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2010-UP-475 - State v. Heath, David

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.

David Heath, Appellant.


Appeal From Aiken County
Thomas W. Cooper, Jr., Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-475
Submitted October 1, 2010 – Filed October 28, 2010


AFFIRMED


Deputy Chief Appellate Defender Wanda H. Carter, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Attorney General Julie M. Thames, all of Columbia; and Solicitor James Strom Thurmond, Jr., of Aiken, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: David Heath appeals his conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, arguing the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict.  We affirm.[1]

 "When ruling on a motion for a directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not its weight." State v. Weston, 367 S.C. 279, 292, 625 S.E.2d 641, 648 (2006).  A reviewing court must uphold the denial of a directed verdict where "there is any direct evidence or substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove the guilt of the accused . . . ."  Id.  The reviewing court views the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the State. Id.  Under section 16-17-490 of the South Carolina Code Annotated (2003), "It shall be unlawful for any person over eighteen years of age to knowingly and willfully encourage, aid or cause or to do any act which shall cause or influence a minor: (1) To violate any law . . . ."  Moreover, "It is unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one to . . . consume . . . alcoholic liquors."  S.C. Code. Ann. § 63-19-2450(A) (2010).

Viewed in the light most favorable to the State, the State presented direct evidence that Heath gave alcohol to a minor.  The evidence established Heath knew the minor was fourteen.  The minor testified that she drank from a white, Styrofoam cup filled with a "brown drink" containing alcohol.  A public safety officer found a white, Styrofoam cup in an area where the minor told the officer the cup would be, and a detective testified that the cup "had the odor of an alcoholic beverage."  Moreover, the State presented substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove Heath knowingly and willfully influenced the minor to drink from the cup.  Heath brought the cup from a house and gave the cup to the minor.  Accordingly, the trial court properly denied Heath’s motion for a directed verdict. 

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., SHORT and WILLIAMS, JJ., concur.


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