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Supreme Court Published Opinions - November 2016

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.

11-2-2016 - Opinions

27674 - Simmons v. Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Inc.

The Court granted certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' decision in Simmons v. Berkeley Electric Cooperative, 404 S.C. 172, 744 S.E.2d 580 (Ct. App. 2013). The Court affirms the Court of Appeals' finding that Berkeley Electric established a prescriptive easement over Simmons' property. The Court, however, reverses the Court of Appeals' holding that St. John's Water established a prescriptive easement and remands this issue for a determination of damages.

27675 - State v. Witherspoon

The Court granted certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' decision in State v. Witherspoon, Op. No. 2015-UP-556 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Dec. 16, 2015). In light of the Court's decision in State v. Stukes, 416 S.C. 493, 787 S.E.2d 480 (2016), the Court reverses the Court of Appeals' affirmance of the trial court's jury charge on Section 16-3-657 of the South Carolina Code, which provides that testimony of the victim need not be corroborated in prosecutions for criminal sexual conduct, finding the charge an unconstitutional comment on the facts and prejudicial under the facts of this case.

11-9-2016 - Opinions

27676 - Hayes v. State

The Court granted the petition for a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' decision in Hayes v. State, 413 S.C. 553, 777 S.E.2d 6 (Ct. App. 2015). The Court now dismisses the petition as improvidently granted.

11-16-2016 - Opinions

27677 - In the Matter of Kenneth E. Johns

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court suspends a judge.

27678 - In the Matter of David L. Savage

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court publicly reprimands an attorney.

27679 - In the Matter of Abigail Scudder Duffy

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court publicly reprimands an attorney.

27680 - In the Matter of Joseph Raymond Neal

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court suspends an attorney from the practice of law for 9 months.

27681 - In the Matter of Amy M. Parker

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court disbars an attorney.

27682 - In the Matter of Robert T. Thompson

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court disbars a lawyer.

27683 - In the Matter of Margaret D. Fabri

In this opinion, the Court publicly reprimands Margaret D. Fabri for misconduct.

27684 - SCDDSN v. Linkhorn

After certifying this appeal pursuant to Rule 204(b), SCACR, the Court reverses the circuit court's decision, finding the circuit court erred in applying the definition of "person with intellectual disability" under section 44-23-10 of the South Carolina Code to the outcome of this case.

11-23-2016 - Opinions

27685 - Winkler v. State

This is a post-conviction relief (PCR) action arising out of Louis Michael Winkler, Jr.'s murder conviction and death sentence. We reverse the PCR court's ruling that trial counsel was ineffective in the sentencing phase of Winkler's trial for not objecting when the trial court did not answer the jury's questions about the consequences of a failure to reach a unanimous verdict. We also reverse the PCR court's denial of Winkler's pretrial motions in the PCR action in which he requested additional time to obtain and analyze evidence related to his alleged brain damage. Because the denial of additional time deprived Winkler of the opportunity to adequately develop his PCR claim that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate brain damage, we vacate the PCR court's ruling denying that claim. We remand to the PCR court for further proceedings. The Chief Justice filed an opinion in which he concurs in part and dissents in part. Justice Hearn filed a concurring opinion.