|Case of the Month|
The State, Respondent, v. Colie G. Martin, Jr.,
and Colie G. Martin, III, Appellants
Appellants owned 61 horses. On August 21, 2003, officers of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, along with a member of South Carolina Awareness and Rescue for Equines, Inc. (SCARE), applied for a search warrant pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 47-1-140 (Care of animals after arrest of person in charge). The search warrant was executed and all of the horses were seized by the State, the South Carolina Humane Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals, and SCARE. The horses were transferred to the care and custody of SCARE.
On September 4, 2003, appellants filed this action in magistrate’s court challenging the seizure of the horses and the absence of a hearing, as required by the Due Process Clause and S.C. Code § 47-1-150. A hearing was held on October 1, 2003. Following the hearing, the magistrate issued an order finding the State was required to request a hearing within 24 hours after the seizure of the horses, but that the remedy for the failure to do so was to hold a hearing rather than return the horses to appellants. The State requested a hearing, which was scheduled for November 3, 2003.
However, the requested hearing before the magistrate never occurred because appellants filed an appeal of the magistrate’s order refusing to return the horses in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas (circuit court). The circuit court judge issued an order finding the horses were properly removed pursuant to §§ 47-1-150 and denied appellants’ motion to vacate the seizure order.
Appellants have now filed an appeal in the South Carolina Supreme Court. They argue the circuit court judge erred in reversing the magistrate’s finding that the horses were improperly seized pursuant to § 47-1-150 because a hearing was not held within 24 hours of the seizure. They also argue they did not decline or refuse their right to such a hearing by filing an appeal. Finally, appellants argue the magistrate erred by refusing to order the immediate return of the horses that were not the subject of the 4 counts animal cruelty and conspiracy to commit animal cruelty they were convicted of.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument from both sides on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at 10:30 a.m.
 While the appeal was pending in circuit court, appellants were tried on 60 counts of animal cruelty, second offense (Colie B. Martin, III) and 60 counts of conspiracy to commit animal cruelty (Colie B. Martin, Jr.). They were each found guilty on 4 counts.
|Respondent's Final Brief|
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