Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2010-UP-571 - State v. Wright

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.

Barbara Wright, Appellant.


Appeal From Greenville County
Lee S. Alford, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-571 
Submitted December 1, 2010 – Filed December 31, 2010


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender M. Celia Robinson, 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 Norman Mark Rapoport, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Robert M. Ariail, of Greenville, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Barbara Wright appeals her conviction for filing a false police report, arguing the trial court erred by (1) including in the jury instructions the statement that armed robbery is a felony and (2) denying her motion for a directed verdict.  We affirm.[1]

1. Wright argues the trial court erred by including in the jury instructions a statement that armed robbery is a felony because, by doing so, the trial court violated the South Carolina Constitution.  We disagree.  Article V, section 21 of the South Carolina Constitution states, "Judges shall not charge juries in respect to matters of fact, but shall declare the law."  Armed robbery's status as a felony is a matter of law rather than fact.  Accordingly, the trial court properly instructed the jury on that issue.

2. Wright next argues the trial court erred in denying her motion for a directed verdict because the State failed to produce evidence armed robbery was a felony to sustain the offense of filing a false police report.  We disagree.  A reviewing court must uphold the denial of a directed verdict where "there is any direct evidence or any substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove the guilt of the accused . . . ."  State v. Weston, 367 S.C. 279, 292-93, 625 S.E.2d 641, 648 (2006).  The reviewing court views the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the state.  Id. at 292, 625 S.E.2d at 648.  Section 16-17-722(A) of the South Carolina Code (2003) provides, "It is unlawful for a person to knowingly file a false police report," and subsection 16-17-722(B) provides, "A person who violates subsection (A) by falsely reporting a felony is guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both."  The armed robbery statute of the South Carolina Code states, "A person who commits robbery while armed with a . . . deadly weapon . . . is guilty of a felony . . . ."  S.C. Code. Ann. § 16-11-330(A) (2003).

Here, the State presented testimony that Wright reported a man robbed the store with a knife and signed a statement saying she lied that a robbery occurred.  Therefore, the State presented sufficient evidence to sustain the offense of filing a false police report, and the trial court properly denied Wright's motion for a directed verdict.

AFFIRMED.

THOMAS, PIEPER, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


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