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2011-UP-465 - State v. Johnson

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.

Roy Johnson, Jr., Appellant.


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


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-465  
Submitted October 1, 2011 – Filed October 21, 2011


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender Elizabeth A. Franklin-Best, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General Mark R. Farthing, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Jerry W. Peace, of Greenwood, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Roy Johnson, Jr. appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.  He argues the trial court erred in allowing Willie Ashford, the State's witness, to testify about why Ashford thought Johnson's clothing appeared odd.  We affirm.[1]

"[A]n insubstantial error not affecting the result of the trial is harmless where guilt has been conclusively proven by competent evidence such that no other rational conclusion can be reached."  State v. Price, 368 S.C. 494, 499, 629 S.E.2d 363, 366 (2006).  "Where a review of the entire record establishes the error is harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, the conviction should not be reversed."  Id.

The trial court overruled Johnson's objection to Ashford's testimony that Johnson's clothing, wet and with grass on it, appeared like somebody was chasing Johnson.  Even assuming Ashford's statement was objectionable, its admission is not reversible error.  See Price, 368 S.C. at 500, 629 S.E.2d at 366 (holding improper admission of testimony was harmless in light of the other evidence in the record).  The record indicates Johnson admitted participating in the events, but maintained an alleged participant forced him.  Johnson's two co-participants testified at trial he was a willing participant and denied the involvement of a fourth person or forcing Johnson's participation.  Also, Ashford's testimony was merely cumulative.  Johnson maintained he hid in ditchesevery time he saw cars, including police cars, on the road towards Ashford's house as a result of being scared of the alleged participant.  Thus, a review of the record establishes an error, if any, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

Affirmed.

SHORT, WILLIAMS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.



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