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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

July 2017

  • State v. E.Y.S.

    • Charge: DUI, Failure to Maintain Lane, Speeding
    • Court: Greenville County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for Failure to Maintain Lane
    • Result: DUI and Failure to Maintain Lane dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Speeding”
  • State v. W.P.C.

    • Charge: DUI, Driving Left of Center
    • Court: Mauldin Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was pulled over for Driving Left of Center
    • Result: DUI and Driving Left of Center dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. J.C.H

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Mauldin Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was pulled over for Failure to Maintain Lane
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives tickets for “Public Disorderly Conduct” and “Improper Backing”
  • State v. A.J.R

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Fountain Inn Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was pulled over for speeding
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. J.M.M.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a two-vehicle collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. P.J.K.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was pulled over for front left tire damage
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. L.H.J.

    • Charge: DUI, Speeding, Failure to Maintain Lane
    • Court: Greenville County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was pulled over for speeding
    • Result: DUI, Speeding, and Failure to Maintain Lane dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. K.A.M.

    • Charge: DUI, Failure to Maintain Lane
    • Court: Greenville County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was pulled over for Failure to Maintain Lane
    • Result: DUI and Failure to Maintain Lane dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. D.K.R.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Spartanburg Magistrate Court
    • Facts: An anonymous call was received about the vehicle
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. C.M.E.

    • Charge: DUI, Hit and Run, Seatbelt ticket
    • Court: Greenville Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a motor vehicle collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. S.W.J.

    • Charge: DUI, No DL in Possession
    • Court: Greenville Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Anonymous call was received about the vehicle
    • Result: DUI and No DL in Possession were dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. L.W.T.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Spartanburg Magistrate Court
    • Facts: CClient was pulled over for running a red light
    • Result: DUI dismissed

Steve Sumner

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