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2004-UP-485 - State v. Rayfield

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON
AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

The State, Respondent,

v.

Anthony Rayfield, Appellant.


Appeal From York County
John W. Kittredge, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2004-UP-485
Submitted September 14, 2004 – Filed September 20, 2004


AFFIRMED


Assistant Appellate Defender Eleanor Duffy Cleary, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General W. Rutledge Martin, all of Columbia, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM:  Anthony Rayfield was indicted by the York County Grand Jury for distribution of crack cocaine (third offense) and possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute.  A jury convicted Rayfield of both charges, and he received two concurrent prison terms of eighteen years each.  Pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), Rayfield’s appellate counsel filed an appeal and a petition to be relieved as counsel, arguing in the Anders brief that the trial court erred in consolidating the charges.  This court denied counsel’s petition to be relieved and ordered the parties to brief the issue of whether, in light of this court’s decision in State v. Chisolm, 355 S.C. 175, 584 S.E.2d 401 (Ct. App. 2003), the trial court erred in denying Rayfield’s motion to suppress the crack cocaine evidence based on the ground that the State failed to prove a sufficient chain of custody.  The rebriefing order further noted that the chain of custody was the only issue of colorable merit.

After reviewing the record, briefs of counsel, and applicable case law, we affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b)(2), SCACR, and the following authorities:  State v. Carter, 344 S.C. 419, 424, 544 S.E.2d 835, 837 (2001) (“[W]here there is a weak link in the chain of custody, as opposed to a missing link, the question is only one of credibility and not admissibility.”); State v. Williams, 297 S.C. 290, 293, 376 S.E.2d 773, 774 (1989) (holding the chain of custody of the defendant’s blood sample that was used for a blood alcohol test was sufficiently established through the introduction of an initialed form that complied with hospital protocol and the testing nurse’s testimony, notwithstanding that the nurse who actually drew the blood did not testify); and State v. Taylor, 360 S.C. 18,25, 27, 598 S.E.2d 735, 737 (Ct. App. 2004) (en banc) (holding that “[i]f the identity of each person in the chain handling the evidence is established, and the manner of handling is reasonably demonstrated, no abuse of discretion is shown in the admission, absent proof of tampering, bad faith, or ill-motive” and overruling Chisolm to the extent that the decision requires the testimony of each person in the chain of custody under all circumstances). [1]

AFFIRMED.

GOOLSBY, ANDERSON, and WILLIAMS, JJ., concur.


[1]   Because oral argument would not aid the court in deciding the issue on appeal, we decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rules 215 and 220(b)(2), SCACR.