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Supreme Court Published Opinions - March 2005

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.

3-7-2005 - Opinions

25949 - State v. Gentry

This case involves the issues of (1) whether the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear the charges against appeallant; and (2) whether the trial court erred by failing to direct a verdict in appellant's favor.

3-7-2005 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of K. Douglas Thornton

This is an order reinstating the petitioner to the practice of law.
ORDER - In the Matter of George K. Lyall
This is an order reinstating the petitioner to the practice of law.
ORDER - Amendments to Rule 34, Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR
This order amends Rule 34 of Rule 413, SCACR, to provide that an attorney who has been disbarred, suspended or transferred to incapacity in active status cannot be employed, directly or indirectly in South Carolina, as a paralegal, investigator or in any capacity connected with the practice of law, by a lawyer licensed in any other jurisdiction.
3-14-2005 - Opinions

25950 - Williams v. State

The Court reversed a post-conviction relief order granting respondent a new capital sentencing proceeding, finding error but not prejudice in trial counsel's failure to request a "plain and ordinary" meaning jury charge.

3-14-2005 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of Dane Arlen Bonecutter

This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
ORDER - In the Matter of Donald Loren Smith
This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
3-21-2005 - Opinions

25951 - Wehle v. SC Retirement System

In this original jurisdiction case, the Court revisits the statutory provision governing the use of annual leave in calculating State retirement benefits.

25952 - Rock Hill Telephone v. Global Communications

The Court answered, in the negative, the following two questions presented by the United States District Court: (1) Is the relationship between a utility holding a construction permit from the South Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) and a subcontractor hired by the utility’s independent contractor a “special relationship,” allowing for a claim of equitable indemnity by the utility against the subcontractor?; and (2) Does the utility have a nondelegable duty that makes it vicariously liable for the subcontractor’s negligence?

25953 - Epstein v. Brown

The issue on appeal involves the date on which the statute of limitations for a legal malpractice claim begins to run.

25954 - Dempsey v. State

The Court reversed the PCR court and held that Dempsey's counsel was not ineffective for (1) failing to subpoena the victim’s grandfather to offer testimony that could have potentially exculpated Dempsey; (2) failing to offer expert testimony on sexual abuse to rebut the state’s expert testimony; amd (3) failing to request a jury charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

25955 - State v. Long

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2946 (Supp. 2004), a law enforcement officer may order a person suspected of Felony DUI to submit to any chemical test without first offering a breath test.

25956 - In the Matter of Ruffin

This is an attorney disciplinary matter.

3-21-2005 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of James Carroll Sexton, Jr.

This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
3-28-2005 - Opinions

25957 - Leamon v. State

In this case, the Court held the statute of limitations for PCR applications, S.C. Code Ann. § 17-27-45(A) (2003), applies to an applicant who is incarcerated in another jurisdiction.

25958 - Winns v. State

The Court reversed the PCR court’s ruling vacating respondent-petitioner’s conviction, and held that the indictment was sufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction.

25959 - Hurd v. Williamsburg County

In this case, the majority concludes the trial judge properly submitted the case to the jury because the passenger presented evidence that the shoulder of the road was not a reasonably safe place for the bus driver to allow the passenger to exit.

25960 - In the Matter of the Estate of Mary Frances Pallister

The circuit court affirmed the decision of a probate court jury, which found that Mary Frances Pallister had not revoked her will prior to her death, although the original will was lost or missing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the record contains evidence supporting the jury's verdict that Respondent proved, by clear and convincing evidence, that the will had been lost or destroyed by a third party without the decedent's knowledge or consent; and (2) the probate court properly instructed the jury on the applicable law.