Tagged: Assault & Battery

South Carolina Supreme Court rules trial judges should never instruct jurors they can infer malice from the use of a deadly weapon

The landmark case of State v. Belcher held trial judges should not instruct jurors they can infer malice from the use of a deadly weapon when there is evidence that would negate or mitigate the charge of murder. Belcher, however, left open the possibility of trial judges instructing jurors they can infer malice from the […]

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Continued Confusion About Attempted Murder

In State v. Williams, decided on June 12, 2019, the South Carolina Supreme Court recognized continued confusion surrounding the prosecutions burden of proof in attempted murder cases. Although attempted murder is a specific intent crime, the trial judge, without objection, instructed the jurors that a specific intent is not required to prove attempted murder. As […]

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It Should Be Hard for the Prosecution to Convict Someone of Attempted Murder

In State v. King, our Supreme Court rejected prosecutors’ contention that attempted murder is a general intent, rather than a specific intent crime.  This holding, predictably, resulted from our Court’s review of its precedent and the legislative history of the Sentencing Reform Act of 2010. Prosecutors attempted to equate attempted murder to the common law offense […]

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Confronting Prosecution Strategies in Child Sex Abuse Cases

For decades, the prosecution has utilized a coordinated strategy to investigate and prosecute child sex abuse cases.  Expert testimony to explain a child’s inconsistent behavior and statements is central to the prosecution strategy.  Utilizing this strategy, prosecutors routinely solicited improper opinion evidence from the purported expert.  Our Supreme Court disallowed this practice in a recent […]

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Preview: 2015 Blues, BBQ, & Bar CLE Presenataion

The South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have invited Charles Grose and Chelsea McNeill to speak at the 2015 Blues, BBQ, and Bar CLE on Friday, July 10, 2015.  The prevention, “Defending Child Sex Abuse Cases,” will discuss jury selection, law enforcement interviews of the children, delayed reporting of child sexual abuse, and cross-examining […]

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S.C. Court of Appeals Decision Erodes the “Protections of Persons and Property Act”

State v. Manning, decided on May 7, 2014 by the Court of Appeals, erodes the protections of our state’s “Protection of Persons and Property Act,” S.C. Code Ann. §16-11-410, et. seq., which is also known as the “Castle Doctrine.”  The Court of Appeals narrowly construed the statute only to protect a person when an intruder […]

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Failure to Instruct Jurors about Involuntary Manslaughter Requires New Trial

On April 23, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided State v. Battle and ordered a new trial for a man convicted of murder because the trial judge did not instruct the jurors about involuntary manslaughter. Battle testified that the decedent pointed a handgun at him.  Battle grabbed the gun, and a struggle ensued.  […]

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Controversy Over Child Sexual Abuse Interviews Continues

On April 9, 2014, the South Carolina Court of Appeals decided State v. Portillo.  Although the Court of Appeals found two types of error, the Court concluded that error was not reversible error in this case. The Court relied on our Supreme Court’s opinion in State v. Kromah and held the trial judge erred in […]

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Recommending New Self-Defense Jury Instructions in South Carolina

Previous blog posts have reviewed the “History of South Carolina’s Self-Defense Jury Instruction” and explained why “South Carolina’s Self-Defense Jury Instruction is Obsolete and Inadequate.”  This post recommends new jury instructions to replace the outdated ones. The following instruction is recommended in homicide cases: A person is justified in using force which is intended or […]

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Self-Defense: Directed Verdict Standard vs. Prosecution’s Burden of Proof

On March 12, 2014, the South Carolina Supreme Court decided State v. Butler, which presented the issue of “whether the trial court erred in refusing to apply a standard requiring the state to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt at the directed verdict stage.”  Our Court denied relief, affirmed the conviction, and explained the difference […]

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