Smith, In Interest of, No. 21598

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtHARWELL; LEWIS
Citation277 S.C. 187,284 S.E.2d 586
PartiesIn the Interest of Jessie SMITH, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 21598
Decision Date23 November 1981

Page 586

284 S.E.2d 586
277 S.C. 187
In the Interest of Jessie SMITH, Appellant.
No. 21598.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Nov. 23, 1981.

Page 587

[277 S.C. 188] Appellate Defender John L. Sweeny and Asst. Appellate Defender Kathy D. Lindsay, of S. C. Commission of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Atty. Gen. Daniel R. McLeod, Asst. Attys. Gen. Lindy P. Funkhouser, Martha L. McElveen and Nan L. Black, Columbia, and Asst. Sol. Cliff Welsh, Lexington, for respondent.

HARWELL, Justice:

Appellant Jessie Smith, a minor, was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first degree on a three (3) year old child. He was found delinquent and was committed to the custody of the Department of Youth Services. Appellant alleges the Family Court erred in admitting certain testimony of the victim's mother. We disagree and affirm the Family Court's decision.

On the day in question, the young victim, who had been playing outside, ran to her mother crying and disheveled. The young girl then described to her mother the actions of the appellant. At trial, the mother was allowed to testify to what her daughter had said immediately after the incident. Although present at trial, the young victim did not testify. Appellant contends that the statement was hearsay and therefore improperly admitted. We disagree and find the testimony admissible under the res gestae exception.

Accusatory utterances are admissible as part of the res gestae when they spring spontaneously and instinctively from the stress of pain or excitement and are made soon enough after the act to preclude deliberation. In [277 S.C. 189] determining whether the statements are within the res gestae exception, the trial court is vested with wide discretion. State v. Blackburn, 271 S.C. 324, 247 S.E.2d 334 (1978); Marshall v. Thomason, 241 S.C. 84, 127 S.E.2d 177 (1962).

In this case there was no lapse from the time the young victim left her assailant to the time when she first had an opportunity to speak to her mother. She was obviously upset and showing signs of pain. Therefore, the spontaneity requirement for res gestae is met. State v. Cox, 274 S.C. 624, 266 S.E.2d 784 (1980).

Appellant erroneously reads our cases, State v. Sudduth, 52 S.C. 488, 30 S.E. 408 (1898); and State v. Dawson, 88 S.C. 225, 70 S.E. 721 (1911), to require that the prosecutrix testify before her spontaneous statements are admissible under the res gestae exception. Appellant confuses two separate grounds of...

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2 practice notes
  • State v. Atkins, No. 22768
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 4, 1987
    ...to secure to defense counsel in capital cases the right to question jurors during their voir dire examination." Owens, 277 S.C. at 192, 284 S.E.2d at 586. It is clear that the scope and duration of such examination is committed to the discretion of the trial judge. State v. Patterson, 290 S......
  • Firstland Village Associates v. Lawyer's Title Ins. Co., No. 21597
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 23, 1981
    ...9 Appleman, Insurance Law and Practice, Section 5209 at 61 (1981); 13 Couch on Insurance, Section 48:110 at 583 (2d ed. 1965). [277 S.C. 187] The effective date of the policy (January 7, 1976) preceded the date (March 26, 1976) and recording date (May 12, 1976) of the second amendment. With......
2 cases
  • State v. Atkins, No. 22768
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 4, 1987
    ...to secure to defense counsel in capital cases the right to question jurors during their voir dire examination." Owens, 277 S.C. at 192, 284 S.E.2d at 586. It is clear that the scope and duration of such examination is committed to the discretion of the trial judge. State v. Patterson, 290 S......
  • Firstland Village Associates v. Lawyer's Title Ins. Co., No. 21597
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 23, 1981
    ...9 Appleman, Insurance Law and Practice, Section 5209 at 61 (1981); 13 Couch on Insurance, Section 48:110 at 583 (2d ed. 1965). [277 S.C. 187] The effective date of the policy (January 7, 1976) preceded the date (March 26, 1976) and recording date (May 12, 1976) of the second amendment. With......

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