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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - March 2009

Note: Beginning in June 2012, opinions will be posted as Adobe PDFs. You can download a free copy of Adobe Reader here.

The summary following each opinion is prepared to offer lawyers and the public a general overview of what a particular opinion decides. The summary is not necessarily a full description of the issues discussed in an opinion.

3-4-2009 - Opinions

4514 - State v. Harris

In this criminal case, Jhune Harris (Harris) argues the trial court erred in refusing to charge the jury on the law of self-defense and accident. Harris also contends the trial court improperly refused to grant a mistrial. We affirm.

4515 - Gainey v. Gainey

This domestic appeal arose from the denial of motions under Rule 60(b)(1)-(4), SCRCP, to set aside a Property Settlement Agreement and Decree of Separate Maintenance between Wife and Husband. Wife moved that the order be vacated because of alleged fraud on the part of her husband and the fact that she was coerced to enter into the Property Settlement Agreement. The family court found that Wife had failed to carry her burden of proof on all issues raised in her motions. Wife asserted several grounds on appeal, namely that the family court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to approve the agreement; that the family court erred by failing to amend or vacate its prior order, particularly since the agreement was not voluntarily entered into; and that the family court erred when it failed to attempt to reconcile the parties. We affirm, finding no error by the family court.

3-11-2009 - Opinions

4516 - State v. Halcomb

Fred R. Halcomb appealed his murder conviction, asserting that the circuit court erred when it denied his motion for severance of trial and when it refused to admit certain evidence that allegedly demonstrated co-defendant's personal motive for murdering the victim. We affirm, finding that Halcomb has not demonstrated that he was prejudiced by the joint trial, and that although the evidence of the letter was erroneously excluded, Halcomb has not proved any resulting prejudice.

3-12-2009 - Opinions

4517 - Campbell v. Jordan

Donald Campbell instituted a partition action against his siblings and nieces for division of family land. The special referee ordered an in kind partition of the land, and the nieces appealed the award of a portion of the land to Donald Campbell based on their emotional attachment to that piece of the property. The nieces also asserted error in refusing to strike certain testimony and in ordering their mother to remove her mobile home from the portion of the land awarded to Donald Campbell. The Court of Appeals upheld the referee's decision finding it did not abuse its discretion in partitioning the property or in refusing to exclude certain testimony, and the Court of Appeals additionally found the special referee did not attempt to assert personal jurisdiction over the mother by allowing the mother a grace period to remove her mobile home from the disputed portion of the family land.

3-20-2009 - Opinions

4518 - John and Jane Loe #1 & #2 v. Mother

Mother appeals the family court's order terminating her parental rights and ordering her to pay guardian ad litem fees. We find no statutory ground for TPR was met. We reverse and remand.

3-24-2009 - Opinions

4519 - Cribb v. Spatholt

Edward C. "Buddy" Cribb, III, appeals the circuit court's grant of Dean Spatholt, Clark Callahan, and Boundary House's 12(b)(2), SCRCP, motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm, finding South Carolina lacks personal jurisdiction over Cribb based on the nature of his contract and South Carolina's diminished interest in exercising jurisdiction within the State.

4520 - Cribb v. Spatholt

Edward C. Cribb appeals the circuit court’s grant of Dean Spatholt, Clark Callahan, and Boundary House’s 12(b)(2), SCRCP, motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Upon examination of Edward Cribb’s contract with Boundary and Boundary’s presence in the state, we reverse and find Edward met his burden at this stage in the proceeding to defeat a 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction over Boundary, Callahan, and Spatholt.

3-25-2009 - Opinions

4521 - Doe v. Richland County School District Two

The Richland County School District Two Board of Trustees (Board) expelled Jane Doe from high school for committing a sexual offense. The circuit court reversed, finding the Board's decision was not supported by substantial evidence and violated her due process rights. Richland County School District Two (District) appeals. We affirm.

4522 - State v. Bryant

Bryant appeals his convictions for criminal sexual conduct with a minor and lewd acts. He argues the application of section 17-23-175 of the South Carolina Code to admit videotaped interviews of minor victims was error in light of language in the statute's savings clause and constituted an ex post facto violation. We affirm.

4523 - State v. Lawton

Vernon Lawton was shot and seriously wounded as he entered the home of his former girlfriend. As a result of that incident, he was convicted of first degree burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a pistol by a person convicted of a violent crime. Lawton appeals, arguing the circuit court erred in allowing the State to cross examine him on the content of a letter which the State failed to disclose prior to trial. We reverse and remand.

3-26-2009 - Opinions

4524 - Browder v. Browder

In this appeal of a divorce decree, Wife asserts the family court erred in: (1) denying her request for alimony; (2) failing to hold Husband in contempt; (3) valuing and apportioning the marital property; and (4) denying her request for attorney's fees. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.