State v. Amerson, No. 23827

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtTOAL; HARWELL
Citation311 S.C. 316,428 S.E.2d 871
PartiesThe STATE, Appellant, v. Ronald Mackey AMERSON, Robert Leon Ham, a/k/a "Robbie," and Billy Ray Amerson, Respondents. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 23827
Decision Date26 October 1992

Page 871

428 S.E.2d 871
311 S.C. 316
The STATE, Appellant,
v.
Ronald Mackey AMERSON, Robert Leon Ham, a/k/a "Robbie," and
Billy Ray Amerson, Respondents.
No. 23827.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard Oct. 26, 1992.
Decided March 22, 1993.

Page 872

[311 S.C. 317] Atty. Gen., T. Travis Medlock and Chief Deputy Atty. Gen., Cameron M. Currie, Columbia, for appellant.

Edward E. Saleeby, Jr., Hartsville, and Olin L. Purvis, III, Darlington, for respondents.

TOAL, Justice:

The issue presented in this appeal is whether the trial court erred in dismissing the indictment alleging the respondents conspired to purchase and bring into the state more than one hundred (100) pounds of marijuana on Double Jeopardy grounds. We affirm.

FACTS

The respondents were indicted under two separate indictments. The first indictment alleged a conspiracy to traffic [311 S.C. 318] marijuana which was alleged to have run from February 1990 to September 1990 (hereinafter "post-1990 conspiracy"). The second indictment alleged an earlier conspiracy to traffic marijuana from November 1986 through December 1989 (hereinafter "pre-1990 conspiracy"). The post-1990 conspiracy was tried first. The respondents were acquitted. Prior to the trial on the pre-1990 conspiracy, the respondents moved for dismissal of the charges on Double Jeopardy grounds. In support of their motion, respondents submitted the transcript of the first trial in which evidence pertinent to the alleged pre-1990 conspiracy was admitted underState v. Lyle, 125 S.C. 406, 118 S.E. 803 (1923). 1 The trial judge found the two alleged conspiracies were in reality one single continuing conspiracy. Accordingly, he dismissed the second indictment. The State appeals.

LAW/ANALYSIS

The Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and South Carolina Constitutions protect against multiple punishments for the same offense. State v. Magazine, 302 S.C. 55, 393 S.E.2d 385 (1990).

Page 873

The gravamen or gist of the offense of conspiracy is the agreement. State v. Dasher, 278 S.C. 454, 298 S.E.2d 215 (1982); accord United States v. Felix, --- U.S. ----, 112 S.Ct. 1377, 118 L.Ed.2d 25 (1992). Both indictments charge a violation of S.C.Code Ann. Section 44-53-370(e)(1), which provides in part:

Any person who knowingly ... conspires to sell, manufacture, cultivate, deliver, purchase, or bring into this State, ... ten pounds or more of marijuana is guilty of a felony which is known as "trafficking in marijuana"....

Thus, the indictments allege two conspiracies which violate the same conspiracy statute. 2 Accordingly, the law set out in Braverman v. United States, 317 U.S. 49, 63 S.Ct. 99, 87 L.Ed. 23 (1942), is controlling. In Braverman, the government alleged the defendants entered into a single conspiracy with the object to commit several violations of the internal revenue [311 S.C. 319] liquor laws. The government sought the two-year statutory penalty for each illegal object although the conspiracy violated only one conspiracy statute. The Court held

[w]hether the object of a single agreement is to commit one or many crimes, it is in either case that agreement which constitutes the conspiracy which the statute punishes. The one agreement cannot be taken to be several agreements and hence several conspiracies because it envisages the violation of several statutes rather than one.... The...

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31 practice notes
  • State v. Kirton, No. 4470.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 17, 2008
    ...wrong or controlled by error of law." Reed v. Becka, 333 S.C. 676, 685, 511 S.E.2d 396, 401 (Ct.App.1999) (citing State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 320, 428 S.E.2d 871, 873 (1993)). When reviewing a trial judge's ruling concerning voluntariness, the appellate court does not re-evaluate the fa......
  • State v. Arrowood, No. 4304.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 17, 2007
    ...by the evidence and not clearly wrong or controlled by error of law." Reed, 333 S.C. at 685, 511 S.E.2d at 401 (citing State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 320, 428 S.E.2d 871, 873 (1993)). When reviewing a trial judge's ruling concerning voluntariness, the appellate court does not re-evaluate t......
  • State v. Miller, No. 4307.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 19, 2007
    ...wrong or controlled by error of law." Reed v. Becka, 333 S.C. 676, 685, 511 S.E.2d 396, 401 (Ct.App.1999) (citing State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 320, 428 S.E.2d 871, 873 The trial judge determines the admissibility of a statement upon proof of its voluntariness by a preponderance of the ev......
  • State v. Parker, No. 4475.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 23, 2008
    ...court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. State v. Quattlebaum, 338 S.C. 441, 527 S.E.2d 105 (2000); State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 428 S.E.2d 871 (1993); State v. Landis, 362 S.C. 97, 606 S.E.2d 503 (Ct.App. 2004). 671 S.E.2d 622 The trial judge determines the admissibil......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
31 cases
  • State v. Kirton, No. 4470.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 17, 2008
    ...wrong or controlled by error of law." Reed v. Becka, 333 S.C. 676, 685, 511 S.E.2d 396, 401 (Ct.App.1999) (citing State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 320, 428 S.E.2d 871, 873 (1993)). When reviewing a trial judge's ruling concerning voluntariness, the appellate court does not re-evaluate the fa......
  • State v. Arrowood, No. 4304.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 17, 2007
    ...by the evidence and not clearly wrong or controlled by error of law." Reed, 333 S.C. at 685, 511 S.E.2d at 401 (citing State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 320, 428 S.E.2d 871, 873 (1993)). When reviewing a trial judge's ruling concerning voluntariness, the appellate court does not re-evaluate t......
  • State v. Miller, No. 4307.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 19, 2007
    ...wrong or controlled by error of law." Reed v. Becka, 333 S.C. 676, 685, 511 S.E.2d 396, 401 (Ct.App.1999) (citing State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 320, 428 S.E.2d 871, 873 The trial judge determines the admissibility of a statement upon proof of its voluntariness by a preponderance of the ev......
  • State v. Parker, No. 4475.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 23, 2008
    ...court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. State v. Quattlebaum, 338 S.C. 441, 527 S.E.2d 105 (2000); State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. 316, 428 S.E.2d 871 (1993); State v. Landis, 362 S.C. 97, 606 S.E.2d 503 (Ct.App. 2004). 671 S.E.2d 622 The trial judge determines the admissibil......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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