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Greenville County Circuit Judge Reverses DUI Conviction

CASE NAME: Kathryn Key vs. South Carolina (Case No.: 2016-CP-23-06517; February 4, 2017)

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

On December, 10, 2015, the Appellant (” Key”) was involved in an automobile wreck at approximately 8:47 a.m. Shortly thereafter, emergency medical personnel (“EMS personnel”) arrived on scene. As EMS personnel were removing Key from her vehicle, Trooper Campbell, (“Campbell”) the investigating/arresting officer, arrived at the scene of the accident. At that time, Campbell did not speak with Key because she was unconscious. EMS personnel transported Key to the emergency room at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Initially, Campbell remained at the scene of the accident in order to conduct an investigation as to the cause of the accident.

Georgia State Court Suppresses HGN Test and Breath Results from DUI Trial

CASE NAME:  Georgia vs. Council (Case No. 16-T-18312; December 14, 2016)

PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

On November 2, 2016, the above-styled case came before this court for a specially set trial, with pending motions filed by the Defendant to be heard immediately prior to trial. The Defendant’s Second Amended Motion in Limine and the evidence produced at the motion hearing through witness testimony and exhibits focused on two issues: (1) exclusion of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) for lack of proper administration; and (2) whether the administration of the breath alcohol test, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.1(b), was constitutional. The constitutional issues presented focused on the Georgia Constitution 1983, Article I, Section I, Paragraph XVI.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Suppresses Blood Test Results in Deadly Felony DUI Case

Case Name: South Carolina vs. Shannon (Orangeburg County, SC; Court of General Sessions; Case Number 2014A3810700545; Filed August 9, 2016)

FACTS:

On February 16, 2014, Shannon and Eartha Lee Kennerly (“Kennerly”) were traveling south on Bozard Road in Orangeburg County. While on Bozard Road, Shannon drove through a stop sign, went off the road, and struck an embankment, causing the vehicle to overturn. Law enforcement and medical personnel responded to the scene shortly thereafter. Kennerly died from internal injuries sustained in the accident. Shannon, however, was coherent, but in pain. While medical personnel were attempting to remove Shannon from the vehicle and stabilize him—a process which took approximately two hours—Officer Norton of the South Carolina Highway Patrol drove to Richland County to obtain a search warrant to conduct a blood test on Shannon.

Officer Norton ultimately obtained a search warrant to conduct the blood test. Although the search warrant was obtained through the proper procedures and signed by the issuing magistrate, it did not contain an affidavit of probable cause signed by Officer Norton. Nevertheless, acting on the warrant, Shannon’s blood was drawn while he was being hospitalized and prior to being arrested. The test revealed that he had alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time of the collision. Shannon was later arrested and charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death.

Shannon filed a motion to suppress the blood test results, arguing that the taking of the blood test without his consent violated the Fourth Amendment and Article I, section 10 of the South Carolina Constitution. The State conceded in oral argument that the search warrant was invalid, but maintains that a search warrant was unnecessary under S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2946. This court heard oral arguments of counsel on November 12, 2015.

“South Carolina Court of Appeals Issues Latest DUI Decision”

CASE NAME:  State vs. Walters (SC Ct. App. No. 5443; September 28, 2016)

FACTS/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND:

On July 13, 2014, Walters was arrested for DUI in York County. On that date, Trooper Mike McAdams, the arresting officer, administered a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. While his dashboard camera was recording, Trooper McAdams positioned Walters in front of his patrol car facing away from the camera and conducted the test. According to Trooper McAdams, Walters was turned away from the patrol car to prevent the flashing lights from causing a false positive on the HGN test.

Recent Results

April 2017

  • State v. O.M.V.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: West Greenville Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for weaving over lane lines
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Speeding 70/55”
  • State v. Y.M.C.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Spartanburg County Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for swerving and driving slowly (Breath test: .20)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. G.D.J.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greer Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding and changing lanes without a turn signal
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Unlawful Turning”
  • State v. R.L.G.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: West Greenville Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding, 82 mph in a 55 mph zone (Breath test: .12)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. G.C.R.

    • Charge: DUI, DUS
    • Court: Pickens County Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a one-car accident
    • Result: DUI dismissed, DUS dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. J.M.L.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Anderson County Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a one-car accident (Blood test: .30)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. B.E.W.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: West Greenville Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped at a driver’s license checkpoint
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. L.P.R.

    • Charge: DUI 2nd offense
    • Court: Spartanburg County General Sessions Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding, 59 mph in a 45 mph zone
    • Result: DUI 2nd offense dismissed.
  • State v. E.D.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Chick Springs Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a one-car accident
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. W.J.M.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Chick Springs Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a two-vehicle collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”

Steve Sumner

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