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2009-UP-035 - State v. Gunnells

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.

James Allan Gunnells, Appellant.


Appeal From Bamberg County
 J.C. Buddy Nicholson, Jr., Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-035
Submitted January 2, 2009 – Filed January 14, 2009   


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender LaNelle C. DuRant, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, Senior Assistant Attorney General Norman Mark Rapoport, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Barbara R. Morgan, of Aiken, for Respondent. 

PER CURIAM:  James Allan Gunnells was convicted of first-degree burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and battery with intent to kill, use of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and conspiracy.  He received sentences totaling life plus thirty years’ imprisonment.  Gunnells now appeals his convictions and sentences, arguing the circuit court erred in admitting an eyewitness’ first-time identification of him in court because the identification was suggestive and unreliable.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:  State v. Lewis, 363 S.C. 37, 42-43, 609 S.E.2d 515, 518 (2005) (declining to require trial courts to evaluate factors enunciated in Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188, 199 (1972), where first-time identifications take place in court because “the judge is present and can adequately address relevant problems; the jury is physically present to witness the identification, rather than merely hearing testimony about it; and cross-examination offers defendants an adequate safeguard or remedy against suggestive examinations”); State v. Butler, 353 S.C. 383, 388, 577 S.E.2d 498, 500 (Ct. App. 2003) (holding in criminal cases, the appellate court sits to review errors of law only). 

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, PIEPER, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.