Tuesday, February 2, 2010

South Carolina Court of Appeals Issues Double Jeopardy Opinion

The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently released an opinion in which it was asked whether the Double Jeopardy Clause barred the State from prosecuting a defendant for kidnapping when that defendant had already pled guilty to carjacking for the same conduct.  In a straightforward opinion by Justice Geathers, the Court held in State v. Elders that such prosecution was not barred by double jeopardy.  Justice Geathers cited Blockburger and pointed out that kidnapping requires proof that the defendant "unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, abducted, or carried away any other person by any means whatsoever," while carjacking requires no such proof.  Specifically, carjacking requires proof that the defendant "took . . . a motor vehicle from another person."  It surprises me that this was even an issue on which the Court wanted to hear oral argument.

The Court also ruled on the admission of photographs and knives into evidence, though that discussion was far less interesting than the double jeopardy issue.

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