SC Supreme Court Watch: Update on the “Protection of Persons and Property Act”

A prior SC Supreme Court Watch: The “Protection of Persons and Property Act” pointed out that our Supreme Court heard oral arguments in June 2013 in two cases that could further interpret a citizen’s rights under the statute. Both cases were before our Supreme Court on pre-trial appeals of trial court Castle Doctrine hearings.  Our Court approved pre-trial appeals of Castle Doctrine rulings in footnote 2 of State v. Duncan:

We find an order granting or denying a motion to dismiss under the Act is immediately appealable, as it is in the nature of an injunction.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 14-3-330(4) (Supp. 2010) (“The Supreme Court . . . shall review upon appeal . . . an interlocutory order or decree . . . granting, continuing, modifying, or refusing an injunction . . . .”).

On August 21, 2013, however, our Supreme Court decided State v. Isaac, holding “the denial of a defendant’s request for immunity under the Act is an interlocutory order not subject to immediate appeal.”  Justice Pliecones disagreed and adhered to the resonating set forth in Duncan.

Following the decision in Isaac, our Supreme Court dismissed the two appeals that were argued in June 2013.

Questions remain whether the Court’s decision in Isaac was driven by legislative intent or limiting the Court’s workload.

Click these links to read SC Supreme Court Watch: The “Protection of Persons and Property Act” and the Court opinions in State v. Duncan and State v. Isaac.

Preview: Please check back later this year for a blog post discussing why South Carolina’s self-defense jury instruction is obsolete and should be replaced.

About SC Supreme Court Watch:  SC Supreme Court Watch is a recurring series dedicated to identifying potentially significant criminal law issues pending before the Court and reporting administrative actions by the Court involving our state’s criminal justice system.