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2012-UP-321 - State v. Tinsley

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.

James Douglas Tinsley, Appellant.


Appeal From Oconee County
J.C. Buddy Nicholson Jr., Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-321  
Submitted May 1, 2012 – Filed May 30, 2012


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender Tristan M. Shaffer, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General David Spencer, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Christina T. Adams, of Anderson, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  James Douglas Tinsley appeals his convictions of possession of a stolen vehicle and two counts of receiving stolen goods, arguing the circuit court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict because evidence was presented he participated in the actual theft of the stolen property.  We affirm.[1]

An appellate court reviews the denial of a directed verdict by viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the State.  State v. Weston, 367 S.C. 279, 292, 625 S.E.2d 641, 648 (2006).  "If there is any direct evidence or any substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove the guilt of the accused, [an appellate court] must find the case was properly submitted to the jury."  Id. at 292-93, 625 S.E.2d at 648.  The circuit court may not consider the weight of the evidence.  Id. at 292, 625 S.E.2d at 648.

The offenses of receiving stolen goods and receiving, possessing, concealing, selling, or disposing of a stolen vehicle closely mirror each other.  S.C. Code Ann. § 16-13-180 (Supp. 2011); S.C. Code Ann. § 16-21-80 (Supp. 2011).  The elements of both statutes are met if the State can show the defendant had possession of the stolen property and knowledge the property was stolen.  § 16-13-180(A); § 16-21-80.  Both possession and knowledge can be proven by circumstantial evidence.  State v. Ballenger, 322 S.C. 196, 199-200, 470 S.E.2d 851, 854 (1996); State v. Williams, 350 S.C. 172, 175 n.5, 564 S.E.2d 688, 690 n.5 (Ct. App. 2002).

South Carolina courts have consistently held that a defendant cannot be convicted of both the theft of the property and the separate and distinct offense of receiving the stolen property.  State v. Hamilton, 172 S.C. 453, 455, 174 S.E. 396, 396 (1934) (recognizing that a defendant can be charged with both offenses but can only be convicted of one); see also State v. McNeil, 314 S.C. 473, 475, 445 S.E.2d 461, 462 (Ct. App. 1994) (holding that the offense of possession of a stolen vehicle is not a lesser-included offense of grand larceny).  The question of which offense the defendant is guilty of, however, is for the jury to decide if the facts are in dispute.  Hamilton, 172 S.C. at 455, 174 S.E. at 396 ("While one may be charged in an indictment with both of these crimes, he cannot be convicted of both.").

We find the circuit court properly denied Tinsley's motion for a directed verdict.  The fact that the property was stolen was not in dispute, and Tinsley, who sold the property substantially under market value, possessed bills of sale falsely indicating he was a buyer of the stolen property.  Moreover, his codefendant testified Tinsley participated in the scheme, arranged storage units, and knew the property was stolen.  Although Tinsley denied knowing the property was stolen when he took the witness stand, his strategy evidently was to produce evidence of his participation in the larcenies during the State's case-in-chief to preclude conviction of the charged offenses.  His cross-examination of his codefendant, however, merely created a factual dispute in light of the State's election only to prove Tinsley was knowingly in possession of the stolen property.  Thus, in a light most favorable to the State, both direct and substantial circumstantial evidence support the State's theory, and the circuit court properly submitted the charges to the jury.  Accordingly, the decision of the circuit court is

AFFIRMED.

PIEPER, KONDUROS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


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