Bilton's adjudication as a sexually violent predator and remands the proceeding for a new trial because due process does not allow a testifying expert to offer hearsay as a basis for the expert's opinion without a baseline demonstration that the hearsay is reliable.

5776 - State v. Heyward

In this criminal appeal, James Heyward appeals his convictions for murder, burglary in the first degree, armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, assault and battery in the first degree, pointing and presenting a firearm, and possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime. On appeal, Heyward argues the trial court erred in admitting (1) an eyewitness's out of court and in court identifications of him, (2) a fingerprint card obtained from a New Jersey database and expert opinion testimony based on those fingerprints, (3) expert opinion testimony about the operational capabilities of the gun found at Heyward's residence, and (4) autopsy dissection photographs of the victim's internal head injuries. Heyward also argues the trial court erred in allowing his alias "Abdul Muslim" to be included in the indictments and in denying his request to remove his shackles during jury selection. Finally, Heyward argues he is entitled to a new trial due to the cumulative errors committed by the trial court. We affirm.