Tagged: SC Supreme Court Watch

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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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 […]

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Supreme Court Watch: 2013 Year in Review

2013 was a major year in criminal law for the South Carolina Supreme Court. Interviews in Child Sexual Abuse Cases – In January 2013, our Supreme Court decided State v. Kromah, hopefully putting to rest prosecution attempts to improperly bolster child witnesses in criminal sexual conduct cases.  Kromah is the most recent of numerous cases […]

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SC Supreme Court Watch: New Information on Implementing State v. Langford

On Thursday, August 22, 2013, South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal made her annual presentation to the 2013 Judicial Conference.  In her presentation, the Chief Justice announced, “The [Supreme] Court is examining a system for differentiated case management which will set all cases on tracks or scheduling orders.”  According to the PowerPoint presentation, […]

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SC Supreme Court Watch: New Circumstantial Evidence Jury Instruction

On August 14, 2013, in State v. Logan, S.C. Supreme Court Opinion Number 27296, our Supreme Court adopted the following circumstantial evidence jury instruction: There are two types of evidence which are generally presented during a trial—direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence directly proves the existence of a fact and does not require deduction. […]

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SC Supreme Court Watch: The “Protection of Persons and Property Act”

In 2006, the General Assembly enacted the “Protection of Persons and Property Act” (SC Code Sections 16-11-410 to 450) “to codify the common law Castle Doctrine which recognizes that a person’s home is his castle and to extend the doctrine to include an occupied vehicle and the person’s place of business.” S.C. Code Ann. § […]

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SC Supreme Court Watch: Update on Implementation of State v. Langford

New concerns arose today about the implementation of State v. Langford, the landmark case that ended solicitor docket control in South Carolina. These concerns center around whether the Judiciary’s historical deference to Solicitors will actually end. On June 12, 2013, a blog post entitled “Constitutional Crisis: General Sessions Court Docket Management” pointed out that “over […]

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SC Supreme Court Watch: Circumstantial Evidence Jury Instruction

Traditionally, trial court judges followed State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989) when explaining circumstantial evidence to jurors.  In addition to requiring the State to prove every circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt, Edwards required: [A]ll of the circumstances so proven be consistent with each other and taken together, point conclusively to the […]

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