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2009-UP-091 - State v. Anderson

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, Appellant,

v.

Henry M. Anderson, Jr., Respondent.


Appeal From Florence County
Honorable Michael G. Nettles, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-091
Submitted February 4, 2009 – Filed February 20, 2009


AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED


Attorney General Henry D. McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, Office of the Attorney General, of Columbia; and Solicitor E.L. Clements, III, of Florence, for Appellant.

Henry M. Anderson, Jr., of Florence,  Pro Se, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  In this case, the State asserts the dismissal of a traffic ticket by the magistrate court at a pretrial hearing was in error.  The circuit court affirmed the decision of the magistrate and this appeal followed.  We affirm as modified.[1]

1.  The gravamen of the State's argument on appeal is that based upon the Francis Marion University (FMU) campus police officer's status as a State Constable, the officer possessed statewide authority to issue citations at any location in the state.  However, other than a bald assertion of statewide authority, the campus officer's constable status was never established before the magistrate although the officer was given an opportunity to do so.  We question whether the issue was properly preserved by the officer's unsupported assertion before the magistrate; however, even if we were to consider the officer's constable commission submitted by the State for the first time on appeal, that commission nonetheless is dated after the date of the offense herein.  Accordingly, the officer's statewide authority was never established.

2.  The State also contends on appeal that the circuit court improperly applied Sections 59-116-10 et. seq. of the South Carolina Code (2007) due to the officer's alleged status as a State Constable at the time he issued the ticket and due to FMU's classification as a public institution.[2]  However, the campus officer's status as a State Constable is dispositive under either § 23-1-60 (State Constable provision) or under § 59-116-10 et. seq. (noting § 59-116-20 specifically requires the campus police officer to be commissioned as a constable pursuant to § 23-1-60 (State Constable provision)).  Since the officer's status as a State Constable was never established in this record, the circuit court's statutory interpretation of § 59-116-10 et. seq. was unnecessary.  Accordingly, we need not resolve the statutory construction question and thus vacate that portion of the circuit court's order.

AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.

HEARN, C.J., and PIEPER and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


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

[2] We note the circuit court's scrivener's error in citing § 56-119-20 rather than § 59-116-20.