State v. Taylor, No. 3425.

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtANDERSON, J.
Citation348 S.C. 152,558 S.E.2d 917
Docket NumberNo. 3425.
Decision Date17 December 2001
PartiesThe STATE, Appellant, v. Linda Thompson TAYLOR, Respondent.

348 S.C. 152
558 S.E.2d 917

The STATE, Appellant,
v.
Linda Thompson TAYLOR, Respondent

No. 3425.

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Heard December 4, 2001.

Decided December 17, 2001.

Rehearing Denied January 17, 2002.

Certiorari Granted May 30, 2002.


348 S.C. 155
Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert E. Bogan, Senior Assistant Attorney General Norman Mark Rapoport, all of Columbia; and Randolph Murdaugh, III, of Hampton, for appellant

L. Scott Harvin, of Hetrick Law Firm, of Walterboro, for respondent.

ANDERSON, J.

Linda Thompson Taylor was charged with two counts of unlawful issuance of a fictitious motor vehicle driver's license. A jury returned a guilty verdict for both counts. The trial judge sentenced her to six months' imprisonment and a $2,500 fine on one count, provided that upon service of three months or the payment of $1,000, the balance of her sentence was suspended and she was placed on probation for two years. The trial judge also ordered Taylor to perform 100 hours of public service. Taylor received a concurrent six-month sentence for the other count, which was suspended during probation. Following the verdict, Taylor filed post-trial motions and the trial judge issued an order of verdict in arrest of judgment and entry of judgment of acquittal. The State appeals, arguing the trial judge committed error of law in setting aside the guilty verdicts. We reverse and reinstate the convictions.

FACTS/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Thompson was an employee of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") and worked in the DMV's office in Walterboro. Thompson's arrest arose out of an investigation conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement

348 S.C. 156
Division concerning illegal aliens obtaining fraudulent driver's licenses. Pursuant to this investigation, Special Agent Terry Hoffman observed Lila Macias and Armando Ramirez, accompanied by Maria Cortez, enter the DMV office in Walterboro on April 24, 1998, around 3:00 p.m. Macias, Ramirez, and Cortez left the DMV office at approximately 5:00 p.m. and drove away in a car driven by Cortez. The Highway Patrol initiated a traffic stop of the car and seized brand new driver's licenses from Macias and Ramirez

Macias testified she was a native of Mexico and worked at a restaurant in Goose Creek. Someone at the restaurant told Macias that they knew "how to get driver's licenses" and that she could obtain a driver's license from the DMV without providing documentation for $1,000. On the afternoon of April 24, 1998, Macias and Ramirez met with Cortez and she drove them to the Walterboro DMV to obtain driver's licenses. Macias testified she took an eye exam, had her photograph taken, and paid the application fee, but did not take either a written or driving test. Macias identified Taylor as the individual who processed her application and issued her a driver's license. Macias testified Taylor never requested her social security card or any immigration papers.

Ramirez, who is also from Mexico, testified he traveled to the DMV on April 24, 1998, with Cortez and Macias to obtain a driver's license. Ramirez testified that "[a]nytime someone wanted a license they need to call Maria Cortez," and that for $1,000 she would assist them in getting a license without having to provide any type of documentation. Ramirez was issued a license by Taylor without taking a written or driving test and without presenting a social security card or other identification.

John Romagando was working undercover for SLED on April 24, 1998, and went to the Walterboro DMV to conduct surveillance. Romagando observed Macias and Ramirez at the DMV counter where Taylor was working that afternoon. Romagando testified he never observed either Macias or Ramirez take a driving test. Additionally, Constance Johnson, an employee at the Walterboro DMV, testified that she observed Taylor assisting some "Hispanic" people on the

348 S.C. 157
afternoon of April 24th and that she did not see the individuals take a driving test

Several DMV employees testified regarding the procedures used to obtain a driver's license in South Carolina. To receive a license, an applicant must provide a birth certificate or social security card, take an eye examination, and take both a written and driving test. The results of these tests are noted on DMV Form 447. Form 447 is then sent from the local DMV to the DMV office in Columbia.

