State v. Nash, 2012-UP-075

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Docket Number2012-UP-075
PartiesThe State, Respondent, v. James Robert Nash, Appellant.
Decision Date08 February 2012

The State, Respondent,

James Robert Nash, Appellant.

No. 2012-UP-075

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

February 8, 2012

Unpublished Opinion

Heard December 6, 2011.

Appeal From Pickens County Judge G. Edward Welmaker, Circuit Court Judge

Appellate Defender LaNelle Cantey Durant, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General Mark R. Farthing, all of Columbia, for Respondent.


James Robert Nash appeals his convictions of criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor, first degree, and lewd act on a minor under sixteen years of age. Nash argues the trial court erred in: (1) denying his request for a continuance in order to reevaluate his competency; (2) qualifying an expert witness; (3) allowing the solicitor to testify in his closing argument regarding evidence not admitted during trial; and (4) admitting evidence of two other bad acts. We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1. As to the continuance: A trial court's decision on a motion for continuance or a request to order a competency evaluation is within the trial court's discretion, and the decision will not be overturned on appeal absent a clear showing of an abuse of that discretion. State v. Locklair, 341 S.C. 352, 364, 535 S.E.2d 420, 426 (2000) (competency); State v. Babb, 299 S.C. 451, 454, 385 S.E.2d 827, 829 (1989) (continuance). The test for determining competency to stand trial is whether the defendant has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and whether he has a rational and factual understanding of the proceedings against him. State v. Weik, 356 S.C. 76, 81, 587 S.E.2d 683, 685 (2002); see State v. Colden, 372 S.C. 428, 441-42, 641 S.E.2d 912, 920 (Ct. App. 2007) (finding no abuse of discretion by the trial court in not ordering a competency examination where defendant's voir dire with the court conclusively revealed defendant's ability to answer questions rationally and appropriately, and defendant demonstrated a manifest understanding of the proceedings, the roles of the participants, and the charges he was facing). We find no abuse of discretion in the trial court's denial of a continuance in order to reevaluate Nash's competency.

2. As to the qualification of the expert: The qualification of a witness as an expert is a matter largely within the trial court's discretion. State v. Myers, 301 S.C. 251, 255, 391 S.E.2d 551, 554 (1990). "If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to...

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