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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.
8-9-2004 - Opinions
The Court held that a contract became void and unenforceable when the subject matter of the contract--video poker machines--became illegal. In addition, the Court held that the contract was not revived when the local option law, which allowed residents to vote on the legality of video poker machines, was held unconstitutional.
The Court, in this opinion, remanded petitioner's case for a new sentencing proceeding, finding his counsel ineffective for failing to object to the solicitor's closing argument comparing the worth of the petitioner's life with that of his victims.
The Court affirmed an order awarding the plaintiff damages in this breach of contract action.
The Court in this opinion held that an attorney of record may sign the verified statement of account in a collection matter.8-9-2004 - Orders
ORDER - In the Matter of Thomas E. Ruffin, Jr.
Thomas E. Ruffin, Jr. was placed on interim suspension, and Thomas James Young was appointed as the Attorney to Protect Clients' Interests.8-16-2004 - Opinions
Taxpayers aggrieved by Charleston county's adoption of an illegal ordinance capping property valuations on owner-occupied primary residences should pursue administrative remedies.
Taxpayers aggrieved by illegal ordinance capping property tax valuation increases on owner-occupied primary residences should pursue administrative remedies.
This child custody case involves, among other things, the custodial parent's relocation of the child out of state, whether the Guardian ad Litem followed appropriate standards in conducting the investigation, and whether grandparents should receive autonomous visitation rights.
This case concludes there was no double jeopardy violation where Petitioner was convicted for both trafficking crack cocaine based on conspiracy and for four distribution charges which occurred during the period encompassed by the trafficking indictment.8-23-2004 - Opinions
Issue on appeal is whether a prison inmate, working in a prison industries program, is entitled, under the South Carolina Prevailing Wage statute, to be paid minimum wage during training periods.
Issue on appeal is whether the Prevailing Wage statutes created a private right of action for prison inmates to sue the Department of Corrections?8-23-2004 - Orders
ORDER - In the Matter of Warren Stephen Curtis
This is an order reinstating an attorney to the practice of law.ORDER - In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Herbert Lee McCoy
This order outlines the procedures to be followed for no merit sexually violent predator involuntary civil committment appeals.8-30-2004 - Opinions
This case concludes a trial judge has discretion to order a child complainant in a sexual assault prosecution to submit to a psychological evaluation based upon a showing of compelling need. This case also concludes the Court of Appeals did not act beyond its jurisdiction in granting Respondent's motion for bond pending appeal.
Herman Henry "Bud" Von Dohlen (Petitioner) was convicted of murder and armed robbery, and sentenced to death in 1991. Petitioner appealed the denial of his application for post-conviction relief. The Supreme Court held that Petitioner's trial attorneys were ineffective in failing to adequately prepare and present evidence that Petitioner suffered from a major mental illness at the time of the murder. Consequently, the Court remanded the case to circuit court for a new sentencing proceeding. The Court further held that Petitioner's trial attorneys erred in failing to object to the prosecutor's closing argument during the penalty phase of the trial that jurors should put themselves in the victim's shoes, an argument sometimes described as a prohibited "golden rule argument." The majority found that, while Petitioner had shown error, he had failed to prove he was prejudiced by the improper argument. Two justices would have ruled Petitioner was entitled to relief on this issue because he had shown both error and prejudice.
In this opinion, the Court held that Belton did not have an insurable interest in a building destroyed by fire and was, therefore, not afforded coverage from a policy written by Cincinnati.
The Supreme Court held that an appellate court will remand a criminal case to circuit court for entry of judgment and sentencing on a lesser included offense only when (1) the evidence adduced at trial fails to support one or more elements of the crime of which appellant was convicted; (2) the jury was explicitly instructed it could find the defendant guilty of the lesser included offense and was properly instructed on the elements of that offense; (3) the record on appeal contains sufficient evidence supporting each element of the lesser included offense; (4) the State seeks a sentencing remand on appeal; (5) the defendant will not be unduly or unfairly prejudiced; and (6) the Court is convinced justice will be served by such a result after carefully considering the record as well as the interests and concerns of both the defendant and the victim of the crime.