State v. Mueller, No. 2376

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtHOWELL
Citation460 S.E.2d 409,319 S.C. 266
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Shannon Annette MUELLER, Appellant. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 2376
Decision Date06 June 1995

Page 409

460 S.E.2d 409
319 S.C. 266
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Shannon Annette MUELLER, Appellant.
No. 2376.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard June 6, 1995.
Decided July 17, 1995.

Page 410

[319 S.C. 267] Assistant Appellate Defender M. Anne Pearce, of South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Attorney General T. Travis Medlock, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen. Donald J. Zelenka, Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen. Harold M. Coombs, Jr., and Asst. Atty. Gen. Alexandria Broughton Skinner, Columbia; and Sol. W. Townes Jones, IV, Greenwood, for respondent.

HOWELL, Chief Judge:

Shannon Mueller appeals from a conviction for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. We affirm.

Mueller was convicted after an incident during which she shot Bobby Clemmons with a 12-gauge shotgun, resulting in the loss of his leg. Mueller claimed the shooting was an accident, and that she acted in defense of herself and her family.

At trial, Mueller's husband was the first defense witness. Immediately before calling Mr. Mueller, the defense requested the court rule on the admissibility of Mr. Mueller's prior criminal convictions. Mr. Mueller had been convicted of larceny and housebreaking in 1976 and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in 1980. The trial court ruled that it would allow impeachment of Mr. Mueller's credibility by admitting the 1980 conviction, but disallowed any reference to the 1976 [319 S.C. 268] conviction. Anticipating the State's cross-examination, the defense revealed Mr. Mueller's conviction during direct examination.

Mueller raises a single issue on appeal. She contends the trial court erred by admitting evidence of the 1980 conviction for the purpose of impeaching the credibility of her husband, a crucial defense witness.

Before we address the merits of Mueller's argument, we must first determine whether the issue is properly before us. The State contends the issue is not preserved for appeal because Mueller herself elicited the challenged evidence through direct examination. Mueller argues the trial court made a final ruling on the admissibility of the conviction, and that she properly introduced evidence of the conviction herself to minimize its impact on the jury. She contends an attorney "should not be given the Hobson's choice of either mitigating the damage to his witness by introducing impeachment evidence on direct examination, or preserving for review on appeal the error of a ruling already made." We agree.

Generally, a motion in limine seeks a pretrial ruling preventing the disclosure of potentially prejudicial matter to the jury. See State v. Floyd, 295 S.C. 518, 369 S.E.2d 842 (1988); 15 S.C.Juris. Appeal & Error § 78 (1992). A ruling on the pre-trial motion is preliminary, and is subject to change based on developments at trial. Floyd, 295 S.C. at 520, 369 S.E.2d at 843. Because the evidence developed during trial may warrant a change in the ruling, the losing party must renew his objection at trial when the evidence is presented in order to preserve the issue for appeal. See State v. Schumpert, 312 S.C. 502, 435 S.E.2d 859 (1993); State v. Davis, 309 S.C. 56, 419 S.E.2d 820 (Ct.App.1992).

In this case, Mueller's attorney sought a ruling on the admissibility of Mr. Mueller's prior convictions after the State rested its case, and immediately before calling Mr. Mueller, the first witness for the defense. Because no evidence was presented between the ruling and Mr. Mueller's testimony, there was no basis...

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38 practice notes
  • State v. Humphries, No. 3380.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 6 Agosto 2001
    ...a motion in limine seeks a pretrial ruling preventing the disclosure of potentially prejudicial matter to the jury. State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 460 S.E.2d 409 (Ct.App.1995). The in limine ruling by the trial judge and the testimony encapsulated within that proceeding is, in essence, a t......
  • Brown v. State, No. 37
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 24 Febrero 2003
    ...and still appeal; under California law, however, pre-trial objection need not be renewed at trial to preserve error); State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 460 S.E.2d 409, 410-11 (App. 1995) (holding that defendant could bring out conviction on direct examination and then challenge validity of ru......
  • State v. Forrester, No. 25247.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 12 Febrero 2001
    ...was not required to renew her objection to the admission of the testimony in order to preserve the issue for appeal. State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 268-69, 460 S.E.2d 409, 410 (Ct.App.1995). Here, the witness introducing the cocaine for the state was the initial witness in the trial. No ev......
  • State v. King, No. 3467.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 25 Marzo 2002
    ...no intervening witnesses before the disputed testimony, the decision is final and the objection need not be renewed); State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 460 S.E.2d 409 (Ct.App.1995) (holding objection to use of prior convictions for impeachment purposes was preserved where motion was made duri......
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38 cases
  • State v. Humphries, No. 3380.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 6 Agosto 2001
    ...a motion in limine seeks a pretrial ruling preventing the disclosure of potentially prejudicial matter to the jury. State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 460 S.E.2d 409 (Ct.App.1995). The in limine ruling by the trial judge and the testimony encapsulated within that proceeding is, in essence, a t......
  • Brown v. State, No. 37
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 24 Febrero 2003
    ...and still appeal; under California law, however, pre-trial objection need not be renewed at trial to preserve error); State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 460 S.E.2d 409, 410-11 (App. 1995) (holding that defendant could bring out conviction on direct examination and then challenge validity of ru......
  • State v. Forrester, No. 25247.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 12 Febrero 2001
    ...was not required to renew her objection to the admission of the testimony in order to preserve the issue for appeal. State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 268-69, 460 S.E.2d 409, 410 (Ct.App.1995). Here, the witness introducing the cocaine for the state was the initial witness in the trial. No ev......
  • State v. King, No. 3467.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 25 Marzo 2002
    ...no intervening witnesses before the disputed testimony, the decision is final and the objection need not be renewed); State v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 266, 460 S.E.2d 409 (Ct.App.1995) (holding objection to use of prior convictions for impeachment purposes was preserved where motion was made duri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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