State v. Cunningham, No. 21270

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtLITTLEJOHN; LEWIS
Citation275 S.C. 189,268 S.E.2d 289
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Doris CUNNINGHAM, Appellant.
Decision Date23 July 1980
Docket NumberNo. 21270

Page 289

268 S.E.2d 289
275 S.C. 189
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Doris CUNNINGHAM, Appellant.
No. 21270.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
July 23, 1980.

Page 290

[275 S.C. 191] Michael Parham, Greenville, for appellant.

Atty. Gen. Daniel R. McLeod, Asst. Attys. Gen. Brian P. Gibbes and Andrew J. Savage, Columbia, and Sol. William W. Wilkins, Jr., Greenville, for respondent.

LITTLEJOHN, Justice:

Defendant Doris Cunningham was convicted of reckless homicide in connection with a two-car collision in Greenville County. She appeals, alleging that several errors occurred during the trial. We affirm.

The wreck occurred when a Plymouth occupied by Cunningham and a Miss Culpepper ran a red light at a high rate of speed and crashed into a Chevrolet. The driver of the Chevrolet was killed. The major issue at trial revolved around the identity of the driver of the Plymouth. Both Cunningham and Culpepper claimed the other was driving at the time of the crash. The State presented, in addition to Culpepper, the investigating highway patrolman and an emergency medical technician as witnesses. Both testified that at the scene of the collision, Cunningham stated she was driving the Plymouth.

Page 291

Cunningham asserts that the trial judge erred in refusing to charge the jury to disregard her statement to the patrolman if it found the statement to be involuntary and unreliable. We find no error.

[275 S.C. 192] After a hearing outside the presence of the jury, Highway Patrolman Montgomery testified before the jury that while Cunningham and Culpepper were in the ambulance he asked who was driving their vehicle. Cunningham responded that she was the driver. Both Cunningham and Culpepper denied that any such interview occurred. Cunningham's counsel characterizes the response as a confession; we do not agree with that characterization. A " 'confession' in legal sense, is restricted to acknowledgment of guilt, and does not apply to mere statement of fact from which guilt may be inferred." State v. Miller, 211 S.C. 306, 45 S.E.2d 23 (1947). Cunningham did not admit that she had been driving in a reckless manner, but simply responded that she was the driver. There is no evidence of coercion which would have made the response involuntary. The response was properly admitted into evidence and the jury implicitly found it reliable. Cunningham was not prejudiced by the trial judge's refusal to give the requested charge.

It is next alleged that the trial judge erred...

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9 practice notes
  • City of Easley v. Portman, No. 2698
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 4, 1997
    ...to acknowledgement of guilt and does not apply to a mere statement of fact from which guilt may be inferred. State v. Cunningham, 275 S.C. 189, 268 S.E.2d 289 (1980); State v. Miller, 211 S.C. 306, 45 S.E.2d 23 (1947); State v. Epes, 209 S.C. 246, 39 S.E.2d 769 (1946). See also State v. Mor......
  • State v. Osborne, No. 24942.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 3, 1999
    ...to acknowledgment of guilt and does not apply to mere statement[s] of fact from which guilt may be inferred." State v. Cunningham, 275 S.C. 189, 192, 268 S.E.2d 289, 291 (1980) (quoting State v. Miller, 211 S.C. 306, 45 S.E.2d 23 (1947)). See also 29A Am.Jur.2d Evidence § 709 (1994) (althou......
  • Wolfe v. City of North Charleston, C/A 2:19-cv-00902-RMG-MHC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 30, 2021
    ...her credibility, as well as the ability to make whatever other arguments that he did not commit the crime. See State v. Cunningham, 268 S.E.2d 289, 291 (S.C. 1980) (“The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to establish that probable cause exists to continue the criminal process.”). Moreov......
  • State v. Rogers, 2004-UP-427
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 7, 2004
    ...viewed Rogers at a bond hearing did not preclude a finding that their in-court identification was reliable. See State v. Cunningham, 275 S.C. 189, 193, 268 S.E.2d 289, 291 (1980) (holding victim's in-court identification was admissible even though victim saw the defendant at a preliminary h......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • City of Easley v. Portman, No. 2698
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 4, 1997
    ...to acknowledgement of guilt and does not apply to a mere statement of fact from which guilt may be inferred. State v. Cunningham, 275 S.C. 189, 268 S.E.2d 289 (1980); State v. Miller, 211 S.C. 306, 45 S.E.2d 23 (1947); State v. Epes, 209 S.C. 246, 39 S.E.2d 769 (1946). See also State v. Mor......
  • State v. Osborne, No. 24942.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 3, 1999
    ...to acknowledgment of guilt and does not apply to mere statement[s] of fact from which guilt may be inferred." State v. Cunningham, 275 S.C. 189, 192, 268 S.E.2d 289, 291 (1980) (quoting State v. Miller, 211 S.C. 306, 45 S.E.2d 23 (1947)). See also 29A Am.Jur.2d Evidence § 709 (1994) (althou......
  • Wolfe v. City of North Charleston, C/A 2:19-cv-00902-RMG-MHC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 30, 2021
    ...her credibility, as well as the ability to make whatever other arguments that he did not commit the crime. See State v. Cunningham, 268 S.E.2d 289, 291 (S.C. 1980) (“The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to establish that probable cause exists to continue the criminal process.”). Moreov......
  • State v. Rogers, 2004-UP-427
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 7, 2004
    ...viewed Rogers at a bond hearing did not preclude a finding that their in-court identification was reliable. See State v. Cunningham, 275 S.C. 189, 193, 268 S.E.2d 289, 291 (1980) (holding victim's in-court identification was admissible even though victim saw the defendant at a preliminary h......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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