State v. Elmore, 21996

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation308 S.E.2d 781,279 S.C. 417
Decision Date01 November 1983
Docket NumberNo. 21996,21996
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Edward Lee ELMORE, Appellant.

Page 781

308 S.E.2d 781
279 S.C. 417
The STATE, Respondent,
Edward Lee ELMORE, Appellant.
No. 21996.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Nov. 1, 1983.

Page 783

[279 S.C. 419] David I. Bruck, of S.C. Commission of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Atty. Gen., T. Travis Medlock, Retired Atty. Gen., Daniel R. McLeod, and Asst. Attys. Gen., Harold M. Coombs, Jr., and Carolyn M. Adams, Columbia, and Sol. William T. Jones, Greenwood, for respondent.


Appellant Edward Lee Elmore was convicted of murder, first degree criminal sexual conduct, and burglary and sentenced to death. We reverse the convictions, vacate the sentence and remand for a new trial.

The appellant first contends that the trial judge erred in not holding a hearing to determine his competency to stand trial. Appellant relies on State v. Blair, 275 S.C. 529, 273 S.E.2d 536 (1981) and Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 95 S.Ct. 896, 43 L.Ed.2d 103 (1975), to support this contention. We feel that these cases are distinguishable. In each of these cases, the defendant's sanity was placed in issue throughout the proceedings. 1 The defendants in Blair and its predecessor Pate v. Robinson, 383 U.S. 375, 86 S.Ct. 836, 15 [279 S.C. 420] L.Ed.2d 815, had histories of mental disorders prior to trial, while the defendant in Drope attempted to commit suicide during trial.

Here, the appellant underwent psychiatric examination on two occasions prior to the commencement of trial and was adjudged competent. Further, both the defense and the State introduced evidence of appellant's intelligence and emotional stability on numerous occasions during the trial. We find no error.

Page 784

Next, the appellant asserts that the trial judge erred in overruling appellant's motions to disqualify jurors Chalmers and Pinson for cause.

Chalmers, after being seated as a juror, returned to open court and revealed that assistant solicitor Selma Jones was his daughter's closest friend. The trial judge re-examined Chalmers and assured himself that the juror was impartial. See State v. Gulledge, 277 S.C. 368, 287 S.E.2d 488 (1982). He then gave both the defense and the State the opportunity to exercise a peremptory challenge against Chalmers, but both sides declined to do so.

The mere fact that any prospective juror is a friend or even a relative of the assistant solicitor or solicitor trying the case does not automatically disqualify him. State v. Franklin, 267 S.C. 240, 226 S.E.2d 896 (1976); State v. Nicholson, et al., 221 S.C. 399, 70 S.E.2d 632 (1952). The qualification of a prospective juror is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial judge, whose decision will not be disturbed unless wholly unsupported by the evidence. State v. Gilbert & Gleaton, 277 S.C. 53, 283 S.E.2d 179, 180 (1981), cert. den., 456 U.S. 984, 102 S.Ct. 2258, 72 L.Ed.2d 863.

We hold the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in qualifying Chalmers. In addition, appellant "did not exhaust his peremptory challenges, and therefore, is not in a position to avail himself of error in overruling challenges for cause." State v. Britt & Westbury, 237 S.C. 293, 306, 117 S.E.2d 379, 386 (1960), cert. den., 365 U.S. 886, 81 S.Ct. 1040, 6 L.Ed.2d 197. We find these authorities controlling as to the qualification of juror Pinson.

Appellant also argues that juror Covington's responses to the trial judge's questions regarding the juror's views on capital punishment did not clearly indicate an [279 S.C. 421] inability to return a sentence of death if mandated by the evidence. We find the trial judge "had a reasonable basis to conclude that [this] prospective [juror] would be unable to faithfully discharge [his] responsibilities as [a juror] under the law" and therefore properly excluded the jurors for cause. State v. Linder, 276 S.C. 304, 313, 278 S.E.2d 335, 340 (1981); State v. Copeland & Roberts, S.C., 300 S.E.2d 63 (1982).

Appellant next argues that the trial judge's instruction on the presumption of malice from the use of a deadly weapon constituted a mandatory presumption rather than a permissive inference. We agree. We suggest the following charge:

The law says if one intentionally kills another with a deadly weapon, the implication of malice may arise. If facts, are proved beyond a reasonable doubt, sufficient to raise an inference of malice to your satisfaction, this inference would be simply an evidentiary fact to be taken into consideration by you, the jury, along with other evidence in the case, and you may give it such weight as you determine it should receive.

We caution the bench, that hereafter only slight deviations from this charge will be tolerated.

Appellant next contends that the trial judge erred by failing to charge the law of alibi. "To establish an alibi the accused must show that he was at another specified place at the time the crime was committed, thus making it impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime." State v. Robbins, 275 S.C. 373, 375, 271 S.E.2d 319, 320 (1980). At trial, appellant was unable to remember, with any degree of certainty, where he was on the night of the murder. We therefore find no error in the trial judge's failure to charge the law of alibi as "a purported alibi which leaves it...

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    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 31 March 1985
    ...Carolina cases which disproved similar malice charges. See State v. Mattison, 276 S.C. 235, 277 S.E.2d 598 (1981); State v. Elmore, 279 S.C. 417, 308 S.E.2d 781 (1983); State v. Llewellyn, 281 S.C. 199, 314 S.E.2d 326 (1984); State v. Woods, 282 S.C. 18, 316 S.E.2d 673 However, after the ma......
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    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
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    ...denied, 471 U.S. 1036, 105 S.Ct. 2056, 85 L.Ed.2d 329 (1985);State v. Adams, 279 S.C. 228, 306 S.E.2d 208 (1983) (II);State v. Elmore, 279 S.C. 417, 308 S.E.2d 781 (1983) (I);State v. H. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1 (1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 932, 103 S.Ct. 242, 74 L.Ed.2d 191 (19......
  • Griffin v. Martin, 85-6581
    • United States
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    • 28 April 1986
    ...248, 335 S.E.2d 800, 802 (1985):In the present case, the trial judge followed the erroneous instructions with the Elmore [State v. Elmore, 279 S.C. 417, 308 S.E.2d 781 (1983) ] charge. Instead of replacing the unconstitutional malice charge, the Elmore charge was simply added to the end of ......
  • Elmore v. Ozmint, 07–14.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 22 November 2011
    ...and “unjustifiably coercive” supplemental instruction at a juror who was apparently voting against the death penalty. See State v. Elmore, 279 S.C. 417, 308 S.E.2d 781, 785–86 (1983). • The second trial was conducted in Greenwood County from March 26 to April 2, 1984, and Elmore was again f......
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