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South Carolina
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Case of the Month
February 2007

Case Overview

The State v. Lavelle Weaver

Mr. Weaver was convicted in circuit court of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He was sentenced to thirty years in prison for murder and five years in prison on the weapon charge.

At trial, Mr. Weaver asked the judge to suppress blood evidence found in a search of Mr. Weaver’s Jeep. Mr. Weaver argued the evidence should be suppressed because the search was invalid. The judge denied Mr. Weaver’s motion to suppress the evidence.

Mr. Weaver filed an appeal in the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He argued the trial judge erred in failing to suppress the evidence. The Court of Appeals held that a search warrant was not necessary to search and seize the Jeep under the automobile exception to the prohibition against warrantless searches.

Mr. Weaver has now asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals’ decision. Specifically, he argues the Court of Appeals erred in finding the automobile exception applies to this case. He also argues that because the automobile exception does not apply, the State was required to obtain a search warrant and the State failed to comply with the requirements for a valid search warrant.

This case involves (1) the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, see also S.C. Const. art. 1, § 10; (2) the automobile exception to the general rule that warrantless searches are unreasonable and violate the Fourth Amendment; and (3) the requirements that must be met for a valid search warrant.


Case Briefs

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Final Brief of Appellant (540 kb)

Brief of Respondent (214 kb)

 


Oral Arguments

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(42 minutes playing time)