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South Carolina
Judicial Department
2007-UP-553 - In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Robert Lee Cogdill


In The Court of Appeals

In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Robert Lee Cogdill, Appellant.

Appeal From Greenwood County
 Marc H. Westbrook, Circuit Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No. 2007-UP-553
Submitted December 1, 2007 – Filed December 14, 2007


Deputy Chief for Capital Appeals Robert Dudek, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Attorney General Deborah R.J. Shupe, Office of the Attorney General, of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Robert Lee Cogdill appeals the trial judge’s refusal to grant a directed verdict “on the charge that [he] was a sexually violent predator since there was no direct or substantial circumstantial evidence on a personal level, rather than as a matter of statistics, that [he] was likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if he was not confined to a secure facility for . . . long term care and treatment, particularly where the state’s expert did not conduct any testing on [him] before . . . rendering her general opinion.”  We affirm.[1]


In 1986, Cogdill plead guilty to committing a lewd act on a minor and was sentenced to five years probation.  In 1988, he plead guilty to two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and was sentenced to thirty years incarceration.  Prior to Cogdill’s scheduled release date, the State of South Carolina filed a petition pursuant to the South Carolina Sexually Violent Predator Act, South Carolina Code section 44-48-100 (Supp. 2006), seeking to have Cogdill civilly committed for long term care and treatment as a sexually violent predator.

The matter was called for a jury trial on May 17, 2005.  Following the close of the State’s case, Cogdill’s attorney made a motion for a directed verdict.  Specifically, Cogdill’s attorney argued that the testimony of the State’s sole witness was not based on individual testing or observations of Cogdill and there was no evidence that Cogdill had “serious difficulty” controlling his behavior as required by Kansas v. Crane, 534 U.S. 407, 122 S.Ct. 867 (2002).  The circuit court denied the motion for a directed verdict. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Cogdill was a sexually violent predator, and the trial judge, by order filed May 18, 2005, committed Cogdill to the custody of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health for long term control, care, and treatment.     


When reviewing the denial of a motion for directed verdict, this Court applies the same standard as the trial court. Elam v. S.C. Dep’t of Transp., 361 S.C. 9, 27, 602 S.E.2d 772, 782 (2004). The Court is required to view the evidence and inferences that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Sabb v. S.C. State Univ., 350 S.C. 416, 428, 567 S.E.2d 231, 237 (2002). When deciding whether to grant or deny a directed verdict motion, the court is concerned only with the existence of evidence. Pond Place Partners v. Poole, Inc., 351 S.C. 1, 15, 567 S.E.2d 881, 888 (Ct. App. 2002).  The motion “should be denied when either the evidence yields more than one inference or its inference is in doubt.” McMillan v. Oconee Mem’l Hosp., Inc., 367 S.C. 559, 564, 626 S.E.2d 884, 886 (2006).  “When considering directed verdict motions, neither the trial court nor the appellate court has authority to decide credibility issues or to resolve conflicts in the testimony or evidence.”  Harvey v. Strickland, 350 S.C. 303, 308, 566 S.E.2d 529, 532 (2002).


Cogdill’s appeals the trial judge’s denial of his motion for a directed verdict.  Cogdill specifically argues that the evidence presented against him was insufficient given that the testimony of the State’s sole witness was not based on individual testing or observations of him and there was no evidence that he had “serious difficulty” controlling his behavior as required by Kansas v. Crane, 534 U.S. 407, 122 S.Ct. 867 (2002).  We disagree.

the trial, Dr. Pamela Crawford, a psychiatrist from the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, testified as an expert witness for the State.  Dr. Crawford testified that she did not perform any psychological test on Cogdill but that she met with Cogdill and reviewed information about him contained in his case file.   Dr. Crawford testified that Cogdill suffers from pedophilia, which affects his likelihood to re-offend and that it was her opinion, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, Cogdill qualified as a sexually violent predator.  She also testified that Cogdill has trouble controlling his behavior and that his lack of control was illustrated by the fact he had re-offended while on probation.  Dr. Crawford testified that if Cogdill was released without treatment, he would likely re-offend and prepubescent boys would be at risk.  During cross examination, Cogdill’s attorney thoroughly questioned Dr. Crawford on the methods she used and the fact no psychological testing was performed on Cogdill.

The testimony of Dr. Crawford provides sufficient evidence to justify the trial judge’s denial of Cogdill’s motion and satisfies the mandate of CraneSee In re Care & Treatment of Harvey, 355 S.C. 53, 59-61, 584 S.E.2d 893, 896-7 (2003) (stating that the requirements of the Sexually Violent Predator Act are the functional equivalent of the requirement in Crane and finding sufficient evidence where a psychiatrist testified she diagnosed the offender with pedophilia and the offender met the statutory definition of a sexually violent predator).    


Accordingly, the order of the trial judge is



[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.