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2011-UP-142 - In the Matter of Kevin Paschal

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

In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Kevin Paschal, Appellant.


Appeal From Aiken County
Thomas A. Russo, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-142
Submitted February 1, 2011 – Filed April 5, 2011


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender LaNelle C. DuRant, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Attorney General Deborah R.J. Shupe, and Assistant Attorney General Mark R. Farthing, all of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Kevin Paschal appeals his commitment to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health as a sexually violent predator.  On appeal, Paschal contends the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict because the State failed to prove his diagnosis of pedophilia.  We affirm.[1]

A sexually violent predator is defined in the Sexually Violent Predator Act (the Act) as "a person who: (a) has been convicted of a sexually violent offense; and (b) suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term control, care, and treatment."  S.C. Code Ann. § 44-48-30(1) (Supp. 2010).  "Mental abnormality" is defined as "a mental condition affecting a person's emotional or volitional capacity that predisposes the person to commit sexually violent offenses."  S.C. Code Ann. § 44-48-30(3) (2010).  The phrase "likely to engage in acts of sexual violence" is defined as a "propensity to commit acts of sexual violence . . . of such a degree as to pose a menace to the health and safety of others."  S.C. Code Ann. § 44-48-30(9) (2010).

"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).  "When reviewing a denial of a directed verdict, [an appellate court] views the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the [S]tate."  Id.  A mental health expert's clinical opinion is sufficient, absent any other evidence, to support the trial court's denial of a motion for a directed verdict.  See In re Care & Treatment of Matthews, 345 S.C. 638, 646-48, 550 S.E.2d 311, 315 (2001) (holding a mental health expert's clinical opinion of whether or not the accused should undergo in-patient treatment was sufficient by itself to affirm a denial of directed verdict).

Here, the State produced evidence that Paschal met both elements of sexually violent predator as defined in the Act.  A forensic psychiatrist testified Paschal's conviction of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree was a sexually violent offense.  Additionally, the forensic psychiatrist testified Paschal suffered from paraphilia not otherwise specified, which made him likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term care, control, and treatment.  Thus, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the evidence supported submitting the case to the jury.  

AFFIRMED.

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

 

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