State v. Boston, Appellate Case No. 2018-000504

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtKONDUROS, J.
Citation433 S.C. 177,857 S.E.2d 27
Parties The STATE, Respondent, v. Darell Oneil BOSTON, Appellant.
Decision Date10 March 2021
Docket NumberAppellate Case No. 2018-000504,Opinion No. 5808

433 S.C. 177
857 S.E.2d 27

The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Darell Oneil BOSTON, Appellant.

Appellate Case No. 2018-000504
Opinion No. 5808

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Heard November 10, 2020
Filed March 10, 2021
Rehearing Denied April 23, 2021


David Nelson Lyon, of Duff Freeman Lyon, LLC, and Chief Appellate Defender Robert Michael Dudek, both of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General Mark Reynolds Farthing, both of Columbia; and Solicitor Scarlett Anne Wilson, of Charleston, for Respondent.

KONDUROS, J.:

433 S.C. 179

Darell Oneil Boston was convicted of manufacturing crack cocaine and sentenced to seventeen years' imprisonment. He appeals the circuit court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence found during a "knock and talk." We affirm.

FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On March 6, 2015, Sergeant Joseph Sherwood of the North Charleston Police Department, after responding to a dispatch call, proceeded to patrol a nearby apartment community.1 The police department had directed Sergeant Sherwood to increase patrols of the apartment community as it had been the site of narcotics activity and because vulnerable adults resided in the apartment community. A week earlier, the landlord contacted the department to report a nonresident had threatened him.

433 S.C. 180

At approximately 5:30 p.m. on that evening, Sergeant Sherwood, along with two other officers—Sergeant Hoose and Officer Etninan—observed two men, later identified as Boston and William Holmes, get out of a taxi and enter the apartment of a resident, Denise Holman. Sergeant Sherwood knew Holman had some undetermined mental challenges and used narcotics. Sergeant Sherwood stated the area had "always been a hot spot for narcotics activity" and "single occupants that live in there ... [are] not mentally handicapped ... but they need to be assisted and [can be] easily taken advantage of." Sergeant Sherwood also had some knowledge of Boston and Holmes, recognizing them from another residence where drug activity took place. Sergeant Sherwood had previously had "several run-ins with them."

The entry of the two men into Holman's apartment raised concerns for Sergeant Sherwood about her safety and the nature of the activity that might be going on inside the apartment. Sergeant Sherwood and the other officers "decided we were going to go knock on the door to check on [Holman] and see if everything is okay." He elaborated:

When [w]e have the complaints that we were having and the elements that we had at this residence[,] we will knock on the door to make sure that one, she is okay[,] and two, see if there is any possib[ilit]y [of] any crime or if she had any information for us. And maybe they were just friends and I would have been fine with that and said[,] okay Ms. Denise[,] see you later[,]
857 S.E.2d 29
and just been on my way[,] but there was a little more to [it] than that.

After Boston and Holmes had been inside Holman's apartment for approximately fifteen minutes, Sergeant Sherwood knocked on Holman's door. Holman responded to the knock by answering the door and fully opening the door. Holman allowed him to enter and she stepped aside. When Sergeant Sherwood entered the small apartment, he saw two men in the kitchen area of the apartment "huddled around" a running microwave oven and saw two plastic bags that had a white residue on them. When the men noticed him, the men opened the microwave, hid their hands, and ran into the bathroom. Sergeant Sherwood also saw a scale on the kitchen counter.

Concerned the men may have been armed, Sergeant Sherwood performed a protective sweep and ordered Boston and

433 S.C. 181

Holmes out of the bathroom. Holmes agreed to Sergeant Hoose's request to conduct a search of his person, which revealed a scale and a baggie of white powder. Sergeant Sherwood found a Pyrex brand measuring cup in the bathroom, with a steaming substance in the cup that appeared to be crack cocaine. Sergeant Sherwood then left the scene to obtain a search warrant, returned and searched the residence, taking multiple items into evidence, and arrested Boston and Holmes.

Sergeant Sherwood did not arrest Holman because she was not a participant to the manufacturing he observed. It was his understanding that often those who manufacture narcotics pay another person for the use of his or her home to manufacture crack in exchange for money or crack. Holman allowed the men to use her apartment because she hoped they would give her some of the manufactured crack.

At the pretrial hearing on November 30, 2017, Boston moved to suppress the evidence the officers seized, including baggies containing white powder, scales, and Pyrex measuring cups, on the grounds that the search violated his right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure under both the United States and the South Carolina Constitutions and was an unreasonable invasion of his privacy under the South Carolina Constitution. The circuit court denied Boston's motion to suppress the evidence, finding Sergeant Sherwood had reasonable suspicion to engage in the knock and talk.

The matter proceeded to trial,2 and on February 7, 2018, a jury found Boston guilty of manufacturing crack cocaine. The circuit court sentenced him to seventeen years of imprisonment. Boston moved for a new trial, which the court denied. This appeal follows.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

"On appeal from a motion to suppress on Fourth Amendment grounds, this [c]ourt applies a deferential standard of review and will reverse only if there is clear error." Robinson v. State, 407 S.C. 169, 180-81, 754 S.E.2d 862, 868 (2014), cert. denied, 573 U.S. 952, 134 S. Ct. 2888, 189 L.Ed.2d 845 ; see
433 S.C. 182
State v. Tindall, 388 S.C. 518, 520, 698 S.E.2d 203, 205 (2010) (recognizing that in criminal cases an appellate court sits to review errors of law only and [is], therefore, bound by the trial court's findings unless clearly erroneous).

State v. Counts , 413 S.C. 153, 160, 776 S.E.2d 59, 63 (2015).

LAW/ANALYSIS

Boston contends the circuit court erred by denying his motion to suppress the evidence in violation of his right to privacy under Article 1, section 10, of the South Carolina Constitution and State v. Counts , 413 S.C. 153, 776 S.E.2d 59 (2015), because law enforcement did not have reasonable suspicion to engage in the knock and talk.3 We disagree.

857 S.E.2d 30

Article 1, section 10, of the South Carolina Constitution establishes:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and unreasonable invasions of privacy shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon
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2 practice notes
  • State v. Holmes, 2021-UP-249
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 30, 2021
    ...the trial court's finding that the officers had reasonable suspicion and its denial of the motion to suppress. See State v. Boston, 433 S.C. 177, 185-86, 857 S.E.2d 27, 31-32 (Ct. App. 2021). Because Boston's and Holmes's appeals concern the same factual circumstances and legal arguments, t......
  • State v. Holmes, Appellate Case No. 2018-001642
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 30, 2021
    ...the trial court's finding that the officers had reasonable suspicion and its denial of the motion to suppress. See State v. Boston, 433 S.C. 177, 185-86, 857 S.E.2d 27, 31-32 (Ct. App. 2021). Because Boston's and Holmes's appeals concern the same factual circumstances and legal arguments, t......
2 cases
  • State v. Holmes, 2021-UP-249
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 30, 2021
    ...the trial court's finding that the officers had reasonable suspicion and its denial of the motion to suppress. See State v. Boston, 433 S.C. 177, 185-86, 857 S.E.2d 27, 31-32 (Ct. App. 2021). Because Boston's and Holmes's appeals concern the same factual circumstances and legal arguments, t......
  • State v. Holmes, Appellate Case No. 2018-001642
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 30, 2021
    ...the trial court's finding that the officers had reasonable suspicion and its denial of the motion to suppress. See State v. Boston, 433 S.C. 177, 185-86, 857 S.E.2d 27, 31-32 (Ct. App. 2021). Because Boston's and Holmes's appeals concern the same factual circumstances and legal arguments, t......

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