Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2012-UP-043 - State v. Scott

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.

Anthony Quentin Scott, Appellant.


Appeal From Horry County
Edward B. Cottingham, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-043
Heard November 2, 2011 – Filed January 25, 2012
Withdrawn, Substituted and Refiled January 31, 2012


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 Donald J. Zelenka, all of Columbia; and Solicitor J. Gregory Hembree, of Conway, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Anthony Quentin Scott was convicted of murder in the death of Efrain Rosado (Victim), and now appeals that conviction asserting (1) he was entitled to a directed verdict, as there was insufficient direct or substantial circumstantial evidence he was responsible for the murder and (2) he was entitled to an instruction on "criminal intent," which he did not receive.  We affirm.

We find no error in the trial court's denial of Scott's motion for directed verdict.  "A case should be submitted to the jury when the evidence is circumstantial 'if there is any substantial evidence which reasonably tends to prove the guilt of the accused or from which his guilt may be fairly and logically deduced.'"  State v. Bostick, 392 S.C. 134, 139, 708 S.E.2d 774, 776 (2011) (quoting State v. Mitchell, 341 S.C. 406, 409, 535 S.E.2d 126, 127 (2000)).  On appeal of the denial of a directed verdict of acquittal, the appellate court must look at the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, and absent a total failure of competent evidence as to the charges alleged, refusal by the trial judge to direct a verdict of acquittal must be affirmed.  Id.  at 139, 708 S.E.2d at 776-77.  Viewing the evidence in the case at hand in the light most favorable to the State, the State presented the following substantial circumstantial evidence which reasonably tended to prove Scott's guilt:  (1) On the evening of, and prior to Victim being shot, Williams and Scott arrived at Rudy's residence, nearby Victim's home, and Williams was heard on the phone, upset and addressing Victim by his name, stating "you don't play me like that," exclaiming on the phone, "I don't appreciate the way you talking to me, and, matter of fact, I might come down there right now," and then immediately telling Scott to leave with him, at which point Scott and co-defendant Williams left; (2) Scott and Williams were driving a white Ford Escort that night, and when they left Rudy's residence, the car was observed heading toward Victim's house and the car's brake lights came on when it pulled in front of Victim's house; (3) within thirty minutes of Williams and Scott leaving Rudy's and heading toward Victim's house, Victim was discovered in his injured condition; (4) shortly after Rudy found the injured Victim, Scott and Williams returned to Rudy's home, where they were observed carrying guns, and Scott in particular was seen carrying a rifle which was identified as the one found in the wood line behind Williams' mother's home at the time Williams and Scott were located and arrested at the home; (5) the bullet causing the fatal injury to Victim, although not conclusively matched to the rifle in question, was determined to have been fired from a weapon similar to the rifle carried by Scott that night; (6) two shell casings were recovered from the white Ford Escort belonging to and being driven by Scott and Williams on the night in question, the two shell casings were conclusively determined to have been fired from the weapon carried by Scott that evening, and Victim suffered two gunshot wounds that night; and (7) when Scott and Williams returned to Rudy's house and the discussion arose regarding Victim having been injured, Williams expressed disdain for Victim.  Although Scott and Williams were not placed at Victims home at the exact time of the shooting, they were placed near scene of the crime within the condensed time frame that Victim was shot, and that, along with the other evidence concerning Williams' and Scott's actions and words that night and the ballistic evidence, raised more than a mere suspicion of Scott's guilt and was sufficient to submit the matter to the jury.

Due to the lack of specificity as to the charge Scott sought on criminal intent at his trial, as well as his failure to specify in his brief the exact deficiency in the trial court's charge as to "criminal intent" law, we find no prejudicial error in the trial court's failure to charge the same.  See Kline Iron & Steel Co. v. Superior Trucking Co. 261 S.C. 542, 549-50, 201 S.E.2d 388, 391-92 (1973) (holding, where appellant challenged the trial court's failure to instruct the jury as to principles governing liability for special damages, "assuming that there was a request for an instruction as to special damages, the contents thereof [were] not included in the record and the court, therefore, [could not] review the request to determine whether the lower court erred in refusing it"); Wren v. Kirkland Distrib. Co., 250 S.C. 178, 181-82, 156 S.E.2d 865, 866 (1967) (noting an appellate court will not review a trial court's failure to give a requested charge where the contents of the charge do not appear in the record); see also Robinson v. Estate of Harris, 391 S.C. 114, 130, 705 S.E.2d 41, 49 (2011) (noting "an appellate court should not be forced to 'grope in the dark' to ascertain the precise nature of an issue on appeal"); Jones v. Lott, 387 S.C. 339, 348, 692 S.E.2d 900, 904 (2010) (holding an issue raised by Petitioner which was not concise and direct, but rather was a broad general statement, ought to be disregarded by the appellate court).  Scott only cites to general law regarding "criminal intent" in his brief, but fails to discuss how any of this law is applicable to, and was required by, the facts of his case.  Scott does not argue how he was prejudiced by the failure of the trial court to give a general "criminal intent" charge.  Further, he does not argue how the charge, as given, failed to cover the law on criminal intent.  Thus, we hold Scott failed to show both error and prejudice, as Scott has failed to establish that he was prejudiced by the failure of the trial court to give any particular jury instruction on "criminal intent."  See State v. Burkhart, 350 S.C. 252, 261, 565 S.E.2d 298, 303 (2002) (holding it is the substance of the law that must be charged to the jury and, to warrant reversal, a trial judge's refusal to give a requested jury charge must be both erroneous and prejudicial to the defendant).

For the foregoing reasons, Scott's conviction is

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, PIEPER and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.