State v. Smith, No. 21263

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtNESS; LEWIS
Docket NumberNo. 21263
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. John Henry SMITH, Appellant.
Decision Date21 July 1980

Page 276

268 S.E.2d 276
275 S.C. 164
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
John Henry SMITH, Appellant.
No. 21263.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
July 21, 1980.

Page 277

[275 S.C. 165] Chief Atty. John L. Sweeny and Staff Atty. Tara D. Shurling, of S. C. Appellate Defense Com'n, Columbia, for appellant.

[275 S.C. 166] Atty. Gen. Daniel R. McLeod and Asst. Atty. Gen. Brian P. Gibbes, Columbia, Sol. Capers G. Barr, III, Charleston, for respondent.

NESS, Justice:

Appellant was convicted of kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. We affirm.

In the early morning of December 9, 1978, appellant abducted the prosecuting witness at gunpoint, took her to a secluded area and forced her to have sexual relations. His defense was consent.

Appellant primarily challenges the constitutionality of the kidnapping statute, § 16-3-910, Code of Laws of South Carolina (Cum.Supp.1979), and the life sentence he received pursuant to its terms. That section provides in relevant part:

"Whoever shall unlawfully seize, confine, inveigle, decoy, kidnap, abduct or carry away any other person by any means whatsoever without authority of law, . . ., shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall suffer the punishment of life imprisonment . . . "

Appellant first asserts this provision is vague and overbroad in violation of due process requirements. We disagree.

A penal statute offends due process only where it fails to give fair notice of the conduct it proscribes. State v. Crenshaw, 266 S.E.2d 61 (S.C.1980). The terms of this statute are clear and unambiguous. It proscribes the forceful seizure, confinement or carrying away of another against his will without authority of law. We hold it is not unconstitutionally vague, see United States v. Cassidy, 571 F.2d 534 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 436 U.S. 951, 98 S.Ct. 2859, 56 L.Ed.2d 793 (1978). Since appellant's conduct fell squarely within the statute's terms, he lacks standing to assert any over-breadth. Daulton v. United [275 S.C. 167] States, 474 F.2d 1248 (6th Cir. 1973); State v. Gambrell, 266 S.E.2d 78 (S.C.1980).

Appellant next asserts the mandatory life sentence prescribed by the statute constitutes cruel and unusual punishment both per se and as applied in his case. We disagree.

The penalty assessed for a particular offense is, except in the rarest of cases, "purely a matter of legislative prerogative," Rummel v. Estelle, 445 U.S. 263, 100 S.Ct. 1133, 63 L.Ed.2d 382 (1980), and the...

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16 practice notes
  • State v. Copeland, No. 21808
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 10, 1982
    ...definition of kidnapping is overbroad and ambiguous. We held in State v. Plath, 277 S.C. 126, 284 S.E.2d 221 (1981) and State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 164, 165, 268 S.E.2d 276 (1980), the kidnapping statute is constitutional, not overbroad and ambiguous. This exception is without Appellant Robert......
  • State v. Davis, No. 23727
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 18, 1992
    ...section 16-3-910 fails to minimize the risk that the jury would act arbitrarily and capriciously in sentencing him. See State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 164, 268 S.E.2d 276 We previously have rejected overbreadth attacks on section 16-3-910, and adhere to our determination that section 16-3-910 is ......
  • Kornahrens v. Evatt, No. 94-4008
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • October 3, 1995
    ...kidnapping is "the forceful seizure, confinement or carrying away of another against his will without authority of law." State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 164, 268 S.E.2d 276, 277 (1980). 4 The South Carolina legislature has made murder committed "while in the commission of" a kidnapping a capital o......
  • State v. Plath, No. 21582
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 7, 1981
    ...(Cum.Supp.1980), is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. This issue is disposed of by our decision in State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 165, 268 S.E.2d 276 (1980), where the statute was held to be [277 S.C. 134] 5. Arnold and Plath also contend their indictment improperly set forth the charge of ......
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16 cases
  • State v. Copeland, No. 21808
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 10, 1982
    ...definition of kidnapping is overbroad and ambiguous. We held in State v. Plath, 277 S.C. 126, 284 S.E.2d 221 (1981) and State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 164, 165, 268 S.E.2d 276 (1980), the kidnapping statute is constitutional, not overbroad and ambiguous. This exception is without Appellant Robert......
  • State v. Davis, No. 23727
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 18, 1992
    ...section 16-3-910 fails to minimize the risk that the jury would act arbitrarily and capriciously in sentencing him. See State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 164, 268 S.E.2d 276 We previously have rejected overbreadth attacks on section 16-3-910, and adhere to our determination that section 16-3-910 is ......
  • Kornahrens v. Evatt, No. 94-4008
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • October 3, 1995
    ...kidnapping is "the forceful seizure, confinement or carrying away of another against his will without authority of law." State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 164, 268 S.E.2d 276, 277 (1980). 4 The South Carolina legislature has made murder committed "while in the commission of" a kidnapping a capital o......
  • State v. Plath, No. 21582
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 7, 1981
    ...(Cum.Supp.1980), is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. This issue is disposed of by our decision in State v. Smith, 275 S.C. 165, 268 S.E.2d 276 (1980), where the statute was held to be [277 S.C. 134] 5. Arnold and Plath also contend their indictment improperly set forth the charge of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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