State v. Peer, 2444

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Citation466 S.E.2d 375,320 S.C. 546
Docket NumberNo. 2444,2444
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Patrick PEER and Gerald Matthews, Appellants. . Heard
Decision Date05 December 1995

Page 375

466 S.E.2d 375
320 S.C. 546
The STATE, Respondent,
Patrick PEER and Gerald Matthews, Appellants.
No. 2444.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard Dec. 5, 1995.
Decided Jan. 22, 1996.

Page 377

[320 S.C. 549] Suzanne E. Coe, of Law Office of Suzanne E. Coe, Greenville, for appellants.

Assistant Solicitor James F. Brehm, Greenville, for respondent.


The appellants, Patrick Peer and Gerald Matthews, own and operate the Infinity Club, a non-alcoholic dance club for teenagers. Both Peer and Matthews were convicted in Magistrate's Court of two counts of the common law crime of breach of the peace, and both fined $279.25 on each count. These charges arose after the Greenville County Sheriff's Office received numerous complaints about the noise and bass vibrations emanating from the Club. On appeal to the circuit court, the convictions of both appellants were affirmed. On appeal to this court, the appellants contend: (1) the magistrate erred in failing to direct a verdict on their behalf because the State presented no evidence of any incitation to violence, an essential element of breach of peace; (2) the magistrate's jury charge concerning breach of peace was inaccurate; (3) the magistrate erred in refusing to charge the noise ordinance of Greenville County; and (4) the magistrate erred in qualifying a Greenville police officer as an "expert" in sound because he had no formal training regarding noise vibrations. We affirm.

The Infinity Club is located on Wade Hampton Boulevard in Greenville County and fronts the Laurel Hills community, a subdivision with numerous residents. The Club's main selling point is its thirty-five thousand dollar bass sound system. "COME HEAR THE BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!!!" and "WE GIVE A NEW DIMENSION TO SOUND INFINITY SIMULATES EARTHQUAKES " are the Club's slogans. On a typical weekend, the Club draws over fourteen hundred teenagers, with an assemblage of close to seven or eight hundred[320 S.C. 550] kids each Friday and Saturday night. Although the building which houses the Club is a "metal

Page 378

structured" building, one of the owners testified "[w]e didn't feel it was necessary" to sound proof the building.

However, the residents of the Laurel Hill community vehemently disagreed because from the moment the Infinity Club opened and the music was turned on, the bass resonated throughout the community. Residents found their walls, doors, and windows rattled, and pictures fell out of their frames. As one frustrated resident described for the jury, "its almost like the intensity of it just roars in your head and vibrates your body. You can't get rid of it. Even when you get away from it, it still haunts you." Other residents testified they were unable to sleep, work, or even watch television because the noise and bass vibrations lasted from "five o'clock in the afternoon until two o'clock in the morning or even afterwards." They also complained of headaches and nervousness.

Four Greenville County Deputies testified about the numerous complaints from residents. Sometimes when they responded to these complaints by going to the Club, the appellants would turn the volume of the music down, but soon after law enforcement left, the music would be turned back up. On one occasion, the Sheriff's Office received ten complaints from Laurel Hills residents. According to Deputy Gardner, appellant Peer seemed defiant from the outset claiming that "[n]obody was gonna tell him how to run his business." At trial Peer admitting making this statement and also stating to Gardner that the Infinity Club was "in a commercial zone property and the Supreme Court says that [neighboring residents] must go to [sic] some inconvenience."


On appeal, the appellants claim the trial court should have directed a verdict in their favor because no evidence of any incitation to violence was presented by the State, an essential element required to establish breach of peace. The State retorts that it was not required to put forth witnesses who would specifically testify that the noise "caused me to become violent or think about becoming violent" in order to establish breach of peace. Rather, the State contends it met its burden by proving that the acts or conduct of the appellants was such [320 S.C. 551] that it caused numerous residents of an otherwise peaceful community to repeatedly call law enforcement to help them restore the peacefulness of their community so they can sleep, work, watch television, or simply concentrate without being subjected to the "very disturbing, nerve racking" sound of "booming" music and bass vibrations. Inferentially, the State argues, the repeated complaints to police and the residents' zeal to rid themselves of the situation created by the Club demonstrates that the conduct of the appellants directly tended to disturb the public peace and quiet and could be expected to incite retaliation or violence. We conclude that the State met its burden of proof and the magistrate properly sent the case to the jury.

It is well settled that a jury verdict must be affirmed if there is any competent evidence to sustain it, and, in determining such question, the evidence and reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the State. State v. Schrock, 283 S.C. 129, 322 S.E.2d 450 (1984); Townes Assoc., Ltd. v. City of Greenville, 266 S.C. 81, 221 S.E.2d 773 (1976). We are not at liberty to pass upon the veracity of the witnesses or the weight of the evidence. Our role is simply to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant submission of the case to the jury. State v. Prince, 316 S.C. 57, 447 S.E.2d 177 (1993).

Moreover, in ruling on a motion for a directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with...

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  • State v. McAteer, 2795.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 21 Diciembre 1998
    ...commission of an unlawful and unjustifiable act, tending with sufficient directness to breach the peace, is sufficient." State v. Peer, 320 S.C. 546, 552, 466 S.E.2d 375, 379 (Ct.App. 1996) (citations omitted) (quoting 12 Am.Jur.2d Breach of Peace § 4 The offense of driving under the influe......
  • State v. Lee-Grigg, 4237.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 16 Abril 2007 give a requested instruction that is supported by the evidence and correctly states the law applicable to the issues. State v. Peer, 320 S.C. 546, 553, 466 S.E.2d 375, 380 (Ct.App. 1996); see also State v. Austin, 299 S.C. 456, 458, 385 S.E.2d 830, 831 (1989) (acknowledging that a defend......
  • U.S. v. Atwell, 06-651-SKG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 5 Enero 2007
    ...peace." Great Atlantic & Pacific. Tea Co. v. Paul, 256 Md. 643, 261 A.2d 731, 739 (1970); Horn, 57 F.Supp.2d at 226. Accord State v. Peer, 320 S.C. 546, 466 S.E.2d 375, 379 (1996)(breach of the peace is violation of public order, a disturbance of the public tranquility, by any act or conduc......
  • State v. Dantonio, 4333.
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    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 16 Enero 2008 give a requested instruction that is supported by the evidence and correctly states the law applicable to the issues. State v. Peer, 320 S.C. 546, 553, 466 S.E.2d 375, 380 (Ct.App.1996); see also State v. Austin, 299 S.C. 456, 458, 385 S.E.2d 830, 831 (1989) (acknowledging a defendant is......
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