State v. Jenkins, Opinion No. 4958

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtFEW
PartiesThe State, Respondent, v. Daniel J. Jenkins, Appellant.
Docket NumberOpinion No. 4958
Decision Date28 March 2012

The State, Respondent,
Daniel J. Jenkins, Appellant.

Opinion No. 4958


Heard: December 6, 2011
Filed: March 28, 2012

Appeal from Charleston County
Deadra L. Jefferson, Circuit Court Judge


Appellate Defender Kathrine H. Hudgins, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan M. Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, Assistant Attorney General Mark R. Farthing, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Scarlett Anne Wilson, of Charleston, for Respondent.

FEW, C.J.: Daniel Jenkins appeals his conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Jenkins argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress DNA test results because the affidavit offered in support of the search warrant for samples of his DNA did not meet the constitutional and statutory requirements for issuance of the warrant. We agree. We remand the case to the trial court for a factual determination of whether the inevitable discovery doctrine precludes application of the exclusionary rule in this case.

I. Facts and Procedural History

The victim testified that on the evening of April 5, 2006, she came home from work, drank several beers, ordered a pizza, and fell asleep on her couch. She awoke approximately two hours later to a knock at the door. The victim recognized the man at her door as "Black," a man she sometimes saw at a neighborhood grocery store called Jabbers. Black frequently hung around outside Jabbers, and she occasionally said hello to him.

According to the victim, she answered the door, and Black asked if she wanted to get a beer with him. After the victim declined, Black asked her to put away her two dogs. She put away the dogs, and Black entered her house. The two of them sat on the victim's couch while Black smoked a cigarette, using a glass candle holder as an ashtray. Black then demanded she show him her genitals or else he would kill her. A struggle ensued in which Black hit the victim in the head and face multiple times with the candle holder, removed her pants and underwear, and raped her. Black told the victim "don't tell anyone or I will kill you," and left.

The victim explained that because she could not find her cordless phone, she ran down the street looking for help. Near Jabbers, the victim encountered a woman who asked her what happened. At that moment, Black approached the victim, took her by the arm, and guided her to a hose so she could wash blood off of her face. Black then handed the victim her cordless phone. She ran home and called 911.

When the police arrived at the victim's house, she described the incident and gave them the name "Black." Within thirty minutes, police located Jenkins in an abandoned building across the street from Jabbers. The police brought the victim to the store parking lot, where she identified Jenkins as the man who raped her. After the victim identified Jenkins, she underwent a rape examination. The nurse who performed the examination observed a large amount of fluid in the victim's vagina, and she took evidence swabs of the victim's vagina and other parts of her body.

The next day, the police sought a search warrant for samples of Jenkins' blood and hair. A detective who responded to the victim's 911 call prepared the affidavit in support of the warrant. In the affidavit, the detective wrote only the following:

On 4-5-06 at approx. 2230hrs while at [victim's address], the subject Daniel Jerome Jenkins (BM, dob 6-17-60) did enter the victim's residence and threatened to kill her if she did not comply with his demands to perform oral sex on her. The victim attempted to fight the subject, however he overpowered her by striking her in and about her face using a glass candle holder. The subject then penetrated the victim's vagina with his tongue and penis. The DNA samples of blood, head hair, and pubic hair will be retrieved from the subject by a trained medical personnel in a medical facility. This collection of these sample [sic] will be conducted in a noninvasive manner.

The detective did not supplement the affidavit with oral testimony. The magistrate read the affidavit and signed the warrant. The police executed the warrant, obtaining blood and hair samples from Jenkins.

SLED analyzed Jenkins' samples and the swabs taken from the victim. A SLED forensic DNA analyst found semen on several swabs, including the vaginal swab. The analyst developed a DNA profile from the vaginal swab and compared it to a DNA profile developed from Jenkins' samples. The profiles matched, with a one-in-8.6 quintillion1 chance the semen came from an unrelated person.

