State v. Rowell, No. 24641

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtFINNEY
Citation487 S.E.2d 185,326 S.C. 313
PartiesThe STATE, Petitioner, v. Karen ROWELL, Respondent. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 24641
Decision Date22 January 1997

Page 185

487 S.E.2d 185
326 S.C. 313
The STATE, Petitioner,
v.
Karen ROWELL, Respondent.
No. 24641.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard Jan. 22, 1997.
Decided June 30, 1997.
Rehearing Denied July 23, 1997.

[326 S.C. 314] Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Senior Assistant Attorney General William Edgar Salter, III, Columbia; and Solicitor Ralph J. Wilson, Conway, for Petitioner.

Assistant Appellate Defender Robert M. Pachak, of South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for Respondent.

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS

FINNEY, Chief Justice.

Respondent was convicted of two counts of reckless homicide and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, suspended upon the service of three years' imprisonment and two years' probation. In State v. Rowell, 321 S.C. 114, 467 S.E.2d 247 (Ct.App.1995), the Court of Appeals reversed by a vote of 2-1 with Judge Cureton dissenting. The majority held that respondent was entitled to a

Page 186

directed verdict on each count [326 S.C. 315] because there was no evidence that she acted in reckless disregard of the safety of others. We granted the State's petition for a writ of certiorari, and now reverse the Court of Appeals and reinstate the convictions.

Respondent was tried on two counts of reckless homicide following a 1992 automobile-pedestrian accident in which two children were killed. At the close of the State's case and at the close of all the evidence, respondent moved for a directed verdict arguing that the evidence presented by the State was insufficient to establish that she was driving her vehicle recklessly at the time of the accident. The trial court denied the motions and respondent was subsequently convicted on both counts. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the denial of respondent's motion for directed verdicts, holding that although respondent's actions were "clearly negligent," the State failed to present sufficient evidence that her actions were reckless. The State argues this was error. We agree.

In reviewing the denial of a motion for a directed verdict, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the State, and if there is any direct evidence or any substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove the guilt of the accused, an appellate court must find that the case was properly submitted to the jury. State v. Venters, 300 S.C. 260, 387 S.E.2d 270 (1990); State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888, cert. denied, 493 U.S. 895, 110 S.Ct. 246, 107 L.Ed.2d 196 (1989). The criminal law ordinarily requires that the defendant possess both "an evil meaning mind [and] an evil doing hand" before liability is imposed. State v. Jefferies, 316 S.C. 13, 446 S.E.2d 427 (1994). To convict an individual of reckless homicide, the State must prove the individual was driving a vehicle "in reckless disregard of the safety of others." See S.C.Code Ann. § 56-5-2910 (Supp.1996). Reckless disregard for the safety of others signifies an indifference to the consequences of one's acts. It denotes a conscious failure...

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16 practice notes
  • State v. Needs, No. 24856.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 23, 1998
    ...which reasonably tends to prove the guilt of the accused, or from which his guilt may be fairly or logically deduced); State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 487 S.E.2d 185 (in reviewing denial of directed verdict motion, appellate court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the S......
  • State v. Wilds, No. 3668.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 21, 2003
    ...relying on the terms' civil concepts; instead the State must look to the meaning of the words as defined in criminal law. State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 317, 487 S.E.2d 185, 187 Malice may be either express or implied. "The words `express or implied' add nothing to the meaning of the word `......
  • State v. Kelsey, No. 24801.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 8, 1998
    ...tending to prove the guilt of the accused, an appellate court must find that the case was properly submitted to the jury. State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 487 S.E.2d 185 (1997); State v. Venters, 300 S.C. 260, 387 S.E.2d 270 (1990); State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989). In ru......
  • State v. Osborne, No. 24942.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 3, 1999
    ...was impaired. Cf. In the Matter of Stacy Ray A., 303 S.C. 291, 400 S.E.2d 141 (1991) overruled in part on other grounds State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 487 S.E.2d 185 (1997) (fact that fatal collision occurred insufficient to show reckless homicide). I would affirm the decision of the Court ......
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16 cases
  • State v. Needs, No. 24856.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 23, 1998
    ...which reasonably tends to prove the guilt of the accused, or from which his guilt may be fairly or logically deduced); State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 487 S.E.2d 185 (in reviewing denial of directed verdict motion, appellate court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the S......
  • State v. Wilds, No. 3668.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 21, 2003
    ...relying on the terms' civil concepts; instead the State must look to the meaning of the words as defined in criminal law. State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 317, 487 S.E.2d 185, 187 Malice may be either express or implied. "The words `express or implied' add nothing to the meaning of the word `......
  • State v. Kelsey, No. 24801.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 8, 1998
    ...tending to prove the guilt of the accused, an appellate court must find that the case was properly submitted to the jury. State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 487 S.E.2d 185 (1997); State v. Venters, 300 S.C. 260, 387 S.E.2d 270 (1990); State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989). In ru......
  • State v. Osborne, No. 24942.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 3, 1999
    ...was impaired. Cf. In the Matter of Stacy Ray A., 303 S.C. 291, 400 S.E.2d 141 (1991) overruled in part on other grounds State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 487 S.E.2d 185 (1997) (fact that fatal collision occurred insufficient to show reckless homicide). I would affirm the decision of the Court ......
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