Wanda Graham, a DMV field administrator in Columbia, testified she was unable to locate a Form 447 for Macias or Ramirez. The DMV's computer records did not indicate that any type of application was filled out by Macias or Ramirez.

In September 1999, Taylor was tried for two counts of unlawful issuance of a fictitious motor vehicle driver's license, in violation of S.C.Code Ann. § 56-1-515(1). At the close of the State's case, Taylor moved for a directed verdict and the trial court denied this motion. The jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts and Taylor was sentenced by the trial judge.

On November 8, 1999, a hearing was held...

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18 practice notes
  • State v. Follin, No. 3559.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 28, 2002
    ...(it was error of law for judge to direct verdict of not guilty in criminal case after jury had returned guilty verdict); State v. Taylor, 348 S.C. 152, 158, 558 S.E.2d 917, 919 (Ct.App.2001) (cert. granted May 30, 2002) (ruling "a motion for a JNOV in a criminal case is not recognized in th......
  • Funderburk v. Funderburk, 2018-001173
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 8, 2021
    ...knowledge of the name of the witness; and (5) the prejudice to the opposing party. Id. at 506-07, 662 S.E.2d at 613 (quoting Jumper, 348 S.C. at 152, 558 S.E.2d at 916)); see also Jenkins v. Few, 391 S.C. 209, 219, 705 S.E.2d 457, 462 (Ct. App. 2010) ("Before excluding a witness as a sancti......
  • Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, No. 4103.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 10, 2006
    ...to the other party, including the prior knowledge of the name of the witness; and (5) the prejudice to the opposing party. Jumper, 348 S.C. at 152, 558 S.E.2d at Although we recognize that the trial judge excluded the testimony of Dr. Fish, Dr. Chewning, and Dr. Graham without specifically ......
  • The State v. Hill, No. 4867.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 22, 2011
    ...agree. It is well settled that the grant or refusal of a new trial is within the sound discretion of the circuit court. State v. Taylor, 348 S.C. 152, 159, 558 S.E.2d 917, 920 (Ct.App.2001). [394 S.C. 320] Where there is no evidence to support a conviction, an order granting a new trial sho......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • State v. Follin, No. 3559.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 28, 2002
    ...(it was error of law for judge to direct verdict of not guilty in criminal case after jury had returned guilty verdict); State v. Taylor, 348 S.C. 152, 158, 558 S.E.2d 917, 919 (Ct.App.2001) (cert. granted May 30, 2002) (ruling "a motion for a JNOV in a criminal case is not recognized in th......
  • Funderburk v. Funderburk, 2018-001173
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 8, 2021
    ...knowledge of the name of the witness; and (5) the prejudice to the opposing party. Id. at 506-07, 662 S.E.2d at 613 (quoting Jumper, 348 S.C. at 152, 558 S.E.2d at 916)); see also Jenkins v. Few, 391 S.C. 209, 219, 705 S.E.2d 457, 462 (Ct. App. 2010) ("Before excluding a witness as a sancti......
  • Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, No. 4103.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 10, 2006
    ...to the other party, including the prior knowledge of the name of the witness; and (5) the prejudice to the opposing party. Jumper, 348 S.C. at 152, 558 S.E.2d at Although we recognize that the trial judge excluded the testimony of Dr. Fish, Dr. Chewning, and Dr. Graham without specifically ......
  • The State v. Hill, No. 4867.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 22, 2011
    ...agree. It is well settled that the grant or refusal of a new trial is within the sound discretion of the circuit court. State v. Taylor, 348 S.C. 152, 159, 558 S.E.2d 917, 920 (Ct.App.2001). [394 S.C. 320] Where there is no evidence to support a conviction, an order granting a new trial sho......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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