State v. Moore, No. 25217.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtWALLER, Justice
Citation540 S.E.2d 445,343 S.C. 282
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Lawrence Edward MOORE, Petitioner. The State, Respondent, v. Terrance Wideman, Petitioner.
Decision Date11 December 2000
Docket NumberNo. 25217.

343 S.C. 282
540 S.E.2d 445

The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Lawrence Edward MOORE, Petitioner.
The State, Respondent,
v.
Terrance Wideman, Petitioner

No. 25217.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Heard October 17, 2000.

Decided December 11, 2000.


343 S.C. 284
Assistant Appellate Defenders Katherine Carruth Link and M. Anne Pearce, of South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, of Columbia, for petitioners

Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert. E. Bogan, and Senior Assistant Attorney General Charles H. Richardson, of Columbia, and Solicitor W. Townes Jones, of Greenwood, for respondent.

WALLER, Justice:

We granted a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' opinions in State v. Moore, 334 S.C. 411, 513 S.E.2d

343 S.C. 285
626 (Ct.App.1999) and State v. Wideman, Op. No. 99-UP-101 (S.C.Ct.App. filed Feb. 22, 1999).1 We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for a new trial

FACTS

Moore and Wideman were convicted of second degree burglary and grand larceny. At their joint trial, they challenged the admissibility of the identification given by the robbery victim's neighbor, Stephanie Davis. At an in camera hearing, Davis testified she was driven to her Greenwood apartment by her father at approximately 11:15 am on June 11, 1996. From approximately 50 yards away, she observed two men coming out of her neighbor Steven Bell's house; Davis knew Bell was at work. After exiting her father's car, Davis asked the two men what they were doing and both "startled" and ran. She called 9-1-1 and gave police a description of the men. Davis described two African-American males, one was taller and darker, "he had on a white hat ... a white t-shirt and blue shorts ... the white hat fell off and [she saw] braided hair." The taller man was thinner, and Davis saw only his profile. The other man had on a white t-shirt, either shorts or pants, and a black hat. Davis could not say whether he was stocky or thin, only that he was the shorter of the two. She saw him only from the back.2

Approximately ninety minutes later, Davis was taken in a police patrol vehicle to an area near Greenwood Supply where two men were being detained by police. The suspects were the only non-uniformed persons in the vicinity. When asked if she could identify the men, Davis replied, "Yes, ... the clothes—it was a hat on the ground and I remembered the black hat, and the clothes were the same." With respect to the taller man with the braided hair, after Davis had "seen him up close," she identified him for police as "Coochie Terry," a man she recognized as having lived in an apartment near her sister. On cross-examination, Davis admitted she had not

343 S.C. 286
really seen either man's face at the time of the initial confrontation

At the close of the in camera hearing, the trial court ruled, "[t]he court's finding is that there is evidence—I won't say it's reliable, but I think that's a matter for the jury—that she can identify them. I don't find it unduly suggestive. I find the issues—the weight is a matter for the jury." The Court of Appeals majority reversed and remanded. The court found error in the trial court's failure to make a determination of the reliability of Davis' identification in accordance with the factors set forth in Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188, 93 S.Ct. 375, 34 L.Ed.2d 401 (1972); see also State v. Johnson, 311 S.C. 132, 427 S.E.2d 718 (Ct.App.1993).3 Accordingly, the majority remanded to the trial court for a hearing to determine whether Davis' statement was reliable under the totality of the circumstances. Chief Judge Howell dissented, finding Davis' identification unreliable as a matter of law such that a remand was unnecessary.

ISSUE

Did the Court of Appeals err in remanding to the trial court for a hearing to determine whether the identification in this case was unreliable?

DISCUSSION

A criminal defendant may be deprived of due process of law by an identification procedure which is unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to irreparable mistaken identification. Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199 (1967). An in-court identification of an accused is inadmissible if a suggestive out-of-court identification procedure created a very substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification. Manson v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98, 97 S.Ct. 2243, 53 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977) (citing Simmons v. United States, 390 U.S. 377, 88 S.Ct. 967, 19 L.Ed.2d 1247 (1968)); State v. Stewart, 275 S.C. 447, 272 S.E.2d 628 (1980).

