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2010-UP-476 - State v. Morisset

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.

Geronimo Morisset, Appellant.


Appeal From Charleston County
G. Edward Welmaker, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-476
Submitted November 1, 2010 – Filed November 1, 2010 


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender Kathrine H. Hudgins, 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 Deputy Attorney General Christina J. Catoe, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Scarlett Anne Wilson, of Charleston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Geronimo Morisset appeals his conviction for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base crack, trafficking cocaine in excess of ten grams but less than twenty-eight grams, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.  On appeal, Morisset contends the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict because the State failed to prove Morisset exercised dominion and control over the area where the drugs were found.  We disagree.

South Carolina courts have "repeatedly recognized that a conviction for possession of contraband drugs requires proof of actual or constructive possession, coupled with knowledge of the presence of the drugs."  State v. Halyard, 274 S.C. 397, 400, 264 S.E.2d 841, 842 (1980).  "Constructive possession occurs when the person charged with possession has dominion and control over either the drugs or the premises upon which the drugs were found."  State v. Mollison, 319 S.C. 41, 45, 459 S.E.2d 88, 91 (Ct. App. 1995).  "Such possession may be established by circumstantial as well as direct evidence."  Halyard, 274 S.C. at 400, 264 S.E.2d at 842.  "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). 

The State produced evidence of Morisset's dominion and control over the entire residence where the drugs and gun were found: Morisset was the only resident present at the time of the search, police found paperwork associating Morisset to the residence in the living room and bedroom, and police found Morisset's GED certificate displayed on the living room wall.  The Record also revealed drugs as well as drug manufacturing and distribution materials in the residence.  Thus, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the evidence supported submitting the case to the jury. 

AFFIRMED.[1]

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


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