State v. Heath, No. 26200.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtToal
Citation635 S.E.2d 18
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Ted Lee HEATH, Appellant.
Decision Date14 August 2006
Docket NumberNo. 26200.

Page 18

635 S.E.2d 18
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Ted Lee HEATH, Appellant.
No. 26200.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard April 6, 2006.
Decided August 14, 2006.

James W. Boyd, of Boyd & Jordan, of Rock Hill, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, Senior Assistant Attorney General Harold M. Coombs, Jr., all of Columbia, and Solicitor Thomas E. Pope, of York, for Respondent.

Chief Justice TOAL:


A jury found Ted Lee Heath (Appellant) guilty of trafficking in crack cocaine. This appealed followed. We reverse and hold that Appellant was entitled to a directed verdict because the State failed to present evidence that Appellant was in constructive possession of crack cocaine.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Appellant, who was twenty-two years old at the time of the arrest, lived in a house with his mother and a young child. Appellant's mother owned the house.

The police obtained a warrant to search for crack in and around the house. When the police arrived at the house to execute the warrant, Appellant and his brother were outside in front of the house. Appellant appeared to have just finished washing his car in front of the house. Appellant remained by

Page 19

the car in front of the house as the officers approached.

Upon the police officers' arrival, Appellant's brother immediately ran into the house and locked himself in the bathroom. After Appellant's brother was restrained, the police discovered crack cocaine and approximately two thousand, five hundred dollars in cash. In addition, the officers discovered scales and a small crack rock in the house. Further, officers discovered numerous plastic baggies; allegedly the type used by crack dealers.

Additionally, and at the center of this appeal, a police dog discovered a car-washing mitt in a recycling bin near the back door of the house containing 43.48 grams of crack cocaine.

A jury convicted Appellant of trafficking crack cocaine and Appellant was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. We certified this case from the court of appeals pursuant to Rule 204(b), SCACR. Accordingly, the issue before this Court is:

Did the trail court err in failing to direct a verdict in favor of Appellant because of the State's failure to establish an essential element of the crime?

LAW/ANALYSIS

A defendant is entitled to a directed verdict when the State fails to present evidence of the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
22 practice notes
  • State v. Davis, Appellate Case No. 2015-000981
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2018
    ...365 S.C. at 42, 615 S.E.2d at 464. "Mere presence is insufficient to prove constructive possession." State v. Heath , 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). "In order to prove constructive possession, the State must show the defendant had dominion and control, or the right to exercise......
  • The State v. Phillips, No. 4833.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • August 4, 2011
    ...is entitled to a directed verdict when the State fails to present evidence of the offense charged.” State v. Heath, 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). A trial court considering a motion for directed verdict is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not with its ......
  • State v. Portee, 2010-UP-435
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 12, 2010
    ...is entitled to a directed verdict when the State fails to present evidence of the offense charged." State v. Heath, 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). When ruling on a motion for directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not its......
  • The State v. Portee, Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-435
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 12, 2010
    ...is entitled to a directed verdict when the State fails to present evidence of the offense charged." State v. Heath, 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). When ruling on a motion for directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not its......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • State v. Davis, Appellate Case No. 2015-000981
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2018
    ...365 S.C. at 42, 615 S.E.2d at 464. "Mere presence is insufficient to prove constructive possession." State v. Heath , 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). "In order to prove constructive possession, the State must show the defendant had dominion and control, or the right to exercise......
  • The State v. Phillips, No. 4833.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • August 4, 2011
    ...is entitled to a directed verdict when the State fails to present evidence of the offense charged.” State v. Heath, 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). A trial court considering a motion for directed verdict is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not with its ......
  • State v. Portee, 2010-UP-435
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 12, 2010
    ...is entitled to a directed verdict when the State fails to present evidence of the offense charged." State v. Heath, 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). When ruling on a motion for directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not its......
  • The State v. Portee, Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-435
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 12, 2010
    ...is entitled to a directed verdict when the State fails to present evidence of the offense charged." State v. Heath, 370 S.C. 326, 329, 635 S.E.2d 18, 19 (2006). When ruling on a motion for directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not its......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT