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2011-UP-137 - State v. Romero

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.

Israel Romero, Appellant.


Appeal From Greenville County
D. Garrison Hill, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-137
Submitted February 1, 2011 – Filed April 5, 2011   


AFFIRMED


Israel Romero, pro se, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, 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, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Israel Romero appeals his conviction for the unauthorized practice of law, arguing (1) the trial court erred in denying his directed verdict motion and failing to apply the ex post facto rule, the statutory construction rule, and the preemption rule; (2) the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction; (3) his conviction violated double jeopardy; and (4) the trial court erroneously instructed the jury.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities: 

1.  As to Romero's directed verdict motion: State v. Zeigler, 364 S.C. 94, 103, 610 S.E.2d 859, 863 (Ct. App. 2005) ("The appellate court may reverse the trial judge's denial of a motion for a directed verdict only if there is no evidence to support the judge's ruling.") (citation omitted); id. at 102, 610 S.E.2d at 863 ("If there is any direct evidence or any substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove the guilt of the accused, an appellate court must find the case was properly submitted to the jury.") (citation omitted); see also S.C. Code Ann. § 40-5-310 (2001) ("No person may either practice law or solicit the legal cause of another person or entity in this State unless he is enrolled as a member of the South Carolina Bar pursuant to applicable court rules, or otherwise authorized to perform prescribed legal activities by action of the Supreme Court of South Carolina. The type of conduct that is the subject of any charge filed pursuant to this section must have been defined as the unauthorized practice of law by the Supreme Court of South Carolina prior to any charge being filed."); State v. McLauren, 349 S.C. 488, 497-98, 563 S.E.2d 346, 350-51 (Ct. App. 2002) ("The generally understood definition of the practice of law embraces the preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, and the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts. . . . [T]he practice of law . . . include[s] the preparation and filing of legal documents involving the giving of advice, consultation, explanation, or recommendations on matters of law.") (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted).

2.  As to Romero's subject matter jurisdiction argument: State v. Gentry, 363 S.C. 93, 101, 610 S.E.2d 494, 499 (2005) ("Circuit courts obviously have subject matter jurisdiction to try criminal matters.").

3.  As to Romero's remaining issues: State v. Turner, 373 S.C. 121, 126 n.1, 644 S.E.2d 693, 696 n.1 (2007) (noting an issue not raised to or ruled upon by the trial court is not preserved for review); see also State v. Owens, 378 S.C. 636, 638, 664 S.E.2d 80, 81 (2008) (holding the preservation rules apply to arguments regarding constitutional violations).

AFFIRMED.

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


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