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2010-UP-364 - State v. Washington

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

The State, Respondent,

v.

Travis Washington, Appellant.


Appeal From Bamberg County
Doyet A. Early, III, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-364
Submitted June 1, 2010 – Filed July 14, 2010


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender Elizabeth A. Franklin-Best, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Senior Assistant Attorney General Harold M. Coombs, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Benjamin R. Moore, of Aiken, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:   Travis Washington was convicted of simple assault and battery, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana within proximity of a school.  On appeal, Washington argues (1) the trial judge's remarks during voir dire and his interaction with witnesses showed bias against Washington and prejudiced him and (2) the trial judge erred in allowing the State's comment about "standing up" for the victim by asking the jury to find him guilty of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN) during its closing argument.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to whether the trial judge's remarks during voir dire and his interactions with witnesses showed bias against Washington and prejudiced him: State v. Charron, 351 S.C. 319, 328, 569 S.E.2d 388, 393 (Ct. App. 2002) (holding in order to preserve an issue of the trial judge's partiality for appellate review, an objection must be lodged when the facts first become known) (quoting Butler v. Sea Pines Plantation Co., 282 S.C. 113, 122-23, 317 S.E.2d 464, 470 (Ct. App. 1984) ("Generally, where bias and prejudice of a trial judge is claimed, the issue must be raised when the facts first become known.")).

2. As to whether the trial judge erred in allowing the State's comment about "standing up" for the victim during its closing argument, we note Washington was not convicted of ABHAN: Brown v. State, 383 S.C. 506, 516, 680 S.E.2d 909, 915 (2009) ("Improper comments do not automatically require reversal if they are not prejudicial to the defendant, and the appellant has the burden of proving he did not receive a fair trial because of the alleged improper argument.") (quotation marks and citation omitted); State v. Durden, 264 S.C. 86, 91, 212 S.E.2d 587, 590 (1975) ("[T]he trial judge is allowed a wide discretion in dealing with the range and propriety of argument of the solicitor to the jury, and ordinarily his rulings on such matters will not be disturbed.").

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., KONDUROS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


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