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2011-UP-547 - State v. Adams

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.

Naomi Bonnie Adams, Appellant.


Appeal From Colleton County
Thomas W. Cooper, Jr., Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2011-UP-547
Submitted December 1, 2011 – Filed December 6, 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 Isaac McDuffie Stone, III, of Bluffton, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Naomi Bonnie Adams appeals her conviction for neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury.  On appeal, Adams contends the trial court erred in denying her motion for a directed verdict because the State failed to present any evidence regarding the standard of care necessary for a diabetic with a brain tumor and the State failed to present any evidence the ostensive neglect caused the victim to suffer great bodily injury.  Adams also argues the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce photographs of the victim that were unduly prejudicial and not supported by medical testimony.  We affirm.[1]

1.  We find the trial court did not err in denying Adams's motion for a directed verdict on both grounds.  See State v. Weston, 367 S.C. 279, 292, 625 S.E.2d 641, 648 (2006) (stating that when ruling on a motion for a directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not its weight); id. at 292-93, 625 S.E.2d at 648 (finding the case was properly submitted to the jury if the appellate court finds any direct evidence or any substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove the guilt of the accused); S.C. Code Ann. § 43-35-85(E) (Supp. 2009) ("A person who knowingly and willfully abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than fifteen years.");  S.C. Code Ann. § 43-35-10(6) (Supp. 2009) (defining neglect as "the failure or omission of a caregiver to provide the care, goods, or services necessary to maintain the health or safety of a vulnerable adult including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services").  Here, evidence exists that Adams committed neglect of a vulnerable adult based on the statutory definition of neglect, which does not require the showing of a standard of care supported by expert medical testimony.  Evidence shows Adams failed to provide the victim adequate clothing and failed to monitor her glucose level or fluid intake, leading to hospitalization.  The combination of hypertension, dehydration, and low blood sugar was serious enough to result in an extended stay in the intensive care unit.  Accordingly, because the evidence presented supports the trial court's decision to submit the case to the jury, the trial court did not err in denying Adams's directed verdict motion. 

2.  We find the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the State to introduce photographs of the victim.  See State v. Torres, 390 S.C. 618, 622-23, 703 S.E.2d 226, 228 (2010) ("The relevance, materiality, and admissibility of photographs are matters within the sound discretion of the trial court and a ruling will be disturbed only upon a showing of an abuse of discretion." (citation and quotations omitted)); id. at 623, 703 S.E.2d at 229 ("It is well settled in this state that [i]f the photograph serves to corroborate testimony, it is not an abuse of discretion to admit it." (citation and quotations omitted)).  The photographs the trial court allowed were corroborative of the testimony regarding the victim's condition.  Thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion. 

AFFIRMED.   

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


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