State v. Wilson, No. 25284.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtMOORE, Justice
PartiesThe STATE, Petitioner/Respondent, v. Michael Rochelle WILSON, Respondent/Petitioner.
Docket NumberNo. 25284.
Decision Date23 April 2001

345 S.C. 1
545 S.E.2d 827

The STATE, Petitioner/Respondent,
v.
Michael Rochelle WILSON, Respondent/Petitioner

No. 25284.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Heard March 6, 2001.

Decided April 23, 2001.

Rehearing Denied May 23, 2001.


345 S.C. 3
Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert E. Bogan, and Senior Assistant Attorney General Charles H. Richardson, all of Columbia; and Solicitor C. Kelly Jackson, of Sumter, for petitioner/respondent

Assistant Appellate Defender Tara S. Taggart, of S.C. Office of Appellate Defense, for respondent/petitioner.

345 S.C. 4
MOORE, Justice

We granted a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' decision in State v. Wilson, 337 S.C. 629, 524 S.E.2d 411 (Ct.App.1999). In a split decision, the Court of Appeals reversed respondent/petitioner's (Defendant's) conviction for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine on the ground evidence of a prior drug sale was not clear and convincing and should not have been admitted. We reverse.

FACTS

On August 24, 1995, law enforcement officers knocked on the door of room 220 of the Down Towner Motel in Sumter to execute a search warrant. When there was no response, they used a battering ram to knock down the door. Officers heard the commode flushing as they were attempting to enter. When officers finally broke into the room, they found Defendant and his girlfriend, Mona Lisa Mitchell, along with .78 grams of crack cocaine, baggies, a beer can modified as a smoking device, and $761 in cash. Both Defendant and Mitchell were charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Mitchell pled guilty to simple possession in exchange for her testimony against Defendant. At trial, she testified she was living with Defendant at the Down Towner in August 1995. When officers came to the door, Defendant went into the bathroom and she heard a flushing sound. Over Defendant's objection, Mitchell testified that she had seen Defendant sell drugs to an unidentified woman a couple of days earlier at the Down Towner. Mitchell testified she saw Defendant give the woman a plastic bag with a white rock substance in it in exchange for twenty dollars.

Defendant testified the crack seized from the motel room was not his. He testified he could not see what was in the room when he came in at 4:30 a.m. Mitchell was already sleeping and it was dark. He and Mitchell were still sleeping when officers broke in.

The trial judge submitted both possession with intent to distribute and simple possession to the jury. Defendant was

345 S.C. 5
convicted of possession with intent to distribute and sentenced to twenty-five years with a fine of $50,000.1

ISSUES

1. Did the Court of Appeals apply the proper standard of review?
2. Did the trial judge properly admit the evidence of Defendant's prior drug transaction?

DISCUSSION

The State contends the Court of Appeals erred in finding the prior drug transaction was not proved by clear and convincing evidence.

The Court of Appeals found Mitchell's uncorroborated testimony did not meet the standard of clear and convincing evidence because she was not a credible witness and her testimony "could just as easily have been made up for personal gain." The dissenter would have held Mitchell's credibility did not determine the admissibility of this evidence but instead was an issue for the jury.

Under Rule 404(b), SCRE, evidence of other bad acts is admissible to show motive, identity, common scheme or plan, the absence of mistake or accident, or intent. See also State v. Lyle, 125 S.C. 406, 118 S.E. 803 (1923). To be admissible, other crimes that are not the subject of conviction must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. State v. Cutro, 332 S.C. 100, 504 S.E.2d 324 (1998); State v. Pierce, 326 S.C. 176, 485 S.E.2d 913 (1997).

At the heart of this issue is the appropriate standard of review on appeal in determining the admissibility of bad act evidence. The Court of Appeals took a de novo approach and found, in its own view of the evidence, the proof of Defendant's prior drug transaction...

To continue reading

Request your trial
367 practice notes
  • State v. Martucci, No. 4438.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 24, 2008
    ...review errors of law only. State v. Preslar, 669 S.E.2d 606 364 S.C. 466, 472, 613 S.E.2d 381, 384 (Ct.App.2005) (citing State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 5, 545 S.E.2d 827, 829 (2001); State v. Wood, 362 S.C. 520, 525, 608 S.E.2d 435, 438 (Ct.App.2004)); State v. Landis, 362 S.C. 97, 101, 606 S......
  • State v. Kirton, No. 4470.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 17, 2008
    ...court sits to review errors of law only. State v. Preslar, 364 S.C. 466, 472, 613 S.E.2d 381, 384 (Ct.App.2005) (citing State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 5, 545 S.E.2d 827, 829 (2001); State v. Wood, 362 S.C. 520, 525, 608 S.E.2d 435, 438 (Ct.App.2004)); State v. Landis, 362 S.C. 97, 101, 606 S.......
  • State v. Douglas, No. 4075.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 23, 2006
    ...Douglas to twelve years. STANDARD OF REVIEW In criminal cases, the appellate court sits to review errors of law only. State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 545 S.E.2d 827 (2001); State v. Wood, 362 S.C. 520, 608 S.E.2d 435 (Ct.App.2004). We are bound by the trial court's factual findings unless they......
  • State v. Pichardo, No. 4036.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 31, 2005
    ...341 S.C. 214, 532 S.E.2d 896 (Ct.App.2000). The appellate court may only reverse where there is clear error. Id.; see also State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 545 S.E.2d 827 (2001) (holding in a criminal case the appellate court is bound by the trial court's preliminary factual findings in determi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
366 cases
  • State v. Martucci, No. 4438.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 24, 2008
    ...review errors of law only. State v. Preslar, 669 S.E.2d 606 364 S.C. 466, 472, 613 S.E.2d 381, 384 (Ct.App.2005) (citing State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 5, 545 S.E.2d 827, 829 (2001); State v. Wood, 362 S.C. 520, 525, 608 S.E.2d 435, 438 (Ct.App.2004)); State v. Landis, 362 S.C. 97, 101, 606 S......
  • State v. Kirton, No. 4470.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 17, 2008
    ...court sits to review errors of law only. State v. Preslar, 364 S.C. 466, 472, 613 S.E.2d 381, 384 (Ct.App.2005) (citing State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 5, 545 S.E.2d 827, 829 (2001); State v. Wood, 362 S.C. 520, 525, 608 S.E.2d 435, 438 (Ct.App.2004)); State v. Landis, 362 S.C. 97, 101, 606 S.......
  • State v. Douglas, No. 4075.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 23, 2006
    ...Douglas to twelve years. STANDARD OF REVIEW In criminal cases, the appellate court sits to review errors of law only. State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 545 S.E.2d 827 (2001); State v. Wood, 362 S.C. 520, 608 S.E.2d 435 (Ct.App.2004). We are bound by the trial court's factual findings unless they......
  • State v. Pichardo, No. 4036.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 31, 2005
    ...341 S.C. 214, 532 S.E.2d 896 (Ct.App.2000). The appellate court may only reverse where there is clear error. Id.; see also State v. Wilson, 345 S.C. 1, 545 S.E.2d 827 (2001) (holding in a criminal case the appellate court is bound by the trial court's preliminary factual findings in determi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT