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2011-UP-290 - State v. Ottey

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.

Aurelio Vincent Ottey, Appellant.


Appeal From Richland County
L. Casey Manning, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-290
Heard June 7, 2011 – Filed June 14, 2011   


AFFIRMED


Chief Appellate Defender Robert M. Dudek, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Assistant Attorney General Melody Brown, and Solicitor Daniel E. Johnson; all of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Aurelio Vincent Ottey appeals his conviction for murder and sentence of life imprisonment after a trial by jury, arguing the trial court erred in:  (1) qualifying an officer as an expert in cell phone investigation; (2) refusing to allow cross-examination of a witness to show bias or motive to misrepresent pursuant to Rule 608(c), SCRE; and (3) finding evidence Ottey helped pay for the decedent's abortion inadmissible.  We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR.  As to Issue 1:  Rule 702, SCRE ("If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise."); State v. Holder, 382 S.C. 278, 288, 676 S.E.2d 690, 696 (2009) ("The admission or exclusion of testimonial evidence falls within the sound discretion of the trial court, whose decision will not be disturbed on appeal absent abuse resulting in prejudice.").  Alternatively, even if we were to find error, we find such error harmless.  See State v. Byers, Op. No. 26976 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed May 23, 2011) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 17 at 23) ("Where guilt has been conclusively proven by competent evidence such that no other rational conclusion can be reached, an insubstantial error that does not affect the result of the trial is considered harmless.").  As to Issue 2:  State v. Johnson, 338 S.C. 114, 124-25, 525 S.E.2d 519, 524 (2000) (stating absent an abuse of discretion, an appellate court will not disturb a trial court's ruling concerning the scope of cross-examination of a witness to test credibility or to show possible bias or self-interest in testifying).  As to Issue 3:  Rule 403, SCRE (stating relevant evidence may be excluded by the trial court if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.).

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.