343 S.C. 287
The United States Supreme Court has developed a twoprong inquiry to determine the admissibility of an out-of-court identification. Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188, 93 S.Ct. 375, 34 L.Ed.2d 401 (1972); Manson v. Brathwaite, supra. First, "[a] court must first determine whether the identification process was unduly suggestive .... [It] next must determine whether the out-of-court identification was nevertheless so reliable that no substantial likelihood of misidentification existed." Curtis v. Commonwealth, 11 Va.App. 28, 396 S.E.2d 386, 388 (1990) (citing Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. at 198, 93 S.Ct. 375).
Only if [the procedure] was suggestive need the court consider the second question—whether there was a substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification. Although one-on-one show-ups have been sharply criticized, and are inherently suggestive, the identification need not be excluded as long as under all the circumstances the identification was reliable notwithstanding any suggestive procedure. [The] inquiry, therefore, must focus upon whether, under the totality of the
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100 practice notes
  • State v. Rice, No. 4300.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 5, 2007
    ...and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of that discretion or the commission of prejudicial legal error. State v. Moore, 343 S.C. 282, 288, 540 S.E.2d 445, 448 (2000); State v. Brown, 356 S.C. 496, 502, 589 S.E.2d 781, 784 Reliability is the linchpin in determining the admissibi......
  • State v. Carlson, No. 3948.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 22, 2005
    ...irreparable misidentification." Simmons v. United States, 390 U.S. 377, 384, 88 S.Ct. 967, 19 L.Ed.2d 1247 (1968); accord State v. Moore, 343 S.C. 282, 286, 540 S.E.2d 445, 447 (2000) ("An in-court identification of an accused is inadmissible if a suggestive out-of-court identification proc......
  • State v. Marquez, No. 17663.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 14, 2009
    ...is sufficiently reliable is a mixed question of law and fact subject to de novo review on appeal"), rev'd in part on other grounds, 343 S.C. 282, 540 S.E.2d 445 Given the weight and uniformity of the preceding authority, as well as its commonsense appeal, we conclude that a claim of an unne......
  • State v. Heyward, Appellate Case No. 2017-001542
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • October 14, 2020
    ...discretion and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of such, or the commission of prejudicial legal error." State v. Moore , 343 S.C. 282, 288, 540 S.E.2d 445, 448 (2000).432 S.C. 310 a. Positive IdentificationFirst, Heyward contends Granddaughter did not make an out-of-court ide......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
100 cases
  • State v. Rice, No. 4300.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 5, 2007
    ...and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of that discretion or the commission of prejudicial legal error. State v. Moore, 343 S.C. 282, 288, 540 S.E.2d 445, 448 (2000); State v. Brown, 356 S.C. 496, 502, 589 S.E.2d 781, 784 Reliability is the linchpin in determining the admissibi......
  • State v. Carlson, No. 3948.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 22, 2005
    ...irreparable misidentification." Simmons v. United States, 390 U.S. 377, 384, 88 S.Ct. 967, 19 L.Ed.2d 1247 (1968); accord State v. Moore, 343 S.C. 282, 286, 540 S.E.2d 445, 447 (2000) ("An in-court identification of an accused is inadmissible if a suggestive out-of-court identification proc......
  • State v. Marquez, No. 17663.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 14, 2009
    ...is sufficiently reliable is a mixed question of law and fact subject to de novo review on appeal"), rev'd in part on other grounds, 343 S.C. 282, 540 S.E.2d 445 Given the weight and uniformity of the preceding authority, as well as its commonsense appeal, we conclude that a claim of an unne......
  • State v. Heyward, Appellate Case No. 2017-001542
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • October 14, 2020
    ...discretion and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of such, or the commission of prejudicial legal error." State v. Moore , 343 S.C. 282, 288, 540 S.E.2d 445, 448 (2000).432 S.C. 310 a. Positive IdentificationFirst, Heyward contends Granddaughter did not make an out-of-court ide......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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