At trial, the victim testified in the detail set out above that Jenkins raped her. Later in the trial, the State called the DNA analyst to testify to the results of the DNA comparison. After the trial court found the warrant was valid and denied Jenkins' motion to suppress, the witness testified to the results of the comparison and its degree of certainty.

The jury found Jenkins guilty. Because he had prior convictions for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and carjacking, both "most serious offense[s]" under section 17-25-45(C)(1) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2011), the trial court imposed a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. See S.C. Code Ann. § 17-25-45(A)(1)(a) (Supp. 2011).

II. The Validity of the Search Warrant

A search warrant allowing the government to obtain evidence from a suspect's body is a search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment and, therefore, must comply with constitutional and statutory requirements. State v. Baccus, 367 S.C. 41, 53, 625 S.E.2d 216, 222 (2006). To secure a warrant for the acquisition of such evidence, the State must establish the following elements: (1) probable cause to believe the suspect committed the crime; (2) a clear indication that relevant evidence will be found; and (3) the method used to secure it is safe and reliable. 367 S.C. at 53-54, 625 S.E.2d at 223 (quoting In re Snyder, 308 S.C. 192, 195, 417 S.E.2d 572, 574 (1992) (per curiam)); see also S.C. Code Ann. § 17-13-140 (2003). The magistrate must also consider the seriousness of the crime and the importance of the evidence to the investigation, weighing "'the necessity for acquiring involuntary nontestimonial identification evidence against constitutional safeguards prohibiting unreasonable bodily intrusions, searches, and seizures.'" Baccus, 367 S.C. at 54, 625 S.E.2d at 223 (quoting Snyder, 308 S.C. at 195, 417 S.E.2d at 574).

We find the affidavit, which was the only information presented to the magistrate in support of the warrant application, does not meet the requirements of Baccus. See State v. Arnold, 319 S.C. 256, 259, 460 S.E.2d 403, 405 (Ct. App. 1995) (per curiam) (stating a court reviewing the validity of a warrant may consider only information presented to the magistrate who issued the warrant). In particular, we find the affidavit does not demonstrate that the police had probable cause to believe that Jenkins raped the victim or that Jenkins' DNA was relevant to the investigation. Therefore, we hold the trial court erred in finding the warrant was valid.

A. Probable Cause that Jenkins Committed the Crime

A probable cause determination requires a magistrate to "'make a practical, common-sense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit before her, including the "veracity" and "basis of knowledge" of persons supplying hearsay information, there is a fair probability that . . . evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.'" State v. Herring, 387 S.C. 201, 212, 692 S.E.2d 490, 495-96 (2009) (quoting Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983)). On review, our duty is to ensure that the magistrate had a substantial basis for concluding probable cause existed. 387 S.C. at 212, 692 S.E.2d at 495; see also State v. Weston, 329 S.C. 287, 290, 494 S.E.2d 801, 802 (1997) (stating a reviewing court should give great deference to a magistrate's determination of probable cause). Considering the totality of the circumstances, we find the affidavit in this case did not provide the magistrate a substantial basis for concluding there was probable cause that Jenkins committed the crime.

First, the affidavit must set forth facts as to why the police believe the suspect whose DNA is sought is the person who committed the crime. See State v. Smith, 301 S.C. 371, 373, 392 S.E.2d 182, 183 (1990) (finding an affidavit defective because it "sets forth no facts as to why police believed Smith" committed the robbery). Applying that requirement in Baccus, our supreme court found the affidavit defective and therefore found there was an insufficient basis for a finding of probable cause. 367 S.C. at 52, 625 S.E.2d at 222. The court stated: "This affidavit fails to set forth any facts as to why police believed Appellant committed the crime. The language in the affidavit lacks [specificity] and contains conclusory statements. Given the totality of the circumstances, we conclude the issuing magistrate did not have a substantial basis to find probable cause." Id. Similarly, the affidavit in this case lacks specificity and contains nothing more than conclusory statements. "The affidavit must set forth particular facts and circumstances underlying the...

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